Our history

The railway was invented in Britain. From sleepers to stations, every part of our infrastructure has a story to tell. .

Today’s railway represents 200 years of engineering innovation and determination.  Network Rail is the 21st century chapter in this astounding story.

Here you can explore our own archives online and learn more about railway records to help with your research.  Find out about how the railway was built, the great engineers and visionaries involved, as well as our most iconic stations, bridges and tunnels. Through our 'Making the Connection' series of articles we also investigate the links between the railway, its history and the world we live in today.

The Network Rail archive

Our Corporate Archive manages and preserves a large collection of historical railway engineering drawings, as well as a modern business archive.

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Iconic infrastructure

Discover the history of some of Britain's most iconic railway infrastructure.

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Eminent engineers

Find out about the people who engineered Britain's railway.

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Making the connection

Through our 'Making the Connection' series of articles we investigate the links between the railway, its history and the world we live in today.

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Where to find railway records

Records relating to today’s railway infrastructure are not just held by Network Rail. This guide will help you find railway records to get your research on the right track.

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Working with railway heritage

Network Rail is proud of its heritage and works hard to promote and protect it. 

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