#SpottingFromHome update….

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.

Thank you for all those 9 million little interactions, you have been amazing.

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.

Jamie (CSK)

The Architecture The Railways Built visits the Settle-Carlisle

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.

© UKTV/Yesterday

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).

© UKTV/Yesterday

Watch the Yesterday preview here https://bcove.video/2TgRjE1

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…..

Horton-in-Ribblesdale Camera
© Railcam UK
Kirkby Stephen Camera
©Railcam UK
Ribblehead Station Camera
© Railcam UK
Ribblehead Viaduct Camera
© Railcam UK
York ROC Camera (Station)
© Railcam UK

Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway Virtual Steam & Diesel Gala

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.

© Steve Town

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.

Essential to everyone is your Gala e-Guide, which details the events taking place, these can be purchased in advance at https://rhdr.vticket.co.uk/section.php/23/1/support-us along with a number of other ‘virtual’ products that will help out the railway going forward.

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
  • A Supporters Virtual Ticket. More information here: https://rhdr.vticket.co.uk/product.php/152/supporters-virtual-ticket
  • This ticket is limited to 100.
  • We’ll send you a printable e-certificate and well as our usual e-ticket to say thank you – it’s the least we can do! 

Virtual Steam & Diesel Gala e-Guide

  • Purchase our e-guide for this event and help to support the railway. (*This e-guide will be e-mailed to the e-mail address used when purchasing.)
  • Visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RHandDR to join in the fun and see your favourite locomotives.

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.

All of the above are available to purchase at https://rhdr.vticket.co.uk/section.php/23/1/support-us

© Steve Town

Like many of you, everyone at the RH&DR was looking forward to a busy weekend seeing some of our favourite locomotives travel the line between Hythe and Dungeness.

This year we’re unable to invite you all to visit us so we’ve decided to bring the railway to you.

We’ll be featuring our favourite videos of previous services including parallel runs, multiple headers and visiting locomotives plus live q&a sessions, competitions and more.

Visit our Facebook page: www.facebook.com/RHandDR to join in the fun and see your favourite locomotives.

‘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!

#StaySafeStayHome

Railcams “Spotting from home campaign” success

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.

#SpottingFromHome or #SpottingFromWork – Let’s get involved http://news.railcam.uk/index.php/2020/03/28/spottingfromhome/

Contact: media@railcam.uk

Dovey Junction / Dyfi Osprey Project Camera

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.

© Dyfi Osprey Project

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!

You can find out much more about the wonderful Dyfi Osprey Project and Core Dyfi Nature Reserve by visiting their website at https://www.dyfiospreyproject.com

A look ahead to Grand Union

Railways to our Core

At Grand Union we are passionate about Britain’s railways. We are committed to the traditional values of providing a high-quality customer service and comfortable journey experiences at a fair price.

Grand Union has been founded with the primary aim of providing a new customer-focused standard of train service, which challenges and changes the current passenger experience. By providing greater passenger choice through competition with existing franchise holders, new journey opportunities that in turn deliver wider economic benefits, and value for money for rail users and taxpayers, we are confident we can achieve this.

As an independent company, Grand Union has submitted its application for a passenger track access agreement requesting to operate a service on the Cardiff to London route. In August 2019, Grand Union resubmitted its application, proposing an extended service from Cardiff Central to Llanelli.

Grand Union has also advised the Office of Rail and Road (ORR) of its intention to operate a service between Stirling and London via the West Coast Main Line.

Llanelli to London

The Initial Route

The service is planned to start in 2021 with calling points of Cardiff Central, Newport, Severn Tunnel Junction and Bristol Parkway, then express to London Paddington. It will also stop at Cardiff Parkway when it opens.

Grand Union’s trains will cut the current average journey time between Cardiff and London by 20 minutes, with a target journey time of 1 hour 45 mins. Services will be operated by 125mph electric trains released from the flagship routes on the East Coast Main Line.

© Grand Union

The Expanded Route

It is proposed to increase the frequency of this route to an hourly service in 2023, when the route would also expand from Cardiff Central to operate fast to Swansea and Llanelli, with no intermediate calls, with a target journey time to Swansea of 2 hours 30 mins to/from London Paddington. These services would be operated by a new fleet of Hitachi Class 802 bi-mode trains.

© Grand Union

Stirling to London

The Route

This route is planned to start in May 2021 and will operate four times per day. Starting at Stirling it will call at Larbert, Greenfaulds (for Cumbernauld), Whifflet (for Coatbridge and Airdrie), Motherwell and Lockerbie in Scotland and in England at Carlisle, Preston, Crewe, Nuneaton and Milton Keynes, before terminating at London Euston.

The line will avoid the congested Edinburgh and Glasgow stations, giving passengers a faster service without any changes required. Electric trains will be used along the route, with a potential travelling speed of up to 125mph.

© Grand Union

Further reading….

You can read more on the proposed Grand Union routes, including Working Local, All Aboard for a Relaxing Experience and A New Freight Service at the following links,

Llanelli to London – http://www.granduniontrains.co.uk/llanelli-to-london/

Stirling to London – http://www.granduniontrains.co.uk/stirlingtolondon/

#HSTFarewell has finally arrived….

Sunday 15th December saw the final day of frontline services operated by the beloved HST’s for London North Eastern Railway on the East Coast Mainline. Dubbed #NationalHSTDay we waved goodbye to the final 3 HST sets, with power cars 43316 & 238, 43317 & 290 and 43318 & 257 all in action, covering Aberdeen, Edinburgh, Leeds, Harrogate and London Kings Cross, and all stations in-between!

#NationalHSTDay as captured by Railcam cameras.

Now the attention moves on to the #HSTFarewell tour, which will cover the vast majority of the London North Eastern Railway network, over 4 breathtaking days.

To mark this celebration of the East Coast workhorse, LNER have partnered with Heritage Painting and Wabtec UK to produce a retro #InterCity125 blue/grey liveried HST set, which will form the stock for ‘Let’s Go Round Again – Our last Inter-City 125’ charter.

As you can see from the image below, released by Heritage Painting, who were responsible for the power car repaints, the set looks absolutely stunning. The MK3 coaching stock has also been expertly repainted by the Wabtec UK team at Doncaster.

© Heritage Painting

Social Media is likely to be awash with coverage, and we will be doing our bit on the final two days, with Railcam admin team members joining the train for The Northumbrian (Edinburgh to Leeds via York) and The West Riding Limited (Leeds to London Kings Cross). Full schedules and booked Railcam cameras pass times can be found at the bottom of this article. Our aim being to bring you live photos and videos, as well as the possibility of one or two interviews thrown in for good measure.

Our very good friend Mr Tim Dunn will be on board for the duration, and if you want to keep up with everything #HSTFarewell and #InterCity125 across the 4 days, then you will need to be giving him a follow on Twitter at https://twitter.com/MrTimDunn or search Twitter for @MrTimDunn

© @MrTimDunn via Twitter

As always, we would love to see your photos and videos over the 4 days, simply tag us in your Twitter posts (@railcamlive) and include the hashtag #HSTFarewell and we will like and share them all. On Sunday we attempted to ‘Paint Twitter red & white’, now lets paint it #InterCity125 blue and grey!

On to those all important times…….

Wednesday 18th December – THE NORTHERN LIGHTS

1Z43 Edinburgh to Inverness via Aberdeen

https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=13147812

Thursday 19th December – THE HIGHLAND CHIEFTAIN

1Z46 Inverness to Edinburgh via Highland Mainline

https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=13147871

Friday 20th December – THE NORTHUMBRIAN

1Z48 Edinburgh to Leeds via York

https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=13147937

Cramlington Cameras – 12:19

York North Cameras – 14:18

York ROC Camera 1 – 14:25

York South Cameras – 14:54

Doncaster Camera – 15:14

Saturday 21st December – THE WEST RIDING LIMITED

1Z43 Leeds to London Kings Cross

https://railcam.uk/rcdata/RCData2_detail.php?r=S&sid=13279532

Doncaster Camera – 11:41

Peterborough Camera – 13:21