Steve Oates

Trustee, The Heritage Alliance
Co-Chair of our Funding and Investment Advocacy Group

Steve Oates

Steve is Chief Executive of the Heritage Railway Association (HRA) - the UK-wide professional support body to 170 operational heritage railways and tramways, plus a variety of related museums, rolling stock groups and preservation societies.

In this role he actively promotes and protects the interests of heritage railways to government, the rail regulator, the media and other bodies, while ensuring that the Association provides appropriate guidance and leadership to the sector on issues such as safety, heritage, governance, commercial and environmental matters.

Steve is also a trustee of the National Rail Heritage Awards and serves on the advisory board of the National Railway Museum.

Professionally, he is a chartered surveyor, but has wide commercial experience, having founded and managed three successful commercial radio stations, and headed-up an economic development service for a local authority.

Alongside his main professional career, Steve has had a lifelong volunteering commitment, first getting involved in heritage at the age of 13 volunteering at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway (IWSR), where he’s contributed in a variety of roles, eventually serving for ten years as its chairman. During his chairmanship the Railway gained full Arts Council England museum accreditation and he accepted, on behalf of the IWSR, the Queen’s Award for Voluntary Service and the National Lottery Award for Best UK Heritage Project. He also represented the Railway on the board of Visit Isle of Wight.

Steve continues to serve as an IWSR trustee and five years ago retrained for footplate duties and now regularly volunteers for locomotive firing duties!