steam train

Welcome to the Railway Studies Friendswelcome to Railway Studies Friends

About Us

Flying Scotsman working 09:07 hrs Royal Duchy Bristol to Par through Newton Abbot

Western Champion D 1015 on 06:20 Tame Bridge Parkway to Paignton for English Riviera Airshow passing Sprey Point, Teignmouth.01.06.2024 © 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

Black 5 44932 brings 1Z13 17:34 Plymouth to Bristol Temple Meads the Great Britain XV through Newton Abbot Station  15.04 2023

Castle class 7029 Clun Castle glides through South Brent on the 11th May 2024, heading 1Z48 0931 Plymouth to Bristol Temple Meads, supported at the rear by class 47 diesel 47773 after the train stalled on Hemerdon Bank. As a result, the train was running 30 minutes late at this point, but impressively arrived at Bristol Temple Meads 5 minutes early. © Chris Brown.

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 Subject and speaker
16th July An evening looking at the Collections slides by Graham Walker.
17th September Railway Scene Photographic Review – May 2022 to April 2024 by Gareth Harrison.
16th October From Okehampton to the Atlantic Coast – by Bernard Mills.
19th November Mishap, Misfortune and Misadeventure – by John Heaton.
17th December Christmas Quiz – by Colin Stone .

Guests are welcome at any of our meetings and small fee of £2 per meeting is charged.

Opening Hours of the Railway Studies Collection

221135 & 220017 on the 0725 Plymouth - Edinburgh

Steam Dreams B1 61306 Mayflower en route to Kingswear_passing Sprey Point, Teignmouth. 08.06.2024 © 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.


Friends of the Railway Studies Collection

Following the Annual General meeting of the Friends held in May 2023 a new chairman has been appointed and he is Andy Houghton. He succeeds Denis A Lewis. There is also a change in the Treasurers post with Paul Silvestri taking over from Graham Walker from August 2023.

Railway Studies Collection users guide

For arrangement and classification of bookstock, library plan and general guidance, please review our user guide.


Photograph Collection

Britannia at Bristol Temple Meads on Welsh Marches Express 08.08.2020

7029 Clun Castle brings 1Z47, 15.47 Bristol Temple Meads to Plymouth railtour, through Newton Abbot on the 10th May 2024. © Chris Brown.

The Photograph Collection now numbers over 90,000 images. All the photos are listed on a database. If anyone is looking for a photograph please contact Graham Walker and he will undertake a search. Contact details for Graham are listed on this web site.

Slide Collection

Over the years the Collection has been donated numerous slides and a start has been made to digitise these images. None of the slides have been looked at since they were donated so the Volunteers have been been working our way through the slides to establish what the Collection holds. A batch of mid 1950's BR(WR) and BR(SR) slides has been found and it is intended to show a selection of these slides at a meeting on the 16th July 2024.

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.

Godfrey Yeoman Photographs

Some years ago the Collection was left the photograph Collection of Mr Godfrey Yeomans. Over the covid period these photographs were digitised and now the photo details have been entered onto the Collections photo database. They include many images of the former lines of the Midland and Great Northern Railway in British Railways days, the early days of the Welshpool and Llanfair Railway from its closure in 1956 to its re-opening as a preserved line, and numerous rail tour photos from 1957 to 1965.

Details of the images are available by contacting Graham Walker the Friends Secretary – contact details on the web site.

Ottley's Bibliography of British Railway History

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


Collection Details

70000 Britannia on down English Riviera Express passing Aller. 09.07.2022

70000 Britannia on down English Riviera Express passing Aller. 09.07.2022 © 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.


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



Andy Houghton

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

Tel: 01626 352077