Live railway cameras from YO26 in York

When the first train left York station in 1839, rail travel was still very new. In fact, the first passenger railway between two stations (Manchester to Liverpool) had only been completed nine years before. Some say that the railway “saved York from stagnation” and it’s not hard to see the lasting impact that railways and rail travel has had on the city – from tourism to the development of heavy industry.

Therefore, having our own datacentre overlooking the East Coast Main Line (ECML) feels somehow appropriate – and it’s actually pretty useful. Level 3, one of our fibre connectivity suppliers, uses the route of the ECML to run fibre down to London, which is an important part of our national network.

So being a bunch of engineering geeks, it’s not surprising that we get a little excited when something whizzes by outside our window. And now you can too!

We’ve partnered up with our friends at Railcam to install two high-quality cameras in the eaves of our datacentre building that now stream live video of the East Coast Main Line – 24/7.

Both the cameras provide HD video and also basic sound for the full effect of an HST zooming past or a freight train boggling along. To help identify the train, check out movements to and from Skelton Junction which is just south of the cameras.

Right now, they’re transmitting a stream to Railcam’s provider but eventually, we’ll set up our own streaming server on BigV to provide the best possible quality stream across different platforms too. Our ultimate goal is “virtual trainspotting” – being able to capture a snap of the trains as they go past using National Rail’s open data to identify and tag the train. That’s a way off just yet!

For a more detailed explanation of how the stream works, read our technical guide.

A huge thanks to Railcam whose supporters purchased the two cameras and particularly Adrian Bradshaw who has been instrumental in making this happen. On our side, Nathan kindly arranged and oversaw the installation of the cameras, as well as James Hannah and other support team members.

Finally, make sure you follow @Bytemark and @railcamlive to keep up-to-date on what’s going past #yorkcam.