Archival material and ephemera from Sierra Leone Railways

The material at the Sierra Leone National Railway Museum is small in quantity, but significant in that it is the only paper material surviving that was created by the railway itself. The material is mainly low-level administrative formwork - request slips for supplies for maintaining locomotives, tally cards for the withdrawal of fuel oil, gate pass books from the Cline Town Works as it became the National Workshops, a telegraphic code book, some tickets and a luggage label. The material is the only surviving evidence of how the Sierra Leone Railway operated on a daily basis, and the only source to come to light so far of workers' names at any point in the Sierra Leonean operation of the railway . The majority dates from the last days of the railway, after the decision to close had been taken in 1968, up to final closure in 1974 and the conversion of Cline Town Works into the National Workshops. On the cessation of railway operatings all surplus material including operating records were recycled or destroyed, making this a unique survival. Since the opening of the museum, various paper items have been donated including photographs, postcards and additional forms and tickets. Only those items which have no rights issues have been copied. The material has been catalogued as a sub-collection, as it forms part of the wider collection of the SL NRM, alongside sub-collections of locomotives, rolling stock, equipment, personal items etc.

The majority of the material remained in the Cline Town Works inside one of the railway vehicles earmarked for preservation on the closure of the railway in 1975. The material remained hidden as the works became the National Workshops and the railway vehicles and the building they were housed in lay dormant. They subsequently survived the occupation of the works by refugees during the civil war. The Sierra Leone National Railway Museum formally took the material into its custody on its foundation on 12 September 2004. Other items were donated by various collectors and supporters of the museum.