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Guide to the Railway Archive Reference System “RailRef”

Signal Fact 39

In 1899 the London & North Western Railway commissioned the first 'all electric' signalling installation at Gresty Lane, Crewe.

The semaphore signals were power operated, as were the points and detection.

The purpose of this guide is to explain the RailRef System and provide access to the detailed information contained within it.

The Line Codes used in the system will also be found in the Signal Box Registers published by the Society and in the Archive Indexes. Elsewhere on the web site the Line Codes are being used to positively identify locations mentioned on the In Print pages to a railway company and line of route which will assist where names are repeated in different places. It is anticipated that their use will eventually extend to most, if not all, the Society's publications.

The various pages comprising this section of the web site are very much "work in progress" with additional information being added as time permits. This particularly applies to the county lists of industrial and private lines where the work of listing only started in September 2011. The numbered lists set out by railway operating company are unlikely to experience any further renumbering of Line Codes for lines where signalling is provided although some branch lines remain to be discovered and added.

It is hoped that researchers will use the system and contribute the relevant results of their research so that the information can be expanded to the benefit of all. Contributions and corrections to and comments about these pages are welcomed and should be sent by email to the webmaster who will be pleased to receive them.

More Information about RailRef

To find out more about the scope of the RailRef system or how a RailRef code is constructed click on the appropriate second line menu at the top of the page. There is also a link there to find out more about the Engineers' Line Reference system used by the railway industry.

Railway Company Two Letter Codes

Each two letter code is a link to the detail list for the company or companies named. Each of the pages will open in a new window.

AD Alexandra, Newport & South Wales Docks Railway
AJ Axholme Joint Railway (LYR & NER)
AL Ashover Light Railway
AN Ashby & Nuneaton Joint Railway (MR & LNWR)
AS Alford & Sutton Tramway
BA Bere Alston & Calstock Light Railway
BC Bishop's Castle Railway
BD Belfast & County Down Railway
BJ Birkenhead Joint Railway (GWR & LNWR)
BM Brecon & Merthyr Railway
BN Bessbrook & Newry Tramway
BP Burry Port & Gwendraeth Valley Railway
BW Bideford, Westwood Ho! & Appledore Railway
BY Barry Railway
CA Caledonian Railway; including
Brechin & Edzell Railway
Callender & Oban Railway
Cathcart District Railway
Killin Railway
Lanarkshire & Ayrshire Railway
CB Castlederg & Victorian Bridge Railway
CD Cleobury Mortimer & Ditton Priors Light Railway
CE Clifton Extension Railway (GWR & MR)
CF Cardiff Railway
CG Carlisle Goods Traffic Committee (CR, GSWR, LNWR & MR)
CH Clogher Valley Railway
CJ Carlisle Citadel Station Committee (CR & LNWR)
CK Cockermouth, Keswick & Penrith Railway
CL Cheshire Lines Commitee Railway (GCR, GNR & MR)
CM Cambrian Railway
CO Croydon & Oxted Joint Railway (SER & LBSCR)
CR Corris Railway
CT Campbeltown & Machrihanish Light Railway
CV Colne Valley & Halstead Railway
CW Cleator & Workington Junction Railway
DA Dundee & Arbroath Joint Railway (CR & NBR)
DB Dumbarton & Balloch Joint Railway (CR & NBR)
DJ Carlisle (Dentonholme) Station Committee (GSWR, MR & NBR)
DL County Donegal Joint Railway
DN Dundalk, Newry & Greenore Railway
DR Docklands Light Railway
DS Dublin South Eastern Railway; including DW Derwent Valley Light Railway
DY Dublin & Blessington Railway
EA Easingwold Railway
EB Edenham & Little Bytham Railway
EC Easton & Church Hope Railway (GWR & LSWR)
EK East Kent Railway
EL East London Railway (LBSCR, MDR, GER & SER)
EW East & West Yorkshire Union Railway
FF Ffestiniog Railway
FN Furness Railway
FR Fishguard & Rosslare Railways & Harbours
GA Giant's Causeway, Portrush & Bush Valley Railway
GB Glasgow, Barrhead & Kilmarnock Joint Railway (CR & GSWR)
GC Great Central Railway
GD Great Northern Railway (Ireland)
GE Great Eastern Railway; including
Wisbech & Upwell Tramway
GN Great Northern Railway
GO Great North of Scotland Railway
GP Glasgow & Paisley Joint Railway (CR & GSWR)
GR Guernsey Railway
GS Glasgow & South Western Railway
GT Glyn Valley Tramway
GU Glasgow Underground Railway
GW Great Western Railway
GX Great Southern & Western Railway; including
Athenry & Tuam Extension to Claremorris Railway
Cork City Railway
Tralee & Fenit Railway
HB Hull & Barnsley Railway
HR Highland Railway
HS High Speed Lines; including
Channel Tunnel Rail Link
Channel Tunnel
High Speed Two
IC Isle of Wight Central Railway
IF Freshwater, Yarmouth & Newport Railway
IM Isle of Man Railway
IW Isle of Wight Railway
JE Jersey Eastern Railway
JN Great Northern & Great Eastern Joint Railway (GNR & GER)
JR Jersey Railway
KB Kilsyth & Bonnybridge Joint Railway
KE Kent & East Sussex Railway
KN Knott End Railway
LA Lynton & Barnstaple Railway
LB London Brighton & South Coast Railway
LE London Electric Railway
LI Listowel & Ballybunnion Railway
LM Llanelly & Mynydd Mawr Railway
LN Sligo, Leitrim & Northern Counties Railway
LO Liverpool Overhead Railway
LS Londonderry & Lough Swilley Railway
LU Lancashire Union Joint Railway (LNWR & LYR)
LY Lancashire & Yorkshire Railway; including
Dearne Valley Railway
MA Manchester South Junction & Altrincham Joint Railway (GCR & LNWR)
MC Maryport & Carlisle Railway
MD Metropolitan District Railway
MG Midland & Great Northern Joint Railway
MH Mersey Docks & Harbour Railway
MI Midland Great Western Railway; including
Ballinrobe & Claremorris Light Railway
Loughrea & Attymon Light Railway
MJ Stratford-upon-Avon & Midland Junction Railway
ML Mid Suffolk Light Railway
MM Swansea & Mumbles Railway
MR Midland Railway; including
London Tilbury & Southend Railway
MT Metropolitan Railway
MW Midland & South Western Junction Railway
MX Manx Electric Railway
MY Mersey Railway
NB North British Railway; including<
Forth & Clyde Junction Railway
Gifford & Forth Bridge Railway
Gifford & Garvald Light Railway
NC Northern Counties Committee
ND North Sunderland Railway
NE North Eastern Railway; including
Brackenhill Light Railway
Tyne & Wear Metro
NG North Wales Narrow Gauge Railway (Welsh Highland Railway)
NH Neath & Brecon Railway
NS North Staffordshire Railway
NU North Union Joint Railway
NV Nidd Valley Light Railway
NW London & North Western Railway; including
North London Railway
OG Oldham, Ashton & Guide Bridge Railway (GCR & LNWR)
OI Otley & Ilkley Joint Railway (MR & NER)
PC Portmadoc, Croesor & Beddgelert Railway
PD Princes Dock Joint Railway (CR, GSWR & NBR)
PL Port of London Authority Railway
PP Parsontown & Portumna Bridge Railway
PR Preston & Longridge Joint Railway (LNWR & LYR)
PT Port Talbot Railway
PW Portpatrick & Wigtownshire Joint Railway
PY Preston & Wyre Railway (LYR, & LNWR)
QY Quakers Yard & Merthyr Joint Railway (GWR & RR)
RC Rye & Camber Tramway Railway
RE Ravenglass & Eskdale Railway
RK Rowrah & Kelton Fell Railway
RR Rhymney Railway
RS Rhondda & Swansea Bay Railway
RY Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Light Railway
SB Snailbeach District Railway
SC Schull & Skibbereen Railway
SD Somerset & Dorset Joint Railway (LSWR & MR)
SE South Eastern & Chatham Railway Committee
SH Shrewsbury & Hereford Railway (GWR & LNWR)
SI Selsey Light Railway (renamed West Sussex 10/01/1924)
SJ Shrewsbury & Wellington Railway (GWR & LNWR)
SK Swinton & Knottingley Railway (MR & NER); including
Wath Curve Joint Committee Railway (GCR, MR & NER)
SL South Wales Mineral Railway
SM Shropshire & Montgomeryshire Light Railway
SN Snowdon Mountain Railway
SP Shrewsbury & Welshpool Railway (GWR & LNWR)
SS South Shields, Marsden & Whitburn Colliery Railway
ST Southwold Railway
SV Severn & Wye Railway (GWR & MR)
SW London & South Western Railway
SY South Yorkshire Joint Railway (LMSR & LNER)
TA Talyllyn Railway
TB Taff Bargoed Joint Railway (GWR & RR)
TC Timoleague & Courtmacsherry Light Railway; including
Ballinascarthy & Timoleague Junction Light Railway
TD Tralee & Dingle Railway
TH Tottenham & Hampstead Junction Railway (GER & MR)
TV Taff Vale Railway
WB Whitechapel & Bow Joint Railway
WC Weston, Clevedon & Portishead Light Railway
WE West London Extension Railway (GWR, LBSCR, LNWR, & LSWR)
WH Whitehaven, Cleator & Egremont Joint Railway (FR & LNWR)
WI Wirral Railway
WL West London Railway (GWR, LBSCR, LNWR, & LSWR)
WP Weymouth & Portland Joint Railway (GWR & LSWR)
WR West Riding & Grimsby Joint Railway (GCR & GNR)
WS Woodside & South Croydon Railway (SER & LBSCR)
WT Wantage Tramway
WV Warrenpoint & Rosetrevor Railway
WW Waterford & Tramore Railway
WX Wrexham & Minera Joint Railway (GWR & LNWR)
WZ West Clare Railway; including
South Clare Railways
ZL Cavan & Leitrim Railway
ZM Cork & Macroom Direct Railway
ZP Cork, Blackrock & Passage Railway
ZR Cork & Muskerry Light Railway; including
Donoughmore Extension Light Railway
ZS Cork, Bandon & South Coast Direct Railway; including
Baltimore Extension Railway
Bantry Bay Extension Railway
Clonakilty Extension Railway

Industrial and Private Lines

This section should be regarded as “Work in Progress”. The webmaster will welcome additional information for the pages in this section.

Included here are the Industrial and Private lines, effectively the lines of any company or organisation that has not been allocated a two letter code. These lists are in their infancy and far from complete.

A separate page will eventually exist for each historic county or island group. Each page opens in a new window. Within each page lines are arranged in sequence based on the RailRef Line Code of the line to which they were attached. Lines that were not connected to the national network appear at the end of the page.

We have yet to find a satisfactory explanation as to why some private lines which never formed part of British Rail have acquired Engineer's Line References although one possibility is that BR or its predecessors maintained the line under contract to the owner; and another is being lumbered (inherited?) with infrastructure liabilities.

Pages have so far been created for:

English Counties

Co Durham

Irish Counties

Dublin (L)

C Connaught,  L Leinster,  M Munster,  U Ulster

Scottish Counties

East Lothian
County of Moray
Ross & Cromarty
West Lothian

Welsh Counties

Denbighshire / Sir Ddinbych
Flintshire / Sir Fflint
Monmouthshire / Sir Fynwy

Off-Shore Islands

Isle of Man


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