The digital archiving of photographs, railway related in general, to conserve these and make them accessible to future generations is a major part of the Trusts activities. This work is particularly focussed on colour images which are far more likely to suffer deterioration with the passing years, particularly when not stored or handled under ideal conditions, with some film emulsions also being less stable than others. The extent of what can be done to repair damage, albeit at the expenditure of a considerable amount of time, is illustrated below with this shot was taken in Spain during 1968 on Agfa CT18 slide film.
In recognition of the vast national contribution to the development of railways around the world, and the wanderlust tendencies of some British railway photographers, our archive is set up to cover railways around the globe and covers all countries and eras for which images have been offered and accepted. As this was a minority interest with the resulting pictures having little or no commercial value, there is a greater danger of irreplaceable images being lost to future generations and the Trust therefore places a particular emphasis on the conserving of these.
The database catalogue of the images in the Trusts collection that have so far been archived, currently some 60000 photographs, is now in the process of being set up on-line and the records so far transferred can be viewed here. Work was suspended on this for the present when it became obvious that the information was not static enough to prevent difficulties arising from trying to maintain two separate copies of the data. The strategy now being adopted is to convert to a home maintained local SQL database that can be accessed through the website, so providing access to a single master source. How long it will take to sort out the technical issues involved cannot be foreseen at present.
The publicly accessible catalogue is just one aspect of our efforts to make these images available, there is a television a DVD copy of one of our digital slide presentations from the growing range of these making use of photographs from the collection - details of which are available on the Slide Show pages, and last but not least there is a growing Photo Gallery on this site.
All this work is very time consuming and photographers offering their pictures to the Trust for archiving are encouraged to become involved in the tasks themselves. For anyone interested a copy of our standard archiving agreement can be viewed by clicking on the Agreement button at the top of this page. A Licence agreement is also available for those who would like to see their photographs in the public arena but do not wish to pass full title over to the Trust.
Our digital slide presentations were first given using equipment provided by a grant under the Local Heritage Initiative, a partnership between the Heritage Lottery Fund, Nationwide Building Society and the Countryside Agency. This scheme also provided much of the equipment used to archive the photographs.