Railway Posters Guide


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Railway Posters began to appear in the earliest days of the railways. These were of the letterpress variety giving mainly timetable notices and later provided details of excursion trains.

By the start of the 20th Century Posters had moved on and generally involved some graphic design. The Company in the lead in this aspect was the LNWR who employed the artist Norman Wilkinson to produce original paintings for their Posters but the other Companies, particularly the MR and GWR, saw the benefit of this type of advert.


The various Companies continued in their own individual way until the formation of the Big 4 Companies in 1923

                         GWR                                  LNER                                 LMS                                   SR

Click on the pictures above to view more of that companies posters

This was the period of great growth in the railways with most families taking their Summer Holidays by rail to the seaside and Posters were an excellent way to offer the attractions that their part of the Country had to offer.

Poster were produced in two main sizes so as to fit the Poster boards that were hung on station walls. These were Quad Royal 50'' x 40'' and the more common Double Royal that are 25'' x 40''. These sizes were standard as they related to printing press sizes from the early days.
                        Double Royal                                                          Quad Royal


In 1948 the Railways were nationalised becoming six regions. Posters continued to be a popular advertising medium with many incorporating the BR "Totem" image. To show that it was a National Network the totem colours often didn't correspond to a destination in that region.

              BR(M)                BR(W)                 BR(Sc)               BR(S)                 BR(E)                 BR(NE)


Click on any of the pictures to view more BR Posters

There were some excellent Posters made from paintings by Terence Cuneo and these proved very popular.

By the 1970's the railways as a means of going on holiday were in decline and so were the posters as more and more people went by car with the Railways being left for more mundane travel. Although a few good modern posters were produced they are few and far between.


An excellent guide has been produced by the Totem Exchange team which lists most of the Posters produced last Century plus gives details of Auction prices and it is well worth buying if you have an interest in Posters.
Click here for details

Many posters have been mounted on linen in order to protect them from tears but this does tend to reduce their value as the major collectors prefer them in original condition. Prices vary a great deal but you should be able to get a very attractive DR Poster for 200 - 400. Quad Royals are generally a little cheaper as they are more difficult to display.

If you are going to buy always buy one in good condition and with an attractive image - at the end of the day the image is everything if you are going to display it.
To finish a couple of superb posters that have gone through our Auctions.



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