Draft Taxonomy

This Taxonomy has been developed to help identify and classify the key themes covered by land transport archive collections. It is based on entries found in the UNESCO thesaurus, UKAT UK archive thesaurus, National Register of Archives classification scheme and the Library of Congress classification scheme, supplemented with additional themes identified during the course of this exercise. It is very much a working document in terms of both themes and arrangement, so please do let us know if we have missed out anything significant.

Entries have been split into three overarching strands:

Great Western Railway Tunnel No.1 Portal, Courtesy of Network Rail, reference: NRCA160477



  • Parish Surveyors of Highways
  • Roads and Bridges in Quarter Sessions records
  • Turnpike Trusts
  • Highway Boards
  • Highway Authorities
  • Motorways
  • Cycleways
  • Road Planning
  • Traffic Police
  • Traffic Wardens
  • Traffic accidents
  • Road safety
  • Watch Committees
  • Transport Committees
  • Vehicle Registration Authorities


  • Highways Research Establishments
  • Road construction and maintenance
  • Bridges
  • Ferries

Operations and users

  • Passenger Transport operators (municipal)
  • Passenger Transport operators (private)
  • Taxis and Private Hire
  • Freight and Haulage companies
  • Other commercial users
  • Emergency services
  • Motor sport
  • Private motorists (including commuting and leisure travel)
  • Horse-drawn transport


  • Bus garages, stations, shelters and stops
  • Car parks
  • Street furniture
  • Weighbridges


  • Heritage Trusts (supporting heritage operations)
  • Passenger Transport Operators (heritage)
  • Museum administration
  • Other

Organisations and people

  • Trades Unions
  • Employers’ organisations
  • Pressure groups and campaigns
  • Integrated Transport Planning
  • Tour Operators
  • Prominent engineers and personalities

Railways and Tramways

Operating companies

  • Historic operating companies (including staff)
  • Contemporary operating companies (excluding heritage)


  • Early wagonways
  • Route Plans
  • Construction
  • Track
  • Bridges and Viaducts
  • Tunnels
  • Docks, piers and harbours
  • Mine transportation
  • Stations
  • Locomotive depots and roundhouses
  • Marshalling yards / Freightliner depots
  • Industrial lines, networks and sidings (including narrow gauge)
  • Funicular railways
  • Signalling
  • Level crossings
  • Maintenance of infrastructure
  • Disused lines and infrastructure
  • Rail research establishments


  • Heritage operators (e.g. preserved lines, locomotives, rail tours, including narrow gauge) 
  • Miniature railways
  • Heritage trusts (supporting heritage operations)
  • Museum administration
  • Enthusiasts’ groups
  • Other

Organisations and people

  • Trades Unions
  • Employers’ organisations
  • Pressure groups and campaigns
  • Integrated transport planning
  • Tour operators
  • Prominent engineers and personalities

Vehicles and Rolling Stock

Manufacturers’ records

  • Cars
  • Vans
  • Trucks and lorries
  • Ambulances, Fire Engines and other specialist emergency vehicles
  • Milk floats, ice-cream vans and other specialist delivery vehicles
  • Buses, coaches and minibuses
  • Passenger transport operator ancillary vehicles
  • Trolleybuses
  • Bicycles etc
  • Motorcycles
  • Quad bikes
  • Mobility scooters, Invacars etc
  • Caravans and motor homes
  • Military vehicles
  • Stagecoaches
  • Other horse-drawn passenger vehicles
  • Carts, wagons etc
  • Plant
  • Agricultural machinery
  • Steam-powered vehicles
  • Road vehicle components
  • Steam locomotives
  • Diesel locomotives
  • Electric locomotives
  • Diesel multiple units
  • Electric multiple units
  • Trams
  • Carriages
  • Wagons and other freight-related rail vehicles
  • Railway maintenance vehicles
  • Components

Other records

  • Vehicle maintenance and garages
  • Rolling stock maintenance
  • Vehicle owners’ clubs
  • Prominent engineers, designers and personalities
  • Trades Unions
  • Employers’ organisations
(c) Mike Rogers

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