HISTORY: Donated to the Library in 1995 by the Association of American Railroads, this collection is the major portion of the former Bureau of Railway Economics (BRE) Library, once the largest and one of the foremost railroad collections in the country.Founded in 1910, for the scientific study of transportation problems, the Bureau of Railway Economics Librarys main function was to provide source material on railway economics, railway history, and general railway development including railroad theory and practice.

SCOPE: The Bureau of Railway Economics Historical Collection is comprised of approximately 30,000 volumes including rare books, pamphlets and industrial reports dating from the very beginnings of railroads in this country in the 1820s through the 1980s. Of particular note are the many nearly complete runs of corporate annual reports for dozens of companies; foundational corporate documents; reports and internal corporate histories; trade periodicals; and an outstanding group of 19th century travelers and emigrants guidebooks. Additional periodical holdings in the Barriger Library which complement the BRE Collection include the Official Railway Equipment Register, Pocket List of Railroad Officials, the Official Railway Guide, Herapaths Railway & Commercial Journal, and the American Railroad Journal. Also included in this important collection are professional railroad club proceedings which provide vital insights into railroad operating, engineering, and management practice.

HOLDINGS: Approximately 30,000 volumes.

ACCESS: This is Special Collection B-4.The Bureaus own publication: Railway Economics: a Collective Catalogue of Books in Fourteen American Libraries (1910) provides a listing to part of the historical collection held by BRE up to the date of publication. This book should be used as a helpful guide only as it does not reference all titles in the collection and titles listed in the book may no longer be in the collection.The Library also has a shelf list (on catalog cards) of titles once held in the collection. Portions of the collection may be photocopied, digitally scanned, or photographed depending on condition.