All change at York... museum picks up rail buffs' huge collection of ephemera.

AS labours of love go, this collection of material put together by a railway-mad couple will take some beating.

Robert Forsythe and his wife Fiona have been building it for years and stored thousands of documents at their three-bedroom home in Northumberland.

At one point they had upwards of 625 binders on shelves and in cupboards in their home.

Now one of the most comprehensive private collections of transport history in Britain has been acquired by the National Railway Museum (NRM) in York.

The Forsythe Collection of Travel & Transport Publicity Ephemera focuses on transport publicity, particularly that of the nationalised railway from 1948, but also covers bus, air and water transport in the second half of the 20th century.

The vast collection, which consists of more than 125,000 items, is now housed in Search Engine, the NRM's 4m research and archive centre where staff are now busy working on making it available to the public.

The story of the railways, from the pre-Beeching era through to the current day, is told through a variety of publicity material including timetables, handbills and brochures.

A chartered librarian from a railway family, Mrs Forsythe joined forces with her husband in a crusade to save the paper records that the public – and often the transport companies themselves – tended to throw away.

The Forsythe collection is highly regarded as an important resource by historians.

Helen Ashby, head of knowledge and collections at the NRM, said: "This is a key collection for anyone interested in transport and we're delighted that people will be able to access it at the National Railway Museum."

Tim Procter, curator of archive & library collections at the NRM, added: "It has been a real labour of love.''