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The Institute of Railway Studies is run by a Railway Studies Forum with representatives from the University of York and the National Railway Museum.

The Forum acts as a catalyst for cooperation in research, teaching and public engagement activities across the University of York and the National Railway Museum.

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Institute of Railway Studies


University of York


Dr Colleen Morgan


+44 1904 323970

Dr Harald Fredheim


Professor Jonathan Finch


+44 (0)1904 323971

Dr Kevin Walsh


+44 (0)1904 323904

Dr Colin Beale


+44 (0)1904 328615

Professor Jane Hill


+44 (0)1904 328642

Professor Mary Fairclough English and Related Literature 

+44 (0)1904 324968

Professor Jon Mee English and Related Literature

+44 (0)1904 324986

Angela Purdham Environment and Geography

+44 (0)1904 324635

Dr Katherine Brookfield Environment and Geography

+44 (0)1904 324060

Professor Lisa Emberson Environment and Geography

+44 (0)1904 322925

Professor Piran White Environment and Geography

+44 (0)1904 324062

Dr Sabine Clarke History

+44 (0)1904 322974

Dr David Clayton History

+44 (0)1904 322988

Dr Geoff Cubitt History

+44 (0)1904 324991

Professor Mark Jenner History

+44 (0)1904 324985

Professor Michael White History of Art

+44 (0)1904 323344

Dr Richard Johns History of Art

+44 (0)1904 322960

Professor TT Arvind York Law School

+44 (0)1904 325811

Professor Peter Sells Language and Linguistic Science

+44 (0)1904 322658

Dr Lynne Baxter York Management School

+44 (0)1904 325005

Dr Kevin Tennent York Management School

+44 (0)1904 325002

Dr Nicola Forsdike York Management School

Professor Teresa da Silva Lopes York Management School

+44 (0)1904 325023

Professor Rachel Cowgill Music

+44 (0)1904 322430 

Dr Daryl Martin (Centre for Urban Research) Sociology

+44 (0)1904 322633

Dr Amanda Rees Sociology

+44 (0)1904 433054

Dr Bridget Foreman TFTI

+44 (0)1904 325977

Richard Keogan TFTI

+44 (0)1904 325249 


National Railway Museum

The NRM team has a wealth of experience to offer, taking in railway history, the depiction of railways in paintings, prints, drawings, film and photography, oral history of railways, railway station architecture, railway social history, the conservation and restoration of rail vehicles, collection development and information literacy. 


I manage the NRM’s large and diverse and internationally significant archive collections leading a team to preserve our manuscript, digital, film, sound and photography collections. My job is to develop the collection and make the stories in our archives accessible to a wide range of users. I promote the incredible potential of our archive collections to researchers, develop cataloguing and digitisation projects to unlock contents and contribute archival research to exhibitions, learning programmes and web projects. I am interested in social aspects of railway history and enjoy highlighting unusual and unexpected research themes. I was curatorial lead for the NRM’s Ambulance Trains exhibition, using archival material to uncover stories of First World War medical travel. I am the chair of the NRM Contemporary Collecting Working Group and am actively working to ensure that our collection tells underrepresented stories of the recent past. I led the NRM’s successful Archives Accreditation award from The National Archives in 2019.


I head up the National Railway Museum’s Collections and Research department and am further involved in wider Science Museum Group collections activities. I am also a member of the Railway Heritage Designation Advisory Board.

Having been brought up in a railway family I developed an interest in the history of railways from an early age. With a background in architectural, landscape and design history I am particularly interested in the areas of design and function, notably around railway architecture, the impact of railways on the British landscape and locomotive and carriage design. I have a particular interest in the high speed services of the 1930s and the designs that made those trains special. This interest extends to the development of the Advanced Passenger Train and High Speed Train from the late 1960s and the social and political impacts of these contrasting projects.

My book The Flying Scotsman: Speed, Style, Service was published in 2016.


I look after the National Railway Museum’s film, video and sound collections. My role is to preserve, develop and make these collections accessible. The analogue and digital formats we hold come with an array of challenges, which I enjoy analysing and discussing. Time based media enriches the stories that objects and other archive items tell us. They can also be a focus of research of their own right.  I have been working to increase accessibility, through enhancing our cataloguing and digitising content when possible. In the last couple of years, I have especially been focusing on expanding our oral history archives, with the recent Britain’s Railways All Change oral history project. I regularly work with colleagues across the organisation, contributing to exhibitions and learning events, identifying film, video or sound recordings for research or use in displays. Our collection represents well the decline of steam (amateur footage, sound recordings) and I am interested in growing our collections so they also document the modern railways and its people.


Responsible for rail vehicles, signalling, civil engineering and permanent way (track), my remit is nationwide as our collection of locos, carriages and wagons is held across the country and at both NRM sites in York & Shildon – and I work out of both. Having lived in Shildon since 2004, I have developed an understanding of the railway community in the town and the landscape affected by and affecting the railway, and by default, the railways of the North East. My background as a geographer and industrial archaeologist has given me a curiosity into why railways, industries, settlements and people are where they are and how they interact with each other. I have personal interests in early railways, industrial, narrow gauge and miniature railways. I’m also Secretary of the Friends of the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum and have worked on railways as potential World Heritage Sites – so although I deal in the main with “big stuff” on a daily basis, I’m also interested in the what, where and why, particularly of pre-1830 railways and a lot of non-mainstream subjects. I’m also keen to see the wider railway story told in our future displays – looking both forward, backward and beyond the railway fence.


I act in support of the curatorial team working across a wide range of areas, from preparing background research on many different aspect of the collection to liaison with heritage groups, historians of signalling and work with the media. I have written books, articles and blogs covering a wide range of railway subjects, everything from an attempt at a definitive history of Mallard’s record breaking run of 1938 (using all known sources) to the unusual links to be had from the story of locomotive KF No.7 a.k.a. ‘The Chinese Engine’. I am particularly interested in the railway before steam, how Britain moved from steam to diesel and electric power, and what the future may hold for Britain’s railways. Wherever possible my approach focuses on the people that made things happen and the technology they used or developed. I regularly give presentations on the history of Flying Scotsman (my book came out in 2011) Railway Preservation, Railway Electrification in Britain and my particular favourite (and mild obsession) ‘Snow White to Stephenson, the pre-history of railways in Britain’. For colleagues and visiting groups I have developed a guided walk of the Great Hall called ‘400 years in 40 minutes’.


My role includes managing the museum’s curatorial and archive teams who are responsible for curating a significant proportion of the museum’s collection. I have a particular interest in the railway’s impact on society, culture and the landscape, especially the visual representation of railways in art, photography and posters.  I am also interested in the development and promotion of railways through publicity and marketing. My publications have included, with Michael Blakemore, Railways in Focus (Atlantic Transport, Penryn, 1998). I have co-supervised four collaborative doctoral students to successful conclusions and am currently co-supervising two further doctoral candidates with the Universities of York and Birkbeck.


As Librarian my role is to help orient all levels of researchers to find the answers to their railway-related questions – where to start, what information resources to use and where else to look. This I do by managing access to books, journals and e-resources in the library’s collection, promoting what we have and making sure the Search Engine library and archive is as easy to use as possible. I also have a research component to my role and develop content for museum exhibitions, supervise research students and collaborate on volunteer projects such as Railway Work Life and Death. As I can be asked for assistance on any subject, I know a little about a lot of different subjects and resources. The topics that I am particularly interested in are railway workers and railways’ cultural impact on society and railway life, in particular literature.


As the Research Lead at the National Railway Museum my day-to-day activities revolve around both broad and detailed research for the Museum’s ongoing planning and redesign.

Whilst my work as the Research Fellow sees me pursue a wide range of activities and topics, my particular interest is in how the railways shaped, and were shaped by, society and culture. The railways played a vital role in the lives of so many Britons from the 1830s onwards, affecting how they lived their lives from what they ate to their journeys to work and pleasure. In the past I have worked with the family history resources, such as the census, and newspapers and periodicals to rediscover the lives of passengers and crew. I also have a strong interest in the history of work and working environments, and how communities formed around Railway Towns such as Doncaster and Crewe.


I am a Research Associate at the National Railway Museum, working closely alongside the museum’s Research Lead within the Collections & Research department. My journey with the NRM began with my Collaborative Doctoral Award PhD between the History department at York and the NRM focussing on the commemorative cultures of the British railway industry.

My current role straddles a number of jobs, including contributing to the museum’s Vision2025 masterplan redesign and temporary exhibitions, running placements (BA-PhD) offered by our department, providing teaching support, being part of wider NRM initiatives such as contemporary collecting, developing equitable frameworks, and planning for large-scale anniversaries, and overseeing the Institute of Railway Studies.

My museum and research interests are quite broad, but largely come together under social and cultural interactions with this industry. This includes themes of memory and commemoration, identity, community and belonging, migration, space and place, public history, material history and the built environment, public engagement with the past, the ethics of history, contemporary collecting, performance, and digital. I am particularly interested in how our collections, knowledge, and expertise at the NRM can intersect with a range of departments at the University of York, with a focus on professional development, teaching support, and research outputs.


I am currently involved in the development of Vision 2025, a multi-site development programme taking place at both York and Shildon. My role is to identify, research and develop the themes and stories that will inform the new permanent displays, act as advocate for the acquisition of new objects relating to this at the museum’s Collections Development Group, and provide support across the Curatorial, Research and Exhibitions teams. I am a Collaborative Doctoral Award holder, having successfully defended a thesis entitled “Food Miles”: Britain’s Transition from Rail to Road-based Food Distribution, 1919-1975. This ties-in with my main research interest, the notion of supply chain governance – specifically how organisations can influence supply chains and how this impacts upon transport operations. Other interests include the historical management and the politics of complex transport organisations, the development of railway networks and their place within the industrial economy, and the technologies and organisation of freight. I have co-authored an article about the geopolitics surrounding the construction of the Canton-Hankow Railway in China.

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Institute of Railway Studies