The Archive of the Caledonian Railway Association is designed to provide a useful research resource on the operations of the Caledonian Railway Company and its constituents, subsidiaries and successors, for all researchers regardless of their background or experience. Although the focus of the collection is upon the Caledonian Railway Company, the archive also holds multiple items from other railway companies that deal with the lines and routes used by the Caledonian and/or areas/aspects where the railway companies overlapped. In addition items from Canals, Docks and Steamers operated as subsidiaries of the Caledonian Railway Company are also included

The CRA plan to make this archive an ever-growing repository of knowledge about all aspects of the Caledonian Railway Company, and to these ends welcome new enquiries, queries and feedback concerning this catalogue and the contents held within. This archive is designed to be used, and the CRA will actively seek to improve and build upon this collection and its catalogue to improve public access to the unique material held within it.

Archive Catalogue Structure

The Catalogue has been constructed to provide an easy-to-use guide to the records held in the CRA Archive Collection. It attempts to avoid jargon and misleading or confusing terms and unnecessary abbreviations. The few abbreviations that are used are explained below or in the heading of the section they specifically refer to.

Every item in the collection carries a prefix CRA and to catalogue every item held in the Archive a series of levels of subdivision have been used, with each level separated by a /. The first two levels are set out on the Archive Catalogue page, which sets out the overview of the collection. This will give you a general idea of where to begin to look for the material you wish to find, or give you an idea of where you might prefer to browse.

Level 3 is the Main Catalogue listing for each of these subsections e.g. CRA3/1 Timetables:

Public Timetables and Information

Working Timetables

Combined Bound Volumes

Appendices to Timetables

Mineral Timetables

Timetable Posters

Level 4 lists individual items within the above subdivisions.

Detailed Item Listings for certain parts of the archive form the final level of subdivision, when there are so many items held under one number that it would be totally unwieldy to list every single individual record in the catalogue. These Detailed Item Listings are indicated as blue hyperlinks, this is especially relevant for drawings/plans and photographs, (clicking on this hyperlink will open the Detailed Item list).

Detailed Item Listings formats are also utilised for tabulations generated as part of the ongoing research – Accidents (CRA3/6/1); Staff database (CRA5/2/2); Historical Publication Articles (CRA9/2).

The Archive is broadly split according to type of item; sections 2-5 documents; section 6 plans; section 7 photographs; section 8 maps; section 9 published materials. Sometimes items related to one subject may be held in different places within the catalogue; for example, if there is a particular station you are interested in it may be best to start at CRA/3/10 Station Paperwork, and then possibly find the drawings for the station under CRA/6/2 and photographs under CRA/7/4.

Every heading in the catalogue has an archival number and, if necessary, a brief description of the types of material you can find within it. Each entry into the catalogue consists of an Archival Number, a Description and a Date. The Detailed Item Listings also include additional fields such as Location, Drawing Number, etc.

In the description there are occasionally abbreviations in bold font. Their presence by a catalogued item indicates that the record was created by that railway company, and not by the Caledonian Railway. The main examples are:

London Midland & Scottish Railways
British Railways

Scottish North Eastern Railway
Scottish Central Railway

Glasgow & South Western Railway
North British Railway

Highland Railway
Railway Clearing House

Also in the description there may be text in italic font. These notes relate to the format of the record, or where it has come from. CD means the item is on CD Rom, copy indicates that the item is a modern photocopy of the original. Other italicised text is notes added by the catalogue compiler as background information to assist the researcher, e.g. poor quality image.

Occasionally there is another reference number [in bold] - this indicates that the item is a copy of an item held elsewhere, most likely at the National Archives of Scotland.

Sometimes one reference number is used for multiple items. This is indicated by a note after the description in the catalogue.

Items which are held as digital file and those having a digital copy in the Archive are indicated {DI}

Searching the Archive

Some examples of how to search the catalogue are given below; these highlight just some of the ways that the archive could be used by prospective researchers. It is only a guide to help you get started, as each researcher will have their individual areas of interest.

For Company/Business History…

If you are looking to build a picture of the general history of the Caledonian Railway, then CRA2 would provide evidence of its expansion, the powers that were conferred upon it and the influence that it wielded. Of particular interest might be CRA2/2/2, which gives a flavour of how the company interacted with other contemporary railway and business organisations, and CRA2/1/3, which shows how the company used the powers given to it by the various Acts of Parliament. The books published by the Association (CRA1/7) and those held in the reference section (CRA1/8) and The True Line Journals (CRA1/5) can also supply you with further information about the broader scope of the Company’s history.

For Information on Locomotives…

There are several sections with information on Caledonian Railway Locomotives and their operation on the Caledonian Railway. The diagram books and technical reports in CRA3/4 contain the technical drawings and specifications of the locomotives built by the Caledonian at St Rollox. This is complemented by the drawings and plans in CRA6/1/3 and there is a vast collection of locomotive photographs in CRA7/1/3 that demonstrate how the Caledonian Locomotives looked in operation. The collection of rule books and operating instructions in CRA3/3 provide further information of how these trains were operated in practice.

For Family History…

The majority of the records do not necessarily lend themselves to family history. However there is a staff database, which is being continually extended as information is gained, that contains what details still exist of individual staff members (in CRA5/2). If you know the name of the person you are searching for, or where they worked, there may be a mention of them in parts of the official records, though these are more generic examples of records than comprehensive lists.

For Modelling the Caledonian Railway…

The section of drawings and plans contains accurate, scale drawings of CR rolling stock, and also details of the buildings, junction layouts and signals used at various parts of the line (CRA6). CRA3/7 contains more technical information on the considerable engineering work that underpinned the lines run by the Company. Information on the rugged nature of the terrain that the Caledonian Railway operated in can be found in the Maps section (CRA8), and the gradient charts (in CRA3/7/2)

Further Information

The Archive Collection is held on our behalf by the Glasgow University Archive Service (GUAS), within the Archive Centre in Thurso Street and is open to all researchers on application to Duty Archivist, Glasgow University Business Archive Centre, who controls all administrative aspects on behalf of the Association, including deciding what can be copied and the charges to be levied. Their contact information is:

Archive Services (Searchroom), 13 Thurso Street, University of Glasgow G11 6PE, Scotland, UK
tel: +44 (0)141 330 5515
fax: +44 (0)141 330 2640

Alternatively you can contact the Association via the CRA website enquiry service.

Please use any of these means of contacts to notify the CRA of any inconsistencies and/or corrections required to this Catalogue. Comments on usability and suggested improvements will also be welcome.

Records related to the Caledonian Railway are also held in the national repositories, libraries and line societies; an introduction and contact details to these are set out in Research Resources.