Railway Museum Launches New Digital Archive

The Revelstoke Railway Museum, in British Columbia, Canada, had a digital archive of images that got wiped out by a computer virus last year, but it’s recently gotten a new grant and is starting all over again! The Revelstoke Railway Museum Photo Archive is currently available with over 600 photos at (The museum’s collection actually has over 6500 images and more will be added to the online archive over time.)

The archive is divided into categories including Bridges, Tunnels, Equipment, and even Train Wrecks, but the biggest part of the archive is the selection of locomotive images, with over 200 available. That category is further divided into Cabooses (caboosi?), Passenger Trains, Diesel, and Steam Locomotive (again the largest section with over 150 images available.) Images are presented in a galley format with a default of 16 to a page (you can change that to 8 or 12 if you like.) The listings show thumbnails, number of hits, size of image (in Kb, not dimensions) and the date it was added. (There’s also a spot for ratings but I didn’t see it used much.)

Click on the image and you’ll get a much larger image and a description, usually brief, sometimes not helpful (“View of unknown steam engine.”) Available sizes are somewhat limited; I was disappointed that I couldn’t zoom in more on the pictures. You can send pictures as an e-postcard, but I didn’t see any links for further manipulation.

Actually all the fun stuff for this archive seems to be at the nav at the bottom of the pages. There you can get the newest pictures (the most recent ones were added 3/17) as well as a random selection and the most-viewed and top-rated images. There’s even a ten-second slide show mode, so you can pick a category, kick back and watch the pictures go by.

It’s easy to tell that this digital archive is in its early beginnings; there’s a lot of fleshing out to do here. But the categorization breaks down well, some of the photos here are very unusual (top view of a steam engine buried by an avalanche) and there’s a lot, lot more to come. Worth a look.

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