Collecting Railwayana in the UK: The Ultimate Guide

Thursday 22nd June 2023 - Della Bentham


Collecting Railwayana in the UK: The Ultimate Guide

A burgeoning hobby with considerable historic value, collecting railwayana has been gaining traction in the UK and across the world.

This fascinating pastime offers the chance to preserve pieces of railway history while creating a potentially valuable collection. This guide will introduce you to the world of railwayana, from sourcing unique items to assessing their value.

What is Railwayana?

Railwayana, simply put, is any item that relates to railroads or railways. These can range from small artefacts like tickets, badges, and buttons, to larger items such as station signs, lamps, clocks, and even vintage railway uniforms. More extreme collectors may even include railway infrastructure pieces, such as signal levers or entire railway carriages!

The charm of railwayana lies in its ability to transport us to the golden era of steam and iron, where railroads were at the heart of industrial revolution and societal change. Each piece carries with it a story of a time past, making it a valuable piece of history.

Why is Railwayana Collectable?

Historical Significance

Railways played a key role in the UK's industrial revolution, bringing about significant societal and economic changes. Railwayana offers tangible pieces of this history, making them attractive to collectors.

Aesthetic Appeal

Many pieces of railwayana, particularly vintage ones, have an appealing aesthetic. This has led to a trend of using them as decorative items, further increasing their demand.

Rarity and Exclusivity

Some railwayana items are extremely rare and hard to find. This exclusivity often drives their value, making them highly collectable.

Investment Potential

Over the years, many pieces of railwayana have appreciated in value. While collecting should primarily be a labour of love, there's no denying the potential for significant returns.

Where to Source Railwayana


Auctions, both online and in-person, are perhaps the most popular place to find railwayana. These include specialised railwayana auctions, general antique auctions, and even some larger, national auctions. Examples include the Great Central Railwayana Auctions and GW Railwayana Auctions.

Online Sellers

Numerous online platforms sell railwayana, including eBay, Gumtree, and dedicated railwayana websites. Always ensure the authenticity of the items and the reputation of the seller before making a purchase.

Other Collectors

Networking with other collectors can be beneficial. They may wish to trade, sell items from their collections, or even just share knowledge about where to find items.

How to Value Railwayana

Valuing railwayana involves considering factors such as rarity, condition, age, and demand for the item. Comparing the prices of similar items sold recently, either in auctions or online, can give an indication of current market value. Professional appraisers can provide more accurate valuations, particularly for rare or valuable items.

Top Selling Railwayana in the UK

  1. Station Nameboards: The highest selling railwayana items often include station nameboards, especially from closed or historically significant stations.
  2. Locomotive Nameplates: These are the brass or cast iron plates that were affixed to locomotives.
  3. Signal Boxes: For those with the space, entire signal boxes can be bought and installed.


If you’re interested in railwayana, you may want to check out items in our upcoming lots. This hand held railway signalling lantern is Lot No 483 in the East Bristol Auctions Sale on June 30th. You could also get your hands on this collection of train and bus photographs and more up for grabs with Yorkshire Auctions. You can check back regularly for more exciting lots by typing ‘railwayana’ in the search box or setting auction alerts.

Railwayana collecting offers a chance to preserve and engage with the UK's rich railway history. As you embark on your collecting journey, remember to enjoy the process and the fascinating stories behind each piece. Happy collecting!