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Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition returns for 2024

Photo: The National Railway Museum

Photography competition returns for second time with ‘Railway 200’ theme, organised by National Railway Museum and The Railway Photographic Society

The search to find the UK’s most promising young railway photographers has begun with the launch of a national photography competition.

Across the UK, cases will be packed, lenses primed, and shutters poised as the Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition 2025 officially opens for entries.

Organised by the National Railway Museum, The Railway Photographic Society and supported by leading partners from the railway and photography industries, the competition is seeking the best images from photographers aged 25 and under.

Launching on 1 February 2024 and running until 31 January 2025, the competition returns as part of ‘Railway 200’, a year-long programme of events and celebrations to recognise the significance of the past 200 years of railway history and the bicentenary of the Stockton and Darlington Railway in September 2025.

From complete novices to accomplished amateurs, the competition aims to encourage more young people to take part in railway photography. Entrants will be invited to submit a portfolio of up to six images in two age categories: 18 and under and 19-25.

An exhibition of shortlisted entries will be displayed at the National Railway Museum in York and at Locomotion in Shildon in summer 2025, before the winners are announced at an awards ceremony.

The inaugural Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition was launched in 2019 and winners announced in 2022 to celebrate the centenary of the Railway Photographic Society.

Charlotte Kingston, Head of Design, Exhibitions and Communications at the National Railway Museum and inaugural competition judge, said: “I am pleased to announce the return of the Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition which has a new theme as part of the nation’s Railway 200 celebrations.

“This was one of the National Railway Museum’s most popular recent exhibitions and the skill, breadth of subject matter and imagination on show from previous entrants was fantastic. There couldn’t be a better time to celebrate the railways in 2025 and the competition will inspire the next generation to think creatively about the railways. My thanks to all the partners involved in organising the competition and I am looking forward to seeing how we build on the success of the inaugural competition.”

Despite the disruption resulting from the Covid-19 pandemic, the inaugural Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition received 167 entrants who submitted more than 900 images. The youngest entrant to the competition was just eight years old. Entries ranged from impressive station architecture to historic steam engines and images of the people who volunteer at heritage railways.

The overall competition-winning image was taken by Bradley Langton, (then aged 20), from Driffield who impressed the judges with a spectacular reflected view of an LNER InterCity 225 at London King’s Cross station. 

Secretary of the Railway Photographic Society, John Hillier, said: “The return of the Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition and the NRM’s involvement provides the perfect opportunity for young photographers to be inspired to go out and produce a portfolio of shots based on the new theme. If that wasn’t all, there are fantastic competition prizes, with the added bonus of possibly seeing their work showcased at the NRM and beyond.”  

In 2025 the Stockton and Darlington Railway will be 200 years old and to mark this anniversary, the rail industry has come together to develop Railway 200, a year-long national public engagement programme of activities, initiatives and partnerships for people of all ages.  

The anniversary will be used to inspire the next generation of STEM professionals and encourage young people to choose a career in rail’s exciting, digital, green, future. For more information, visit www.railway200.co.uk.

The Young Railway Photographer of the Year competition is supported by the Railway Photographic Society, Network Rail, Mortons Media, GB Railfreight (GBRf) and Amateur Photographer Magazine.

To find out more, visit: www.youngrailphotographeroftheyear.co.uk

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