TRY Timetable World
Timetable World is free to use. Here are a few books from Europe and North America you can browse immediately. Just click on the images. The full catalogue is available from the menus.
|In its final year before nationalisation, this LMS timetable shows a network stretching from London to the northernmost station in Scotland (Thurso). Railways in Northern Ireland were part of the LMS, and were to be hived of into Northern Ireland Railways in 1948. Other "out-of-area" lines reached South Wales, the south coast (at Bournemouth) and the Essex coast (Shoeburyness).|
|Published since 1868, The Official Guide of the Railways covered rail and marine passenger services across North and Central America. Although the network was much-reduced by the 1930's Depression and private motor-vehicle and airline competition, this edition from August 1952 still runs to 1,500 pages and shows a largely-dieselised network before the major cutbacks in passenger services of the late-1950s.|
|The East German (DDR) timetable in operation when the two Germanies were formally re-united (3rd October 1990). The Berlin Wall had fallen in November the previous year and Karl-Marx-Stadt had reverted to Chemnitz, but cross-border services are minimal and the timetable still carries an advertisement for Soviet Railways.|
|The Western Region of British Railways covers the south-west of England, the south Midlands and most of Wales. Many routes are rural and sparsely-populated, but the South Wales coalfield contrasts with a dense railway network criss-crossing and tunneling the hilly terrain.|
|Scotland was served by the London, Midland & Scottish (LMS) and London North-Eastern Railway [LNER] companies prior to the formation of British Railways in 1947. This is one of the earliest unified national timetables for Scotland, prepared for the newly-created Scottish Region of BR.|
NEWS from Timetable World
Date: 4th September 2020
We've over-achieved on the scanning front and look like having around 150 books available when the website is relaunched.
Effort is now focussed on website development. Much of the work is writing text, which I enjoy doing, but I cannot deliver at the pace of a professional journalist.
The project is on schedule. You'd expect nothing less from a timetables website, would you?
Date: 14th August 2020
The last three weeks have been busy, with around 80 timetables arriving here for scanning.
Two collectors have opened their archives of European rail timetables, for which Timetable World is very grateful. There should be a representative national timetable for almost every European country at the relaunch.
The Bus Archive has also come good. They have shared 32 timetables from the late 1960s, covering most non-municipal services in England & Wales. The whole stack of 8,542 pages has been digitised - over three long days.
Volunteers to spread the work are still wanted. Please make yourself known if you have some free time to help. Thank you!
Date: 23rd July 2020
There's a lot happening. Users waiting for timetableworld.com to be relaunched will have to be patient; it will be a big expansion and improvement - and there's much more to do. Expect the relaunch October 2020.
A few hightlights:
- Many more timetables will be available. 55 are now prepared, with 100 the target for October. More after that...
- The new viewer is much improved over the early demos mentioned below
- The team of contributors is building. Several people have come forward to help the project, either by lending timetables for digitisation or by indexing the results
Things we need:
- Some bus timetables. I am in contact with the Bus Archive in GB but progress is slow
- More volunteers to help with indexing. We would like to find someone with a particular interest in continental railways to help with some great historical German timetables + several Bradshaw's Continental Guides
- Some more non-European timetables. India? Japan? Australia? Pre-1980s please, for copyright reasons
- Writers. There will be lots of narrative content, and the website will welcome a diversity of subjects that people want to write about
Date: 2nd June 2020
Plans for refreshing the website are developing quickly.
The former (inactive) email address has now been replaced by .
A second forum thread is demo-ing a possible new way of displaying timetable books and is available at railforums.co.uk. Add your thoughts to the thread or by emailing me.
Date: 16th May 2020
After a long period with no development taking place on the site, I've opened up a debate on whether to do a major revamp. You can read the forum debate at railforums.co.uk
The site has been receiving 40,000 visitors per month but, to take it forward, I need to assemble a small team to help with the work. My post on the forum says more about what's involved. Please share your thoughts.
Timetable World is a free-to-use digital archive for those interested in transport, social history, local studies and the like. Complete facsimilies of timetables are available to browse, zoom into, compare.
Key features are:
- Complete timetable are reproduced
- High-precision scans are used
- Pull-out maps are also reproduced and are fully-zoomable
- Indexing enables users to browse efficiently
We hope you enjoy using Timetable World, whether you are a transport enthusiast, historian, educator, gamer or other. As electronic journey planners become universal, it is important that the old skill of reading timetables is supported.
Refreshing Timetable World
Timetable World has existed since 2008. Visitor numbers are healthy and growing, but we think now is the right time to undertake a major refresh. The technology for scanning timetable books has moved on greatly, as has web technology for rendering the images. It is now possible to prepare new material in much less time than before.
As of June 2020, we are developing plans to renew the site and update the publishing process. The main things that would change are:
- A new-look website reflecting modern styles
- Replacing the old effort-intensive approach for scanning and preparing timetables with a new all-in-one overhead book scanner
- Involving users in the task of indexing the new timetables. Doing so would allow timetables to be published much more quickly
- Aiming to include a greater range and diversity of timetables.
We'd welcome your thoughts. Please email us to request full details of the plans and to join the debate: .
So what gets included in the archive? And what gets prioritised?
- The transport modes are those that have fixed routes, scheduled operations and relatively complex networks. The likely priorities (in order) are trains, regular buses and coaches, trams/metros and scheduled airlines
- Complete timetable books are preferred over leaflets and similar ephemera, except where the latter are of above-average graphical quality
- Older material is prioritised over newer, typically aiming at periods before the growth in motorcar usage had diminished services. In the UK, that means pre-1970s, in Eastern Europe pre 1990s etc
- The collection should be representative rather than comprehensive. It is not practical to digitise everything, so the priority is to achieve diversity over depth
- Public timetables come before employee/working timetables, but the latter are also required to achieve diversity
- The geographical scope is “world”. The audience and availability of archive material are both likely to be concentrated in certain countries but breadth and diversity of coverage is important.
There are some things that wouldn't be included:
- The website is a digital archive and is not intended to be a journey planner. It will not hold any current schedules, and may impose a lag on recently superseded items too
- The website cannot use any non-original publications as sources i.e. published reprints.
Timings? October 2020 seems like a reasonable target to relaunch the new website.
This section contains some demos of how the new timetable viewer might look. If you don't like anything, or have better ideas, let me know by email: .
- LMS June 1947 [UK] (opens in a new tab) is already available on Timetable World. This demo illustrates how a whole book might be displayed as a single zoomable image - rather like a microfiche. Indexing the timetables to aid navigaion is important, but time-consuming to prepare, wheres the demo shows what an unindexed timetable would look like if it was published anyway.
- Official Guide Oct 1923 [N America] (opens in a new tab) is new, not evailable elsewhere on Timetable World. It is the same style as the LMS 1947 timetable, but a book six times as large. Colour-coding has been added to the index pages but the book is not fully indexed. Orange = Railroads, Blue = Steamships, Green = Stations. It's a beast - and really needs to be indexed - but is usable in the meantime without.
- LMS June 1947 [UK] - labelled (opens in a new tab). The same timetable as the demo above, but this one has some labelling and colour-coding to aid navigation. It could be a half-way solution to full indexing. This grid layout has been improved to avoid tables breaking across rows.
The rows are labelled with the first Table in that row; the labels change to Page numbers as you zoom in. One job for volunteers would be to replace every page number with the actual Table numbers.
The next demo to be developed will show page numbers prominently. A full demo, including indexing, will follow that.
Timetable World takes copyright seriously. Timetable publishers are automatically granted copyright protection on the information content and its presentation for a period of time. We will only offer timetables for which we have obtained a publisher's license or where we reasonably believe the item to be out-of-copyright. We seek licenses to reproduce scanned images on the understanding that we make subsequent access on a non-commercial and free-to-users basis, and will credit items accordingly. The same terms will apply to any person or organisation that uses material obtained from Timetable World.
Copyright can be re-assigned, as often happens when a transport undertaking is acquired or liquidated. We will make reasonable efforts to identify the current beneficial owner in order to seek permission to reproduce images. If you believe we have inadvertently impinged your copyright, please help us to rectify the position by contacting us at .
You are free to use the information and images in Timetable World for your private study and for non-commercial dissemination. You can apply to Timetable World for access to the full-precision scans; there will be cost associated with preparing and delivering the data on physical media.