ANISTR.COM began operation in 2005 as probably the first fully searchable online railway image library. trading under the name of BUTTS JUNCTION, a reference to a one-time location on what is now the Watercress Line. The junction, set on the western edges of the small rural market town of Alton in Hampshire, was the meeting point of London and South Western Railway routes from such important places as Winchester and Southampton, Gosport and Fareham, and Basingstoke towards London Waterloo. Sadly, like all three of those lines, the Butts Junction website was closed down, not like the rail routes due to lack of patrons, but because its name appeared to attract non-rail enthusiasts looking for quite different material.
Since then it has undergone several evolutions, initially as SOUTHERN-IMAGES, which led to the false assumption that it was only a source for one region of the country. Hence we then adopted a more general name PLATFORM14 which was in many ways our favourite manifestation, until we fell foul of a similarly named distributor of medical devices, and not wanting a repetition of the problems we had with the Butts Junction, we adopted a straight-forward 'what it says on the tin' approach and became RAILWAY IMAGES.
We have no satisfactory explanation why we then seemed to desire an ongoing identity crisis, possible just to make to make life interesting, so we decided to change again and choose a name which sounded as random as possible...and yet wasn't. The outcome of some anagram making software and a check that nobody else had this name led to ANISTR, which fits very nicely on to a Southern Railway target station sign and hence our logo. The only slight issue (but maybe a positive one) is that searching for Anistr on Google often leads to links to Jennifer Aniston, whom we would like to name as one of our Friends, but sadly we have no such connection at present!
The backbone of our image library is the work of several photographers whose work has been published over the years, including Keith Lawrence, Nigel Kendall, Keith Widdowson, David Christie and John H Bird. We have also acquired collections and individual negatives and slides which we now own. Cleaning, restoring, tonally correcting and captioning negatives and slides is very slow and intensive hand work: a typical negative from the 1950s may occupy anything from 20-50 minutes before it appears on the screen. Hence we are always keen to welcome other contributors who have 'oven-ready' material to submit, to use the current PM's phrase, which can be loaded up with minimal intervention by ourselves. Any sales we make of downloads, photographs or high-resolution images to collectors and publishers mean generous royalties are paid to the contributor. If you are interested and have high quality material please get in touch!