The aim of the TRANSPORT ARCHIVE REGISTER is to describe archives containing railway and canal records which are not linked to national databases and which might otherwise escape notice. Local libraries, societies and individuals often have collections about which information is hard to find. Anyone is welcome to use the information provided and equally anyone can contribute; the value of the site will be enhanced as more collections are added to the list.The REGISTER is aimed mainly at railway and canal related material and is operated by the Railway and Canal Historical Society. For more details about the society, see

Transport historians have long been faced with the irony that they have an exceptionally rich heritage of archives, particularly relating to railways, to draw upon, yet this resource is so extensive and dispersed that it has been impossible to make a comprehensive search for material relevant to a particular piece of research. The National Archives provides an on-line catalogue and also hosts Access to Archives, which lists material in English and Welsh county record offices and the National Railway Museum. The Scottish Archive Network provides the equivalent in Scotland. The TRANSPORT ARCHIVE REGISTER aims to complement that by providing details of other collections. It is only practical to describe the scope of each collection and provide links to any available on-line catalogues.

National and County/Regional records

The National Archive's A2A website contains a fully searchable database of the items held locally in England and Wales, for instance in County Record Offices.

Some hints for users of the database. If you want to find precise titles, such as "Great Western", use quotation marks. To find collections in particular repositories start by using the ARCHON Directory A link is in place from the bottom of the relevant ARCHON page to A2A. If you click on this link you will be taken to a list on A2A of all the records held at a particular repository.

Some items added recenlty to archives which are included in A2A may not be included in the A2A database. Once you have found an archive which contains relevant information, it may be worthwhile clicking on the 'Catalogue in Full' link just above the middle of the A2A screen. You may find useful additional details by checking the references within their original context.

If you are looking for information on railways in Scotland, the Scottish Archive Network ( provides a searchable online catalogue for the National Archives of Scotland and over 50 other archives.

Data on this site : a guide to other related archives throughout the UK.

The REGISTER lists lesser-known archives held by libraries, museums and other institutions and by individuals, to which access may be given for research purposes. This data is presented in two parts on this web site.

  • Indexes under various headings, such as railway company, showing which repositories hold relevant material. Browse through Index List of collections to find those which may have material of interest and then use the links to see details of what is in the collections.
  • If you know of a collection and want to find out what it holds, start with Repository List.

If you have information to contribute or any comments on this web site, we would like to hear from you. Anyone can help. Please e-mail : contact at (replacing 'at' with @). We will then send you a data input form and associated notes. You can use the same contact to let us know any corrections to the information.

Master List of Railway Companies

This list identifies known railway companies. The name is in a standardised form which will be used as part of the company description based on the ISAAR (International Standard Archival Authority Record) format. The ISAAR reference number is included. Click here to see the list.

Family History

If you have reached this web site researching family history, information on how railway records can be used for family history research can be found by clicking here.

[Updated 20 Apr 12]