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.

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”