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About Us

Painting: Peter Annable (MGRA)

Mike Musson Collection


Photographers :  Commercial Sources of Photographs

At www.rail-online.co.uk we are building a comprehensive online library of high quality UK railway photographs from the early 20th century right up to the present day. We are continually adding new pictures and searching for new collections. Sign-up is FREE and allows you to download a sample image of your choice. After that you can buy more pictures simply via your credit card, and we offer generous discounts for bulk purchases. You will receive a regular e-mail newsletter keeping you up-to-date with our latest photographs and featured collections. We have a wide choice of photographs which you can browse at your leisure with our powerful search facility that allows you to find those photographs which you want to fill in the gaps in your collection or for use in a book or magazine article. Our initial selection of photographs has a slight bias towards the "classic" diesel and electric classes in the pre-privatisation era - well we had to start somewhere! But don't worry if you can't find your own favourite class or railway. Let us know what you are looking for and we will try to help.

About us

We created www.rail-online.co.uk as long-standing followers of the British railway scene from train-spotting days in the late-1950s onwards to modellers and writers of the current and historical railway scene. During that time we have amassed thousands of photographs and www.rail-online.co.uk allows us to share these with fellow enthusiasts. The Internet and the widespread availability of broadband has allowed us to combine a seriously powerful photographic database with a simple delivery mechanism to allow large size, high quality images to be downloaded straight to your own PC. Our licensing allows you to keep the images in your personal collection and to print a copy for your own use. We have priced the images so that they represent terrific value for money but be in no doubt that if we find copies appearing at photofairs or on eBay we will have no hesitation in taking very strong action to protect the copyright holder's interests.

We have built up a diverse range of subjects and some of the photographs, while not of the highest quality, do have great value to the researcher and historian. For that reason we have included them in our database but we have priced them much lower than our standard photographs. As modellers we have always searched out pictures to help us get the fine detail correct and we will be including sets of close-up detail shots on a wide range of steam and diesel/electric classes, again at a price which is significantly less than purchasing a conventional print or slide.


We have always found searching for particular photographs a time-consuming and difficult task: looking through hundreds of postcards, trying to find something in a long, often unsorted, list on a website or pricelist without being able to see if the picture is what we are looking for, or looking through the seemingly hundreds of random images which appear on eBay every week. Therefore when we designed www.rail-online.co.uk we had two priorities: firstly the search capability had to be second to none and secondly the resulting images had to be displayed sufficiently clearly to show both content and quality.

We have adopted a simple but comprehensive classification of all the photographs in our database which allows rapid but simple searching and the ability to narrow down your selection to hone-in on exactly the pictures you require. The classification system groups the images at the top level by company, then by a category (eg steam, diesel, infrastructure, etc) and finally by class or type. (Don't worry it's easier to try than explain!)

Our database allows searching from any page and with three different options. Firstly by using (in the correct order!) the three classification drop-downs just described; secondly by typing into the Quick Search box (a loco number, name, location, etc); and finally using the Advanced Search which allows any combination of the 19 selection criteria stored against each image to be successively added. (Again it's easier to use than describe but if you want a detailed explanation download our Search Guide for more information and examples - it's well worth spending a few minutes here so that you get the best from our site).

Finally what to do when you have selected your images. They are displayed as thumbnails which contain a brief description (typically loco number, date and location). Clicking on the thumbnail displays a 800x600 pixel image which shows the photograph at a size where you can check it to see if is what you are looking for. Alternatively, click on the short description below the thumbnail to bring up a mid-sized image accompanied by the full details and description from our database.

At any time, individual images can be added to your personal Lightbox to view again later, or placed in your Shopping Basket to purchase. (Don't forget though that you have to log-in first before you can use the Lightbox or Basket).

Tony of www.rail-online.co.uk.

Thank you for visiting our pages. We would be very pleased if you would add to the new Guest Book we are keeping!