With February half term upon us, the traditional winter break comes to an end for a number of our heritage partners. Here we take a look across the railways for a round up of where you can get your heritage fix during half term.
With the summer school holidays drawing to an end, our heritage partners turn their attention to a busy autumn season, before closing out the year with the traditional Christmas events.
Events get underway on the weekend of 9th-10th of September as the West Somerset Railway host their Forties Weekend, ‘A weekend celebrating the sights and sounds of the 1940s. Featuring costumed performers and our popular Saturday night platform dance will be back and taking place at Minehead station.‘
The following weekend sees a double header of gala action as the Severn Valley Railway‘s Autumn Steam Gala runs from 14th – 17th September, ‘It’s the biggest steam gala of the year! Four visiting locomotives (LNER B1 61306 ‘Mayflower’, Bagnall ‘Vulcan’, USATC S160 2253 ‘Omaha’ and LMS Ivatt 2 41312) will star alongside members of the SVR’s home-fleet for a bumper four days of intensive timetabling‘.
If diesel is more your thing, then the East Lancashire Railway‘s Autumn Diesel Gala runs on the very same weekend, on the 15th & 16th of September. The renowned home fleet is boosted by the chance to ride behind Class 40, 40012 ‘Aureol’ courtesy of The Class 40 Appeal. An evening Beer-ex runs on both days for those that wish to maximise their Diesel Bash experience.
We are treated to another double header of action the following weekend as the North Yorkshire Moors Railway celebrate their 50th Anniversary with a 4-day steam gala, running from 21st-24th September. ‘Ride behind our guest locomotives and home fleet engines across the four days with services calling at Pickering, Levisham, Newtondale Halt (by request), Goathland, Grosmont and Whitby stations‘.
Guest locomotives will be LNER A4 pacific locomotive ‘Sir Nigel Gresley’, BR Standard Class 9F 2-10-0 No. 92214, BR Standard ‘Riddles’ 4MT No. 75069 and Caledonian Railway 2P No. 55189.
Scaling things down a little, the Rheilffordd Talyllyn Railway host a new event for 2023 with a Heritage Weekend with ‘A variety of special trains will be run with a mix of carriages and wagons representing different periods in the history of the Talyllyn Railway and also the history of where locomotives now based on the Talyllyn have come from.‘ The Heritage Weekend runs from 23rd-24th September.
We round out September back at the Severn Valley Railway for the Autumn Diesel Bash – ‘The Magnificent Seven’, ‘As the leaves turn into vibrant colours, get ready for several former Western Region diesel-hydraulics to be leading locomotives at four-day event Autumn Diesel Bash, running between Thursday 28th September – Sunday 1st October.‘
Class 35 Hymek D7076, Class 42 Warship D821 ‘Greyhound’ & D832 ‘Onslaught’, Class 46 Peak D182, Class 52 Western D1015 ‘Western Champion’ & D1062 ‘Western Courier’ will feature, plus Class 14 D9551 and other members of the home-fleet.
October sees our final two autumn galas, and again we are featuring two different scales. The East Lancashire Railway and Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway both bring us weekend events.
The first of these is the East Lancashire Railway‘s Autumn Steam Gala. ‘Climb aboard and ride all weekend long behind our fleet of sensational steam engines in all their glory. You’ll see all the familiar faces. The full locomotive line-up will be announced nearer the time.‘ Join us for this 3 day steam extravangza from 13th-15th October.
Last, but by no means least, we have the every popular Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch RailwayAutumn Gala. This annual event brings out the very finest of the RHDR fleet, thrown together in all sorts of multiple headed formations and the popular non-stop runs giving us some fantastic viewing on the cameras. The gala runs on the 21st & 22nd October.
We are delighted to be partnering with Pete Waterman and his Railnuts to bring exclusive coverage of ‘Making Tracks 3’, live for SIX weeks from Chester Cathedral; a groundbreaking project that has never been seen before on this scale within the model railway community.
The subject may be the same, but the scale vastly smaller! It’s Railcam, but not as we know it…..
Making Tracks 3 is, as you would expect, the third layout to be produced in the series by Pete Waterman and the Railnuts, with all three based on locations on the West Coast Mainline. This years offering depicting the present day Milton Keynes station.
After being approached in early June, Andrew has worked tirelessly to source cameras suitable for streaming trains 76 times smaller than we are used to. With such a diminutive scale to cover, the options for off the shelf accessories was very limited, so the answer was to design and produce our own bespoke mounts and brackets that would be both functional and not overly intrusive for guests visiting this marvel of model railway construction.
As part of this very special broadcast, we have a dedicated page which features 5 cameras covering the main layout and an overview of the fiddle yard. Viewing options include a ‘Quad-cam’ view with the 4 main cameras on one page, ‘Cycle-cam’ which rotates between the 4 main views individually, with the final ‘Aerial-cam’ covering the fiddle yard.
Making Tracks 3 is on display at Chester Cathedral from Wednesday 26th July to Saturday the 2nd September, open to the public and live streaming Monday to Saturday, 10am to 5pm.
How could we possibly top the wonderful new Chinley camera, with it’s spectacular view of not one, but two viaducts?
Answer… Find one of the most iconic structures on the UK rail network and install two cameras there.
We present… Railcam Saltash – with panoramic views of Brunel’s famous Royal Albert Bridge, the Tamar Suspension Bridge and the River Tamar below.
As a special treat, we’ve arranged for The Flying Scotsman to pass over the bridge on our launch weekend!!! Well OK, it was already planned to do that, so we pulled-out all the stops to get the cameras installed in time. The NRM’s famous locomotive is due to haul The Royal Duchy – Flying Scotsman on Sunday 30th April. Let’s hope the weather is kind.
Camera 2 will be available to all Railcam members – and will also be on YouTube, from Saturday evening.
Camera 1 is the Railcam Supporter camera (available from 12pm Saturday), focusing more on the railway, with pan/tilt/zoom capability to watch trains cross the bridge.
We would like to thank Saltash Council and the Saltash Station Building Refurbishment Project for working with us on this and allowing us to install our equipment. Thanks also to our two Andrews, who made the trip down to Cornwall and did their usual excellent job on the install.
A bit of background… The Royal Albert Bridge has always been right at the top of our list of must-have camera locations. After an option at the other side of the river failed to come to fruition, TV railway historian Tim Dunn suggested that we contact the people at Saltash Station, where he had recorded a programme for his series “The Architecture the Railways Built”. That was in 2021, and a lot of water has gone under the bridge (literally!), but we have finally cracked it!
We are sure you will agree that this is a bit special.
Another week of upgrades and installs this past week from our dedicated team, but what have we been up to…..?
Andrew Jebb and Andrew Cooper kicked off the week with a visit to Doncaster, and our hosts Foodtest Labs Ltd, where we have upgraded the camera to one of our latest PTZ models from Dahua.
On Wednesday our team moved onto a new location, more on that to come on Monday (24th April), but in the meantime here is a little preview….
On to Thursday and the two Andy’s were over in Altrincham for another upgrade project, and we have taken the opportunity to install a ‘Cleethorpes’ style set up, with a dual camera unit providing us with views in both directions. The south view camera is now LIVE, alongside the existing north view.
Finally on to Friday and Andrew Jebb was joined by Phil O’Ryan for a visit to Network Rail’s York ROC. The job was to install another camera upgrade to ROC camera 1, and to repair the damage those pesky Magpies had done to the microphone mufflers. The fluffy nature of the microphone covers is obviously a very eye-catching nest liner for our feathered friends…. Again we have upgraded to one go the latest Dahua PTZ cameras.
As always, we would like to thank our dedicated install team this week, Andrew Jebb, Andrew Cooper and Phil O’Ryan for giving up their time, and to our hosts across all our sites for their continued support, without you there simply wouldn’t be Railcam.
The continued program of upgrades and installs is only made possible by our subscribers, and you can be part of that for as little as £4 for a month, or a bargain £30 for an entire year. It’s not all about the cameras though, we have one of the most detailed live signalling diagram packages available, as well as schedules and user sourced allocation information, find out what you get with your subscription here.
Railcam UK Ltd are delighted to announce our partnership with Locomotive Storage Limited to bring you the missing piece of our coverage in Crewe, the independent freight lines at Salop Goods Junction.
This is, by far the most requested location we have ever had, and when we say this one has been years in the making, we are not joking! Initial enquiries were made for this location in 2015 and Phil O’Ryan has worked tirelessly on behalf of Railcam since then to build a relationship with Locomotive Storage Limited (LSL) and to bring the project together.
People often ask us why we don’t announce a location in advance of it going live – well this is a perfect example… Just when we were gearing up for launch, the camera decided to fail… Cue many expletives and hastily made plans for Andrew Jebb to go and replace it – after undergoing training on the use of LSL’s “cherry-picker”! Never a dull moment!
Our thanks go to all those who have helped this happen, from the initial discussions, right the way through to replacing the faulty camera. Special thanks go to our friends at LSL, who have been supportive and positive throughout. We look forward to developing the partnership in the future.
As a challenging 2022 draws to a close, we look back on a year that has seen Railcam continue to grow with numerous camera additions and upgrades, website and back office upgrades, and continued improvements of our data and diagrams, putting them right up there with the best the industry has to offer.
2022 has been a tough year for everyone, with spiralling prices across the board. At Railcam, we’ve seen the cost of new camera hardware and our monthly server bill rise (twice). At a time when everyone has seen their bills rise, we have managed to avoid a subscription increase since January. We will continue to do what we can to keep costs down in 2023.
New cameras came thick and fast throughout 2022, including our largest ever single installation project at the East Lancashire Railway, where 9 cameras have been installed!
Our mainline installations at Epping (in partnership with Epping Signal Cabin), Redruth (in partnership with Kernow Model Rail Centre), Garsdale and St Albans (in partnership with St Albans South Signal Box) have become firm favourites amongst our viewers.
Redruth (Scorrier) & Garsdale
Epping & St Albans
Over on the heritage side, it’s been another bumper year with major projects at Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and East Lancashire Railway, along with a second camera installed at Seaton Tramway.
Keighley & Worth Valley Railway – Damems Loop & Oakworth
East Lancashire Railway – Ramsbottom & Bury Bolton Street
It’s not all about new locations though, we have to continually maintain and upgrade existing locations, and 2022 has seen an extensive program of upgrades, including Apperley Bridge, Bushbury Junction, Cramlington, Crewe, Grateley, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Newbury and Teignmouth.
Our data and diagrams team have also been extremely busy maintaining and updating signalling diagrams to keep them bang up-to-date and up there as one of the leading sources of live rail data in the UK.
Kings Cross/Moorgate Live Signalling Diagram
Away from the main Railcam website, our social media presence has continued to grow, and become a thriving community of enthusiasts and industry people all getting involved. Subscriber numbers have continued to grow with YouTube now boasting in excess of 70k, with Facebook racking up 41k followers and Twitter approaching 18k. Our Facebook ‘Railcam Gallery’ page has also continued to grow, giving members the chance to screenshot and share their interesting Railcam ‘spots’ from our cameras.
As we look forward to 2023, we are undertaking our first event sponsorship, as we are lead sponsors for Rail Riders Railway Show at Crewe Heritage Centre on June 10/11. The Railcam team will be in attendance and we hope to have a stall set up showing off our cameras and diagrams, along with merchandise available to purchase. Come along and have a chat with us, it will be great to meet you all.
We would like to thank everyone who has made 2022 such a great success, from our installation team, back office, data & diagrams, social media, moderators and the many many contributors behind the scenes. Without their dedication we wouldn’t be able to do what we do.
We must also thank our fabulous camera hosts, without whom we would have nowhere to put our cameras! Each and every one of you form a small part of the Railcam machine.
Finally, our subscribers. Without our subscribers we wouldn’t be able to fund Railcam. Every subscription, wether it be a 1 month, 12 month or one of the numerous additional donations made, every penny helps us do what we do, for you.
We would like to wish everyone a very happy new year, and all the very best for 2023. Stay tuned as we have HUGE plans for the coming 12 months.