steam train

Welcome to the Railway Studies Friendswelcome to Railway Studies Friends

About Us


6233 Duchess of Sutherland on Great Britain XIV passing througjh Newton Abbot enroute to Penzance 28.04.2022. 6233 © DG Walker.

Established in 1991 the Friends support the Collection by various means including volunteering for Saturday opening hours, fund raising for the purchase of new titles for the Collection or giving specialist advice on the many unidentified photographs and slides held by the Collection and compiling a database of the Collection’s photographs.

The Friends also hold a series of talks /slide shows throughout the year, details of which are in the News Section of this web site.

Membership of the Friends costs £10 per annum and membership details are available from:

The Secretary, G. Walker, 68 Mile End Road, Newton Abbot TQ12 1RW.

The Railway Studies Collection accepts book donations and in the first instance the Railway Studies Catalogue will be checked to see if we already have the title. Any new titles will be added to the collection and duplicate books will be sold by the Friends. Any monies accumulated will then be available to support the Railway Studies Collection.

Private collections are often left to the Railway Studies Library and these are dealt with by the Railway Studies Librarian, with volunteers on hand to assist in sorting out such collections. If there are any duplicate titles these are donated to the Friends who then dispose of them and use the money raised to buy new titles for the Collection.


Friends of the Railway Studies Collection Meetings


Duchess of Sutherland on Great Britain XIV passing Teignmouth enroute to Exeter and London 30.04.2022 © DG Walker.

The Friends of the Railway Studies Tuesday evening meetings will resume on 19th October 2021 details of the speaker for that meeting will be announced in September 2021. A full programme of meetings will aslo be available later in the year.

All meetings are held on the first floor of the Passmore Edwards Centre, Newton Abbot and start at 7pm.

All are welcome to attend. The Friends of the Railway Studies Collection have free entry; guests are also welcome and are invited to make a small donation of £2 which adds to the funds for the purchase of new books for the Collection.

All meeting are held in the Passmore Edwards Centre and commence at 7pm. All are welcome.

The programme for meetings is as follows :-

Date 2022 Subject and speaker
21st June 2022 Railway Renaissance a look at the Okehampton line re-opening and the proposed new Stations Programme . A talk by Ian Mundy (Great Western Railway).
20th September 2022 Speaker is Gareth Harrison – talk to be confirmed.
18th October 2022 Devon's last New Railway Torrington to Halwill Junction 1925 a talk by Tim Lomas.
15th November 2022 The History of the Wye Valley Railway a talk by Kev Daniels (Volunteer for Wye Valley Greenway).
20th December 2022 Speaker is Robin Coles – talk to be confirmed.

Opening Hours of the Railway Studies Collection


Down Devonian bound for Plymouth hauled by No. 46100 Royal Scot & 70000 Britannia passing Stoneycombe 12.08.2020. © DG Walker.

The Railway Studies Collection is in the refurbished Passmore Edwards Centre, Market Street, Newton Abbot and is located on the first floor and accessible by a lift and stairways. The Collection is open on:

Monday – Saturday: 9.00am - 4.00pm

The Libraries staff will be able to assist from Mondays to Saturdays with Railway Study enquires. At other times the Library staff will be able to assist with queries.


Digitisation of a Railway Archive

For several years Don Steggles one of the co founders of the Collection has created a an archive of railway related printed material,from books, web to sites etc. The paper collection fills several shelves of the Collection's Archival Storage Room and as a result of the donation of Railway Timetables both from Godfrey Yeomans and David St John Thomas space is now at a premium.

Thus the Railway Archive is being digitised. It's contents follow the Ottley Categories used in the Railway Studies Collection. The searchable catelogue of the archive already exists on line and in the future will be linked to the images.


Foreign Railway Scenes

The Library Service has agreed to now collect Foreign Railway images for the Collection. Anyone with any surplus foreign images should contact Graham Walker on the number listed on this web site.


New Books provided by the Friends and Libraries Unlimited

The following new titles have been acquired by the Collection:


Photograph Collection


Britannia at Bristol Temple Meads on Welsh Marches Express 08.08.2020. © DG Walker.

Some years ago the Railway Studies Collection inherited a large number of negatives which are slowly being processed. Included in the images are a selection of Midland and Great Northern Railway images which are in digital format only. Discussions are ongoing as to how these images will be available in the future for public use. So far the photographic date base totals over 82000 images.

Digitisation of the Collection’s Slides

A start has been made on digitising the Railway Studies slide collection. The first batch of slides relate to the Somerset and Dorset Railway and have been acquired from Colour Rail. The Collection also acquired the slides of a South Devon Railway supporter who has recently passed away. Theses slides focus on the South Devon Railway and the many preserved main line steam excursions to the South West. A slide spreadsheet has been established recording the subject on the slide with a unique slide number.

Irish Railway Photographs.

The Friends past Chairman JWP Rowledge who passed away 6 years ago was a well known expert on Irish Railways and who wrote a publication entitled Irish Steam Locomotive Register published by the Irish Traction Group in 1993. The Collection acquired his Irish Railway photographs mainly purchased through various railway post card firms, notably Real Photographs Co Ltd., Locomotive & General Railway Photographs. The photographs cover Irish steam, diesels, narrow gauge railways, station scenes, bridges viaducts and signalling. Several hunded pictures are now entered on the Railway Studies photo data base following assistance in identifying locations from a source in Ireland and an Irish Railway enthusiast based in Plymouth. There assistance is much appreciated in dealing with these photographs.

Ottley's Bibliography of British Railway History

The collection is arranged in line with Ottley's Bibliography of British Railway History.


Collection Details


No. 6024 King Edward I passing Dawlish Warren Station with up Torbay Limited 17.03.2012 the last run prior to withdrawal for overhaul. © DG Walker.

The Collection opened in 1991 and is housed on the first floor of Passmore Edwards Centre which is a Grade 1 Listed Building. Newton Abbot was chosen because of the town's significance as a railway centre.

Newton Abbot has a main line station, and was the site of a large locomotive shed [Shed code 83A] engine repair works and carriage and wagon works.

All aspects of Britain's Railways are covered by the collection with material of interest to railway and social historians, writer's, modellers, researchers and those with a more general interest.

There is comprehensive material on West Country Railways from the Great Western and London South Western/Southern periods up to the present day. In addition there is a substantial amount of information on the remainder of the UK's railway network with limited coverage of railways in Ireland.

As well as providing information of all types on standard gauge railways, the Collection caters for other key areas of interest such as :-

This wealth of data is arranged according to a classification scheme based on that devised by George Ottley for his Bibliography of Railway History. A guide to this scheme is available in the Library.

Items in the Collection form part of the Devon Library Service catalogue. This available on their website:

Click here to view details of the Railway Studies Collection at the Passmore Edwards Centre, Newton Abbot.

The Railway Studies Collection contains:-

Please click here to view a full list of our Magazines and Periodicals

Contact UsContact Us

Phone: 01626 886226
Email: Railway Studies
Post: Railway Studies Collection, Passmore Edwards Centre, Market Street, Newton Abbot, TQ12 2RJ.

Copyright of photos DG Walker & Denis Lewis


directionsFind Us...

By Rail: Newton Abbot Railway Station is served by main line and local services between Exeter, Plymouth, Torquay and Paignton and is less than a mile's walk from the Passmore Edwards Centre.

By Bus: The Bus Station is within 400 feet of the Passmore Edwards Centre. There is a bus service from the Railway Station to the Bus Station.

By Car: The nearest car park is the multi-storey car park which has a ramped entrance on Sherbourne Road and pedestrian steps or a lift to all levels. This is a pay on exit car park.

Click here to view a map of how to find us



Chairman of the Friends of the Railway Studies Collection,
Denis Lewis
Broadway Road
TQ12 3EH.

Secretary and Saturday Rota Secretary,
G. Walker,
68 Mile End Road,
Newton Abbot TQ12 1RW.

Tel: 01626 352077

devon county council logo Newton Abbot Railway Studies Collection Website