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Railroads: Sources for Historical Research

Associations, Research Collections & Other Internet Resources

Research Collections

Included are large research institutions and enthusiast groups. Many have information available on the Internet or allow researchers to search for material in their collections while others may help researchers trace names and companies.

Government Resources

There are a number of federal government agencies that have purview over railroad regulation or contain records of interest to those studying railroads. These links will either provide more current information, in addition to data often going back to the 1990's, or access to archival information.

While railroads are regulated by the federal government, the states also have an interest in regulating railroads. Examining publications and data produced by appropriate state agencies or held in state archives and libraries may also be an important avenue of research.

The Current Players

These are companies still in business carrying cargo and passengers. Below are just a few of the larger players. To find historical information on individual companies many of the print and electronic sources mentioned elsewhere in this guide can be helpful. Also, the Library of Congress has many sources on individual companies and lines that can be searched for in the Library of Congress Online Catalog.

Archival Sources

The links below may help researchers expand their universe of sources. Most of the links will include full-text and digitized materials; sometimes they are a way of identifying additional sources.