The Rail Archive is an expanding private collection of historic printed UK railway documents ranging from early share calls to passenger tickets, freight consignment notes to timetables. It was started in 1970 and since then has amassed a wealth of knowledge and documents which can be used for research, illustrations and preservation. The objective of the archive is to collect official printed items from as many UK railway companies as possible, this excludes preserved railways, street tramways (with exceptions), un-built railways (there are a few exceptions) and any railway company authorised after 1940. The collection contains some 2,000 samples dating from 1811 to 1961.
Low-resolution samples of the collection are available to view online and the archive is happy to provide high-resolution samples for use by libraries, the media and publishers on request here. If required, the original document can be posted, but all costs and insurance cover must be paid for as well as a service fee. If any documents are used in a publication, a copy of the publication should be provided to the archive. Anyone wishing to view the collection must make an appointment and viewing usually takes place in the County Council Records office at County Hall in Norwich or it maybe viewed at the Nelson Hotel opposite Norwich Railway station by arrangement. To make an appointment or to contact the archive, please click here.
The collection is a privately financed not for profit organisation and managed from an East Anglia location with connections to the Bodleian Library in Oxford where the collection will be based. There are links to research sources, some historical railway maps and railway company histories.
We hope you enjoy using this archive.