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What do I need to know?

The names of railway/train branches, relevant place of employment keywords and/or approximate dates relating to the person you are researching.

For keywords, try using the following railway/train branches: Rolling stock, Traffic, Transportation, Way and Works, Commercial and Marketing, Refreshment Service, Trading and Catering,  Electrical Engineering Stores, Freight Services, Printing, or simply search on the word workshop.

This search may also lead to records that are not strictly-speaking employment records, but to all kinds of records that might help you establish whether someone was employed at some time in a railway or train related activity.

Some recent employee records may be closed to public access if they divulge personal information and could be closed for up to 75 years from the time they were created.

How do I search?

Enter a keyword and / or a date range into the search below, for example: workshop.

It is very unlikely that the name of the person you are researching will be found using this search. Instead, think about the place they worked, or the location and type of work. For instance, search for "rolling stock" (using quotation marks) to search just for records about employment in the railways rolling stock branch, or place names where depots were located such as Newport or Jolimont.

On the search results page, use the filter toggle arrows to the left of the page to narrow the results either by date, series or government department that created the records.

About these records

Various Victorian government departments and agencies have been responsible for railways and trains. Some of the records they created relate to people who worked for railways and train operations. The record of someone who worked for the railways generally was transferred to the branch where they last worked. You need to search for employee records relating to that last place of work within the railways to find their employee record.

Who created these records?

PROV holds records of people who worked with the running of railways and trains in Victoria. The records relating to people who worked on railways are most likely going to be found amongst the records of the following agencies held by PROV:

  • Public Works Department, 1855-1987 (VA 669)
  • Department of Railways I, 1858-1871 (VA 2877)
  • Department of Railways and Roads, 1871-1877 (VA 2875)
  • Department of Railways 2, 1877-1884 (VA 2965)
  • Victorian Railways, 1883-1983 (VA 2876)
  • Railway Construction Branch, Board of Land and Works, 1892-1965 (VA 690)
  • Transport Regulation Board, 1933-1983 (VA 2738)
  • Department of Transport (known as Ministry of Transport 1951 to 1992), 1951-1996 (VA 673)
  • Railway Construction Board, 1965-1980 (VA 691)
  • Melbourne Underground Rail Loop Authority, 1971-1983 (VA 2987)
  • Railway construction and property board, 1980-1983 (VA 615)
  • State Transport Authority, 1983-1989 (VA 1038)
  • Public Transport Corporation, 1989-2003 (VA 2984)
  • Department of Infrastructure, 1996-2008 (VA 3971)
  • Department of Transport II, 2008-2013 (VA 4853)
  • Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, 2013-2014 (VA 5003)

Next Steps

Order the records of interest and view in our Reading Room. Some records are digital records and can be accessed directly online. 

What are in these records?

The kinds of records that you may find relating to employment and staffing on railways and trains:

  • staff/employee registers or personal summaries
  • wages or earnings books
  • accreditation/licencing records


Railways employment histories were portable and moved along with the employee from branch to branch. This means that you need to know the last branch an employee worked while they were employed by the Victorian Railways.

In general, someone employed by a contractor to construct infrastructure for the railways was not a public officer and employment records would not have been created and kept by the government.

There may be some digitised images relating to your search results, to see these at the top of your search results select the Digital option in the View Record filter toggle arrows on the left of the screen. You can also use these to explore only results from particular series or created by particular agencies.

Triennial Lists and computer printout lists of Vic Rail employees, and personnel records are available in hardcopy for certain years can be requested from reading room staff at the Victorian Archives Centre without having to be ordered. The Triennial Lists can also be found in Victoria Government Gazettes online. Although there was a legal requirement for Victorian Railways to publish these triennial lists in the Victoria Government Gazette, the last one was published in 1929.

Material in the Public Record Office Victoria archival collection contains words and descriptions that reflect attitudes and government policies at different times which may be insensitive and upsetting

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Peoples should be aware the collection and website may contain images, voices and names of deceased persons.

PROV provides advice to researchers wishing to access, publish or re-use records about Aboriginal Peoples