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Railroad Records & Genealogical Information Before 1937
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Genealogical Research Before 1937

Genealogical Research After 1936

Additional Useful Links


The U.S. Railroad Retirement Board  are  limited to individuals who worked in the rail industry after 1936.  It is possible to request these records.  Please do not contact us with requests for records before that date.   We don't have that information.

However we do know where some of the records are.  In response to your inquiries we have compiled a list of depositories that we are aware of with railroad records.  (Send additions or corrections to

These records are for historians and may not have information of interest to those doing family research.   In addition, the records may not be indexed or available to genealogists.  However, some collections include payroll records.   Any information on the usefulness of these collections to genealogists would be appreciated.

Some Railroad Record Depositories

Boston and Maine Railroad

Although the primary focus of the collection is documentary material pertaining to the B&M RR and its corporate predecessors, the collection includes materials pertaining to the history of other New England railroads and electric railroads (trolley lines). 

Brotherhood of Railroad Trainmen
Grievance files for the Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad from1929-1960s

Burlington Archives

Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad Company

Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway
University of Wisconsin-Eau Claire McIntyre Library has 4,000 personnel records of the Eau Claire depot of the Chicago, St. Paul, Minneapolis & Omaha Railway

Nacogdoches and Southeastern Railroad Company

New York, New Haven and Hartford Railroad

Norfolk and Western Railway and Southern Railway
University Libraries at Virginia Tech holdings include records of the Norfolk and Western Railway and Southern Railway systems.  These are pre-1930 archival records of the Norfolk and Western Railway, along with the records of its predecessors and early subsidiaries, and the Southern Railway (which had merged with Norfolk and Western) along with the records of its predecessors and early subsidiaries.   Together, the two collections include archival records for nearly three hundred railroads and related companies in the South and Midwest. These records comprise approximately 450 cubic feet of manuscript material spanning a century from the 1830s to the 1930s, with the greatest concentration of records in the late nineteenth century.

Northern Pacific

Pullman Company Archives

Southern Railway

Additional Useful Links

National Archives and Records Administration has records on railroad accidents.

Local Historical Societies are a good source for railroad information.

Cyndi's List has a page of railroad resources for genealogists.

Frisco Papers--independent collection of information regarding the St Louis San Francisco Railway and more

Virginia Historical Society Online Catalog--numerous manuscript items relating to the Richmond, Fredericksburg & Potomac railroad

Follow their tracks!  Here are some railroad route maps from the 1800s.

Abbreviations, Trade Names, and Nicknames of Railroads (Past and Present)

Combined Average Monthly Compensation by Occupation for the Period 1924-1931

Dictionary of Railroad Slang


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