Finding the Information - my research project!

Once upon a time ... a long time ago ... I did a history degree. My old lecturers may be pleased to finally discover that some of what they threw at me actually stuck - like going about your research in a methodical manner, and recording each step so you can check back and evaluate progress. I was taught that research has three sides - what your looking for, how you go about finding it, and what you've found. (Also known as objectives, methodology, and results). This page is part of my recording of those three aspects.

So what am I doing? As the introduction page would suggest, my objective is to accumulate a body of knowledge about the cranes operated by NZR in its various guises. My particular focus was initially steam cranes, but along the way I have discovered there is a lot to the other types of travelling cranes that I can't ignore. Essentially I want to know what cranes did they operate, what did those cranes do in service, what was it like to operate them, and what subsequently happened to those cranes. I sat down with a sheet of paper and came up with some questions I'd like to answer, and as I find out more it seems I keep adding to those questions. If you're curious - take a look at:

My starting point for this project was steam cranes. One question (and its not on the question page) that does puzzle me - why does there appear to have been so little interest in steam cranes? Steam and railways are in many ways a 'guy' thing, and most guys I know also seem to have had a fascination with cranes (what did you do with that meccano set?). The combination of steam and trains and cranes would seem to be irresistable. However, when you look at the literature, railway cranes are almost invisible. Maybe its the fact they can only travel at 10mph?

How am I going about my research? I have started by considering what sources are available to me - immediate sources being libraries and the internet. I have also started to make contact with people who have been involved with the cranes. As time allows I am also investigating available archives. I have also met a number of people (in person, or by corresponding) whom I have acknowledged here for their help and assistance. I am keeping a project diary so you can see where I have got to by looking at the Diary page.

Summaries of the activities and progress I have made with various source material I have investigated (bibliographies, literature, and site reviews) has been summarised on a separate page and broken into sections, available as follows:

Links to some of the outcomes can also be found below.

What have I found? To date, not a lot, but it is slowly starting to come together. Although this project can now be measured in years, my research is really only just beginning. The material I have located so far is summarised on the various pages linked below. Many of these pages are my 'working' documents - notes, listings, and summaries I have gathered and placed here for my easy access.

Summaries of source materials:

Summaries of results:

If you think you've missed anything, try the site map.