Railway Headboard Guide


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Although trains were named in the early days of the railways, with rival companies fighting for passengers over similar routes on speed & comfort, the use of headboards on locomotives to denote special services was used mainly in post war steam and early diesel days. At this time the railways were starting to compete against road transport and were trying to present an exciting image.

The best known headboard recently sold in auction for 27,500!!



       Many regular express services were given names, such as THE ROYAL SCOT pictured above.


The Headboards were carried on brackets on the smokebox door and were generally made of aluminium. The one above featured two round enamel plates with the Scottish thistle and the English rose and is in superb ex use condition.

Many people remember the express holiday trains such as the CORNISH RIVIERA EXPRESS & the TORBAY EXPRESS that took thousands of workers & their families away for their annual two weeks summer holiday to the Coast.

The above picture shows a GWR Castle Class loco hauling the final stage of the TORBAY EXPRESS into Churston Station.

Click here for a list of all named trains

Click here for a list of named trains in 1990

Many headboards have appeared for sale but there are quite a few replicas about and so if you are going to purchase one you would be best advised to seek advice before purchase.

                                                         The top priced headboard went through auction recently & is a quite stunning item



For a list of the Top 5 Prices in Auction for Headboards click here.