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.

 

Professional Night Photography In London, Derbyshire And Northamptonshire

Professional Night Photography In London, Derbyshire And Northamptonshire

Photography is often assumed to be a seasonal industry, and depending on what your product or service is you may well assume that professional photographers go into some kind of hibernation state once winter is upon us, emerging only as spring starts to creep over the horizon. However for some of our clients winter is the very best time of the year to get as much photography done as possible. Dusk and night photoshoots are much in demand at this time of year, sometimes because of their aesthetic nature, and sometimes simply because that’s the only time that the activity being photographed actually happens.

If any of you have tried to take photographs at night time you will know how difficult it can be, low light levels and slow shutter speeds are not for the faint hearted! Professional photographers bring not only the necessary equipment to a shoot, but also the benefit of detailed knowledge and years of experience in how to tackle photography at night and achieve the very best results.

In the last few months we have been kept very busy covering night photoshoots. Early February found us on location airside at Gatwick Airport. The shoot started in the late afternoon, and then continued through dusk and into the night. Our brief was to show the lighting in the area in it’s best … well … light if you’ll  excuse the pun. This assignment took a great deal of time and effort to organise, but when everything came to fruition on the night the resulting images were stunning.

A little closer to home, in Ilkeston Derbyshire, we were asked to photograph the newly refurbished railway station. On the run up to the shoot the weather forecast was dubious and rain looked like a possibility, so a dusk shoot was suggested. Rain obviously isn’t generally the photographer’s friend, but combined with nightfall and effective lighting it can be used to really enhance a photograph and provide dramatic effect.

Another benefit of a winter timed night shoot is that night falls a whole lot earlier than in the summer. Whilst many of us are bemoaning the short days and long winter nights the professional photographer is welcoming the chance to get started at 5pm, instead of 11.30pm later in the year.

Sometimes though, there  is no choice. Many industries carry out their activities overnight to ensure minimal disruption during the day, e.g. road and rail repairs are frequently undertaken in the early hours of the morning. Because Peter is well known for his transport photography, and carries a Personal Track Safety Certificate for his rail industry work he is often commissioned to photograph these projects as they are happening overnight. It’s a real privilege and absolutely fascinating to be asked to document this world of busy industry which many of us are totally unaware even exists.

Of course the clocks will be changing soon, and the days will start to draw out again. Hopefully spring and summer will bring us some sunshine and bright blue skies for our daytime location shoots, but we’ll still be carrying out our night assignments, just starting them a little later than at the moment!

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.