Saturday 19 March 2016

A Railcam Day

Go to my nearest station on the East Suffolk line, and it's fair to say that not much variety would be on view. 170's and 156's are about all you'll see. For real variety and to see the odd something really different you have to venture to Ipswich, or even Peterborough. Not much fun on a cold murky Saturday. But how about a place where you can watch plenty of railway action and the footy at the same time? That is where Railcam comes into its own. Home to 32 webcams overlooking railway lines all over the country from Deal in Kent to Sanquhar in Scotland you can watch the action without needing to put your anorak on. Thanks to the power of screenshots here is what I have been watching today. All pics still copyright to Railcam.

First up is something from the Watford camera. DRS 66431 took 37419 from Crewe to Wembley.

DRS 66431 and 37419
At Wembley the two separated and 37419 carried on under her own - erm - diesel I guess to Norwich. Here she is on the Camden Jct camera.

37419 on Camden Jct cam heading for Norwich
You will know that some of Thameslink's 319's were transferred to Northern Rail recently. It's a long way to go to see them now, but no worries - here's one passing Euxton cam in Lancashire.

Ex Thameslink 319 now with  Northern Rail
Obviously freight is a regular sight around the country. Here is EWS 66124 with a load of tanks again at Euxton.

EWS 66124 passes Euxton
There have been a few Network Rail test trains floating around today. One of them was on the Settle - Carlisle line and as a real bonus it was Network Rail's HST. There are two cameras at Ribblehead and with some quick mousework I was able to catch it at Ribblehead Station and about to cross the famous viaduct.

Network Rail Class 43 test train passes through Ribblehead Station.....
...and heads for Ribblehead Viaduct
It has been a good day for 37 spotting. However a lesson was learned. If you are waiting for a train to pass, especially when you know it's going to be a green 37 do not look up at the footy or you'll miss it! I did just that so am using Railcam's own autostill taken by one of the Bedford cameras.

37057 with Network Rail test train passes Bedford cam. Pic by Railcam
However I was glued to the screen to press the button half hour ater when another test train went past, this time with a rare Class31 on the front and a Colas Rail Class 37 on the back.

The Class 31 heads the test train....
...with the 37 bringing up the rear
To finish with here's one I took earlier, as they say. You will all remember the hype, enthusiasm and in some cases sheer lunacy that accompanied the return of the Flying Scotsman a couple of weeks ago. Well us armchair anoraks were a bit underwhelmed as we had already seen it weeks before! Here is the beast at Clitheroe on 4th February on a test trip.

Flying Scotsman passes Clitherpe camera
I truly cannot recommend Railcam highly enough. To get full benefit you need to become a supporter, which will give you access to all the cameras. This, however, only costs £10 a year - although if you can afford more they will be very grateful. There are also cameras on 5 heritage lines including the Romney, Hythe & Dymchurch Railway and the Swanage railway. There are live diagrams covering most of the country so you can track the trains as they move around the country, and links to realtime trains for up to the minute information and schedules. Go to and see for yourself. My thanks to Railcam for allowing me to use the images and I hope you enjoyed this view fro my sofa!


  1. Are there any firm plans yet for Network Rail to reinstate part of the curve at Reedham to allow to trains from Lowestoft to run direct to Yarmouth

    1. I certainly haven't seen any plans mentioned. Scott, and with 6 buses an hour between Lowestoft and Yarmouth I would be surprised to see it happen soon.

  2. It was mooted a year or more ago but it would mean a significant movement of the station itself to accommodate what would seem a small realignment and given all the "other" high profile projects ongoing it was shelved as soon as thought about Besides there is the matter of the possible total resignalling of the Wherry lines and the ESL now in the pot

  3. It disappointing but true I guess.
    I think there's a lot that could be done with the rail network in Norfolk/Suffolk to get more people off the roads and out of cars.
    I wondered if there is a technical reason why trains from Yarmouth/Sheringham/Lowestoft couldn't run through to Cambridge/Peterborough for example rather than all terminating at Norwich.

  4. Andrew Kleissner21 March 2016 at 20:14

    It's not a technical issue but the fact of different train operating countries: the journeys you mention are run by East Midlands Trains and Cross Country, not Abellio. It might have been possible in BR days, drivers' route knowledge and stock utilisation issues permitting!

    In any cases, all trains running into Norwich have to terminate or reverse anyway.

  5. Beat me to it Andrew I was also not sure it the avoider at Norwich was used as much these days if at all

    1. Erm have you both forgotten that Abelio operate Norwich - Cambridge and Ipswich - Peterborough? Therefore technically a Lowestoft/Yarmouth - Peterborough service would be possible, and reversing at Norwich wouldn't be an issue, that happens at many places including Ely.

  6. Andrew Kleissner22 March 2016 at 07:40

    Actually I had forgotten about Norwich/Cambridge - thought it was part of East Midlands Trains! The problem though is that Peterborough is very much "out on the limb" as far as Abellio is concerned; running a train once every two hours is do-able but more complex routing would, I think, result in stock allocation problems or the need to have a small depot (or at least a signing-on point) there. As I said above, I don't think the issues are technical. The point of mentioning the reversal at Norwich was not to say that "it's a problem", which it clearly isn't with multiple units; it's more of a case of "Why, then, run through services? You can change trains almost as quickly and easily".