The International Association for Railway History and Heritage is born with the aim of being the spur for the historical research and of promoting the conservation of the historical, cultural, industrial and social patrimony of rail transportation all over the world.


Board of Directors
Manifest Fundacional
Registration Form
First International Conference. Semmering (Austria), september 17-19 2004 (Papers)
Second International Conference. Lisbon (Portugal), november 27-29 2006: "Railway modernization: the 19th and the 20th centuries - an historical perspective"
Statutes (Available only in french - PDF)
Information leaflet

Board of Directors

Honorary chairwoman: Michčle MERGER, historian, researcher at the National Scientific Research Center (France)

President: Henry JACOLIN, retired diplomat (France)

Vice-president: Paul VERON, Communication director at the Union Internationale des chemins de fer (France)

Vice-president: Javier VIDAL OLIVARES Professor of Economic History at the University of Alicante (Spain)

General Secretary: Dr. Ralf ROTH, historian, Professor at the University of Francfort sur le Main (Germany)

Treasurer: Andrea GIUNTINI, Professor of Economic History at the University of Modena e Reggio Emilia (Italy)

Manifest Fundacional

2004 marks the two-hundredth anniversary of the production by Trevithick of the first steam locomotive capable of hauling a train. That first train carried 70 passengers and 10 tonnes of iron over 15 kilometres. For two centuries, rail has been one of driving forces behind modernisation and has played a major part in shaping the world we live in today. Guided rail transport (metro, tram, light rail systems) now represents the future for our large cities and high speed rail is helping to integrate Europe.

And yet we are faced with the risk of losing all trace of the history of rail transport, details of its networks and information on the men and women who build, run and use them, as well as the activities and lifestyles they spawned. In doing so, we would also lose one of the cornerstones of our society.

With the advent of new players in the rail sector and the public's ever increasing interest in rail's development, there is an urgent need for international coordination to:

* collate, preserve and showcase information on the history of rail transport networks and rolling stock at urban, industrial, regional, national or international level,

* provide the resources for historical research to compare the developments across nations, thus constituting a basis for discussions today.

Firm in their belief that rail transport and its history have a vital contribution to make towards sustainable development, the signatories to this appeal invite you to help set up an International Association for Railway History and Heritage. The Association would be a non-profit organisation remitted primarily to:

* network between all legal or natural persons with a professional interest in preserving the archives and historical and cultural legacy of the rail sector and pooling information and experiences of general interest,

* record the history of railway companies, as well as the social and cultural chronicles of rail workers and passengers, and prepare and implement joint research projects on all aspects of rail transport history, primarily though comparisons across countries,

* disseminate research findings widely and make them available to all interested members of the public,

* take steps to safeguard rail's historical and cultural legacy, corporate archives first and foremost, notably by creating a network of historical custodians and fostering the setting up of new institutions to preserve rail's history.

The International Association for Railway History and Heritage will seek sponsorship from the European Union, draw on the rail sector's economic stakeholders and work in harness with international cultural institutions.

It will bring together companies, cultural institutions and third-level educational and research institutes irrespective of their legal status, as well as natural persons of all nationalities with a professional interest in rail transport history and in protecting and enriching railway archives and the sector's historical and cultural heritage.