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Find out everything you need to know about Search Engine, our dedicated library and archive centre, before you visit.

Following the introduction of the latest coronavirus restrictions across England, Search Engine is closed to the public until Thursday 3 December, when it is due to reopen for pre-booked appointments on Thursdays to Saturdays.

We'll be open 10.00–16.30 Thursday to Saturday.

Reopening information

Before you visit

Visiting in person

Visitors to Search Engine can consult over 25,000 books and journals, as well as our world-class archive collection that includes around 1 million engineering drawings, 11,000 posters, 2,300 prints and drawings, 1,000 paintings, and 1,750,000 photographs.

If you wish to view our archive and library collections, please provide 14 days’ notice to reserve an archive table and 5 days’ notice to reserve a library table.

Access and facilities

Search Engine is easily accessible to visitors via stairs or the lift in the corner of Great Hall, near the information point.

Reader registration and access to archives

To make a booking or to enquire about access to archival material, please email search.engine@railwaymuseum.org.uk, giving at least 14 days' notice before your visit. Emails will be responded to as soon as possible on the days Search Engine is open.

Access to archive material is via our supervised research rooms in Search Engine. On your first visit you'll need to bring one form of identification with you (e.g. a passport or driving license) so we can register you as an archive user.

For archival items, you can request a total of nine items during your day’s visit. If you have ordered less than nine items it may be possible to order an additional three items during the day. This will depend on the format of item and staff availability.

Using the research room

Photocopying

We cannot currently offer photocopying. Please bring a camera with you if you wish to photograph any material instead.

Enquiries

We offer a free enquiry service to help you find out what’s in our collections and direct you towards resources that may help with your research. You can email us at search.engine@railwaymuseum.org.uk—we respond to enquiries within 20 working days.

You can also look through our Research Help section, where you'll find lots of resources which may help with your research.

The Search Engine team can't carry out research for you, but if you are unable to visit, you may be interested in our Inreach service.

Inreach service

Our inreach service will not be available when we reopen. Information will be added to this page when we are able to offer it again.