John Coiley was the curator of the National Railway Museum in York from its foundation in the 1970s until his retirement in 1992. From 1983 to 1986, he was the president of the International Association of Transport Museums. He died in 1998. The John Coiley Award for locomotive preservation is given by the Heritage Railway Association. Books he wrote include DK Eyewitness: Train and Rocket to Eurostar: National Railway Museum in Camera.