Railways and Railway Workers

Martyn Killion

Martyn Killion | Director, Collections, Access & Engagement takes you behind the scenes at NSW State Archives. Come and see what an archival storage cell looks like and have a look at the popular railway personal history cards.


In this episode of Archives Behind the Scenes Emily shows us some tramway personnel registers.


The First Australian Railway Supply Detachment, 11th A.A.SC, 1914. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000498

A complete index of a single photo (No. 1331) from the State Rail Authority Archives Photographic Reference Print Collection, now in the custody of NSW State Archives. The 65 names have been transcribed from the back of the photograph.

Sydney Central Station 1903

The new Central Railway Station opened in 1906 after several years of construction. It is also referred to as the third Sydney Station.

Most of the construction was completed by 1906 and the site was officially opened on 4 August 1906.


One of the more unusual archives in our collection is this red ribbon rosette . It was worn by train driver, Albert Arnold, who drove the first train over the Sydney Harbour Bridge after opening on 19 March 1932.


Railway personal history cards for people born before 1900

A look at these photographs, some of which date back to the 1850's. 

First Railway Imperial Expeditionary Force at the Sydney Showground prior to departure for France, n.d. Digital ID 15905_a014_a015000001

Name search for NSW railway employees who formed the 1st Railway Section of the Australian Imperial Expeditionary Force, also known as the 6th Australian Broad Gauge Railway Operating Company.

These cards detail the service history of State Rail employees born prior to 1900, and were kept by the Finance Branch to record rates of pay, leave, and superannuation entitlements. Most cards relate to permanent employees, but some cards for construction and casual employees are also included...

Employment with the Railways covered a large range of positions, including working as a driver, cleaner, engineer, draftsman, inspector, timekeeper, porter, ganger etc.


Not digitised

The Index records the name, position, date of appointment and page number within the register. There are 763 entries

This series (NRS 12922) details the service history of State Rail employees born prior to 1900. The cards shows details relating to an individual's employment e.g. name, date of birth, educational qualifications and details of service.


The bulk of the State Rail Authority's archival collection was transferred to us in 2000. This Guide provides a brief introduction to the collection, and how to access the records.

In New South Wales during the 19th century, passenger traffic was the largest single purpose for train journeys. As the rail system expanded across the State the journeys often involved passengers in several hours travel, making the provision and availability of refreshments an essential part of...

The photo series here include: Reference Print Collection, c.1850 onwards; Photos displayed in NSW trains, c.1930s-c.1960s; Eveleigh Workshops during the 1917 Railway Strike; Glass plate negatives of North Shore, Sydney Harbour and general subjects, c.1908.


Not digitised

Name search for railway employees who died in the First World War. 

Fully digitised

Search tramways staff records and view the digitised records! This index covers Tramway staff records c.1879 to 1911 and records: name, service entry date and date of birth.

Staff from the Eveleigh workshops standing in front of a C3806 locomotive as it prepares for a trial trip. Digital ID 17420_a014_a014000222

An introduction to the wide variety of railway records in our collection.

Restoring the Great Sydney Station Honour Board

Presented by Bill Phippen of the Australian Railway Historical Society.