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 Archive Collection has been put together by past and present enthusiasts who are members of the Caledonian Railway Association (CRA). It consists of records that have been donated to and bought by the CRA, and the CRA Committee will consider any donations depending upon the suitability and relevancy of the material.

The Association is keen to acquire further additions, and new items as donations or acquisitions will be most welcome.  

We would also make a plea to all those who rescued records, photographs or drawings, as the old railway organisations were dismantled, to reconsider if these items are best stored in your loft, cellar, or even below the bed. Can the Association or the University Archive staff help you secure a safe and long term storage option for your treasures? 

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.

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
email: [email protected]

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.