Please note this page is an interim pages and will be amended.

An Introduction to the HMRS Archives

The H.M.R.S. Archives contain a wide collection of original railway documents and other material collected together over the years. Some have been the working documents of professional railwaymen whilst others have been collected or compiled by enthusiasts as research material for specific study or modelling projects. The original founders of the society recognised that after nationalisation in 1948, there would be significant changes to the way the railway operated and started the collection to record the railway then. Other societies and museums have added to the collection with important and original material surplus to their collections. Some had been collected or compiled by enthusiasts as research material for specific study or modelling projects. There have even been ‘rescue missions’ where the society has been alerted to material at risk of being dispersed or destroyed for a variety of reasons.

The one thing which all the items in the Archives have in common is that they have been presented to the HMRS, or are on loan, mainly by members of the Society. Our Archives are housed at our Museum and Study Centre and are unfortunately not available for sale or loan. However large numbers of them have been catalogued and some of the content has been scanned.

This process continues and we will gradually make the catalogues available but they have to be in a suitable format to be searchable by this website. We want to make as much as possible of the contents of the archive available to HMRS members and to bona-fide researchers and academics (non-members) for study. Archive material may not be removed from the Study Centre but, within reason, copies of the material may be made. These copies are for private use and should not be reproduced in any publication or on the internet without prior approval of the society. We also reserve the right to make a small administrative charge to cover our cost in making copies and postage.  Much has yet to be done with sorting, listing and storing the archive material. The following notes summarise of the contents of the archive.

Archives Resources

Original Railway Documentation

  • Over 2000 working timetables are listed and stored in the archive room. The collection is strongly biased towards recent years from the 1960s to 1990s.
  • Over 4000 public timetables are listed and stored, with others yet to be added to the list. Again, the collection is biased towards recent years but there are about 150 Railway Companies timetables from before 1950 These include copies of Bradshaw’s Guide for most years between 1843 and 1961 and copies of Bradshaw’s Guide for most years between 1843 and 1961.
  • Large numbers of small leaflets from the present train operating companies and heritage railways.
  • The Archive contains about 800 documents in the "Rules & Regulations" category, ranging from full company rule books and working appendices to specific instructions on aspects of railway regulations.
  • There are over 900 Operating Instructions such as train working notices and marshalling instructions and numerous commercial instructions dealing with classification of merchandise, traffic routing and other similar matters.
  • We have about 300 Department of Transport accident reports. As well as describing what went wrong, these are invaluable to the modeller in recording information such as train formations.
  • The Archive contains numerous documents such as drivers' manuals for locomotives and signalling diagrams, which have yet to be sorted and listed.
  • An excellent collection of vehicle diagram books from the British Railways period, together with some from earlier periods.
  • A considerable quantity of records from the British Railways Porchester Road Archive and BREL works records are held. These are stored separately from the main archive but have been allocated numbers in the main archive lists.

Enthusiasts' Documentation

Documentation collected and compiled by enthusiasts over the years includes albums and files containing published material on specific railways and topics, research material on specific modelling projects and drafts for unpublished books.

Modellers' Documentation

The Archive contains about 600 model catalogues, ranging from early Bassett Lowke to recent Hornby and a range of kit and component catalogues. There are also about 100 Exhibition Guides, recording the development of the model railway hobby over the years.

Apart from being generally aware of the range of material in the Archive, little has yet been done to list this material and place it in accessible storage. This all takes time but it is now happening.