Accessibility statement

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. 

 Contact details

Karen Baker

As Librarian my role is to help orientate all levels of researcher 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 where I support exhibition staff in the development of new exhibitions and am the NRM “Champion” for Institute of Railway Studies, where I help foster networks, connections and events to do with the IRS. I am also the non-academic supervisor for the AHRC-funded PhD on the literary cultures of railway workers in the nineteenth century.

As I can be asked for assistance on any subject, I know a little about a lot of different subjects and resources. The topics though that I am particularly interested in are railway workers – male and female and also railways’ cultural impact on society and railway life, in particular literature.



Ed Bartholomew
Senior Curator, Railways and Research

I am the NRM’s Senior Curator, Railways & Research.  My responsibilities include the museum’s research programme and curating a significant proportion of the museum’s collection. 

I have a particular interest in the railway’s impact on society and culture, especially the artistic and photographic representation of railways; posters and promotional materials; and marketing.  I have co-supervised two successful collaborative doctoral students investigating the photographic marketing of the Great Western Railway and I am currently co-supervising two further PhD students at the University of York.  One project, undertaken with the Institute of Railway Studies, focuses on food distribution by rail and the other, in partnership with the Institute for Public Understanding of the Past, investigates the railway’s commemoration practices.


Oliver Betts

Research Fellow

As the Research Fellow 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. 



Anthony Coulls
Senior Curator of Rail Transport and Technology

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.

Bob Gwynne
Associate Curator

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’. 

Alison Kay

I manage the NRM’s large and diverse and internationally significant archive collections. My job is to develop the collection and make our archives accessible to a wide range of users. I promote the incredible potential of our archive collections to researchers, develop cataloguing procedure 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 am personally keen to develop social and personal research in the archives, as these aspects are frequently overshadowed by our technical collections. I catalogued, and have in depth knowledge of large NRM collections including the Hackworth family archive and the Wolverton works archive. 

I worked on the NRM’s Ambulance Trains exhibition, using archival material to uncover stories of First World War medical travel. I have spoken at a number of academic conferences and am in the process of publishing a co-written academic article on the subject.

I am the non-academic supervisor for on AHRC-funded PhD ‘Women and the Railway Family 1900-1948’.

Andrew McLean
Head Curator

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.