British Rail Steam Archive


If you enjoy watching archive footage of BR steam, then you may well have found a useful source of information, and you also may be able to contribute in improving that information.

This site is all about the moving image of the steam locomotive as recorded during the days of BR steam, 1948-1968.

The site is intended to fulfil a number of purposes. The main objective of the site is to present a searchable record, accessible to everyone, that allows moving images of locomotives and associated locations/dates, etc to be pinpointed in the available material.

I was motivated to start logging and collating this material in answer to a question that intrigued me. Just how many of the 20,000 plus BR steam locos could be proved to have found their way into moving image? Incidentally, by extrapolation, my best current answer to that with regard to identifiable locos could be as high as ten thousand, or approaching half !!

If we add to this the moving image of locos that cannot be identified, the answer is more likely two thirds.

The scope of the site is presently limited to the material that is in the market place or public domain and through the means of detailed program logs, allows all the data to be collected in one place and comparisons to be made between the various DVD/VHS compilations commercially available.

It is hoped ultimately to cover all known material. As David Murray of Cinerail told me, much of the original material has to be taken at face value as the original cameraman did not keep notes or may well no longer be around to interpret the film.

This leads to mysteries and misinterpretations. So, most significantly, this site invites help and participation in the on-going process of improving the quality and completeness of the information presented here, with a view to continuously increasing the usefulness of the site content for everyone’s benefit.

I have been collecting data for nearly ten years at a rate of over 10 hours per week and am still well short of covering half of the material of which I am presently aware.

I am constantly fighting the urge to follow the mystery of the almost identifiable loco, which is great fun but slows down the rate at which new logs appear.

The list of commercial material continues to grow, as does the new sources of archive film upon which it is based, so I must seek to temporarily excuse the amount of work remaining. Role on retirement and more time !!

Meanwhile, your help in mystery solving would be appreciated.

As a trainspotter from age 11 to 14 and lifelong steam engine and railway enthusiast, it is my hope that apart from providing hours immersed in the locos I love, my hobby can also give something to the steam railway fraternity by being a source of useful information and intrigue for other enthusiasts.