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Fair Oak HGS Group Talk Nov 2012


George has long been associated with the Railway Ancestors Family History Society, which has 2,500 railway companies in its databases (refer: and informed us in November that rail staff names from its database were produced on CD, and details featured in WDYTYA magazine.

Ashford Locomotive Depot
Ashford Locomotive Depot
  • George referred us to the 1881 Railway Gazetteer of British place names, since it gave the nearest railway station and which companies served each place.
  • Railway Company records include material on their own orphanages, schools and housing. The talk covered many aspects of where railway records are stored. It was disconcerting to hear that some are kept in obscure places where trustees are not interested in the people named in those records. 
  • Various railway company magazines (e.g. Southern Rail) and some staff registers are held at the National Archives, Kew.
  • Magazines can list staff: for example, the Great Western Railway magazine lists hundreds who were liberated WW2 prisoners of war.
  • Norwich University holds National Union of Railwaymen records but these are not indexed – so without any easy means of searching. 
  • Railway staff photographs abound and newspapers always featured railway accidents in great detail. 
  • Brunel produced ships at Bristol for railway companies: specifically the L&SWR company operated shipping and cross channel ferries.
  • Railway punishment books detail staff misdemeanours giving date of birth, full name and date of entry into employment.
  • Finally, George reminded us not to forget overseas railway companies since many British railway staff moved abroad to parts of the empire (Canada, India, Ceylon) in order to train others.

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