Wed 21 Feb 2018 22:38:48


Rail UK Steam Home Page



It is only right for me to state at the outset that much of the detailed information given in the Rail UK web site and not credited directly to a third person is the result of my reading many different forums, newsgroups, newsletters, books and articles in a variety of web sites and magazines. I therefore wish to emphasise that my role technical and editorial, in some instances, should therefore only be regarded as an editor and that the credit for the research and hard work that underpins some of the information must be given to others. David Baxter, Peter Bone, David James Desborough, amongst others are just some of the people to have directly or indirectly contributed to this website. Unfortunately, due to a computer hard disk crash a few years ago, my email contact list containing many dozens of other contributers was lost forever.

Accuracy of Data

I have been contacted by THE HSBT Project (often referred to as the What Really Happened to Steam Project) with reference to the RailUK web site. They wrote to say:-

After careful study over a period of time it appears that the data on your website regarding the withdrawal and disposal of steam locos from 1957 is heavily dependent on that published in the What Happened to Steam (WHTS) series of books published by Peter Hands. Despite the overwhelming evidence of false and fabricated data appearing in the WHTS books, your website has not acknowledged that the accuracy of any such data has been called into question and can no longer be relied upon.

Thus, I feel it necessary to issue a statement about the accuracy of some of the dates of withdrawal/disposal, and scrapping locations of locomotives on the Rail UK web site. The majority of this data has been supplied by various contributers over the last 15 years. When I received contributions the majority, who unfortunately as it now appears, did not supply the source of the material sent to me, I assumed that the information was correct and accurate. In some areas however, I am quite confident the data is quite accurate. Most of the LMS locomotive data on the site was compiled by David Baxter, one of my contributers, who visited York Railway Museum records office two or three times a month for a number of years and religiously went through all the LMS engine history cards, extracting and co-ordinate the relevant data which he passed to me in spreadsheets.

As you may have noticed, there are still large areas of the steam loco database that are blank and missing information. I am still looking for contributors that can help to fill these 'blank' areas and can provide a valid and accurate source of where the information was obtained from.

The Steam Locomotive Section

I first started to develop the steam section of the web site, after I had completed working on the Diesel & Electric area. For both, I used an early copy of dBase II (database) on an Amstrad 1500 PC, beginning in 1988, 24 years ago. Initially, I concentrated of recording data for steam locomotives that were still extant in 1948, when British Railways were nationalised. I spent many hundreds of hours manually entering details (where known) of the 23,287 that had survived:- number, class, build date, builder, 1948 depot, last depot, withdrawal data, disposal data and where scrapped. Information was initially obtained from both Trains Illustrated and the Railway Magazine, eyeballing new build, withdrawal and stock changes and perusing the 'Motive Power Miscellany' and readers contributions. Initially, the database was for my own personal use. However, in 1995 at the beginning of the Internet and being prompted by some of my friends, I created a personal web site and started to populate this with 'static html' pages - internet database not being available to the masses then. In 1999, I registered the railuk domain, obtained web hosting from a company that provided databases and started to move the data stored in my local databases on-line. As far as I am aware, this was the first web site to display locomotive and other railway data and allow the databases to be searched.

Thank you for visiting my website. I would be very pleased if you would spare just a few minutes to add your comments and or feedback to the Guest Book. It all helps to motivate contributors as well as providing interesting reading to visitors.

Howie Milburn

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