Railcam Subscription Changes – February 2022

Throughout a very testing 2021, Railcam has continued to grow at a tremendous rate, with installations and upgrade projects delayed by Covid-19 and national lockdowns being picked up and completed. The huge backlog saw Railcam take on our first part time employee, in Barking camera host and technical admin Andrew Jebb, who came on board to help get the mountain of jobs slowly ticked off.

The number of outstanding job was only added to throughout the year as more hosts came forward to offer new locations. The quicker we completed pre-Covid jobs, potential new locations were being added, which still means we have much to do going into 2022….

As we all know, more cameras means more site surveys, more installation trips, more maintenance trips and older cameras being upgraded to more modern standards that our supporters expect, resulting in beefing up our servers to withstand the extra loadings. This unfortunately comes at a cost……

Throughout 2021 welcomed new cameras at Keighley, Kidderminster, Sheffield and Wigan. Upgrades were also undertaken at Beattock, Bedford, Bolton le Sands, Crewe, Flitwick, Newark, Peterborough, Thankerton, Todmorden and Watford.

On the heritage side we welcomed a number of new locations, including the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway, Keighley & Worth Valley Railway, North Yorkshire Moors Railway, Seaton Tramway and the Severn Valley Railway our ever increasing coverage of the UK heritage scene.

We have also seen additions to the international coverage we offer, with partnerships from Tampere, Finland and Lyon AHICF Post 1, France, both boosting our coverage outside of the UK.

Additional cameras obviously come at a cost, and this year has been no exception. A third server was required to keep the railcam wheels rolling, along with hardware, travel and installation costs, which saw our small team stretched far and wide. Our overheads have risen significantly, which includes rising server hosting and bandwidth costs, plus we have also installed a number of dedicated broadband connections at some of our sites, including the use of commercial 4G connectivity, each of which involves a contact of its own but will bring a more reliable service to our viewers.

Recent months have seen costs from our suppliers rise across the board, mainly driven by the rise in fuel costs. In particular, power-hungry servers are costing more to run and transport costs for installations and maintenance are rising sharply.

We have done what we can to tighten our belts and absorb rising costs, but like all businesses at the moment, we have no option but to balance the books.

With that in mind, we have made the decision to restructure our supporter package pricing from February 1st 2022, the following will apply,

  • 12 Months £30
  • 6 Months £18
  • 3 Months £10
  • 1 Month £4, which has remained unchanged to offer an introductory taster to Railcam.

These prices remain competitive and great value compared to similar comparable websites worldwide.

Remember your Railcam subscription is not just for the cameras, our highly regarded RCData package includes schedules, live signalling diagrams and user sourced allocation information, by enthusiasts, for enthusiasts. More information can be found at https://railcam.uk/whatyouget.php 

Raising the cost of our supporter packages is a decision we haven’t taken lightly, but we believe we are still offering some of the best value for any enthusiast in the UK – or further afield.

Any subscription taken out before the 1st February will be added to your existing package and will not incur an addition charge until that package expires.

Railcam on YouTube – Changes from 3rd January 2022

The idea of the YouTube streams was always to encourage people to subscribe on the Railcam.uk website. Covid-19 and the various restrictions and lockdowns, meant that we have left the streams live on YouTube for longer than we ever intended, but they were never intended to be a permanent fixture.

It’s important to understand that it costs money to install and run a camera, even on YouTube There are server costs, hardware costs, travel to install and maintain the cameras. There is often a commercial broadband service to fund in order to stream the cameras at all. All of this has to be funded and there has to be a benefit to Railcam and our paying subscribers in providing a free service on YouTube.

It’s also important to note the time and effort that people put into the streams; the people that keep the streams running and fix problems when they arise, fix them when they fail – not to mention our volunteer chat moderators who have the unenviable task of keeping order in the chat.

Sadly, it has become clear that instead of being an advertisement for the Railcam website as intended, it has become an alternative to it. The overwhelming majority of YouTube viewers have no intention of contributing towards the substantial costs of operating the service. It’s not fair on our subscribers to expect them to subsidise a free service which doesn’t benefit the main site. It’s clear that we should spend valuable subscription money on improving the service (better servers, more cameras, new features etc) instead of funding a way to avoid contributing.

We won’t be withdrawing from YouTube entirely, but the nature and number of streams will change. Some cameras which have been a permanent fixture on YouTube will only be available on the Railcam website, except for occasional spells as the “Camera-of-the-Week” on one of our Railcam Sampler streams.

We have good news, and bad news….

We regret to announce that the Horton-in-Ribblesdale camera has ceased broadcasting.

Up to now, we have benefited from a connection to the Internet provided by Boundless Networks, who used the station as a hub for supplying Internet to homes and businesses in the vicinity. Sadly, Boundless have now made alternative arrangements and will withdraw our service. This was planned to be on or around 5th December, but seems to have happened earlier than anticipated.

We have investigated all options to enable us to continue broadcasting, but have been unable to find an option which is both technically and financially viable. We continue to explore alternatives and hope to reinstate the camera at some point in the future.

Now the good news…

Since the loss of the Ribblehead and Kirkby Stephen cameras, we have been searching for new locations along the S&C and have not one but two sites at an advanced stage. We’ll announce more when we have finished installation, along with information about where the camera/cameras can be viewed.

Railcam Announcement

Covid-19 restrictions over the past year and a half have made it difficult for us at Railcam to keep all of our plans on-track. We’ve ended up with quite a backlog of maintenance and new installs that we just couldn’t deal with.

Railcam Directors and Admins have always had to fit their efforts in around “real jobs”, family and other commitments – which has made it very difficult indeed to push Railcam forward as we would like to. We are therefore delighted to announce a major change to how Railcam UK works.

Andrew Jebb, one of the Railcam Directors and Barking camera host, is now officially employed by Railcam on a part-time basis. This enables Andrew to embark on trips around the country to perform maintenance and install new cameras. This is great news for everybody and means that we can all expect to see problems fixed more quickly and a string of new cameras in the coming weeks and months.

Andrew will now formulate plans to put a dent in our backlog of repairs, installs and maintenance which will certainly keep him busy for the next few months.

The new arrangement is for an initial trial period, but we are confident that this will be the beginning of a new and exciting future for Railcam UK.

Railcam UK expands European coverage with Railcam Lyon partnership

Railcam are delighted to welcome Railcam Lyon to our now extensive international coverage.

Railcam Lyon, France – AHICF Poste 1 owner Antoine has provided us with this brief history of the site and what we can expect to see…..

This railcam is located on signal tower Poste 1 of Lyon-Perrache station, France. Built in 1930, the signal tower was used until 2016 to control the western part of Lyon-Perrache’s tracks, including the four-track Pont de la Quarantaine bridge on the Saône river. As the building is currently being renovated by AHICF, the railcam is a way to promote the project and provide railfans a breath-taking view over the bridge and river. The railcam is monitored by Railcam Lyon’s team with help from AHICF.

Railway traffic includes plenty of freight trains every day as well as local passenger traffic and shunting on the bridge or to Lyon-Vaise depot. Saône river also has its waterway traffic including freight, cruise, sightseeing and private boats. Trains coming towards the camera are going to the South through Lyon-Perrache station, those leaving towards the tunnel are going to the North.

Please visit and subscribe to the official Railcam Lyon YouTube page at http://railcam.fr/ and if you would like to find out more about more about the building renovation project, you can find that by clicking here.

Railcam would like to thank Antoine and the team at Railcam Lyon, France – AHICF Posted 1 for allowing us to share this fantastic live stream with you all, and we look forward to seeing some of the best that the French railways have to offer.

Below is a taster of some of the action you can expect to see…..

Auto-pan testing goes LIVE

New experimental feature added to Railcam….. Auto-panning cameras!

We have 4 cameras (Beattock, Bedford, Newark and Thankerton) all set to pan to face certain types of trains as the approach. The same data as we use for diagrams and “Approaching” indicators, is now used to turn cameras when certain types of headcode are about to pass. Freights, light-engine and “specials” (xZxx / xQxx headcodes), should trigger the moves…

We are not turning the cameras for every train because :

  • There would be too many conflicts as two or more trains approach at once
  • It would wear-out the camera mechanisms too quickly

The feature is still under development, but we think it’s a useful feature at some of our camera sites, and we would love any feedback you may have…..

Agreement secures future Railcam coverage on the Settle & Carlisle Line

We are delighted to report that an agreement has been reached with Settle & Carlisle Railway Properties Ltd, for not one but two of the S&C cameras to continue.

Sadly, that means that the Kirkby Stephen and Ribblehead Station cameras will cease broadcasting immediately. The broadband at Kirkby Stephen has been so poor of late, that we had considered its removal anyway. A formal contract is now in place to allow the best two cameras – Ribblehead Viaduct and Horton-in-Ribblesdale – to continue indefinitely with minor adjustments to satisfy all parties involved.

Additionally, we are now in discussions with Settle & Carlisle Railway Properties Ltd about the possibility of adding cameras in the future. We already have a number of options being explored with them and other hosts, so we fully expect that there will be additional cameras in the coming weeks and months.

We would like to thank our friends on the S&C – FoSCL, The S&C Trust and now Settle & Carlisle Railway Properties Ltd, for partnering with us to provide these cameras over the past six years… and into the future.

Adrian Quine – Executive Director of Settle & Carlisle Railway Properties Ltd said: “We are delighted to be working with RailCam UK to continue to bring a small snapshot of this wonderful railway to people at home”

Railcam Announcement

We are sorry to have to announce that the Glenfinnan camera will not be returning. Shortly after it went live, it became clear that there had been a misunderstanding between our camera host and the owners of the Glenfinnan Estate, and that the latter would not allow the camera to continue broadcasting. Attempts to negotiate a return of the live stream have unfortunately come to nothing. We would like to thank Ali at Locheilnet for his help, and hope that we can work with him on alternative projects.

We also have to announce that our Slough host will no longer have a lineside property for us, so our hopes that the Slough cams would quickly return, have been dashed. We would like to thank David Jobson at Jarshire Ltd, for hosting the popular cameras over the past few years.

We are hugely disappointed to lose both of these sites, but we are actively looking for alternatives in both areas and hope to have some more positive news soon.

Midland Mainline Memories – Railcam salutes the iconic HST

The final mainline HST service into London is coming to an end with the launch of the May timetable changes, and we couldn’t let this pass without covering social media with your #MMLMemories.

©Jamie Rowley

The HST has been a mainstay on the Midland Mainline for years, operating to/from St Pancras to the East Midlands, and with the May timetable changes we will be waving goodbye to this icon of high speed train travel in the UK from the Midland Mainline.

©Jamie Rowley

Saturday May 15th will be the final day of HST running on the Midland Mainline, and from now until then we want to see your memories of the mighty Midland Mainline HSTs. There have been some wonderful liveries over the years, perhaps some of the best the HST has ever carried, and we would love to see those over the next couple of weeks…..

©Jamie Rowley

Simply share your photos on social media platforms, (Facebook, Twitter and Instagram) using the hashtags #MMLMemories and #HSTonMML, whilst tagging Railcam in your posts (Hey, why not tag East Midlands Railway, WeareEMR and the 125 Group while you’re at it) and lets see as much HST as we can!

©Jamie Rowley

West Coast Railways ‘The Jacobite’ steaming back to life

The launch of our stunning Glenfinnan camera coincides with the return of ‘the greatest railway journey in the world’, The Jacobite.

West Coast Railways Jacobite steam hauled service between Fort William and Mallaig, along the world famous West Highland Line, returns on Monday 26th April with two 84 mile round trip workings per day, 7 days a week, crossing some of the most remarkable scenery Scotland has to offer.

The Jacobite has a global following, in no large part to the feature of the famous Glenfinnan Viaduct and the ‘Hogwarts Express’ in the Harry Potter series of films. Our Glenfinnan camera brings you never before seen LIVE coverage as the The Jacobite snakes its way across the 21-arched Glenfinnan Viaduct which overlooks Loch Shiel and the Jacobite Monument.

When and where can I see the Jacobite?

Our camera broadcasts 24/7 and our YouTube stream offers a 12 hour rewind facility, so if you have missed any of the action during the day, you can simply rewind and enjoy the sights and sound of steam all over again.

Railcam Glenfinnan, Lochaber UK ©Railcam UK Ltd

Times at camera are as follows,

Morning Service:

(Sunday-Friday) 10:50 Fort William to Mallaig, 15:21 Mallaig to Fort William*

(Saturday) 10:50 Fort William to Mallaig, 15:21 Mallaig to Fort William*

Afternoon Service:

(Sunday-Friday) 13:20 Fort William to Mallaig, 18:11 Mallaig to Fort William**

(Saturday) 15:12 Fort William to Mallaig, 19:50 Mallaig to Fort William**

* From Monday 26th April to Friday 29th October

** From Monday 26th April to Friday 1st October

Not in the UK, use The Time Zone Converter.

If you would like to embed our YouTube stream on your website, then please contact us at admin@railcam.uk (email marked ‘Glenfinnan Camera embedding’) and we will provide you with a short accompanying text strap to include. We would love to know where our camera is being seen!

Remember, if you share it, include the hashtag #SawItOnRailcam and tag us on your social media posts.

If you would like a copy of the Glenfinnan camera press release, please contact jamie@railcam.uk marking your email ‘Glenfinnan Press Release’