Safety booklets, holiday guides, and 100s of maps and plans.

The Archives contains a wide range of documents that were typically produced by the railways in the course of their various operations, including their publicity. This ‘Documents’ collection is extremely large, and sorting and assessing work is ongoing, but some of the areas it covers includes:

  • Rule books
  • Safety booklets
  • Rules for goods conveyance and waybills etc
  • Holiday guides, brochures and leaflets
  • War memorials and rolls of honour, and commemorative publications
  • Documents relating to railway hotels and on-train catering
  • Instructions and itineraries for Royal Trains.

We make no claim that our collection is comprehensive – we collect samples and examples, so you might not find every single edition of a particular rule book. However anyone interested in how the railways worked, and what they produced will almost certainly find something of use in this collection.

Search an online selection of our Documents Collection (use the search bar there to narrow your search).

For personal access to the NRM's archive collections, see Search Engine.

The Forsythe Collection of travel and transport ephemera

This massive collection contains publicity material from across the UK and overseas, and not just from railways – it also covers air, road and water transport as well, from the 1940s up to the 2000s. Work is currently ongoing to make this unique collection more easily accessible.

Maps and plans

These range from maps showing the proposed routes of early lines such as the Liverpool & Manchester Railway and the London & Greenwich, through several examples of early published maps such as Bradshaw’s, Wyld’s and Cheffins’, through to the series of maps published by The Railway Clearing House, company and network maps, and examples of modern maps showing the boundaries of train operating companies. There are also some examples of signalling and station plans.

Search an online selection of our Maps and Plans Collection (use the search bar there to narrow your search).

Publicity Material

Publicity guides, leaflets and travel guides covering locations around the UK.

Royal trains

Includes plans, technical documents, correspondence and reports covering royal travel arrangements. Also includes menus, photographs and timetables

Royal Trains archive list

Hotels and catering

Documents from railway run hotels including menus, wine lists, greetings cards and leaflets.

Hotels and catering materials archive list

Background: Suitcase with railway luggage labels