The lists of the Association archive collection are being re-organised for eventual presentation on this web-site. Meanwhile, listings of all but the most recent deposits of the Association's archive holdings may be found on the Access to Archives (A2A) website by clicking HERE. This will bring up a full detailed listing which may then be searched for your own particular interests. Pressing "Shift" and "F" will bring up a search box at the header into which you can then enter the railway company, location, name, and so on by which you wish to search – or you can just browse your way through.
You may also search for other items in the Cumbria Record Centres – and elsewhere – by going to the general a2a search facility by clicking HERE. Click on Advanced Search, then select one of the Cumbria Record Centres from the drop-down list and enter your other search criteria – and away you go!
When the page appears click on "Search these catalogues", then enter the details of your search in the boxes below. To obtain details of the CRA collection type "Railway*" in Keyword or Phrase, and select "Cumbria Record Office, Kendal" in the Location of Archives box. Click "search" and the CRA collection will come at the top of the list which will be displayed. If you then click on the number of items (currently 1137) the full catalogue will be displayed. You can, of course, limit the search to the specific railway company you are interested in
List of other local railway-related material in the four offices of the Cumbria County Archive service at Carlisle, Kendal, Barrow and Whitehaven may also be searched on the A2A website.
Enter the keyword you wish to search on (railway company, location, name, etc.); in the "Location of Archives" box select the office at which you wish to search the catalogue. Then click search. Select the catalogue you wish to see and more details will appear. Clicking "Catalogue in Full" at the top of the page will reveal the full detail of that collection.
One of the most important deposits of railway material at the County Record Offices was deposited by British Rail about 1976. It consists of a vast number of engineering and architectural plans of land, buildings and infrastructure and is split between the offices at Barrow and Carlisle and which originally came from the FR/LMS/BR London Midland Civil Engineer's Office at Barrow. Under each office name, enter British Railways as the keyword for the outline lists to appear - then click on "Catalogue in Full". Furness area material is held at Barrow, West Cumberland plans at Carlisle.
Local studies libraries in Cumbria also hold much material of interest to the railway historian, including published works, newspapers, photographs, trade directories, census reports and much more. The principal local collections are held at Carlisle, Kendal, Barrow and Whitehaven, with significant collections also at Penrith and Workington. Other libraries in the county may also have material relevant to their immediate local area. To visit the Local Studies website click HERE.
The principal alternative location of archive material relating to the history of the English-based railways of Cumbria is the National Archives at Kew. Most important are the surviving official records of the various railway companies including minutes of meetings of the Boards of Directors and committees. To access the website of the National Archives, click HERE.
The official records of the Scottish-based railways which operated lines from Scotland into Carlisle, and various local lines in the north of Cumbria, are to be found in the National Archives of Scotland in Edinburgh. Click HERE to access the NAS website. A pdf file listing of some Cumbrian-related material may be downloaded from HERE.
It occasionally happens that significant collections of archives in County Record Offices may be found outside the area to which they relate. One of these locations is the Cheshire and Chester Record Office and Local Studies service which was the recipient when British Rail was seeking to deposit large quantities of records from its offices in Crewe in the 1980s. Some of these have been extracted from the Chester catalogues for the CRA by member Mr P J McCarthy and this list may be downloaded as a pdf file by clicking HERE. For information about the Cheshire and Chester Record Office and Local Studies service, click HERE.