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In recognition of the essential restrictions and measures imposed by the Scottish and UK Governments, we have closed all sites, depots and offices, including the HES Archives and Library, with immediate effect. Read our latest statement on Coronavirus (COVID-19).

Railways

01/02/2011

The National Collection at RCAHMS includes a wealth of material illustrating and recording railways and related buildings across Scotland, both past and present. This gallery showcases images from a number of our modern and historic collections including well known sites like the Glenfinnan viaduct and the Forth Railway Bridge, and sites that no longer survive such as St Enoch Station and St Rollox Locomotive Works, Glasgow. One of the main collections for railway history are the photographs taken by Professor John Hume in the 1960s and 1970s of Scottish industrial sites, including stations, bridges, engineering works and heavy industry associated with the railways, with many of these buildings and sites now closed or demolished. The collection at RCAHMS comprises more than 25,000 images.

The National Collection of Aerial Photography and the Aerofilms collection reveal how the railway network evolved from the 1940s, before being rationalised in the 1960s with many routes completely altered. One such example is Galashiels before the original Waverley line closed. Other noteworthy collections include the historic postcards of stations collected by the Reverend H D E Rokeby; glass plate negative collections by photographers like H Bedford Lemere showing the new stations at Greenock and Gourock; and Alexander Inglis with the construction of Waverley Station in Edinburgh. In addition, we also hold a large collection of fascinating photographs documenting the building of the Forth Railway Bridge in the 1880s. Nineteenth century drawings featured include the Dick Peddie and McKay designs for the Caledonian Station and Hotel, Waverley Station and the now disused Scotland Street tunnel, all in Edinburgh. One of the earliest records is a map showing proposals for a railway from Kilmarnock to Troon in 1807.

In addition to the collected material, one of the largest components are the records created by RCAHMS specialist survey staff over the last hundred years. Aerial photographs place railway lines and stations in their landscape while measured drawings of bridges and viaducts reveal the carefully engineered detail of these structures. More recently, survey photographs of disused or demolished railway buildings on closed lines now form a valuable and continually expanding record of Scotland’s railway history. All the collections can be consulted in our Search Room or by using our online resources. We also maintain an active digitisation programme, with new images being added to Canmore every day. This gallery highlights images from across the Collection and contains examples which are being made available online for the first time.