You are here: Home | STEAM | Collections


Reference Library

Reference Library




This offers researchers a valuable source of reference for the study of Great Western Railway history. Since the opening of the original GWR Museum in 1962, the research collection has steadily grown.
The Reference Library not only covers the growth of the GWR and the advance of railway technology, for the social historian it also contains material illustrating the impact of the GWR on the local community and the growth of Swindon as a Railway Town.

Visiting the Reference Library

The Reference Library is open on Mondays and Thursdays 11.00am to 3.00pm by appointment only. If you would like to visit please contact the Curatorial Team by e-mailing or on 01793 466608.  Visits to the Reference Library are dependent on the availability of the volunteers who assist the Curatorial Team.

For remote enquiries please see the Historical Enquires page.

Visiting the Archive

Visits to the STEAM Archive are severely limited at present.  If you believe that the STEAM Archive may be the only source of the information you require, please contact the Curatorial Team by e-mail  However, in these cases we still may not be able to arrange a visit to the STEAM Archive.

All visitors must adhere to the terms and conditions prior to their appointment.  Full terms and conditions can be found by downloading the PDF below.

Access to the Reference Library Terms and Conditions.



What we have

The Reference Library contains over 3,000 titles, and includes well-known works by recognised GWR historians, as well as lesser-known titles. The majority of these relate to the GWR, however we also hold a small collection of books concerning other Railway lines and companies as well as books on general railway history.  There is also an incomplete set of the Great Western Railway Magazine.

Other Useful Sources of GWR Related Material

The National Archives hold the official GWR company records and archives, which subsequently were part of British Rail, including staff records and accident reports.

Swindon Local Studies Library

Wiltshire and Swindon History Centre