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Winners of Inaugural Young Railway Photographer of the Year Competition Announced

  • National competition organised by the Railway Photographic Society in its centenary year
  • 900+ entries from 150 people, across two age categories 
  • Exhibition of winning entries to go on display at the National Railway Museum

Competition photography can be downloaded as low resolution JPGs and high resolution TIFFS. Additional photography of the awards ceremony will be available on Friday 25 February. 

The winners of the first ever Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition were crowned last night at an award ceremony at the National Railway Museum in York, hosted by the Chair of Network Rail, Sir Peter Hendy.

Organised by the prestigious Railway Photographic Society in the organisation’s 100th year, the competition saw more than 150 young people, some as young as eight years old, submitting their best images in an effort to be named ‘the Young Railway Photographer of the Year’.

The overall competition-winning image was taken by Bradley Langton, (20) from Driffield in East Yorkshire who impressed the judges with a technically accomplished reflected view of an LNER Class 91 locomotive at London King’s Cross station. 

The competition divided entries into two categories: photographers aged under 19 and those aged 19-25. The winner in the under 19 category was Sean Mattocks, (17) from Burnley who submitted a range of atmospheric photographs that included landscapes and close ups of people and locomotives.

Ben Taylor (17) from Prescot was named in second place, and third place went to Rowan Harris-Jones, (17) from Berwick-Upon-Tweed.

In the 19-25 category, the winner was Bradley Langton, whose set of entries included a striking shot of Glenfinnan Viaduct in the Scottish Highlands, made famous by the Harry Potter films. 

Liam Barnes (20), from Rossendale was named in second place, and Dylan Robinson (19), from Cradley Heath was awarded third place.

Launched in 2019 and delayed as a result of the pandemic, the competition aimed to showcase the work of budding photographers across the UK. The competition theme was ‘the Railway Seen’ and entrants were asked to illustrate the variety of railway subject matter, whether vehicles, architecture, people, landscapes, or abstract images. 

Competition organiser John Hillier, from the Railway Photographic Society and Bahamas Locomotive Society, said:

“I would like to congratulate our competition winners. I extend my thanks to everyone who took part, despite the difficulties presented by Covid-19 and to our sponsors, and Network Rail and the National Railway Museum in particular for their enthusiastic support. Judges were impressed with the standard of entries which covered a wide range of subjects and locations across the UK, celebrating the richness of our railways. 

“The overall winning entry from Bradley Langton is a picture of high technical merit with some great colours and definition. It portrays a blend of the traditional and modern and is the ‘stand-out’ shot of the railways today and a worthy winner.” 

As well as the overall winners, special ‘Judges’ Picks’ for exceptional individual images were awarded to Matthew Howe (16), from St. Ives, Shane Gopal (17), from Peterborough, Henry Pinkney (13), from Ely, Maud Webster (20), from Newcastle Upon Tyne, Leo Fleming (10), from Canterbury, Christopher Ainscough (24), from Wigan. Gwion Clark (18), from Conwy also received ‘the Railway Photographic Society Special Award’. 

A selection of 48 images from the competition, including all category winners, will be included in a temporary exhibition at the National Railway Museum in York. Displayed in the museum’s Great Hall and free to enter, the exhibition will replace the Railway Heroes photography exhibition which celebrated the achievement of rail workers during the pandemic.

The Young Railway Photographer of the Year exhibition will also go on display at Locomotion in Shildon, County Durham from June 2022. 

Charlotte Kingston, Head of Interpretation and Design at the National Railway Museum, and competition judge, said: 

“The National Railway Museum is proud to support this inaugural competition which aims to celebrate our shared love of Britain’s railways and to inspire the next generation of young people. I was highly impressed by the range, quality and professionalism of our entrants and we will be displaying a selection of the best photographs in Great Hall alongside the stars of our collection.”   

The competition was organised by the Railway Photographic Society, a national membership body of photographers which was originally set up in 1922. Known as the Rail Camera Club since 1976, the organisation is marking its centenary by reverting to its original name, holding this competition, and continuing its aim to achieve high photographic standards and to record the changing railway scene. 

The Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition is supported by Network Rail, the National Railway Museum, Jessops Europe Limited, Mortons Media Ltd (Railway Magazine, Heritage Railway, Rail Express), Bauer Media (Rail, Steam Railway, Practical Photography), TimeLine Events, the Bahamas Locomotive Society and Silver Link Publishing.

The competition winners will receive a range of prizes including photographic equipment, railway books, photography training opportunities and a behind-the-scenes tour of the National Railway Museum. As part of their prize, Network Rail has also given the overall winner the opportunity to photograph the Forth Bridge in Scotland.  
Following the exhibition, a 288-page book has been published by Silver Link Publishing and Morton’s Books which includes the majority of competition entries and the winning images. 

Ends

For more information, please contact: 

Full list of competition winners:

Young Railway Photographer of the Year under 19s category 
1st       Sean Mattocks (17), from Burnley
2nd      Ben Taylor (17), from Prescot
3rd       Rowan Harris-Jones (17), from Berwick-Upon-Tweed

Young Railway Photographer of the Year 19-25s category 
1st       Bradley Langton (20), from Driffield
2nd      Liam Barnes (20), from Rossendale
3rd       Dylan Robinson (19), from Cradley Heath

Judges’ Picks 

  • Matthew Howe (16), from St. Ives
  • Shane Gopal (17), from Peterborough
  • Henry Pinkney (13), from Ely
  • Maud Webster (20), from Newcastle Upon Tyne
  • Leo Fleming (10), from Canterbury 
  • Christopher Ainscough (24), from Wigan
  • Gwion Clark (18), from Conwy 

Railway Photographic Society Special Award 

  • Gwion Clark (18), from Conwy 

Overall Young Railway Photographer of the Year 

  • Bradley Langton, (20) from Driffield

Prizes 

Overall Winner            

  • Opportunity to photograph from the Forth Bridge courtesy of Network Rail
  • Nikon P900 Camera provided by Jessops Limited

Under 19 Category         

  • Voucher to attend a Jessops Academy Photography Course provided by Jessops Limited
  • Magazine subscriptions [Mortons Media and Bauer Media]
  • Picture spread [Mortons Media]
  • NRM Merchandise [NRM]
  • Book: Young Railway Photographer of the Year 2022, Silver Link Publishing/Mortons Media
  • Opportunity to contribute to the RPS Print Folio                     

19 – 25 Category              

  • Voucher to attend a Jessops Academy Photography Course provided by Jessops Limited
  • Magazine Subscriptions - Mortons Media and Bauer Media
  • Picture Spread - Mortons Media
  • Behind the Scenes visit to the NRM - NRM
  • Book: Young Railway Photographer of the Year 2022 - Silver Link Publishing / Mortons Media
  • Opportunity to contribute to the RPS Print Folio

RPS Award                     

  • Masterclass photography session with Jack Boskett - Mortons Media
  • Behind the Scenes tour of Rail Story, Ingrow, - Bahamas Locomotive Society
  • Tickets on Keighley & Worth Valley Railway and East Lancashire Railway - Bahamas Locomotive Society
  • Photo shoot – East Lancashire Railway - Bahamas Locomotive Society
  • Book: The Photographic Artistry of Rail Cameramen - Railway Photographic Society / Silver Link Publishing
  • Book:  Young Railway Photographer of the Year 2022 - Silver Link Publishing / Mortons Media
  • Opportunity to contribute to the RPS Print Folio

Judges

The judging panel was comprised of representatives from railway organisations across the UK: 

  • John Hillier, Railway Photographic Society / Bahamas Locomotive Society
  • Robin Jones, Heritage Railway
  • Tim Hartley, Mortons Media Group
  • Peter Townsend, Silver Link Publishing
  • Darren Hendley, Mortons Media Group
  • Charlotte Kingston, National Railway Museum
  • Ross Middleton, Railway Photographic Society
  • Paul Bickerdyke, The Railway Magazine
  • Gareth Evans, The Railway Magazine
  • Tom Bright, Steam Railway

At every stage of the competition, the importance of staying safe near the railways and the dangers of trespassing were highlighted. Entries were disqualified if they were taken from an unsafe location. 

About the National Railway Museum 

  • The National Railway Museum in York has the largest collection of railway objects in the world and prior to the pandemic, attracted more than 750,000 visitors per year. 
  • The collection includes over 260 locomotives and rolling stock, 600 coins and medals as well as railway uniform, equipment, documents, artwork and photographs.
  • The National Railway Museum forms part of the Science Museum Group, along with the Science Museum in London, the Science and Industry Museum in Manchester, the National Science and Media Museum in Bradford and Locomotion in Shildon. 
  • Admission to the National Railway Museum is free, although visitors are encouraged to book in advance, visit: www.railwaymuseum.org.uk 

About The Railway Photographic Society / Rail Camera Club 

  • The Railway Photographic Society (RPS) was founded in early 1922 by Reading-based Maurice W. Earley (MWE) who became one of the most eminent of the UK’s railway photographers. Over 3,000 of his images are held in the Archives of the NRM.
  • The NRM subsequently commented that the formation of the RPS improved the standard of railway photography. Over the years, the RPS membership comprised most of the top railway photographers in the UK all of whom had to get ‘approval’ from MWE before they could join.  
  • Maurice Earley remained as the RPS Secretary until 1976 when he decided to ‘retire’ and at the same time to ‘retire’ the whole Society. However, a group of RPS members led by Carlisle-based photographer Stephen Crook felt that they wanted to maintain the spirit and ethos of the RPS and formed the Rail Camera Club which operated in exactly the same way as the RPS by circulating prints between members for comment. 
  • Now, 100 years after the RPS was formed, the RCC has announced that it will become the Railway Photographic Society once again and has promoted the inaugural Young Railway Photographer of the Year Competition in an attempt to enthuse and discover new budding railway photographers who are also interested in improving their work by letting others see the results of their work in print form.
  • Website: www.therailwayphotographicsociety.co.uk

Part of the Science Museum Group