The Society Aims, Purpose and Charter

The front page ‘About the HMRS’ gives a short explanation of who we are. This page gives further detail about the society.

HMRS is an active Society and Educational Charity with worldwide membership. Its objectives are to provide support to those interested in historically accurate railway modelling and through its publications, library, archives, drawings, photography collections and company stewards to provide information and answer questions from modeller's and railway historians alike. The HMRS is often a first point of call for historical railway research and complements other well-known historical and modelling societies. Our descriptive byeline 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."

The society has been a charity for many years and is now formally registered as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (No. 1166144). The defined objectives are recorded in the CIO charter and have not been changed from the rules set up at the initial founding of the society as:

  1. the study, recording and preservation, for the advancement of public education, of information, illustrative and other material relating to all railways of the British Isles and the British railway industry;
  2. to arrange that such material is available for reference and exchange and to encourage its publication for the use and education both of members of the Society and of the public in general;
  3. the construction, operation and preservation and public exhibition of models of those railways and their equipment for the furtherance of the knowledge and education of the general public;
  4. to arrange meetings, visits, lectures, exhibitions and similar activities in furtherance of these aims;
  5. to do all such things as shall, in the opinion of the Trustees, be conducive to the attainment of these objects.


The Society has published many books on specific aspects of railway and historical (and modern) railway companies and operations over the years. Many of these are out of print but can sometimes be obtained on the second-hand market. The full set of published books are listed on this site and they are available in our reference library for consultation. We also produce transfers for those modelling in 4mm and 7mm scales, usually of both methfix and pressfix types.

The Society publishes 3 Journals and 6 Newsletters per year for members and other interested parties,

The Society has a permanent Museum and Study Centre (M&SC) at Swanwick Junction, Butterley, Ripley, Derbyshire and provides access to over 300,000 original engineering drawings and over 200,000 photographs. Many of these are contained in our searchable catalogues available here and copies of these can be purchased via this site. The Society has recently purchased the entire collection of Skinley Drawings well known to railway modellers and is making them available for copying. It has also acquired several photographic collections which are gradually being scanned and added to our catalogues. The M&SC also holds approx. 100,000 items of archive material ranging from accident reports, engineering material, operating instructions, diagrams and maps, exhibition pamphlets, rules and regulations, diagram books and timetables. Information about these can be requested via this website too.

Work continues with these growing collections to catalogue and make them accessible through the internet or by direct access by a visit to the M&SC.

Many of our members contribute to specialised line societies' knowledge and also volunteer for work on heritage railways or do behind the scenes work with museums and archives. We hold some material related to supply of products and skills to overseas railways where a British manufacturer was involved.

The Society continues to operate Area Groups which meet regularly and are open to the public. We have volunteers who are designated as ‘Company Stewards’ who provide help on a particular railway company or operational function. This service provides contact with experts on British Rail and pre Nationalisation and Grouping Railways together with a number of other railway interests.

A number of Educational Awards are given through a special fund and we maintain active links with railway academic groups.

The purposes of the society have been described here in terms of what we do or the service we give. But the major purpose of the society is to link like-minded people together. We would welcome any interested person becoming a member to support and enjoy communications with other members with similar interests.