The Tracking Railway Archives Project

Use this link to skip the introduction below and go straight to the TRAP Database.

In 2000 a consortium of 21 railway societies collaborated to establish TRAP. Its initial purpose was to ensure that the Access-to-Archives project, creating an on-line catalogue of archives in England, did not ignore the needs of railway historians. In the following months, TRAP volunteers marked-up 3,600 pages of paper catalogues of railway records held in 45 county record offices and the National Railway Museum, in preparation for them being keyed-in to the A2A database. The result was that, when the A2A catalogue first went on-line, a large quantity of railway records was included from the start.

Once the contribution to A2A had been completed, thoughts turned to other projects that would benefit the community of railway historians. It was decided to invite volunteer researchers to help create an on-line database describing collections of railway archives (not detailed catalogues of individual records) for which there seemed to be little prospect of being incorporated into A2A.

The former National Register of Archives (NRA) gave active support to this follow-up project, to the extent of helping with database design and hosting the TRAP website as an adjunct to its own. A modest start was made on collecting the data but the absorption of the NRA into The National Archives and the dispersal of its staff caused the impetus to be lost as our contacts faded away.

Meanwhile, the top-heavy and burdensome corporate existence of TRAP, involving the need for AGMs, accounts, etc., which had been set up in order to obtain the Heritage Lottery Fund grant for the original A2A project, was deemed unnecessary. TRAP in that form was wound up on 30th March 2008 and allied itself to the Railway & Canal Historical Society from the following day, expanding its remit to include Waterways. The database itself was renamed ‘Transport Archive Register” to reflect the inclusion of inland waterways.

Unfortunately, in spite of publicity, the hoped-for input of data from volunteers has failed to materialise, such that the TRAP database had seen few, if any, additions for a number of years. For this reason, and because the three individuals overseeing TRAP were not in a position to expand the facility without help, it was decided that no attempts to add updates to the existing information would be made after January 2016, effectively terminating the Project.

However, not wishing to lose the information that had been collected and recorded, the database has been turned into a straightforward text-based file, the contents of which follow ……………..

So to read on …… use this link: TRAP Database

For more information, or with any questions, on TRAP contact Tony Miller: dusty@widerview.co.uk