All Change for Island Line – Competition to win Ryde Rail by Richard Long

Railcam is delighted to bring you another competition. This time, respected railway author, Richard Long has offered a copy of his book, Ryde Rail, to one lucky winner.

To enter, simply comment on the post on any of the Railcam, Facebook or Twitter posts by answering the following question:

How long is the Island line?

The winner will be drawn at random on Sunday 22 November 2020.

Ryde rail: A History of Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight by Richard Long Published by Crecy Publishing

Richard has kindly written the following piece for us to give an insight to the tube trains in use on the Island line. We would like to thank Richard for his time and generosity.

In January 1967 the Ryde-Shanklin line closed down completely before reopening three months later with a ‘new’ fleet of refurbished ex-London Underground trains.  54 years later, at the start of 2021, the same thing is to happen again.  The full story of those 54 years can be found in my book Ryde Rail: A History of Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight.  But why did the Isle of Wight end up with second-hand tube trains in the first place?

Unit 009 enters Ryde tunnel at the rear of a 4-car southbound train on 31 August 2009.

By the end of 1966 the Island’s former 55-mile network of railway lines had been whittled down to just eight-and-a-half miles of track between Ryde and Shanklin – which local campaigners had forced BR to retain.  Faced with a life-expired fleet of pre-Grouping steam engines and carriages BR concluded that modernisation was the only answer.  New-build rolling stock was out of the question on cost grounds so a decision was taken to electrify the line and employ a fleet of ex-London Underground ‘Standard Stock’ tube cars (to become BR classes 485 & 486).  These were ideal as they were more than suited to the Island’s notoriously restrictive loading gauge and, crucially, were readily available at scrap value.  Around 40 years-old in 1967, the Standard Stock were expected to last about 10 years on the Island but eventually lumbered on until replacements arrived in the form of the current 1938 Stock tube trains in 1989-92.

Already 50 years-old at the time of their arrival, the 1938 Stock (BR class 483) were probably even then the oldest (non-heritage) trains on the national network but, after 30 years on the Island, have now clocked-up eight decades of service.  Nine two-car units were originally delivered to Ryde but today only six sets survive; of which only two are currently operational – and that’s on a good day.  Two working units are required to maintain the two-trains-an-hour timetable meaning that, if one set fails (as has happened frequently in the past 12 months), the service drops to one-train-an-hour.

Unit 008 in platform 1 at Brading with a northbound service on 5 September 2013.  A passing loop is to be installed at this location.

SWR’s replacements for the 80-year-old trains will be the class 484 – a third rail electric version of Vivarail’s Class 230.  Re-engineered from former District Line ‘D Stock’ units these are once-again ex-London Underground trains but, crucially, they are LU ‘sub-surface’ stock (in other words, normal-sized UK trains) and not tube trains – disproving once-and-for-all the myth that only tube trains would fit on the Isle of Wight.  Five two-car units have been ordered; to be painted in SWR livery with ‘Island Line’ branding.  With fully-modernised interiors, disabled access and on-train wifi these will arguably be the closest thing to actual new trains the Island’s railways have experienced in well over a century.  Reportedly the first three units will arrive on the Island by Christmas although none are expected to enter traffic until the line reopens in April 2021.

Unsurprisingly some infrastructure modifications will be required for the new units to operate – including adjusting platform heights for step-free access and lowering the track under some overbridges.  Whether the track in Ryde Tunnel will be lowered remains to be seen – it hasn’t been mentioned and, contrary to popular belief, it isn’t the lowest structure on the line.  The worst sections of track are to be re-laid as well (the famously bouncy ride quality of the current stock probably owes as much to the condition of the track as to that of the trains.)  Perhaps the most significant improvement will be the laying of a passing loop at Brading; allowing a two-train service to run at a regular half-hourly interval, rather than the current 20/40-minute service.  (The present track layout, with no passing point at Brading, is the result of a rationalisation carried out by Network SouthEast in the 1980s, when three-trains-an-hour were operated.)

A CGI image released by Vivarail last year of a new Class 484 unit.

The 1938 Stock are expected to operate their final services on 3 January 2021, after which the line will close until 1 April, but will any survive into preservation?  One unit seems likely to remain on the Island as a static exhibit at the Isle of Wight Steam Railway while another group, the London Transport Traction Group, has been formed with the aim of operating a set under battery power on the Epping-Ongar Railway.  Whether any further units will find new homes remains to be seen. 

Whatever happens, the next few months will see exciting changes for the Ryde-Shanklin line; which enthusiasts should be able to witness first hand on Railcam’s new camera at Ryde. 

Richard Long is the author of Isle of Wight Railways: A New History (www.crecy.co.uk/isle-of-wight-railways-a-new-history) and the bestselling Ryde Rail: A History of Tube Trains on the Isle of Wight (www.crecy.co.uk/ryde-rail).

Railcams ticket to Ryde – New cameras and the chance to win a weekend at the Royal Esplanade Hotel!

Railcam UK is delighted to announce the latest location to its ever-increasing portfolio which is being launched with an incredible competition prize! Full details are at the end of this article.

To enter, you need to share the social media post from Railcam on either Facebook or Twitter and follow our YouTube channel where these streams will be a permanent addition.

The latest addition sees Railcam joining with the Royal Esplanade Hotel at Ryde on the Isle of Wight. The Royal Esplanade hotel is a characterful Victorian Grade II Listed building that has been lovingly and sympathetically restored by its current owners. It offers a range of rooms to suit most budgets, from smaller Classic rooms through to larger Superior Sea View rooms, all rooms have ensuite facilities.

The main entrance to the Royal Esplanade Hotel, Ryde, Isle of Wight

Royal Esplanade Hotel General Manager, Bobby Oddy said:

“We are delighted to be hosting these cameras for Railcam UK. To share this view over the Solent with the World is exciting and can only encourage more people to come and visit our wonderful hotel and island.

We would like to take this opportunity to thank Railcam for letting us be part of this exciting project and we look forward to welcoming you all to the Royal Esplande Hotel”

You can email info@royalesplanadehotel.co.uk or call on 01983 3562549 for booking inquiries.

The first camera, Ryde Esplanade & Pier , will be a localised view that will focus on Ryde Pier and the South Western Railway operated Island line with its class 483, 1938 ex tube stock trains. These will soon be replaced by 5 class 484 ex D78 underground stock which have been converted by Vivarail. The new trains are due to begin service in April 2021 after a 3-month blockade to update the line.

SWR Island line Class 483 Ex 1938 tube stock on Ryde Pier

The camera will also give great views of the Hovercraft landings and departures, Wightlink Fastcat arrivals and departures, and the busy bus stand to make this an unprecedented transport enthusiasts haven.

The second camera, Ryde Pier & The Solent Scenic Camera, will be providing much wider views of the Solent including the commercial, cruise, and naval shipping movements that operate into Portsmouth and Southampton. The camera will operate on a pre-programmed sequence to take in as much as possible from this exceptional location on the hotel roof.

A few months ago some of the Railcam team visited the Island to get a last run on the old tube stock before its retirement. During their stay, a temporary, “Pop Up” camera via an Ipad ran for two days. This was streamed via our YouTube channel and proved to be so popular that it gave birth to the idea of a permanent camera being set up.

The view from the Railcam test run

Adrian Bradshaw, Railcam Director said:

“After our team visited Ryde recently and live-streamed the wonderful view from the Royal Esplanade Hotel, we were inundated with people asking if we could do something permanent there. We are delighted to be able to do just that, with not one, but two live cameras offering stunning views of trains, hovercraft and shipping…”

In addition to the two new cameras, Railcam is delighted to announce that it will now be featuring the Isle of Wight Steam Railway webcams on its main site. This is a fabulous addition to the heritage section and is perfect timing with our Ryde cameras launch.

Isle of Wight Steam railway webcams will now be available via the Railcam uk site

General manager Steve Backhouse said:

“Our webcams are already a very popular feature on our website. We’re excited that these will be available to a wider audience via the Railcam website, and look forward to welcoming more digital visitors to the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.”

To launch the exciting addition of Ryde cameras, Railcam UK is delighted to offer one lucky winner a stay at the Royal Esplanade Hotel.

The winner will receive return tickets from London Waterloo to Portsmouth courtesy of South Western Railway.

Departing from the cathedral-like station of Waterloo our winners will be able to sit back and relax as South Western Railway takes you through the busy Clapham Junction, Surrey and Hampshire countryside and arriving at Portsmouth Harbour in around 2 hours.

We believe the fastest and easiest route for rail enthusiasts is from Portsmouth Harbour Station to Ryde Pier with the Island line Station. To accommodate this Wightlink Ferries have kindly offered two return tickets on their Fastcat service.

The journey takes just 22 minutes and will leave the winners with a gentle walk along the pier to the hotel.

Two nights B&B in a Superior Double Sea View room at the Royal Esplanade Hotel, Ryde for dates in March 2021.

Use the Royal esplanade as your base and jump on the bus just outside to go exploring! Sadly the Island line is likely to still be under its upgrade blockade but you may just get to see test runs and engineering work taking place. There are many places to explore including the Isle of Wight Steam Railway.

To complete the package, what could be better than a Railcam goody bag? worth over £100, containing – Hoodie, Tassel Scarf, Gloves, T-shirt, Bag Baseball Cap, Thermal mug, Pen. Keyring, 10-year anniversary pin badge. (Items subject to change)

To be in with a chance of winning this prize you must be aged over 18, UK resident, and share the social media post from Railcam on either Facebook or Twitter and follow our YouTube channel. We really would like to see you use #RailcamRyde too but that’s not essential.

Competition rules:

The prizes are kindly donated by The Royal Esplanade Hotel, Ryde, Wightlink ferries, and South Western Railway and are not transferable.

The winner must be available for the agreed dates in March 2021.

No cash alternative is available.

The winner will be drawn at random and announced on Sunday 15th November.

The winner must contact admin@railcam.uk within 24 hours to claim the prize or it will be redrawn.

Expenses for additional travel, accommodation and food is the winners liability and will not be covered by Railcam UK.

Railcam UK decision is final in all aspects and no correspondence will be entered into.

Railcam UK reserve the right to cancel the competition without reason at any stage.

Update on Ryde cameras

Railcam UK are delighted to announce that the new cameras are now in position and under test.

Our installers attended last weekend and battled through some inclement weather conditions to complete the job before a second national Covid 19 lockdown could delay the project.

We should hopefully be going “Live” this weekend once we are happy with the quality and sequences.

To whet your appetite, here are a few teasers from the cameras.

Looking across the Solent to the Spinnaker tower and Portsmouth harbour entrance
Southampton docks and Cruise terminal
One of the Solent’s forts
Looking over Appley Beach

Railcam joins with Rail Operations Group for new Derby camera launch

Railcam UK is delighted to reveal the latest addition to its camera portfolio with the addition of two new cameras at Derby. The first is now ready to broadcast with the second due online in the near future.

Railcam UK comes to Derby

In partnership with Rail Operations Group, the cameras are situated on the Derby Headquarters building at the Country end of platform one.

A grainy picture (apologies) of the cameras on the exterior of ROG Headquarters Derby

Railcam UK have invested heavily on this installation with two Axis M3115-LVE cameras to give the best quality streams possible.

The two Axis M3115-LVE cameras and microphones ready for installation at Derby

Derby is on the Midland Main Line and serves huge areas of the country with direct links. The station is managed by East Midlands Railway and also serves CrossCountry services.

EMR HST and Super Voyager at Derby are current visitors which will be seen on the new cameras.

Additionally, there will be traffic from Rail Operations Group and Colas on a regular basis. Etches Park depot is on the far side of the station with Bombardier adjacent. Chaddesen sidings are on the country side with EMR HSTs currently running in. Sadly the ROG siding beside the offices is no longer in place.

Ok a slight cheat on a ROG catch but Railcam installers like to have fun too!

Railcam UK believes this could be one of the most popular cameras on offer and as an introduction to the public one of the views will be offered on YouTube at some point soon for a one-week period. The camera will then become a subscription-only camera on the main website. Subscriptions are £23 for 12 months and include access to over 100 cameras, live signalling diagrams and real-time data feeds.

Rail Operations Group Project Manager, Andrew Cowell said:

“Rail Operations Group are pleased to support Railcam in bringing the lineside to your armchair during these difficult times. Our Derby HQ gives a unique viewpoint on the railway allowing people to see the changing face of the Midland Mainline.”

CrossCountry Voyager as seen from Camera 2 Derby

Railcam Director Adrian Bradshaw said:

“We have had discussions with ROG at Derby over the last couple of years so it’s great that we’ve managed to get this done – and don’t they look great?! Of course, working with another high-profile rail industry partner is yet another boost for Railcam and we look forward to working with Rail Operations Group on other projects very soon. Derby is another high-profile site for us in a successful year, despite the challenges we have all been facing.”

Railcam to celebrate Midland Mainline HSTs with #HSTonMML

**POSTPONED**

© @HiPa_IC125_

Who doesn’t love a HST? No, I didn’t think there would be many hands raised to that question. Well, this Saturday, 3rd October, Railcam will be celebrating the iconic High Speed Train. We plan to head out to the Midland Mainline, between Leicester and Derby/Nottingham to feature a number of live streams of these famous beasts in action via our YouTube channel.

We also plan to feature live photos across our Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram pages, but we need your help! Throughout the day we would like to see your own historical photos of HSTs working on the Midland Mainline, alongside the hashtag #HSTonMML.

Along with the hashtag, we would also ask that you tag Railcam, East Midlands Railway and We are EMR across any of the platforms you choose to post to. We will like and share as many as we can throughout the day.

That’s it, it’s that simple……

Despite the wet forecast, we still plan to head out and cover as much as we possibly can. With that in mind, here are the scheduled* HST workings for Saturday 3rd October (* Subject to change)

SET 1 – 5B23, 1B23, 1D28, 1B48, 1D53, 1B73, 1F77, 5F77.

SET 2 – 5B28, 1B28, 1D33, 1B53, 1D58, 1B78, 1D81, 5D81.

SET 3 – 5D13, 1D13, 1B33, 1D38, 1B58, 1D63, 5D63.

SET 4 – 5B13, 1B13, 1D18, 1B38, 1D43, 1B63, 1D68, 5D68.

SET 5 – 5B18, 1B18, 1D23, 1B43, 1D48, 1B68, 1F70, 5F70.

You will be able to track the movements of all of these services on the day by using our RC Data tab on the Railcam website. Type the headcode in the appropriate search box. Allocations can also be added, along with set and coach information.

Note. We are not encouraging gatherings of enthusiasts and we urge that social distancing measures are still followed, when travelling and on stations.

Railcam & KJB Models announce Hensall Camera

Railcam UK is delighted to be partnering with KJB Models to bring you live coverage from their base at Hensall. 

Hensall, famously covered by Geoff and Vicki of All The Station back in 2017, is known as the ‘least used station in North Yorkshire’. Don’t let that fool you!

The station may currently only see 3 passenger services calling during the week, but we are blessed with a vast number of freight trains from DB Cargo, GB Railfreight, and Freightliner workings to and from the Drax Power Station.

KJB Models deal in new and secondhand model railways of all gauges. They have extensive ranges in model railways, scenery, craft, preowned, and more. Visit their website at https://kjbmodels.co.uk for more information.

We must stress that the current camera view is only a temporary one. We plan to have a new dedicated camera installed in the near future that is more directly focused on the railway, but please do enjoy this wonderful addition and one of our very first virtually freight only cameras!

We would like to thank The KJB Models team for all their co-operation in allowing us to bring yet another camera to the Railcam audience.

Hensall camera is free to view to all Railcam members. Register for your FREE account now at https://railcam.uk

Out and about

As I’ve had a quiet few days on the news front I thought I’d share a few shots I took whilst out and about for Railcam.

Saturday was the final HST working of the Jolly Fisherman Skegness holiday trains. Sadly the first of the two sets was failed at Nottingham with brake issues. It would have been so much nicer to have the side by side but this is the historic moment.

The other photos were taken on Monday as I travelled around the East Midlands for a different project.

Photos are from Skegness, Sleaford, Nottingham, East Midlands Parkway and Loughborough.

For some unknown reason, the slide show below has reordered the sequence to its own liking and not the original order.

Isle of Wight Camera update….

Most of you will be aware of our recent ‘pop-up’ camera on the Isle of Wight, overlooking Ryde Esplanade, Ryde Pier and the hovercraft landing area, if you missed it you can view some of the footage below….

©Railcam UK Ltd

This temporary camera, streamed via iPad from our teams hotel room window, was a huge success with upwards of 500 viewers at once logging in to our YouTube stream to see the famous Island Line stock, hovercraft, shipping and bus action.

Since that visit our admin team have been in discussions with the hotel, and we are delighted to reveal those discussion have been very positive and we plan to visit the site again in the next couple of weeks to survey for a possible permanent camera.

We would like to thank the team at the Royal Esplanade Hotel for a wonderful stay. Find out more at https://www.royalesplanadehotel.co.uk.

Apperley Bridge comes to Railcam

We are delighted to welcome Apperley Bridge to Railcam, courtesy of site host Dan. Dan has recently moved to the property and noticed the wonderful view he has of Apperley Bridge and wasted no time in getting a camera set up and contacting Railcam, providing the stream to us at no cost. Thanks Dan.

It’s hard to believe the camera is situated around 2km from Apperley Bridge, but the zoom capabilities of the camera has given us a lovely scenic view of the line which runs between Leeds and Bradford/Skipton and on to the Settle & Carlisle Line.

Expect to see regular service from Northern, as well as LNER working to/from Bradford Forster Square, plus the odd charter, freight and test train thrown in for good measure.

This camera will be silent due to the distance from the camera to location and will be available free to view to all Railcam members.

Railcam interviewed by Train Talk – Podcast

One of Railcam’s directors and founders, Adrian Bradshaw was invited on to Train Scotland’s Train Talk series.

Adrian spends just over 45 minutes talking about the history, features and future of Railcam during the interview.

You can listen to the interview here on spotify or here via google.