Loading timer

Rail Data > Articles > Links
This page provides links to some other websites that may be of interest. I will be adding more over time but, if you have a suggestion for a site to include, please get in touch.
The links will be checked from time to time, but websites can disappear or be changed. Please let me know if you find a link that needs amending or removing.
Photo sites
Data sites
Other sites
Off-topic sites

Photo sites
There are billions of railway photo collections on on-line with gazillions of photos. OK, maybe I am exaggerating a little. The ones I have listed below are mainly those that have lots of images, that include wagons and that have sensible organisation.
Link screenshot image Dan Adkins on Flickr
A very large collection of photos (over 37,700), mostly taken over the past 15 years and nearly all of railway stock. Organisation is by various albums, including by TOPS classes and by date. Each photo shows the date, location and working (where relevant) and downloading at full resolution is enabled.
Link screenshot image Paul Bartlett on Zenfolio
One of the best-known on-line photo collections, Paul's stands out due to its size and scope. The majority of the photos were taken in the 1970s and 1980s, meaning that many are of types that you won't find elsewhere. Zenfolio allows multi-layer organisation, which Paul has used to good effect. Every photo has the date and location marked on it, along with full details of the subject. The only downside is perhaps that free downloading is disabled, while the on-screen images are relatively small and have copyright watermarks.
Link screenshot image Nathan S on Flickr
A collection of over 2,400 photos, mainly taken in Cornwall. Wagons are included, with an album for each TOPS code group. Overall, the emphasis is on quality rather than quantity, with some amazing views, including some taken using a drone. Captions give all the details, and downloading at full resolution is enabled.
Link screenshot image UK Railways Pics on SmugMug (Martyn Read)
Unlike Flickr, photo collections on SmugMug do not tell you how many photos are included. They also don't seem to allow you to add captions. They do however allow for multi-level organisation, and clever users can put details such as numbers, dates and locations into the filenames. Martyn has done this on his huge and well-organised site. Almost all recent/current classes are included and there are a handful of photos from the pre-digital era. Downloading is disabled, though photos can be saved at medium resolution (1024px wide).
Link screenshot image Gingespotting on SmugMug
Another SmugMug site with an unknown (but high) quantity of images. Trains of other European countries are covered, so you can (for example) look at Serbian wagons! The UK sections are well organised by class codes but with some oddities. The Multiple Unit section only seems to contain EMUs and Bi-modes for example. Information is limited to filenames and downloading at full resolution is enabled. There is also a related blog which is quite entertaining and contains some UK wagon data.
Link screenshot image Huw Millington on Flickr
While the majority of Huw's recent photographs are Lego-related (he runs the excellent Brickset website), there are also over 1,600 wagon photos. What makes this site special is that the photos were mainly taken in the mid-1980s, with an emphasis on private-owner wagons. Many types are covered, including some rarities such as the ex-BR Bogie Bolster and Lowfits used by ABP. Information is limited to the number, location and date being included in the filename. Photos can be downloaded at full-resolution, although in some cases this is on the low side.
Link screenshot image Trevor Plackett on Flickr
Another big collection (60,000+), I like this one because it includes some 1980s and 1990s photos in addition to the (more-common) digital-era ones. Most of the content is trains, including around 12,000 wagon photos, and the organisation into albums based on classes or general types is useful (perhaps with the exception of RIV wagons being in 5 generic collections). Information is limited to numbers, dates and locations and, while the photos are good quality, they can only be viewed (and downloaded) at medium resolution.
Link screenshot image John Turner on Flickr (53A Models)
A moderately large collection (15,393), where this site excels is in the range of subjects and eras covered. There are photos from almost every decade since the 1920s (many of the 1980s and older ones being in monochrome) and of every class (20 photos of class 13 hump-shunters for example). Most loco classes get their own album, while other albums cover specific eras/years or category (eg BR DMUs). The 595 wagon photos all sit in a single folder but there are some real gems and rarities in there. Photos can be viewed at medium resolution but cannot be downloaded or saved.
Link screenshot image Brian Daniels on Flickr
This is another one of the 'big' ones, with over 50,000 photos. I was slightly put off by the way the collection was organised. There are hundreds of albums, many covering a particular day out, and lots of non-UK or non-railway subjects. However, if you keep looking you will find several albums of wagon photos, and several other containing numerous detail photos of particular wagon types. The other bonus is that there are lots of pre-digital photos. For example, the 1,317 photos of class 37 diesels mostly date from the 1970s-1990s. The wagon photos also include some oldies and rarities, though very limited information is provided. Downloading at full resolution is enabled.
Link screenshot image Steve Jones on Flickr
A smaller collection here (2,000) but interesting nonetheless. There are lots of photos from the 1970s and 1980s including 'unglamorous' types such as DMUs. The wagon album only has 129 photos but they are all high quality and again feature types that were once mundane but which are now of value. Photos can be viewed and downloaded at medium resolutions, and all are marked with the date, location and other details.
Link screenshot image Ernie Puddick on Flickr
This collection of 13,000 photos is a bit different, as it includes loads of detail views of rolling stock (for example 103 photos of a preserved Presflo), as well as photos of track, signals, signage, buildings and locations. As such it may be of use or inspiration to modellers in particular. The organisation into numerous albums appears a little jumbled but, if you are looking for something specific, you are likely to find something else interesting along the way! Downloading enabled.
Link screenshot image Richard A Jones on Flickr
A neatly-organised collection of over 13,000 photos, there are some bus and foreign railway albums but most of the content is UK trains, catalogued by class. Most photos date from 2005-2015 and are of high quality. Downloading is available and photos are captioned with relevant details.
Link screenshot image Hugh Llewelyn on Flickr
With over 30,000 photos, this collection is another of the 'big boys'. Most types of loco and unit are covered, with photos from the 1950s to the present, and also lots from other countries. There are over 1,500 wagon photos, arranged in albums for particular types (eg Steel Wagons). The photos are all of good quality, and can be viewed and downloaded at full resolution.
Link screenshot image Steven Clements on Flickr
Yet another large Flickr collection, this one having just passed the 12,000 photos mark. There is some non-railway content (e.g. lorries, buses and traction engines) but the railway coverage is broad, at least in eras (1980 to present). Looking at the albums suggests limits to the scope (for example, there are albums for most classes of diesel loco but no electrics, units, coaches etc.) but the truth is that the photos are there, just not (yet?) organised into albums. The wagon photos that have been organised are good quality, and can be viewed and downloaded at full size.
Link screenshot image Shed 83A on SmugMug (Nathan Williamson)
Nathan makes good use of SmugMug's multi-level foldering to organise his collection, which includes quite a few wagons photos. Dates and locations are provided. Other albums are unusually arranged by operators rather than by class codes, but this seems to work well. Downloading is not permitted.
Link screenshot image John Brace on Flickr
A big collection (14,000+) including most classes of train and with photos going back to the 1980s. The organisation is pretty good, with loads of logical albums. There are several hundred wagons photos but ironically they are all lumped into just two albums (4-wheeled or bogie). Photos can be viewed at medium resolution but downloading is disabled.
Link screenshot image Dave Kirwin Photography (Railway) on Flickr
Another largish collection, with getting on for 9,000 photos in total. The albums are fairly logically arranged, with one for each year going back to 1986 (the older years still have a fair quantity of photos), followed by an album for each freight traffic group (eg Coal), then an album for each of the main loco and unit classes. The Wagons album has 473 photos shown (mainly) in numerical order. The photos themselves are good quality, reasonably large and captioned with (at least) the date and location. Downloading and saving has been disabled.
Link screenshot image Adrian Nicholls on Flickr
Almost 6,000 photos in this collection, though the total includes some overseas railway photos as well as some non-railway odds and ends. The albums are quite sensibly organised and cover a wide variety of topics and eras back to the early-1980s. The wagons album contains 176 photos of various types, again including many photos from the 1980s, and with quite a few surprising oddities (such as a 'Sole' ballast wagon). The photos are good quality and can be viewed and downloaded at high-resolution.
Link screenshot image Peter Bester on Flickr
A huge collection (60,000+), mainly of trains but with a few random other things. Organisation is into a huge number of albums, mostly based on the date and location rather than the subject. However, if you continue past these, there are more albums for individual classes of train and wagon. Coverage is varied, with some having lots of photos (including detail views), and others very few. Photos can be viewed and downloaded at full resolution.
Link screenshot image Mike Hale on Flickr
It seems odd to call a collection of over 1,000 photos 'small' but all is relative. This site is well organised into albums mainly based on class/TOPS codes. The wagon albums are fairly sparsely populated, except for that on JSA coil carriers, which features 89 detail views. Images are mainly medium to high-resolution and downloading is enabled.
Link screenshot image Lyneux on Flickr
This user has over 3,600 photos online, but this total includes a lot of non-railway related images. Scrolling beyond these, you will find some dedicated to particular types of wagons, though many only contain a handful of photos. Beyond that are albums for various loco and unit classes. Photos can be viewed and downloaded at original resolution.
Link screenshot image Corin Paul on Flickr
A single album of 900 wagon photos (from a total of over 22,000) contains some good photos and a few rarities. The rest of the collection is mainly railway-related, largely organised by trip but also by class etc, with particularly extensive coverage of DMU and EMU types. Photos can be viewed at full-resolution but cannot be downloaded or saved.
Link screenshot image Pauls Wagon Pages
This small but interesting website detailed the types of wagons to be seen at Peak Forest, including such types as the famous ICI bogie hoppers, Buxton Lime JGAs and Brunner Mond JEAs. There is a page for each type with some (small) photos and background information. Unfortunately, the site has not been updated since 2007, and the photos on a couple of pages do not show.
Link screenshot image Rail Photo Archive
At last, a photo collection that is not on Flickr or SmugMug! The RPA presents a somewhat cluttered facade but there is some sensible organisation. However, if you click (for example) on 1st Gen DMUs, you get a list of class codes with no indication of what photos there are. Clicking on a class merely brings up a list of numbers. Although not immediately apparent, the underlined numbers have photos, though these can only be viewed quite small. There are a lot of old (eg 1980s) photos here so it might be worth persisting with.

Data sites
These are websites that go beyond just photos to provide some information about the numbers or classification of rolling stock.
Link screenshot image Departmentals.com
This long-established website has extensive coverage of various departmental vehicles (excluding on-track plant, see below). Departmental coaching stock (and some wagons) are included, as are internal users. There are lots of photos, sightings and comments about individual vehicles, though you need to register for an account (which is free) to view some parts.
Link screenshot image Ontrackplant.com
Related to departmentals.com and equally long-established, this website specialises in the huge variety of track maintenance machines in the UK. Coverage includes current, historical and preserved vehicles, and there is also a lot of information about the smaller items (such as trolleys and road-rail machines) which were not covered by CEPS but which are now allocated individual EVNs. The information is in the form of photos, sightings and comments, and registering for a free account is required in order to see some parts.
Link screenshot image Railway Heritage Register On-Line
This website offers a huge amount of information about preserved rolling-stock. From the first screen you can select 'Carriage Survey', 'Wagon Survey' or various other options. You are then taken to a form where you can specify filters (such as the type, operator or builder), and then you get to the lists. There are limited sorting options (e.g. you cannot sort by numbers), and the results are shown as a list of links. But there are a lot, the unfiltered wagons list containing 10,993 items. Clicking on any individual link brings you to a page about that vehicle, with lots of information and often a photo or two.
Link screenshot image Blood and Custard
This is a very varied site, with lots of content, primarily connected to the Southern Railway/Region. Perhaps the best sections (from my perspective) are those looking at multiple units. These contain a wealth of detailed information, including technical and operational details, photos, formations, dates of operation, liveries, renumberings and disposals. Most classes of Southern unit are covered (or planned to be covered) and the pages are a nice mixture of narrative text and tabulated data.
Link screenshot image BR Database
Sub-titled as a 'Complete British Locomotive Database 1923-1997', there is a huge amount of information on this website. A lot of the pages are tabbed. For example, you could use the main menu to select LNER Steam Locos of 1923-1947 design. From the resulting class list, you could pick J39. The main summary for this class is then shown, along with 11 other tabs. Clicking on the Fleet tab brings up a list of individual numbers. Clicking on a number brings up the detail page, with details of all known numbers, allocations, modifications, works visits and disposal. Fantastic for steam and pre-privatisation locos, there is also some info on multiple-units, though some pages seem to be missing. For example, picking any type of EMU from the side menu results in a blank page.
Link screenshot image Rail UK - British Railways 1823 - 2014
Billing itself as the 'Premier UK Rail History Site', there is a lot of information here, though finding it is not particularly straightforward. You can search for any particular number, and you get results that are similar (though not as detailed) to those on BRinfo. However, as with that site, coverage of things other than locos is suggested but patchy. For example, if you search for 303001 it says three units were found (meaning three coach numbers). But all of the onward links end on blank pages. Likewise, if you search for 41001, it says '1 coaches found', but there is no info as to which one (the Mk1 suburban or the Mk3 HST trailer?) and no links to anything further.
Link screenshot image The 47s - Brush Sulzer Type 4
Limiting yourself to a particular class of rolling stock means you have more chance of providing comprehensive coverage, and this site does achieve that. As with many of these sites, finding stuff is not hugely straightforward, but you should soon be able to view histories for any given 'Duff'. The photo gallery is also pretty good, though again a bit convoluted. There are dozens of (smallish) photos of almost every individual class 47 loco.
Link screenshot image Railcar
This site has masses of information about BR's first generation DMUs. Each type gets several different pages, covering topics such as numbering, liveries and operation in some detail. There are also diagram book pages, tons of photos and (somewhat hidden) the ability to see the full allocation and formation history of every single DMU car.
Link screenshot image The Railcar Association
Related to the Railcar website shown above, this site details the first generation DMUs that survived into preservation. You can see a list of all preserved DMU cars which looks fairly basic at first sight. But each number is a link to an individual page with a highly detailed overview of the car's post-BR career, including lots of photos.
Link screenshot image Barrowmore Model Railway Group - Prototype information
This website stands out for one section in particular - the prototype information page. Here you will find dozens of downloadable PDFs of scanned BR diagram books. The documents cover locos, coaches and most types of wagon, and many have hundreds of pages. A lot of the data on my website has been obtained from looking through these books.

Other sites
The sites in this section are not specifically about railway photos or data, yet they can be useful and/or interesting.
Link screenshot image Goods and Not So Goods
A curious name for a curious website, it is sub-titled 'An overview of railway freight operations for modellers (from around 1830 to about 2010)'. There are numerous pages on diverse topics such as track, signalling, liveries, goods facilities and loads, as well as on wagons themselves. The pages are mainly text-based, with lots of small diagrams and photos (mainly of models).
Link screenshot image RealtimeTrains
This website has two distinct layers. The first is like a train-running app, as used by 'Joe Ordinary' for passenger train information. However, if you go to the detailed/advanced option, you can also see information on freight trains. The site also works well on mobile devices, and I have made much use of it while out photographing wagons.
Link screenshot image Open Train Times
Somewhat similar to Realtime Trains, this website's original USP was the inclusion of live signalling diagrams (Kings Cross is shown on the screengrab here). Clicking on any train would bring up the details of the working.
Link screenshot image Freightmaster Online
Back in the day, a Freightmaster book was virtually the only way to find and identify freight trains. There was later a website, with timetables and a forum. Publication of the timetable books has now ceased, so if you want to use Freightmaster you will need to pay for a subscription to the website. I haven't bothered renewing recently so I can't show anything but the home page. However, the last time I was in there was an increasing amount of live train running information, while the forum was busy with lots of sightings, detailed wagon fleetlists and lots of background information.

Off-topic sites
Link screenshot image FlightRadar24
During the first COVID-19 lockdown, I rekindled a childhood interest in aircraft thanks to this amazing website. Basically 'Real Time Planes', you can see what is flying near you, where it came from and where its going, how fast, how high etc. And if you're a plane spotter, the aircraft type and registration is shown. Mainly civil, with some coverage of military flights, the basic website is free to use, though you can register for a paid account to get some extra bells and whistles.
Link screenshot image Pocketmags
There are still lots of magazines devoted to railways, or particular aspects of railways (as well as to every other subject under the sun of course). Digital subscriptions can save you money, are probably more environmentally-friendly, and certainly more postman-friendly. There are various sites offering on-line magazines, but I have found Pocketmags to be pretty good. Most (but not all) of the major railway titles are available here.