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National Railway Museum receives Archive Service Accreditation

The National Railway Museum’s research and archive centre, Search Engine, has been awarded Archive Service Accreditation by The National Archives for the first time.

The award is the national benchmark for excellence which recognises customer service and the management and care of archives.

The National Railway Museum joins an exclusive group of other archives across the UK to have reached this standard and the museum is the first in the Science Museum Group to reach the benchmark.

The assessment took place over four months and involved a site visit and interviews as well as the submission of written evidence.

The National Railway Museum’s archive is home to an extensive collection of railway items including more than 1,000 paintings, 2,350 prints and drawings, 1.75m photographs and 11,000 original railway travel posters.

Since opening in 2008, Search Engine has welcomed 400,000 visitors through its doors and over 10,000 readers to its archives including researchers, authors, academics and students.

Jane Hubbard, Archives Manager at the National Railway Museum, said:

“Achieving Archive Service Accreditation is a huge achievement for the museum and represents many hours of work from everyone in the archive team and from our many volunteers. Search Engine users will have confidence and reassurance that the facility is cared for and managed in a sustainable way, as they delve into the history of the railways, its people and their stories.”

“This will also help safeguard and maintain the collection, ensuring that the UK continues to have one of the richest railway archives in the world.”

Among the museum’s archives are some of the nation’s most important documents including the Robert Stephenson and Company Archives, which document the creation of the world’s first railways and have been recognised by UNESCO.

Other treasures held in the archive include the Backhouse Letter which depicts a child’s drawing of the historic first locomotive-hauled passenger train, and the Rastrick notebook from one of the judges present at the famous Rainhill Trials of 1829. The archive also includes original engineering drawings of steam locomotives Mallard, Flying Scotsman and Rocket.

Search Engine is open to the public Wednesday to Saturday and is free to access. Visitors can email their requests to view archive material in advance by contacting


For more information, please contact:

Peter Livesey, Communications Officer
01904 809 646

Simon Baylis, PR & Press Manager
01904 686 299


About the National Railway Museum

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and attracts more than 750,000 visitors per year
  • The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals as well as railway uniform and costume, equipment, documents, records, artwork and photographs
  • The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion in Shildon
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free, for more information visit:


About Archive Service Accreditation

  • Archive Service Accreditation is the UK standard for archive services.  It defines good practice and identifies agreed standards within the archive sector
  • Archive Service Accreditation is awarded by the UK Archive Service Accreditation Committee, representing the entire archive sector
  • Archive Service Accreditation is supported by a UK-wide partnership of The National Archives, National Records of Scotland, Public Record Office of Northern Ireland, the Welsh Government through its Museums Archives and Libraries Wales Division, Archives and Records Association (UK & Ireland), Scottish Council on Archives, and Archives and Records Council Wales
  • The National Archives is the assessor body for archive services located in England