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About the index

Back in 2010 the Railway & Canal Historical Society (R&CHS) offered the National Railway Museum the subject card catalogue of one of their esteemed members, Alan Jackson.

Alan, an historian, wrote many railway books using this card catalogue and spent many days each month keeping the references up to date.

The catalogue came into our collection, with the agreement it would be turned into an online research tool.

Thanks to funding from the R&CHS, the 40,000 cards were digitised and transcribed with the help of a team of volunteers.

Epic volunteer project

Transcribing the cards was not going to be easy.

The cards were not written with an audience in mind, they were in code, with often illegible handwriting and annotations difficult to decipher.

However, we did have Alan’s notes, so we were able to unlock the cryptic references, but we needed help to do this.

We advertised for volunteers to transcribe digitised batches of cards.

Over 100 people from across Britain and beyond gave 8,000 hours of their time working from home to create 340,000 transcribed entries.

It is thanks to our amazing volunteers, Craig Shaw, our on-the-ground admin volunteer, and Tim Else, Sheffield University Post Graduate Intern, that this searchable database is now available.

How to use the database