Perhaps the most frequent request for information received by the CRA is from family historians researching earlier generations, who may have worked on the Caledonian Railway. Unfortunately most of the Company Staff Records have been lost or destroyed and the Association has minimal information on individual members of staff.
Those records which have survived are held by the National Records of Scotland under the references BR/CAL/15 and GD344. If your research is post 1923 when the Caledonian Railway was grouped with others into the London, Midland and Scottish Railway you will have to search in the LMS Archives which are largely held at the National Archives, Kew. There is also a limited collection of LMS information at the National Records of Scotland, reference BR/LMS/15.
The Association has a long term programme to collect details of the staff members who created and operated the railway company. The current list of names on our database (last updated August 2021 and now containing over 25,000 records) can be downloaded here.
When using this list please note that each line represents a reference found in a surviving source and adjacent lines may either refer to an individual employee, at different periods of their career, or may refer to a different employee with the same name or to multiple origins for the same information.
Most of the columns in the table are self explanatory, with Y.E.S. an abbreviation for Year Entered Service and Source recording the origin of the information for any particular entry.
The March 2014 update to the database included just over 2,100 records from the List of Staff entitled to Vote in the 1908 Conciliation Boards Ballots, which was for all Engine Shed Staff from Engine Drivers right through to Engine Cleaners. The records surviving are for the Northern, Central and Western Sections of the Caledonian Railway. The Southern & Eastern Sections - Carstairs south to Carlisle and Edinburgh - are missing. The Lists that have survived do give a very good and accurate summary of Staff for the year 1908. They are compiled by Engine Shed and are hand written by the local Shed clerk usually in Edwardian copper plate style writing - a scanned copy will be added to the Archive shortly. We would be very grateful to hear from anyone having any records or knowledge of where the missing Lists might be.
It is recognised that much additional work is still to be done with this raw data, including establishing the family relationships within the names listed. We know that there was a strong tradition of sons following fathers into employment by the Caledonian Railway. If a member of your forebears contributed to the Caledonian Railway we would like to add them to our database. Please contact the Association Chairman.
A useful booklet 'Was your Grandfather a Railwayman?' has been published by the Federation of Family History Societies, which lists sources for all the UK and many overseas railways.