We are absolutely thrilled to finally announce the addition of the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway webcams to Railcam.
Another project that has been long in the making, and was made even longer by the Covid pandemic, has finally come through. We welcome the already very popular trio of cameras at Porthmadog Harbour Station, Minffordd and Tan Y Bwlch to our already extensive heritage offerings from across the UK.
The Ffestiniog Railway is the world’s oldest narrow gauge railway with almost 200 years of history, taking you on a 13½-mile journey from the harbour in Porthmadog to the slate-quarrying town of Blaenau Ffestiniog. Our historic trains climb over 700 feet from sea level into the mountains through tranquil pastures and magnificent forests, past lakes and waterfalls, round tight bends (even a complete spiral) clinging to the side of the mountain or tunnelling through it.
The Welsh Highland Railway is the UK’s longest heritage railway and runs for 25 miles from Caernarfon, past the foot of Snowdon and the picture postcard village of Beddgelert, then through the stunning Aberglaslyn Pass and on to Porthmadog. Passengers ride in some of the most comfortable carriages on any heritage railway in the UK, including first class Pullman luxury and freshly-cooked food delivered to your seat.
The webcams are available to all Railcam members now, and also via the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway website at www.festrail.co.uk, where you can also keep up to date with all the very latest news from the railway.
Fingers crossed for the return of services to both the Ffestiniog & Welsh Highland Railway, and all our heritage partners, later this year.
We are delighted to reveal our latest installation, Railcam Sheffield.
For the last 10 months Covid-19 has limited us to very few installs and upgrades, dodging between lockdowns and travel restrictions, we have struggled to keep up with the mountain of locations we have to install with brand new cameras, or upgrade existing equipment.
One shining light has been the small number of hosts who are able to self install pre-configured equipment, and our host at Sheffield is one of those.
Shipped just last week, our host has got the equipment set up in his office window in no time, and we now have a stunning overview of the north end of Sheffield station, which has the added bonus of the Sheffield SuperTram thrown in for good measure.
Due to the camera being inside, we unfortunately can’t offer audio, but the PTZ (Pan, Tilt & Zoom) functionality of the camera gives us the option of the stunning images displayed below,
Railcam Sheffield will be available to Railcam Supporters from 10am on Friday 29th January.
Fancy becoming a Railcam Supporter?
For £4 a month or as little as £23 for the entire year, you can take advantage of many addition features, including Live Signalling Diagrams, addition Premium Cameras, Schedule information and much more…..
We have seen comments many times in the past from Railcam members and subscribers saying ‘Oh, I didn’t realise I could do that’ or ‘I didn’t realise that was a feature on Railcam’. So we have put together our first 3 tutorial videos to explain a few of the options you may not realise are available to you…
Firstly we look at Registration, Login and Subscriptions….
Secondly we explain all about the cameras and chatroom options….
And finally we look into the often daunting Diagrams and Schedules…. (It’s a lot easier than you think!)
Are there any other parts of the Railcam site you would like explaining in more detail? Drop a comment below and we will see what we can do.
Once again we move into ‘lockdown’ restrictions across the UK, and many of us now find ourselves at home for at least the next few weeks…… We have already been asked if we intend to resurrect #SpottingFromHome / #SpottingFromWork to enable rail enthusiasts who are now restricted to where they can safely travel to, to continue enjoying the hobby from the comfort of their armchair. Well we can, but it will be on a smaller scale…..
#SpottingFromHome hasn’t ever really stopped, the hashtag has been ticking over slowly on Twitter since we officially called an end to the campaign after the first national lockdown in March 2020, but we have been delighted to see members still sharing their captures from across our cameras as Covid-19 has still left many of us unwilling or unable to travel, except where necessary.
So, will we bring back #SpottingFromHome? Well the answer is of course yes, but it won’t be on the scale of last time. With home schooling and people working from home, our social media team are not sat at their desks all day, we have children to teach and commitments we have to attend to away from Railcam, so #SpottingFromHome 2.0 will work a little differently……
We will continue to like each and every post, as we did last time around, but the retweeting will be a little different. We will retweet a number of posts throughout the day, as time permits, but we won’t be able to go into the detail we did with all the retweets previously, this time we will pick a selection to retweet in detail.
What do we ask when you share your #SpottingFromHome or #SpottingFromWork captures? Simply tag Railcam and the TOC in your capture, and include the hashtag #SpottingFromHome or #SpottingFromWork, it’s that simple. If you want to add detail of the number and working of the train then please feel free.
We must stress that you follow all social distancing measure set out by the government, and do not make unnecessary journeys to take photos to share with us. #SpottingFromHome is exactly that, you are using our cameras to screen grab images to share with fellow Railcam members, from your home.
If you are #SpottingFromWork, please do so by following your companies safety guidelines.
We are delighted to announce our second camera launch in just over a week! Hot on the heels of Crewe Camera 5, we can unveil our latest camera at Newark, on the East Coast Mainline, just south of Newark North Gate station.
This camera is a PTZ model which gives us the opportunity of views in both the north and south directions, where we expect to see ECML express passenger workings from LNER, Grand Central and Hull Trains, along with various freight workings.
We hope for a little better weather on launch day!
Railcam would like to extend a huge thank you to our very generous hosts for allowing us to bring this wonderful view to our members, and for their enthusiasm right from the initial contact. As ever we also wish to thank our install team, headed up by AndyJ, for tracking up to Newark and doing a cracking job, along with GWSimon for the initial site visit and survey.
Railcam Newark will spend a period of time featured on our YouTube channel at the link below, before reverting to a ‘Supporter Only’ camera after the preview period ends.
Become a Railcam supporter, it couldn’t be easier!
For as little as £4 a month, and a bargain £23 a year, you can get access to numerous additional premium cameras, live signalling diagrams, schedule and allocation information and much more. Railcam Supporter, What do I get? Click here for more https://railcam.uk/whatyouget.php
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.
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?
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
In partnership with Rail Operations Group, the cameras are situated on the Derby Headquarters building at the Country end of platform one.
Railcam UK have invested heavily on this installation with two Axis M3115-LVE cameras to give the best quality streams possible.
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.
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.
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.”
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.”
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)
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.