Records of Railtrack Private Shareholders Action Group

Railtrack Private Shareholders Action Group

The RPSAG collection consists of 37 A4 files of printed and photocopied documents and seven archival boxes containing 31 bundles of printed A4 pages, newspaper cuttings and manuscript documents. The collection also contains two CD disks and one USB drive. The first part of the archive is largely made of copied material and is not the definitive archive of RPSAG. RPSAG/1 does not contain original records of the group, or the original records of government departments. The core financial and membership records of the group are not yet available and are held by representatives of RPSAG.

The selection of documents in RPSAG/1 is however unique, having been assembled and ordered by RPSAG in a way that they believed demonstrated and supported their case. The court case was extremely high profile and controversial and was a key event in the evolution of UK rail management. As well as this the case was discussed in the light of wider issues of government and ministerial openness. The collection as a whole demonstrates how the management of railways is politically significant and how key railways are to the economy of this country.

RPSAG/3 and RPSAG/4 contain original records of RPSAG such as correspondence and organisational records such as minutes and financial records. It contains records that demonstrate how the group administered itself and how it sought to gain the support of shareholders. It also contains correspondence from individual shareholders expressing their often emotive views on the actions of the government, including how the situation had affected them personally. The collection demonstrates how a key event in recent railway history had a social impact on many people.

Records also include those that cover the PR activities of the group and newspaper cuttings that track the development of the case. These are backed up by records from the website (RPSAG/2). The collection as a whole demonstrates how much attention the group generated and how important the case was to the public.


7 boxes and 37 files
Access is given in accordance with the NRM access policy. Material from this archive is available to researchers through Search Engine. Users will be required to sign a form declaring that any use of personal data contained within the archive will be in compliance with the Data Protection Act 1998. Personal Information contained in the archive may be redacted for confidentiality reasons.
System of Arrangement:
RPSAG/1 - The original order has been maintained and arranged into eleven series which reflect the main classes of documentation that was presented by the RPSAG to the court. Records were arranged by RPSAG in an order that the organisation felt was most appropriate to demonstrate arguments to the court. RPSAG/2 - The original order of the records was difficult to ascertain as they were not arranged in the original structure of the website. The copies have therefore been arranged into five series that reflect the types of record that made up the site. RPSAG/3 - The original order of records has been maintained where this order was clear. For example files that dealt with PR (RPSAG/3/5/2) and representation of the group in court (RPSAG/3/4/2). These series have been listed in detail in the order of the files to maintain original meaning and context. These files have been listed to item level. Where the original order was unclear records have been grouped into series that reflect the functions of the group, for example ‘finance’ and ‘administrative.’ Some correspondence has been described at series level. This is due to the sheer volume of some files and the lack of original order. Records are also held on a USB drive. These are mainly unordered and a summary of these is contained in RPSAG/3/6. For ease of access files from the USB drive have been sampled and printed and represent the contents of the drive. RSPAG/4 - The records held on the CD disk remain in their original order. It contains a very large volume of emails which can be searched by users through ‘search and sort’ mechanisms in order to find emails that contain a certain subject or individual. For ease of reference a sample of email correspondence has been printed. The sample was ascertained by the archivist by using ‘search and sort’ facilities. Record classes that reflected functions of the group were searched for and selected in this way. The main functions of the group were identified by looking at the prominent activities identified in the rest of the collection, for example media, finance, PR. Synonyms of these functions derived from thesauri were also searched for in order to ‘catch’ a good range of emails. The rationale for this approach was taken from the archival Personal Archives Accessible in Digital Media (Paradigm) project. A project by the major research libraries of Manchester and Oxford explored issues involved in preserving private digital papers. (

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