The Severn Valley Railway launches livestream camera network

The Severn Valley Railway is launching an exciting new service for supporters and visitors – a network of livestream cameras with a round-the-clock feed showing rolling stock movements at key locations along the line. The camera feeds will go live on the SVR’s official YouTube channel at 9am on Wednesday 14th April.

Head of marketing and communications Lesley Carr explained:
“We’ve worked in partnership with expert livestream consultants Railcam to install and set up our network, which gives viewers a grandstand view at various locations across the railway. Railcam’s expertise has been crucial in terms of deciding on the best positions to site the cameras, and ensuring that the microphones don’t capture conversations but do capture all the excitement of heritage locomotives coming and going.”

“We are thrilled that our livestream service is up and running in time for our first special event of 2021. The Spring Steam Up starts on Thursday 15th April, and you’ll be able to view all the train movements at key locations on our 16-mile line.”

The heritage railway, based in Worcestershire and Shropshire, has two cameras located at Kidderminster station and two at Bewdley. There’s one with a view across the line from The Engine House at Highley, and another at the line’s northern terminus at Bridgnorth station with a view over the loco yard and platforms. As well as providing a fascinating and free viewing facility for the public, the camera network has an important role to play in assisting the smooth operation of the railway.

The SVR’s senior duty officer Dave Brattan has welcomed the initiative:​ “We’ve been hoping for something like this for a long time. These cameras will significantly improve the way the duty officer will be able to manage the day-to-day running of the train service and improve how we deal with any delays, to help keep our passengers happy and more informed. Duty officers will be able to see what’s happening in these locations in real time, which will help us when we are recovering delayed services.”

Railcam’s director Adrian Bradshaw said: “Heritage railways are an important part of what we do at Railcam UK and the Severn Valley Railway has always been right up there on our wish list. For Railcam, the SVR is ideal, offering both steam and classic diesel traction, a busy timetable and plenty of attractive locations to consider. We are delighted therefore, to have been able to work with the fantastic people at the SVR, to bring to our viewers and the wider internet audience, some of the best that the UK heritage scene has to offer.”

“The SVR project is by far our biggest single install, with six cameras on the SVR and a seventh, which is exclusive to Railcam viewers, covering the main line at Kidderminster. The project has been very much a joint effort between Railcam UK and the SVR, and we would like to thank all involved for making a complex scheme a pleasure to be involved with.”

All six livestream feeds are available from 9.00am tomorrow, Wednesday 14th April, at youtube.com/SevernValleyRailwayOfficial


Railcam partners SVR in our biggest ‘single location’ install

Railcam are delighted to be partnering with the world famous Severn Valley Railway to bring our biggest ever ‘single location’ installation, with a total of seven (thats a coincidence!) live cameras.

Taken from Branch Lines – The SVR Supporters’ Newsletter……

The SVR livestreaming to your home

The SVR will soon launch a new service for supporters and visitors – a network of livestream cameras, operating 24 hours a day, at key locations along the line. As well as providing a fascinating and free viewing facility for the public, the camera network has an important role to play in assisting the smooth operation of the Railway.

Head of communications and marketing Lesley Carr told Branch Lines more:

“The installation of the cameras was completed this week, and we’re undertaking some final testing and configuration. We hope to launch the livestream feeds from our six cameras very soon, ideally in time for the Spring Steam Up event starting on 15th April.

“We have two cameras each at Kidderminster and Bewdley, plus one at Highley and one at Bridgnorth. Using the SVR’s YouTube channel, you’ll be able to see and hear all the comings and goings at these locations. Working closely with our partners RailCam, we’ve made sure that microphones don’t pick up conversations, although you will hear all the excitement of the trains arriving and departing!

The Railway’s senior duty officer Dave Brattan has welcomed the initiative:

“We’ve been hoping for something like this for a long time. These cameras will significantly improve the way the duty officer will be able to manage the day-to-day running of the train service and improve how we deal with delays, to help keep our passengers happy and more informed. Duty officers will be able to see what’s happening in these locations in real time, which will help us when we are recovering delayed services. However, it will still be helpful to the duty officer team if operational staff can continue to inform us about delays, in the same way as they currently do.”

Keep an eye on social media in the near future for an announcement that the cameras are live.

The eagle eyed amongst you will have noticed that totals just six cameras. Well fear not, Railcam have taken the opportunity to install a third ‘exclusive to Railcam supporters’ camera, more details on this will be announced soon…..

Our thanks go out to the entire SVR team, who have worked extremely professionally and promptly to get this project signed off in a very short time frame. Our install team, who prepared everything prior to spending three days at the railway installing a huge amount of kit, giving up their own free time and completing the work ahead of schedule.

An official launch date is still to be confirmed, as a number of back office features are set up between Railcam and the SVR, but a joint announcement will be made in due course.

Class 142 : The Bus That Became a Train

  • A unique photographic narrative with unpublished colour images
  • An in-depth and exhaustive examination on how the 142s were maintained, serviced and operated
  • Detailed coverage of the various interior fittings and layouts
  • Superbly written and researched, this is essential for the historian, train enthusiast and modeller
  • A review of scale 142 Pacer models produced is included

The British Rail Class 142 Pacer was an attempt to produce a cost-effective train to replace the worn-out and elderly first-generation BR Diesel Multiple Unit fleet that had been introduced in the late 1950s. 

The Class 142 concept was a marriage of proven bus technology, traditional railway chassis and powertrain by utilising modular Leyland National Bus Bodies mounted on a substantial steel underframe and powered by conventional underfloor diesel engines. 

They came at a time when the network was lacking in investment, and when first introduced from 1985 onwards, they presented a fresh, bright and clean image, breathing new life into many suburban and rural services. Unfortunately, soon after introduction, there were serious reliability problems, which necessitated much re-engineering and design issues. 

However, the British Rail Class 142 Pacer became a familiar sight across the network. With the remaining ninety-four trains now all past their thirtieth birthday, the fleet is due to be retired by 2020.

Book Review by Railcam’s Adrian Bradshaw

Martyn Hilbert has carved out a reputation for entertaining and informative books, geographically covering most of the North West. This latest title is slightly different in two ways. Firstly, it doesn’t cover a specific area, focusing instead on the famous/infamous Pacer units and their deployment all over the network. Secondly, it departs somewhat from the “album” format of previous titles.

Class 142s are not, it is fair to say, everybody’s cup-of-tea. Love them or hate them though, they have played a huge role in keeping rural lines ticking over since the 1980s, when the first-generation DMUs bowed-out. Without the “Pacers”, some branches may not have survived the doldrums which preceded the rail boom of more recent years. With the Pacers now consigned to history too, now is the time to take a look back – fondly – on what was undoubtedly a successful design.

The first part of this book covers the background to the design: the reasons for reviving the “railbus” idea, the early prototypes and finally the production and introduction of the units. After a brief look at the depots that serviced the units, for the second half of the book we move into more familiar territory with a pictorial record of the units in the various places they served.

Most of Martyn Hilbert’s books feature largely his own photographic work, and this is no different. Martyn has an eye for an interesting shot, where the train forms only part of the interest. Many of the scenes that feature these DMUs are unrecognisable today, making for a fascinating and nostalgic look at several areas of the country where 142s were an everyday sight.

In short, whether you liked or loathed these units, this book is an interesting and informative read, full of cracking photos, which demonstrates the author’s deep knowledge of the subject matter. Recommended.


96 pages, published by Fonthill Media. £18
https://www.fonthill.media/products/class-142

The Staycation Express returns with a stunning new look…..

One of the undoubted successes of a very different 2020 season was the Staycation Express. Operated by Locomotive Services Ltd under the Rail Charter Services banner, heritage diesel traction with MK3 first class coaches were utilised on the world famous Settle – Carlisle line, the first time a scheduled diesel hauled service has graced the line for many years.

The 2021 edition takes a very different look, with new traction, a new livery and a new destination! Heritage diesel locomotives are to be replaced by recently retired HST sets, complete with a striking new livery. In addition to this, you will now be able to enjoy a longer ride as the late morning departure from Skipton will now run right through to Carlisle.

© Rail Charter Services

‘The Staycation Express’ Summer 2021 season Thursday 4th March 2021

Following the success of ‘The Staycation Express’ last year plans are currently being finalised for the 2021 season including new rolling stock and an expanded route. Features include:

  •  Route expansion through to Carlisle
  •  A newly refurbished classic InterCity 125 train with 5 coaches
  •  All leather reclining first class seating
  •  Large pictorial windows and power points
  •  Enhanced catering buffet counter and premium ‘at seat’ dining car
  •  Dynamic fare pricing
  •  Covid secure Perspex screens between every bay of seats
  •  New branding and livery

The train will run two return trips a day between Skipton, Settle, Appleby and Carlisle daily except Fridays between mid July and early September (dates/times still to be finalised) The rough timings are:

0930 Appleby to Skipton

1130 Skipton to Carlisle

1500 Carlisle to Skipton

1730 Skipton to Appleby

Adrian Quine – Director of Rail Charter Services Ltd said: “A lot of work has been going on behind the scenes to build on the success of The Staycation Express last year. We are working closely with our partners and stakeholders with innovation at the heart of everything we do and look forward to announcing further initiatives soon”

We anticipate making further announcements regarding the train livery, exact timetable and on-board service offerings in April.

Passengers can register their interest at www.railcharterservices.co.uk

You may have seen driver training/route refreshers commencing this week, captured by our cameras, with former East Midlands Railway HST power cars 43058/059 working from Crewe to Carlisle, along the Staycation route.

EMR and Porterbrook salute iconic HSTs

©East Midlands Railway
  • HSTs will be retiring in May 2021, after 39 years of service on the Midland Main Line
  • Record breaking Power car repainted in its legacy colours 
  • The Power Car will be preserved by the National Railway Museum in York

East Midlands Railway and Porterbrook are paying tribute to the iconic HSTs by painting power car 43302 into the Intercity Swallow livery and reinstating its original number 43102. 

©East Midlands Railway

Operated by East Midlands Railway (EMR) and owned by Porterbrook these much-loved trains will be retiring after 39 years of service on the Midland Main Line, making way for newer fleets to join EMR in time for the May 2021 timetable change.

©East Midlands Railway

Power Car 43102 famously broke the Intercity World Speed Record in November 1987 when it reached 148.5mph between Northallerton and York during a test a run. Although it was formally renumbered to 43302 by its previous operator, today it regains its original number 43102 and the livery it carried when it broke the record.

©East Midlands Railway

To this day the HST remains an iconic piece of British engineering and a much-loved part of the railway while continuing to serve passengers on the Midland Main Line. It remains a true testament to TCB Miller and his design team at the BR Railway Technical Centre in Derby, who took the train from concept to working prototype in 2 years.

©East Midlands Railway

Upon its retirement in May, after 43 years’ service, this Power Car will be donated by Porterbrook to the National Railway Museum in York, joining power car 43002 which carries the name ‘Sir Kenneth Grange’.

©East Midlands Railway

Neil Bamford, Fleet Director for EMR said: “The team at our Neville Hill depot in Leeds have been working hard behind the scenes to strip unit 43302 of its current livery, repaint it in its legacy colours and reinstate its original number in homage to the ‘end of the HST’ era.”

“What an incredible way to pay tribute to the HSTs and the magnificent efforts from all our staff, who have operated and maintained the fleet over the years.

“I personally remember as a 19-year-old, way back in 1980, going on HST commissioning runs from Derby to Darlington, putting the trains through their paces and doing various tests before they entered into service, such happy memories.

“This is a fitting way to recognise the end for this iconic machine; a massive slice of railway heritage and history.”

Neil Foster, Fleet Services Director for Porterbrook said: “EMR and Porterbrook have worked closely together for many years to collaboratively manage the iconic HST fleet, these trains are much loved by the millions of passengers they have carried over the decades.

“Today’s event was a great way to mark the role played by HSTs in transforming the Midland Main Line into one of Britain’s premier rail routes. With their reputation for comfort and speed these icons of British engineering re-invigorated rail travel between Yorkshire, the East Midlands and London.

“Celebrity power-car 43102 will proudly display its original livery whilst it continues to serve EMR passengers, before undertaking its next journey to a new home at the National Railway Museum to be reunited with Sir Kenneth Grange.”

Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway cameras come to Railcam

We are absolutely thrilled to finally announce the addition of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway webcams to Railcam.

Another project that has been long in the making, and was made even longer by the Covid pandemic, has finally come through. We welcome the already very popular trio of cameras at Porthmadog Harbour Station, Minffordd and Tan Y Bwlch to our already extensive heritage offerings from across the UK.

The Ffestiniog Railway is the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway with almost 200 years of history, taking you on a 13½-mile journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Our historic trains climb over 700 feet from sea level into the mountains through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, round tight bends (even a complete spiral) clinging to the side of the mountain or tunnelling through it.

The Welsh Highland Railway is the UK’s longest heritage railway and runs for 25 miles from Caernarfon, past the foot of Snowdon and the picture postcard village of Beddgelert, then through the stunning Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog. Passengers ride in some of the most comfortable carriages on any heritage railway in the UK, including first class Pullman luxury and freshly-cooked food delivered to your seat.

Porthmadog Harbour Station
Minffordd
Tan Y Bwich

The webcams are available to all Railcam members now, and also via the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway website at www.festrail.co.uk, where you can also keep up to date with all the very latest news from the railway.

Fingers crossed for the return of services to both the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway, and all our heritage partners, later this year.

Are you getting the most out of your Railcam subscription….?

We have seen comments many times in the past from Railcam members and subscribers saying ‘Oh, I didn’t realise I could do that’ or ‘I didn’t realise that was a feature on Railcam’. So we have put together our first 3 tutorial videos to explain a few of the options you may not realise are available to you…

Firstly we look at Registration, Login and Subscriptions….

Secondly we explain all about the cameras and chatroom options….

And finally we look into the often daunting Diagrams and Schedules…. (It’s a lot easier than you think!)

Are there any other parts of the Railcam site you would like explaining in more detail? Drop a comment below and we will see what we can do.

#SpottingFromHome & #SpottingFromWork 2.0

Once again we move into ‘lockdown’ restrictions across the UK, and many of us now find ourselves at home for at least the next few weeks…… We have already been asked if we intend to resurrect #SpottingFromHome / #SpottingFromWork to enable rail enthusiasts who are now restricted to where they can safely travel to, to continue enjoying the hobby from the comfort of their armchair. Well we can, but it will be on a smaller scale…..

#SpottingFromHome hasn’t ever really stopped, the hashtag has been ticking over slowly on Twitter since we officially called an end to the campaign after the first national lockdown in March 2020, but we have been delighted to see members still sharing their captures from across our cameras as Covid-19 has still left many of us unwilling or unable to travel, except where necessary.

So, will we bring back #SpottingFromHome? Well the answer is of course yes, but it won’t be on the scale of last time. With home schooling and people working from home, our social media team are not sat at their desks all day, we have children to teach and commitments we have to attend to away from Railcam, so #SpottingFromHome 2.0 will work a little differently……

We will continue to like each and every post, as we did last time around, but the retweeting will be a little different. We will retweet a number of posts throughout the day, as time permits, but we won’t be able to go into the detail we did with all the retweets previously, this time we will pick a selection to retweet in detail.

What do we ask when you share your #SpottingFromHome or #SpottingFromWork captures? Simply tag Railcam and the TOC in your capture, and include the hashtag #SpottingFromHome or #SpottingFromWork, it’s that simple. If you want to add detail of the number and working of the train then please feel free.

We must stress that you follow all social distancing measure set out by the government, and do not make unnecessary journeys to take photos to share with us. #SpottingFromHome is exactly that, you are using our cameras to screen grab images to share with fellow Railcam members, from your home.

If you are #SpottingFromWork, please do so by following your companies safety guidelines.

Retro Charter Delight!

For many, the return of Class 90 hauled MK3s on the WCML is something of a delight, throw in the first outing for a full privately owned HST on the charter circuit, and you have a ‘modern classic’ day to remember.

Locomotive Services Ltd have been putting together a superb fleet of modern classic stock for their charter portfolio in recent months, which included MK3s forming part of a regular service on the Settle & Carlisle Line on the Staycation Express during the summer. Now the long awaited return of Class 90 hauled MK3s (along with DVT) on the WCML, and the first outing of the superbly done Midland Pullman HST are just around the corner.

Both the Midland Pullman and Royal Scot make their debuts on Saturday 12th December, details below…..

© midlandpullman.com

This inaugural train will offer a circular tour following as closely as possible the original route travelling between London and Manchester through Kettering and along the Midland Main Line and the Erewash Valley. At Chesterfield we join the Hope Valley through the stunningly beautiful Derbyshire Peak District National Park offering amazing views of picturesque villages, Mam Tor and Kinder Scout.

We continue through Romiley and Guide Bridge to Stockport and across the agricultural Cheshire Plain with views over the Sandstone escarpment of Alderley Edge to Crewe and then travel down the West Coast Main Line via Stafford and Tamworth to Nuneaton where we branch off to pass through Hinckley to Leicester where we join the seldom used rural line through Britain’s smallest county of Rutland passing Melton Mowbray, Oakham, Corby and Kettering.

5Z43 Crewe Holding Sidings to St Pancras International (Empty Coaching Stock Move)

Crewe Camera 5 (05:59-06:15), Bedford Camera (08:03) & Flitwick Camera (08:08).

1Z43 St Pancras International to Crewe

Flitwick Camera (09:49), Bedford Camera (09:54), Chesterfield Cameras (11:07) & Crewe Cameras 2 & 5 (13:53).

1Z45 Crewe to St Pancras International

Crewe Camera 5 (13:59), Bedford Camera (17:41) & Flitwick Camera (17:46).

5Z46 St Pancras International to Crewe Holding Sidings (Empty Coaching Stock Move)

Flitwick Camera (19:42), Bedford Camera (19:46) & Crewe Camera 5 (21:50-22:00).

© inter-city.co.uk

We are pleased to offer an unmissable bargain priced day tour with travel all the way from London to Glasgow in First Class comfort on our modern air conditioned inter-city train, hauled by celebrity Class 90 electric locomotive 90001 ‘Royal Scot’ as it whisks us north for a journey up the West Coast Main line, over the Cumbrian fells with magnificent views of the Lakeland Mountains and across the border, thence through the Scottish Lowlands and the stunning climb to Beattock Summit.

We are due to arrive in Glasgow Central around 12.30 for a 30 minute leg stretch and at 13.00 we will depart for the journey south returning over Beattock Summit in daylight to Carlisle with an arrival around 14.15 and the opportunity to discover the border city in an afternoon sightseeing break.

In Carlisle we expect to have at least 2 hours available for some pre-Christmas retail therapy or perhaps visit the Castle and Cathedral, prior to a departure around 17.00 for our homeward journey south over Shap Summit and a fast run through historic Lancaster.

5Z89 Crewe Holding Sidings to London Euston

Watford Junction Camera (06:00) & Camden Junction Camera (06:25)

1Z90 London Euston to Glasgow Central

Camden Junction Camera (07:16), Watford Junction Camera (07:26), Crewe Cameras 2, 3 & 5 (09:20), Crewe Camera 4 (09:22), Leyland Cameras (09:58), Farington Junction Camera (10:00, Preston Camera (10:10), Bolton Le Sands Camera (10:24), Beattock Camera (11:46) & Thankerton Camera (12:03).

1Z91 Glasgow Central to Carlisle

Thankerton Camera (13:24) & Beattock Camera (13:48)

1Z92 Carlisle to London Euston

Bolton Le Sands Camera (18:05), Preston Camera (18:21), Farington Junction Camera (18:32), Leyland Cameras (18:34), Crewe Camera 4 (19:05), Crewe Cameras 2, 3 & 5 (19:06), Watford Junction Camera (21:23) & Camden Junction Camera (21:41).

As always, we would love to see your screen grabs or photos you get in person, just tag us in on your social media posts and we will give them a like, and share some of our favourites.

Railcam arrives at Newark

We are delighted to announce our second camera launch in just over a week! Hot on the heels of Crewe Camera 5, we can unveil our latest camera at Newark, on the East Coast Mainline, just south of Newark North Gate station.

This camera is a PTZ model which gives us the opportunity of views in both the north and south directions, where we expect to see ECML express passenger workings from LNER, Grand Central and Hull Trains, along with various freight workings.

We hope for a little better weather on launch day!

Railcam would like to extend a huge thank you to our very generous hosts for allowing us to bring this wonderful view to our members, and for their enthusiasm right from the initial contact. As ever we also wish to thank our install team, headed up by AndyJ, for tracking up to Newark and doing a cracking job, along with GWSimon for the initial site visit and survey.

Railcam Newark will spend a period of time featured on our YouTube channel at the link below, before reverting to a ‘Supporter Only’ camera after the preview period ends.

https://youtu.be/-98cbC4YPVg

Become a Railcam supporter, it couldn’t be easier!

For as little as £4 a month, and a bargain £23 a year, you can get access to numerous additional premium cameras, live signalling diagrams, schedule and allocation information and much more. Railcam Supporter, What do I get? Click here for more https://railcam.uk/whatyouget.php