There used to be a great many 'links pages' maintained by enthusiasts listing railway related web sites, some containing hundreds of links. I would not be able to maintain such a page so here I have concentrated on listing sites and other on-line resources that I visit personally so that I will notice broken links when they occur. I have been advised to add a disclaimer to the effect that the sites listed here are the property and responsibility of their owners and I cannot accept any responsibility for the content of those sites or other linked sites.
Newsgroups were an important part of the internet known as Usenet (short for user network), they are simply on-line places where you can put up a question or answer a question someone has asked, the resulting chain of the question and its answers is called a 'thread'. There are two basic types of group, one uses plain text but the other allows users to upload 'binaries' (pictures or pieces of code).
ISPs didn't like newsgroups as there is no way to make money from them so when Yahoo Groups and the like came along they increasingly shut down their newsgroup servers and pretended it didn't exist. However Usenet is still going and it is still the first place I look for certain kinds of information, in fact binary groups are one of the busiest parts of the internet as the anonymity allows people to exchange pirated material easily, these days however you have to pay to get access to binaries groups.
You can (for the moment at least) access the text based form of Usenet via Google by searching for Google Groups and putting in a keyword or two in the search box at the top of the screen. That will list the groups containing that word or phrase, as I understand it you need a Gmail account (which is free) if you want to post to the group to ask a question or provide an answer. There are, or were, thousands of groups with names like uk.rec.whatever (uk means it is UK based, rec means it is related to recreation) and one of my favourites was (if memory serves) alt.binaries.images.engineering (alt meaning it was broad based, binaries because it could handle pictures) where some people uploaded some beautiful photographs of engineering related materials (often professional pohotographers advertising the sale of high quality copies fit for framing). Usenet is well worth a look, if you find an active group it is as useful as MyFace and the like, but without the advertising, profiling, data gathering etc.
uk.railway is a group devoted to all things rail related and is still very active.
uk.rec.models.rail used to be a hive of activity but these days it is very quiet (which is a real pity it was an excellent group with some excellent and knowledgeable contributors).
Generally Useful Sites
There are some really useful sites out there, Wikipedia of course but also the sites that preceded it. One resouce well worth investigating, especially with regard to lineside industries, is Grace's Guide They describe themselves as the most comprehensive source of information on the engineering industry in Britain between 1750 (the start of the Industrial Revolution) and the 1960s. I think I agree with their statement, it is a wonderful site. The project is entirely non-profit making and contributions are from volunteers.
Another really fascinating on-line resource is The 1911 Encyclopedia Britannica, this was put up and is maintained by a not for profit operation dedicated to placing the entire contents of this multi-volume set on line. For research I have found the best approach is to use the alphabetical listings. -->
Individual Modellers Sites
This bit needs updating!
For information on modelling buildings you should take a look at Lloydian aspects Described as 'Being a website of meanderings amongst the diverse interests of Lloyd, archaeologist, photographer, explorer, toast farmer, armourer, evolutionary psychologist, oxymath, erumite, gentleman.' This site has a lot of military related material on it, which is interesting even if your interests are not primarily military in nature. It is within the wargaming section that he discusses buildings and scenic development.
General Information Sites
Strategic Rail Authority
Rail Freight On Line
on-line service to assist potential rail freight customers
The website of Direct Rail Services the freight operating company set
up originally by British Nuclear Fuels
DB Railfreight, who took over the former EWS
English Welsh and Scoittis was the largest British rail freight organisation
website of the original all-container railway freight operator who has now
diversified into bulk haulage as well.
GB Rail Freight
The website of the
most recent railway freight company to begin operations in the UK
organisation that maintains the infrastructure of the railways, track,
signalling and some rail served establishments.
The Railfreight group
Rail Freight On Line
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