Old Official Railway Guides

How to access and download old Official Railway Guides from Google Books™.

© timetabletrust.com

In 2013, Google Books™ has completed copying a large trove of bound Official Railway Guides from the Stanford University Library. Some of these are still offered with little excerpts but no full text, as if they were copyrighted best sellers. But most are now available for full download, if your internet link and computer capacity are robust. For anyone interested in railway history, this resource is beyond anyone's wildest imagination. While these Guides have always been viewable at the Stanford Library, that is not the same as browsing them on a rainy night at home. Now, you can gaze upon ancient railway schedules until you go blind. In addition to the monthly volume of timetables, each Guide offers a brief editorial that is a mixture of real facts and press releases. For example, there are descriptions of special services offered in the months prior to the opening on the Centennial celebrations in 1876 in Philadelphia.
To access this trove, some starting clues are needed. The Official Guide changed its formal title a few time over the years, and in the 1970s, it adopted an extended title which included the subtitle "Freight Service Edition". ALL of the Google volumes are indexed with this title. If you type in "official railway guide" and "freight service edition" in Google Books™ search, you will eventually come to most of the volumes. You can also add a date to narrow the search, although the results may vary. There is one catch, if you repeat the search. Google will automatically replace the quote marks in your search with the HTML code for quote. Once this replacement is made, the search will not work! The links provided below worked as of May, 2013.

Available volumes:

1874 Sep-Dec 1875 Jan-Apr 1875 May-Aug 1876 Jan-Apr 1879 Jan-Apr 1881 Jul-Sep 1882 Apr-Jun
1882 Jul-Sep 1883 Jul-Sep 1884 Jul-Sep 1885 Oct-Dec 1886 Jan-Feb 1888 Oct-Dec 1889 Jan-Feb
1889 May-Jun 1889 Sep-Oct 1890 Jan-Aug 1890 Jul-Aug 1891 May-Jun 1891 Jul-Aug 1892 Jan-Aug
1892 Mar-Apr 1892 Jul-Aug 1892 Nov-Dec 1893 Jan-Feb 1893 Mar-Apr 1893 May-Jun 1894 Mar-Apr
1894 May-Oct 1894 Sep-Oct 1895 Jan-Aug 1895 Mar-Apr 1895 Jul-Aug 1896 Mar-Apr 1896 May-Jun
1896 Sep-Oct 1896 Nov-Dec 1897 Jul-Aug 1897 Nov-Dec 1898 Mar-Apr 1898 Nov-Dec 1900 Mar-Apr
1900 Aug-Sep 1902 Jul (incomplete) 1904 Jan 1905 Jan 1907 Jan 1907 Jul 1908 Jan
1909 Jan (copied backwards!)

How to download old Official Railway Guides from Google Books™.

When the specific issue is displayed, look for this symbol: Click the cog symbol, and a line on the menu May appear which says "Download PDF". If this line does not appear, the volume is not available for download.
Click the "Download PDF" line, and a "captcha" screening will appear which you must pass to prove you are not a computer spider. The letters in the "captcha" are very hard to read, but if you make a mistake you will get more chances.
Then you should be ready to download. It will take time! These are usually PDF files of over 1000 pages, or 300MB.
Once you have downloaded a file, you can use your own PDF software to split the download into Separate months, copy the index, or a specific page. Note that some PDF software (PDF ReDirect, for example) cannot easily deal with such big files. If you are new to PDF editing, get some practice on much smaller files first!

Last Updated and © timetabletrust.com, May 10, 2013. Google Books™ is a tradeMark of Google, Inc.