Why you’re on the right lines with railwayana

PUBLISHED: 10:21 07 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:21 07 March 2018

This British Rail enamel station totem �BECCLES�, half flanged, sold for �1,600.

This British Rail enamel station totem �BECCLES�, half flanged, sold for �1,600.


Collectables: Mike Hicks looks at ever-popular railwayana.

Back in 2003, I did a column about the collectability of old railway posters; the sort of thing that use to advertise that you should come to Great Yarmouth, Lowestoft or our other East Anglian attractions.

Today, they still command enormously high prices. I don’t think there can be that many that have yet to be discovered, and all of those that have since been bought to the surface, are going around in the middle with collectors buying them, and keeping them for a few years, then passing them on, but the prices of these commodities have soared, but of course, you have to be sure that are genuine.

‘Railwayana’ is a word that has crept into the collecting vocabulary over the last twenty or so years, and it really covers anything to do with items used or previously seen, on or around the railway, and of course, after the Beeching axe of the 1960s, so much material was quickly collected and stored away. A wise move!

We all know that the engine name plates always fetch big money, but sometimes it can be the minor items like lamps, small artefacts, like ashtray - basically, anything at all that has been on or used on a railway.

A sale held recently at Gaze’s of Diss was a typical example. It featured the collection of Suffolk man Peter Punchard, had followed in his grandfather’s footsteps and joined British Railways in 1954. He worked at various stations from Sizewell to Saxmundham and Brampton Station, near Beccles, and eventually Halesworth.

At the sale there were many highlights. A simple railway candle lamp of brass made £80 - you could have had one for £2 or £3 thirty years ago. A Halesworth station sign, saying ‘Halesworth for Southwold’ - a very collectable item - soon found a ready buyer at £3,100.

So if you have anything at all tucked away that is associated with the railways, don’t discard it, especially if it relates to a defunct line such as the M&GN. These items are becoming increasingly scarce, and valauble.

Other significant prices were achieved for anything with a name on the metal plate. For example, a simple enamel totem sign for Beccles made £1,600, Aldeburgh made £800, and a simple case iron locomotive shed plate, 32A, made £140. Maybe not the most attractive items in the world, but they are to collectors.

Mike Hicks runs Stalham Antique Gallery at 29 High Street, Stalham (NR12 9AH). You can contact Mike on 01692 580636 or

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