The Signalling Record Society
Research Guidance and Facilities
Signal Fact 59
The Great Western Railway started developing its automatic train control (ATC) system with a trial in 1906.
The system was installed across the Great Western Railway between 1910 and 1930.
The SRS has a facility to assist research into signalling topics, and particularly the history of signalling equipment, systems and practices. The Research Co-ordinator (email to research) can advise, for example, what research has already been carried out into any particular topic, and suggest sources that might be used. Advice on research techniques can also be offered, although many grannies already know how to suck eggs! The object, of course, is to help researchers use their time more effectively, and hopefully enable them to arrive at more comprehensive results and conclusions than might otherwise be possible. However, the Society is unable to carry out detail research for you. Anyone considering substantial research connected with signalling is advised to get in touch, as there is usually something helpful to contribute.
The Research Co-ordinator also has considerable input into the books we publish.
Our officers are all volunteers with many demands on their time so responding to questions may not be instant. Members will find it easier to know who they can conact as they are sent a list every year. Not a member? Join us here. While the Research Co-ordinator does have contact with the Railway & Canal Historical Society (R&CHS), Railway Correspondence & Travel Society (RCTS), Historical Model Railway Society (HMRS), other "line" societies and bodies such as The National Archives (TNA) (previously called the Public Record Office (PRO), National Railway Museum (NRM) and the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board (RHDAB), he has only very limited time available to deal with non-members. That said, any member of another railway historical society whose research extends into signalling is welcome to make contact.
Has it Been Published Already?
Before contacting the Research Co-ordinator, it can be first useful to see if anyone has already published, or has had published, the results of their investigations.
The SRS is aware of a number of items that have been published already and some of these are listed on our Reference Book page. A digest list of some articles that have appeared in some magazines is available on the In Print page of this web site and more is circulated to members through our journals. Please read the pre-amble on the in print pages setting out the limitations of the list before going further. The list continues to grow! It is also worth checking to see what books have been published dealing with the Railway company or line concerned, or making a search via a web search facility. And a review might appear on the Book Review page of this web site.
Publishing Your Researches
The SRS strongly encourages researchers to publish the results of their investigations, and, if necessary, we can advise on outlets and formats for publication (not just through the SRS!). Please contact the Publications Coordinator in the first instance.
The Society has produced a guide to publishing which you may find useful. The guide is intended to cover several different circumstances, not all of which may be relevant to the material you have in mind. If in doubt don't be put off, ask!
Prospective authors of line histories are encouraged to join the society to make fullest use of the facilities we have available. A request for information in SRS News can often result in useful information being offered by members. A separate booklet for historians “A Guide to Railway Research” is also available.
If you haven't already obtained it, the Acrobat® Reader program can be downloaded from here and you will probably find that your web browser can read them as well.
For general enquiries about signalling not linked to specific signalling research, for example questions about a particular location please see the Enquiries page of this web site.