Help Your Yank Cousin Learn British Railroads!


New member
Rolling back into Sim Railroading after taking some time off. I'm looking to do something a little different. Have spent the last couple of days exploring UK railroading. I'm interested if anyone has some links to help me along the way. My interests are more in the industrial/Mining/Passenger side rather than the bucolic Cotswold scenery. I prefer freelance over prototype to give myself more flexibility, but usually heavily base my ideas on a real location. I was thinking about Newcastle-on-Tyne area (big Vera fan) either just before or just after the Great War. It had the collieries and the ship yards.
1. Good books on history of UK rails
2. Links to interests groups.
3. Rail Operations
4. Trackage maps for coal mines and industrial areas.. I am not a horribly creative sort and need all the "inspiration" I can get.
5. Are there any routes that might be of interest? I did a quick search but didn't see any UK coal routes like we have for the US coal mines.

Thanks all For any time you may have. Always up to learn new things!
I recently found this site, which is very useful indeed and goes through the history of UK railways in great detail. It's aimed mainly towards N gauge model railways but there is a lot of information about the wider context and things like lineside industries and freight operations:

Kind regards,

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Found some items today.
- Found the Historical Ordinance Survey Maps.
- Found this site with a list of Collieries in UK. With that and the maps will be very useful.
- Also found the LNER/NER Historical site. So now I can sort out rolling stock and motive power.
I started downloading some of the Wagons and engines from DLS. Did the UK railroads mix and match rolling stock like you see in the US? So would you find LNER GWR, SR and LMS wagons sitting in a LNER yard? I have noticed a lot of the rolling stock was branded with specific companies especially the collieries. In the US the cars were usually branded by RR not coal companies. Did the wagons "stay close to home"?
HMRS holds a lot of information. Brighton Circle LBSC but has meetings on zoom.

british rail by tanya jackson covers 1948 to around 1980. Useful background stuff.

You must remember that the UK is fairly small and a lot of traffic would be carried by ship from port to port. Canals with their narrow boats would also interchange with rail.

The UK started early so the loading gauge is smaller than the US railroads.

Cheerio John