Archive Catalogue Information


Caledonian Railway Association Archive



Dates of creation

1840 – date


22 metres

Name of creator

Caledonian Railway Association (railway association: 1983-: Glasgow, Scotland)

Administrative history

The Caledonian Railway Association (CRA) was established 1983 to promote the study, acquisition and preservation of information, documents, illustrations and artefacts relating to the Caledonian Railway, its constituents and successor companies and to facilitate research into the history of the Company, by fostering the collation and dissemination of the information collected.

The CRA publishes a quarterly Journal The True Line (free to members) and hosts talks in Glasgow on first Saturday of October, November, December and February. Membership is open to all and the membership year is from 1st May.

The Caledonian Railway Company, Scotland, was incorporated by the Caledonian Railway Act of 1845. The line provided a service from Carlisle, England, to Glasgow, Edinburgh and Greenhill (near Castlecary), Scotland.  The first section of the railway between Carlisle and Beattock, Dumfries & Galloway, Scotland, was opened in 1847. The line was completed to Glasgow and Edinburgh, along with line to Castlecary, Stirlingshire in 1848 where it joined the Scottish Central Railway. The line to Glasgow utilised the earlier railways Glasgow, Garnkirk & Coatbridge, and the Wishaw & Coltness, which it purchased in 1846 and 1849 respectively. In 1853, Edinburgh Station, Edinburgh, was opened along with a line from Slateford, Edinburgh to Haymarket, Edinburgh.  The Company expanded by acquisition and amalgamation as well as by building new lines. Between 1849 and 1864 the company repeatedly tried to absorb the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway Co. into the Caledonian system. If it had succeeded the Caledonian would have had a virtual monopoly of Scottish Railways.  In 1865 it absorbed the Scottish Central Railway and in 1866 the Scottish North Eastern Railway and thus extending their line to Callander, Aberdeen and Dundee.

The Caledonian Railway also operated a number of lines that it did not own. Among them were the Callander & Oban and the Lanarkshire & Ayrshire Railways.

The Caledonian Railway, throughout its history, was in competition for traffic, urban space and local influence with the Edinburgh & Glasgow Railway, the North British Railway and the Glasgow & South Western Railway, in a battle that lasted for nearly 60 years and led to much duplication of lines and services.

The company was grouped with the Glasgow & South Western Railway, the Highland Railway, the London & North Western Railway, the Midland Railway and a number of smaller railways across Scotland and England to form the London, Midland & Scottish Railway Co in 1923. This company was nationalised as part of British Rail in 1948.

The Forth and Clyde Navigation, started in 1768 along with the Docks at Bowling and Grangemouth, were amalgamated with the Caledonian Railway Company in 1867.

The Caledonian Steam Packet Company, incorporated in 1889 to operate Steamers on the Clyde, was a subsidiary of the railway company.

Scope and content

The Archive has been brought together by the Caledonian Railway Association. The records catalogued under reference CRA1 were created by the Association in the course of its business.
The remainder of the Archive encompasses the records of the Caledonian Railway Company, its constituent (including the Canals, Docks and Steamers companies), its successor companies and records of other organisations and individuals which relate to the history of the Caledonian Company.

The Archive encompasses:

  • Records of the Caledonian Railway Association
  • Records relating to the Caledonian Railway Company:
  • Company Records, including Acts of Parliament establishing railway companies, 1830-1927
  • Operating Records, including timetables, notices and circulars, 1840-1974
  • Promotional Records, 1850s-1940s
  • Staff Records, 1890-1939
  • Drawings and Plans of locomotives, rolling stock, railway lines, stations and property
  • Photographs of locomotives, rolling stock, stations and property, and staff
  • Maps of railways and canals, 1846-1967
  • ublications relating to railway history, 1861- 2012

Conditions governing access

All records open with the exception of CRA1/1, CRA1/2, CRA1/3 and CRA1/4. Access to these series with the permission of the CRA Committee.

Conditions governing use

Requests to publish or reproduce records for a commercial purpose must be referred to the Caledonian Railway Association

Archival history

Managed by the Caledonian Railway Association; stored at Glasgow University Archive Services

Immediate source of acquisition

Initial deposit from J.D. MacIntosh, Chairman, Caledonian Railway Association; further deposits from T. McGhie, D. Blevins, A Ferguson,J M Summers, Archivists, Caledonian Railway Association.
Details of individual deposits of records to the Caledonian Railway Association can be found in the Register of Donations (ref: CRA1/4/1).

System of arrangement

The Records of the Caledonian Railway Association are arranged into series in line with its functions.
The records relating to the Caledonian Railway Company are arranged into artificial series in line with administrative functions generally in chronological order, with the exception of the Drawings and Plans, Photographs and Maps series, which are arranged by record type.


Dave Luck, CRA Cataloguing Assistant (Placement), Glasgow University Archive Services, David Blevins, Archivist. (updated by Jim MacIntosh, Allan Ferguson, Jim Summers)


Date(s) of descriptions

December 2010, June 2011, May 2012, updated June 2013, December 2017, June 2018, December 2018, June 2019, updated and amended August 2019, updated December 2019. Transferred to online web record December 2019. updated and amended December 2021. A catalogue for December 2020 was not issued because of restrictions in access during the Covid-19 pandemic; updated December 2021, updated April 2022, updated December 2022, updated and amended December 2023..