Personal Track Safety or Track Visitors Permit?

Personal Track Safety or Track Visitors Permit?

25 years of Railway Photography

2019 marks 25 years of professional photography for the rail industry for Peter and his team at Alvey & Towers. During this time much about the rail industry has changed, and much about the photography industry has changed alongside it. When Alvey & Towers started out it was with film running through our cameras and transparencies being sent out to our customers. Nowadays we can capture a digital image and send it to a client straight from site!

Over the years photographic commissions have taken us to many different railway locations and continue to do so with shoots including scenic trackside location work, working depots and yards, PR shots of events and personnel, passengers on board trains and studio work for product photography.

What certainly has not changed is the fact that if photography is taking place anywhere within the railway environment there are stringent safety procedures that must be adhered to at all times. For this reason, historically Peter has been PTS certified and always carried a Personal Track Safety Certificate.

 

Personal Track Safety Certificate

In order for a Personal Track Safety Certificate to be valid during a photoshoot it is essential that the commissioning client has facilitated sub-sponsorship of Peter prior to the shoot taking place. For some of our clients this has not posed any problem at all, however increasingly of late it has become apparent that some companies are encountering difficulties with the administration for this.

An alternative option for arranging railway site access for Peter is to issue a Track Visitors Permit, commonly know as a TVP. Several of our clients have tried to exercise this option instead of arranging sub-sponsorship, but unfortunately TVPs cannot be issued to anybody already holding a Personal Track Safety Certificate, so they have been refused.

In order to assist our clients in making arrangements for their railway shoot, Peter has now taken the decision not to renew his Personal Track Safety Certificate. This means that for any photoshoots requiring access near or on a railway line, a client will be able to apply to the Sentinel system for a Track Visitors Permit, which should make the whole process much more simple and swifter than it has been in the past.

Peter continues to carry a CSCS (Construction Skills Certification Scheme) card, which is beneficial for access to areas where site building development is taking place. He also of course carries a full set of PPE at all times, and has completed the Industry Common Induction Qualification.

Working for our railway clients has been enormously enjoyable over the last quarter of a century and we look forward to continuing to do so, whatever changes may come our way.

 

Michael Portillo opens refurbished King’s Lynn railway station

Michael Portillo opens refurbished King’s Lynn railway station

Former minister and current TV presenter Michael Portillo officially opened King’s Lynn railway station which has been refurbished in a heritage style by First Capital Connect and Network Rail.

Official Photographer for event: Peter Alvey

Mr Portillo, who presents BBC’s Great British Railway Journeys, was joined by the Mayor of King’s Lynn & West Norfolk, local councillors and project contributors to celebrate the station’s makeover as well as the town’s railway history.

The work, which cost just over £1million and was shared between First Capital Connect and Network Rail, is in keeping with the station’s heritage status and includes new British Railways signs, Great Eastern Railway inspired benches and vintage-style lanterns as well as a new royal blue and cream colour scheme throughout.

The local community was at the heart of the project, providing advice and opinions on the design of the new-look station. The Fen Line Users’ Association was heavily involved in design aspects including the Victorian era colour scheme of navy, cream and red which reflects the livery of Great Eastern’s steam trains, while the gold indicates King’s Lynn’s role as a royal station.

Norfolk-based foundry East Coast Casting Co Ltd supplied 10 new heritage-style royal blue benches and the station signs have been replaced with signs in the style of 1950s British Railway ‘totems’.

The work also included a full rewiring of the whole station, the booking hall roof being completely replaced and the platforms being resurfaced.

First Capital Connect Managing Director David Statham said:

“It was an absolute honour to have Mr Portillo open King’s Lynn station on our behalf today.

“Community groups have been heavily involved in this project and this event was about paying tribute to all they have achieved in delivering this fantastic project.

“It is a station with a rich history and we feel that that this refurbishment is a great way to celebrate and give the King’s Lynn community a station to take pride in.”

Richard Schofield, Network Rail Route Managing Director, said:

“The work carried out at King’s Lynn station is part of our ongoing investment programme to upgrade the rail network.

“The improvements made, including refurbishing the booking hall and providing better lighting, will give passengers a much better environment to travel to and from.”

Train Wrap – mobile photographic studio

Train Wrap – mobile photographic studio

We were commissioned to shoot some publicity images for the SkyHD series “All Aboard: East Coast Trains”, the final images were to be used as a train wrap.

We took our mobile photographic studio up to York and shot the participating staff on a white background so they could be cut out and put on the train wrap.

All the people taking part in the programme were East Coast Staff, not actors. We had a fabulous fun day and the resulting train wrap image looked amazing, the print quality was superb, capturing every detail.

Thameslink Class 700 Train Unveiled

Thameslink Class 700 Train Unveiled

I was the official photographer for the unveiling of the new Thameslink Class 700 trains last week.

Speaking at the unveiling of a full-scale mock-up of the train at London’s ExCeL Centre today, rail minister Stephen Hammond said: “We are transforming our railways through the biggest programme of rail investment ever.

“These exciting new trains, combined with the wider Thameslink programme, are a real boost to UK Plc, creating thousands of jobs in construction and across the supply chain, which is driving forward our economy.

“Once operational they will provide a huge benefit to the hundreds of thousands of passengers who travel into London every day. It will vastly improve train travel providing fast, reliable and more frequent services.”

Steve Scrimshaw, managing director of Siemens Rail Systems UK, said: “Over £80 million has been invested by Siemens in the design and development of the Class 700. The innovative design incorporates the feedback of UK train operators, train crew, cleaners and maintainers, as well as dedicated passenger research, helping us turn proven technology and expertise into a state-of-the-art train of the future.”

First Capital Connect operates the current Thameslink franchise and has worked closely with the government to develop the new trains.

Managing director David Statham said: “This new fleet will give passengers more trains, more carriages and more capacity which our passengers desperately need.

“The Thameslink Programme will deliver more than double the number of carriages across the heart of London. At London Bridge alone the programme will deliver 60% more carriages in the morning rush hour. There will also be exciting new journey opportunities along the route – from Cambridge and Peterborough across the Thames to Blackfriars and beyond.”

PTS Photography in Ipswich

PTS Photography in Ipswich

Being a photographer with a PTS certificate I’m able to undertake track work for clients. These images are of OHL works in Ipswich.

Railway electrification provides traction energy to electric trains, which may be passenger or freight, or consist of electric multiple units, where each passenger car receives it own power and no locomotive is needed. The electrical energy is conveyed to the trains by transmission lines to the railway, and then distributed within the railway network to the various trains, via OHL (Over Head Lines). These OHL carry 25,000 volts!

The trains have a pantograph mounted on the roof, which enables the power to be transmitted to the electric motors, providing traction for the train.