The Railway Man 2

The UK railway is the oldest in the world with the first public railway opening in 1825 ¹. With a huge workforce it is likely you will have a number of ancestors involved with the railways in your family tree. What records exist and how can you find them?

In my September 2015 Blog I detailed the life and times of my railway clerk ancestor Rowland NEEDS.

The Railway Service Journal in September 1926 recorded that Rowland NEEDS retired from the Willow Walk branch of the R.C.A (Railway Clerks Association) in September 1926 after nearly 44 years service on the London Brighton and South Coast Railway.

Try these websites and links first:




Start here; identify the Railway Company first

Looking for a railway worker

Railway Trade Union Records

London & North Western Railway Society

Scotland’s railways

Check County Record office holdings

The Railway Museum


My Ancestor was a railway worker; Frank Hardy; ISBN-10: 1907199020; ISBN-13: 978-1907199028;

Engine-driving Life: Or, Stirring Adventures and Incidents in the Lives of Locomotive Engine-drivers (1881);



  1.; accessed June 2016


Robert Parker is a Genealogist and Trainer, based in Kent. He delivers courses, guidance, talks and research services for those interested in tracing their ancestors. See for his 5 steps to discovering your ancestors. Contact Robert to discuss your requirements without obligation.

What stories might your ancestors tell?

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