Take some time out and come and visit us on Minehead Station on one of these days between 10.00 am and 4.00 pm. We will be Covid-19 secure and ready to welcome you. Visits will be in 3 time-slots 10am, 12pm and 2pm, each time-slot will allow up to 2 hours to explore and enjoy the activities on the platform.
The turntable will be in action with the opportunity for some vistors to have a go at turning the locomotive! This will be on a first come first served basis and opportunities will be limited.
The Turntable Café, Buffer Stop Shop and the well-known second hand Readers Halt bookstall will be open. Many of our locomotives will be on display, and there will be (socially distanced) access to a steam engine footplate and the driving cab of a Diesel Multiple Unit. Qualified staff will be on hand to explain how to operate!
On Minehead Station platform (the longest on a heritage railway) there will be a number of interesting and exciting stalls and stands for you to browse. At the end of the platform there will be shunting demonstrations to observe.
Conducted tours of our steam engine workshops and depot (normally out of bounds to members of the public) will also be available, so you will be able to get up close to engines under restoration including the Great Western King Class locomotive, which has been hidden from public view for some time.
And there will be free vintage double deck bus rides around Minehead which is included in the admission.
On 1st August (only) Freddie Huxtable will be holding a book signing of his book Taunton to Barnstaple vol 3 on Minehead Station. The booking signing will take place between 10.30am and 3pm.
Admission is £5 for adults, £3 for children (5- 17).
We would prefer you to book in advance on our website at www.west-somerset-railway.co.uk because numbers will be strictly limited to enable social distancing.
Tickets will also be available on the gate (if there is sufficient space on the station).
Please bring a mask with you, as there will be some areas where a mask will be required, for example, the shop, buffer stop shop, locomotive workshop, footplate or DMU cab.
If you are intending to take part in either the turntable demonstrations or visiting the locomotive shed, please ensure you are wearing sturdy sensible shoes, open toe or high heels will not be permitted.
You will be able to see shunting displays on our Minehead Station Cameras via the Railcam website, our YouTube Channel and www.wsr.org.uk
Devon and in particular the South Devon coastline has long since been a favourite for both rail enthusiasts and travellers alike.
When Railcam was approached by a potential host living track-side in the area, they took notice and sprang into action! Conversations took place, photographs and videos were viewed, and very quickly a date was penciled in to attend site and install the newest location to the Railcam portfolio.
Railcam is delighted to be offering two cameras. The first will be available via the Railcam site and available to subscribed members. Focusing on the mainline, a few hundred yards from Shaldon Bridge is the first of the Dahua PTZ cameras. Although it is a PTZ, the view will be static for most of the time to give the best vantage point for passing traffic on the rails.
There should be plenty of GWR action featuring class 800/802 IET trains, local sprinters, and of course the HST Castle sets! Also featured will be the CrossCountry services using Voyagers and HST sets. Railcam will also be able to show the many steam and diesel tours that pass and return on tours to Paignton, Plymouth, and Penzance.
Railcam’s second Dahua PTZ will be available on YouTube and is the first specialist scenic camera. The stream will cover the Teign Estuary, giving views from the Ness in Shaldon, Shaldon Bridge, and Ringmore as it pans from 7 am until dusk, to the edge of Dartmoor and back. There will be some railway within the view but the focus is based much more on the beautiful scenery.
Teignmouth to Newton Abbot was opened in 1846 by the South Devon Railway Company and was originally an extension of the Broad gauge Atmospheric Railway. The South Devon Railway was amalgamated into the GWR in 1876 and the broad gauge was converted to standard gauge in 1892.
Teignmouth itself boast’s a little bit of history. Teignmouth was the last place in mainland UK to be invaded by a foreign power when the French raided. Shaldon Bridge was once the longest wooden structure in Europe and is 1671 feet in length, and Charles Babbage, the mathematician who originated the idea of a programmable computer, also lived here for some years. His thoughts on Railcam and the internet would no doubt be very interesting!
Railcams camera installations take a lot of work and equipment to achieve. In all, the installation team had a round trip of over 700 miles, a large car filled with equipment and three team members spending the best part of three days to complete the task. There was also a kind host who not only provided the location but, supplied cups of coffee and bacon sandwiches to keep the team fuelled.
Once on-site final positions need to be agreed, safe working access risk assessed, internet speed checked, routers checked, electricity supplies checked and then the unpacking begins.
An installation is far more complicated than it sounds. Once the cameras and microphones are secured the installers can begin the process of connecting the new location to the Railcam system. Sometimes it’s smooth and other days little glitches are sent to test the most competent installer. From start to finish the team spent around 8 hours on-site for this installation.
The end result is what the Railcam supporter gets to view and has now been achieved many times to provide the huge choice of locations now available.
Railcam Director Andrew Jebb said, ” We are delighted to be adding another new location to Railcam’s extensive UK coverage. The Teignmouth cameras give our viewers the chance to enjoy both the railway and the beautiful scenery of the Teign estuary.”
He continued, ” As always, Railcam and its supporters are indebted to a generous host who has a passion for sharing a personal view with the rest of the World. The launch of our first specialist scenic camera, as well as a railway one, just shows how much Railcam loves this location.”
A few years ago Railcam were kindly offered a new site to broadcast from.
Railworld Wildlife Haven straddles the River Nene in Peterborough, Cambridgeshire. Situated a few hundred yards from Peterborough Railway station, beside the March line and on the site of the former power station coal yard to the north with the south bordering the Nene Valley Railway on the former LNWR shed site.
Railcam have until now operated two cameras from the site. The first is above the now redundant viewing platform and has been upgraded to a new higher specification PTZ camera than what was previously in use.
The new camera should allow Railcam to provide a closer view of the ECML activity and will be concentrated in that area on a permanent basis. We should have excellent views of services from LNER, EMR, Thameslink, Greater Anglia, Hull Trains and Cross Country as well as the heavy freight quantity that use the March line.
The second camera was located on the ‘Geoffrey G Steels Bridge’ – named because his personal legacy paid for it! This connects the north and south areas of the haven, crossing the River Nene it provides views of the curved bridge as the March line passes beneath the ECML. This camera has also been replaced with an upgraded model which should provide us with some exceptional viewing over the river. We even have swans and the occasional boat if that interests you while waiting for the next 66 hauled freight.
Railcam have now secured additional viewpoints at Railworld.
The first of these is on the newly built signal box viewing room. Built on the original footprint of the old Nene Junction box, the volunteers have created this wonderful facility for those wishing to view from a signalman’s perspective.
The box has been painted in its original green and cream colours and includes a monitor for viewing the camera and the local diagram. The volunteers involved in this project are rightly proud of what they have created and it is likely to be a very popular addition to the attraction.
The camera is located on the corner of the box and has fantastic views of the freight passing just a few feet away. Facing Peterborough direction, you will be able to see many of those freight trains waiting for the points to change before heading past the location. You will also be able to view the Greater Anglia class 755 “Flirt” passing on a regular basis as well as EMR and Crosscountry services.
The fourth camera, which is yet to be activated, is positioned on the Nene end of the viewing platform. Facing towards the curved bridge it will give a similar view to the signal box camera but from the opposite direction.
All of the cameras are the latest high definition models and have their own additional external microphones for added quality. Three of the cameras are currently live on Railcam with the fourth still in test mode.
Railworld Wildlife Haven began life over 35 years ago when the Reverend Richard Paten purchased the Standard Class 5 locomotive for £3,000 that was the spark that ignited the passion for the Nene valley Railway.
However, this wasn’t enough for the Reverend and so he purchased the disused power station coal yard. His intention was to create a museum but the funding to support the venture wasn’t available so instead, he asked his friend Brian Pearce for ideas and suggestions.
Brian, an enthusiastic conservationist suggested creating a wildlife haven in the middle of a city. The rest they say is history but that history and today’s environment is down to the countless numbers of volunteers and businesses that have driven this project from a coal yard and old shed site into an area of tranquility that makes it hard to believe you are in a city.
This is a charity site, everything here is donated and Brian tells us how one of the footbridges was completed one plank at a time as that was all they could afford at the time. The end result is a mix of enthusiastic volunteers with recycling of old railway structures creating a living classroom for local schools and environmental groups.
The northern part of the site also boasts the ‘Globe Hall Earth Centre’ that took 19 years to build. It is complete with classroom and many interactive activities. There is a giant 2.5 metre World at the centre, created by volunteers. Remarkably it’s all solar powered driven, utilising a redundant car park barrier gate drive. Brian cheerily tells us how children use it to locate Countries around the World and even the city of Coventry!
As you walk around the Haven you will see 3 Victorian bridges. These once formed part of an aqueduct built by the GNR at Abbots Ripton and were donated by Network Rail who couldn’t bear to see them scrapped.
You will come across various engine parts, the new signal box and my favourite, a Norwegian track cycle that visitors are allowed to use along a small section of track.
As you cross the River Nene you are using yet another bit of recycled railway infrastructure. This is the old footbridge from north of Darlington station where it used to connect the old steam shed (51A) with the diesel depot. Funded by a legacy from lifelong rail enthusiast Geoff Steels, it connects to the old Peterborough bridge to reach the South side.
The south is dominated by railway. The largest exhibit is the 50 year old RTV 31 Hovertrain. Once seen to be the future of railways, it was fully automatic and driver-less, and designed for 300 MPH – London to Edinburgh in 90 mins! On test near Cambridge it reached 104 MPH but was sadly shelved and then dropped after its trials in the fens.
There is over 2,000 sqft of model railways, some SG locos in need of restoration, and even the surprise of the original London North Western Railway turntable pit. This has now been uncovered and it’s cut stone edgings, found in the pit have been put back in position
Railworld not only wants visitors. It needs volunteers for just about every job. If you have an interest in helping please contact them directly to offer whatever support you can.
This is an ideal location for the family, with “Entertain and Educate” being the Railworld catchphrase. With access to the Nene valley railway adjacent to the southern side it provides the perfect day out for rail enthusiasts and their families.
Brian Pearce said, ” We are delighted to be furthering our relationship with Railcam. With sustainable rail travel being the most environmentally favourable form of transport for passenger and freight, we believe Railworld Wildlife Haven is the prime location to view the changing face of the railway”.
He continued, ” It also highlights our commitment to the UK’s Circular Economy. We are the elected ‘Champions of Re-use, Re-purpose and Share’! Re-using redundant and unwanted items from the railway makes the Railworld Wildlife Haven the perfect location for children as well as rail enthusiasts to learn about what can be achieved when volunteers, companies, groups and individuals work together for a common cause. Our partnership with Railcam furthers our exposure and will help us attract more visitors and volunteers to continue our work” “
Railcam director, Adrian Bradshaw added : “We are delighted to be able to renew our successful relationship with Railworld. Brian has been hugely supportive of what we do and it’s great to be able to contribute to the fantastic work that he and his volunteers do there. The Peterborough cameras were already firm favourites among our members, so the addition of extra views and improved quality will only cement their position as some of the best cameras in our expanding portfolio.”
After 89 days, 9 million Tweet impressions, averaging over 100,000 per day, we have decided that now is the time to start winding down the #SpottingFromHome and #SpottingFromWork campaign.
As Covid-19 restrictions have started to ease across the UK, Railcam’s lockdown status is also starting to ease. We are now able to start picking up on our long, long list of camera installs and upgrades (Where safe to do so under social distancing rules), as well as some of our heritage railway partners also planning for re-opening. Our attention will start to shift over to those new/upgraded camera locations, and supporting the heritage railways through what will be a very tricky and possibly stressful re-opening with welcoming back passengers under social distancing guidelines.
Obviously this doesn’t mean everything is back to normal, we still encourage you to stay safe and responsible whilst pursuing our hobby, and we most definitely still want to see your #SpottingFromHome and #SpottingFromWork captures on our social media pages. We will continue to like all of your posts, and will still pick out a few per day for retweets.
On a personal note, I would like to thank every single person who has taken the time to contribute to #SpottingFromHome and #SpottingFromWork. Every single Railcam follower, train operating company, railway based media outlets, social media team member, rail worker (drivers, station staff, train managers, dispatchers, depot workers, we have had them all), people spotting from their back gardens and whilst taking exercise. Thank you for all doing your part to help rail enthusiasts #StaySafeStayHome during these very difficult last 3 months.
As always, whenever we mention new camera locations, we get the inevitable requests to put cameras here, there and everywhere. We have a list of well over 20 locations on our books to start working through now, some will end up as part of the Railcam network, some won’t. A lot has changed in the last 3 months for everyone, so now our task is to get back in touch with potential hosts for our cameras and work through the backlog where safe to do so.
Once again, a huge thank you to all who have taken #SpottingFromHome this far, it’s been a blast! Remember to #StaySafe and stick to #EssentialTravelOnly and we will hopefully be back to enjoying our hobby again very soon.
A couple has been reunited with their much-loved missing pet dog after a four-day search of the railway in Cheshire.
Rover, an 18-month-old Cocker Spaniel, went missing in Runcorn on 30 May causing his owners Alan and Laura a weekend of worry.
After receiving a report of the missing pup, Network Rail mobile operations manager Andy Smith went to look for him.
On Tuesday (2 June) Andy found Rover, but he escaped again before finally being brought to safety away from the railway line.
To help round up the poor pooch, Andy enlisted the help of Dave Ball, Network Rail off-track team leader, and railway maintenance workers from contractor EA Formby Ltd, who all immediately downed tools for the continued search.
The team eventually found run-away Rover on a railway embankment about two miles from where he had escaped.
After 15 minutes of patiently waiting for the cautious canine to accept their help, the team managed to coax Rover to safety and he was returned to owners Alan and Laura after four days of hide and seek.
Dave Ball, off-track team leader at Network Rail, said: “Many of us in my team are dog lovers with pets of our own. Rover is a beautiful Cocker Spaniel and clearly well looked after, so we are so happy that he is reunited safely with his family.
“It must have been really scary for Rover by the railway and we’re really glad to have got him safely away from danger and back home where he belongs.”
Owners Alan and Laura were overjoyed to be reunited with Rover.
Alan said: “We are so grateful to the efforts of the team at Network Rail who rescued Rover. We’ve got our little family back together and we couldn’t be happier.”
Network Rail worked with local group ‘Bindi’s Lost and Found Pets’ in the search for the missing dog.
Donna Ryan, founder of Bindi’s Lost and Found Pets, said: “We had been looking for Rover for four days in the very hot weather. I am very happy he was returned to Alan and Laura. We are very grateful to Network Rail and the Runcorn community for their work to find him.”
Because the railway is very dangerous, anyone who sees a dog on the track is advised to ring the Network Rail helpline on 03457 11 41 41 so our specially trained staff can help.
Please never venture onto railway lines to look for an animal yourself as there are many hidden dangers on the tracks and the consequences could be fatal.
To coincide with the latest episode (Tuesday 19th May) of Yesterday’s The Architecture The Railways Built, hosted by Railcam member and avid supporter Tim Dunn, we are streaming all four of our cameras from the Settle-Carlisle Line LIVE on YouTube for the entire day.
Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Kirkby Stephen, Ribblehead Station and of course Ribblehead Viaduct will stream throughout the day for you to enjoy during the buildup to the airing at 8pm on TV channel Yesterday (Freeview 19, Sky 155, Virgin Media 129).
As well as the beautiful Settle-Carlisle Line, York station is also featured in this episode, and you can watch our camera overlooking the grand old station on our YouTube channel or via the links below…..
With many enthusiasts looking at galas and railtours they ‘would’ have been on this weekend, the calendar of upcoming events remains bare. One heritage railway is breaking the block of emptiness by bringing you the first ever ‘Virtual Steam & Diesel Gala’, and it is building up to be a wonderful day.
The Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway Virtual Steam & Diesel Gala takes place on Saturday 16th May on their Facebook page, and features a full day of interactive entertainment for all ages, with the aim of raising much needed funds to help the railway through lockdown and to get up and running again once restrictions are lifted.
During this difficult time the railway’s survival relies on the generous support of our friends. We realise that lots of our regular passengers are missing their train journeys on the RH&DR and are looking for ways to continue to support us.
Supporters Virtual Ticket
We’ll send you a printable e-certificate to say thank you – it’s the least we can do!
Travel and Supporters Ticket
An official invitation and ticket to travel on an exclusive train on the first Saturday when we return to service. The invitation will be sent via e-mail so please ensure that your e-mail address is correct.
Why not add a Virtual Coal Bucket to your e-Guide purchase?
In addition to our e-guide this option also includes a Virtual Coal Bucket that’ll be filled and shown on our social media pages. We’ll fill the bucket – label it with your name and fill our locomotive tenders with it LIVE when we can safely return.
How about a Virtual Bacon Roll & a Coffee
Get your Gala day off to a traditional start with a virtual bacon roll and a coffee from the Heywood Buffet.
Note: you will not receive this virtual bacon roll or coffee – you will be supporting the Railway by purchasing this virtual item.
Virtual Fish & Chips from The End Of The Line Restaurant
It’s lunch-time at the Dungeness End of the Line Restaurant and virtual fish and chips are top of the menu choices.
Note: you will not receive this virtual bacon roll or coffee – you will be supporting the Railway by purchasing this virtual item.
Virtual Afternoon Tea in Hythe’s Vintage Tea Room
Tea for two at the Hythe Vintage Tea Room would bring any visit to the RH&DR to a distinguished close but on Virtual Gala day this will be a special treat.
Note: you will not receive this virtual bacon roll or coffee – you will be supporting the Railway by purchasing this virtual item.
‘Our annual Gala with its unique Romney combination of many locomotives in use on challenging and unusual workings is for me one of the highlights of the railway year. To allow a year to pass without recognising this key weekend in our year is unthinkable. That this year this must be in virtual format is very different and we all understand why. However, I for one am looking forward to it hugely.Danny Martin – General Manager
Look out for a few Railcam Supporters packages on offer to!
When the UK Government issued it’s Corona virus lock-down guidelines in March it affected every person in the UK. While we all had to think about working from home or making essential journeys the new “norm” is likely to have a long influence in what we can and can’t do.
One hobby that has been forced into isolation with us is Train-spotting. Ever since the first Ian Allen books were published it has been a British quest to get each number of a locomotive ticked off of a list. Usually done at railway stations, the train-spotter has been part of the railway family for many generations. The hobby has drawn many into committing their whole career to working on the British Railways whether it be a ticket inspector, Guard, Driver, Station staff or Senior Management.
With the lock-down in full force the traditional spotter has been forced to think out of the box and Railcam Social Media supremo, Jamie Rowley has been the man to lead.
Using the hashtags #spottingfromhome and #spottingfromwork, Jamie led from the front and gave a new dimension to the old hobby. No longer are spotters crossing off numbers and sharing information within small groups. Instead, they have joined in with the Railcam campaign and taken the opportunity to use social media, Sharing many photographs or videos, some from on-board staff, the internet has been awash with rail related content.
Jamie added, “The #SpottingFromHome idea came after I saw a news article circulating in the very early days of lockdown showing 3 young enthusiasts still out by the lineside taking photos. It occurred to me that we already have the cameras there, we have the enthusiast base already aware of what we do, so why not bring trainspotting indoors. Enthusiasts could use our cameras to take screen captures and share them with the wider railway family by simply including the hashtag #SpottingFromHome and tagging @railcamlive, so we could like and share some of our favourite captures throughout the day.”
Jamie continued “I fully expected there to be a moderate amount of interest in this for a week or so, but it has gone from strength to strength, and shows no sign of slowing down! It has been great to see interaction from the TOC’s social media teams, especially Northern, TransPennine Express and Transport for Wales, as well as industry professionals such as the British Transport police.”
“This interaction from within the industry has expanded so quickly that we have had to start including #SpottingFromWork, for key workers to share what they are ‘spotting’ at work. Train drivers, station staff and depot workers are regularly updating us on what they are seeing passing through deserted stations or from the cab window, and also giving us an insight into some of the areas of the railway we wouldn’t usually get to see.”
Tweets surrounding the campaign on Twitter alone have generated 2.7 million impressions over the past 4 weeks. Other social media platforms have seen similar increases due to the hashtag campaign.
Railcam Director Adrian Bradshaw said, “We’re amazed and delighted at the runaway success of the #SpottingFromHome and #SpottingFromWork initiative. It’s great that we have been able to do our bit to keep rail enthusiasts safe and entertained during these strange and difficult times.”
Railcam started broadcasting just over ten years ago and has 49 mainline cameras to view as well as 22 Heritage, 2 guest and 26 International cameras available. The site has over 32,000 registered users and there has been a huge increase on demand since lock-down began.
The campaign has not only been supported by site members but by social media followers and the some of the Train Operating companies themselves. Train spotting has had a tough time over the years with its image. However, nowadays the community is seen as a welcome addition to the railway family with spotters encouraged to share information and safety concerns with rail staff and police, the hobby has become an extra pair of eyes which helps not hinders.
As we do our best to look toward the future, times and the hobby will be very different. Changes will have to be made with the nation accepting that we are a long way away from reinstating the norm from a few months ago. Maybe the new digital way of spotting from home will become the new normal but, maybe not. Whatever happens though, the Railcam campaign has certainly brought a new way of sharing to the forefront and long may it continue.
We are delighted to welcome the Dyfi Osprey Project’s live camera to Railcam.
The railway is very much a secondary focus here, as we get some stunning close up shots of the beautiful Ospreys.
Dovey Junction (Cyffordd Dyfi) is situated on the Cambrian Coast Line and is the junction point for Transport For Wales services to/from Aberystwyth and Pwllheli.
The Dovey Junction / Dyfi Osprey Project camera can currently be found on the Railcam website under the ‘Featured Free’ camera list or by the YouTube link below.
The Dyfi Osprey Project has been running at Cors Dyfi Nature Reserve near Machynlleth since 2009. Find out more about the work and history of the Dyfi Osprey Project here.
The Dyfi Osprey Project is part of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust. Montgomeryshire is one of 47 Wildlife Trusts in the UK, you can find out more about the work of Montgomeryshire Wildlife Trust here.
Supporters and Volunteers are key to the success and continuation of the Dyfi Osprey Project.
Becoming a member of the Trust or making a donation are great ways to support the project.
Equally, we rely on the support of our team of volunteers to undertake a range of activities from greeting visitors in the 360 Observatory to keeping the boardwalks clear. We can’t do what we do without them!
With the current COVID-19 crisis, the opportunity to get out and enjoy our hobby has been drastically cut, so with that in mind we are asking everyone to take advantage of our live cameras and do a bit of #SpottingFromHome.
Simply screen grab any interesting train movements you see on our cameras as you are watching, post them to Twitter and tag us, @railcamlive and we will give our favourites a like/retweet throughout the day.
All we ask is that you don’t crop the images. You can also tag the train operating companies involved if you like, and please do include the hashtag #SpottingFromHome
We have recently had a number of rail staff taking part whilst they are out keeping the railways running, so also look out for #SpottingFromWork. A huge thank you to all those #keyworkers and #FrontLineHeros across the rail industry.