Frequently Asked Questions about the HMRS

What are we?

The Historical Model Railway Society is a UK Registered Educational Charity "founded in 1950 by historians and modellers to collect and exchange records, drawings and photographs in the interests of historical accuracy in modelling". (Andrew Dow in The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, Simmons & Biddle (editors), OUP 1997)

The Society maintains a strong commitment toward obtaining, storing and distributing information of value and integrity. Material placed in its care will be treated with due regard to its information value.

If you have an interest in the railways of Britain and you seek to expand your research options for making historically accurate railway models, then the HMRS is definitely for you. With around two thousand members worldwide, the HMRS is an active Society strongly committed to gathering and distributing UK railway information. It has a large collection of photographs, drawings and other archives. It also has a large library and has published a series of definitive books, largely concentrating on railway liveries.

What are our objectives?

They are:

  • To gather accurate historical information on Britain's railways and make it widely available in perpetuity
  • To provide the means of storing this information
  • To provide this information to all members and the public in the form of published material, prints from our photograph collection, journal references and copies of drawings
  • To collect, store and distribute information from a wide variety of archive sources
  • To encourage modellers to build with greater historical accuracy
  • To help railway historians and researchers with their work and interests
  • To encourage the publication of specialist books based upon the researches of its members and other authors
  • To put people with a common interest in touch with each other to share information

This can be summarised in our byeline which is:  "Dedicated to the study, recording, publishing and disseminating of information on the railways of Britain and the construction, operating and public display of accurate models of those railways."

What period does the HMRS cover?

From the early 1800s to right up to the present as history starts today.

Who are we?

We are a community of people spread all over the world with groups meeting in various parts of UK and on line. Our Museum & Study Centre is in Derbyshire.

How can I meet HMRS members?

Just come along to one of our area group meetings, visit our exhibition stand, the Museum & Study Centre or our web site and you’ll receive a warm welcome from knowledgeable railway enthusiasts and modellers.

Can you help me with information about rolling stock, locomotives, buildings, operations etc.?

Yes. We have information on just about every aspect of railways from the 1830s to the present day. We have an extensive library, over 300,000 engineering drawings, over 200,000 photographs, and an enormous archive. Catalogues of these are available online but we also have yet uncatalogued items and maybe information you need that isn't yet online. You can ask us via the contact page. We also have a network of Company Stewards with specialist knowledge.

I’m restoring a full-size vehicle. Can you help?

We have already supplied drawings and information to a number of heritage railways so it is quite possible we can help you.

Can you provide transfers for my models?

We offer a large selection of transfers in both 4mm and 7mm scales that have long been the first choice of the discerning modeller.

What's our logo?

It is illustrative of an early locomotive. It is closest to a drawing contained in the National Railway Museum (1873-3B) which is known as the 'Gateshead Engine'. It is also similar to other early Trevithick locomotives known as the 'Tram' engine and the 'Penydarren' engine but it is not a copy of any of these. There is considerable discussion about early engines and readers who are interested are strongly recommended to find a copy of the proceedings of the 6th Early Railways Conference of 2016. A full discussion is on p147 entitled 'Penydarren Revisited' by Guy, Bailey, Gwyn, Lewis, Liffen, Protheroe-Jones & Rees. Book title: Early Railways 6, editor Anthony Coulls, 6 Martlets Publishing, 2019.