The Industrial Railway Society

The Industrial Railway Society was founded in 1949 as the Birmingham Locomotive Club - Industrial Locomotive Information Section. The Society is the leading organization in the United Kingdom devoted to the study of all aspects, and all gauges, of privately owned industrial railways and locomotives, both at home and overseas. Collieries, opencast coal pits, steel works, gas works, peat bogs, Ministry of Defence depots, engineering works, docks, electric power stations, etc., are all covered by the Society. Also details of various railway preservation groups and their locomotives, etc.

Steam, diesel, petrol (gasoline), battery, and electric locomotives.

Standard gauge. Narrow gauge.

Tunneling locos. Ex-British Rail locos. Underground locos.

Membership benefits include a quarterly printed illustrated magazine, the 'Industrial Railway Record'; a bi-monthly newsletter the 'Bulletin' giving topical news, in addition to all Society news; discounts on Society publications; visits to industrial railway locations; occasional rail tours; a book sales service; and photograph sales from the Society's negative collection. We frequently publish extra 'amendment Bulletins', which contain up-dates and amendments to various IRS Handbooks - you will find at least one of these 'specials' with most issues of the regular Bulletin. As an example of our "Bulletin", a PDF version of No.1000 (September 2017), in both normal and extended eBulletin versions, can be downloaded here. Note the extended eBulletin is 6.63Mb long!

In addition a range of illustrated historical handbooks are published, covering all known industrial locos, area by area in the UK, plus some other countries. Other books include loco builders histories, company histories, and an invaluable guide book listing every current industrial and preserved loco in the whole UK. IRS publications are usually offered to members at a substantial discount on the normal purchase price. Click on the 'Publications' link for more details.

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Full details of 2024 Subscriptions can be found in our eShop

* Members can opt to receive Digital PDF Bulletins instead of printed copies. Digital Bulletins will be available at the same time as printed Bulletins. Members who take this option will save the Society a considerable sum of money in reduced printing, postage and packing costs. The RECORD will be available in printed form only and will be sent by post four times per year. The subscription rates are the same for electronic PDF Bulletins as for printed versions, with any resultant savings being used by the Society to avoid subscriptions increases, although there will be some reduction for Overseas subscribers due to the high cost of overseas postage.

A membership application form - in Acrobat (PDF) format - can be downloaded from here.

Note: if you are making payment for your subscription by PayPal (see below), and IF PayPal knows your name and address, there is actually no need to complete the application form as the PayPal advice to the Treasurer contains all the relevant information. To be certain you can add your name and address in the "message" box when making your PayPal payment.


UK Cheques/Postal orders to be made payable to "Industrial Railway Society". Payment can also be made by Giro transfer to account No: 56-943-4203. We can also accept payment via credit card or PayPal from our eSales shop.

Foreign orders: We can only accept cash or cheques in UK Sterling, due to the exorbitant bank charges for converting foreign currency and foreign cheques. Please note that we can no longer accept French bank cheques.

The IRS can now accept foreign credit card orders via the PayPal system. Please go to the PayPal page for details.

Interested? Send an email - at - to the IRS Hon Membership Secretary, who will gladly provide further membership details.