About the RPS Archives

An Overview of The RPS Archives

The RPS Archives gives instantaneous access to the only facility of its type in the world – a window into how trains have performed almost throughout their near 200 year history. The containing database is continually expanding thanks to the contributions from the membership of the Railway Performance Society and beyond, including significant legacies from eminent authors such as O.S. Nock, P.W.B. Semmens and others. Over 1.5 million records are now present.

Possible uses of the Archives could be:

• How have journeys between A and B improved or otherwise over time?

• How did certain types of locomotive perform in reality?

• Comparisons between different traction types over the same route

• Establishing the Fastest Times achieved over given sections of route and the evolution of those times

All current members of the Railway Performance Society have full, free, access to the RPS Archives included within their annual subscription. Usage of the facility by the wider community is actively encouraged by the RPS Archives. Access to summary level information, through limited search queries, is currently open to all. Full access to detailed information through more extensive queries is available at the discretion of the RPS Archives.

Archive Scope and Content

The RPS Archives literally covers from the 1829 Rainhill Trials with Stephenson’s ‘Rocket’ up to the present day.

Whilst over 75% of the material in the RPS Archives relates to UK heavy rail performance, coverage extends to over 30 countries worldwide. This includes France, Germany, Italy, Spain and almost every country in Europe, the United States, Russia, China, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, South Korea, Cuba, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Chile in South America and Morocco, Egypt and South Africa in Africa.

On top of heavy rail, the RPS Archives covers heritage railways (mainly UK), tramways and metro systems.

Archive Format

The Archive takes the form of a summary record for each journey – typically containing date, details of train service, stock details and an overall actual time.

A number of structured queries (or searches) are available to help best find the record(s) in question. The RPS Archives are currently looking at extending this facility.

Furthermore, it is also possible to drill down from each summary record into the actual journey log setting out intermediate passing times and speeds against schedule.