How to choose a provider for Rail Time Lapse Systems

how to choose a provider for rail time lapse systems
Learn what you should look for when choosing a Time Lapse provider for your Rail project.

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So you’re looking to showcase your rail project with time lapse photography? Chances are that unless you plan on attempting a manual DIY setup, you’re going to need a experienced time lapse system provider. But what constitutes an appropriate provider for rail time lapse? In this post we’ll break down key factors that you should consider when deciding which provider to go with.

personal track safety ACCREDITED

First and foremost, any time lapse system providers must be PTS (Personal Track Safety) accredited. This is because they are still bound to the same regulations as all rail staff on site. System providers that aren’t PTS accredited will be affected by a plethora of issues, such as…

  • A severe lack of accessibility when it comes to rail sites.
  • A general lack of safety for their staff on or near rail sites.
  • Being a potential hazard to other staff members working on rail sites.

The consequences of these issues are high too. A time lapse system provider with no PTS accredited staff could be forced to install their system out of site. This will provide a substandard view which likely won’t showcase your rail works to a desirable standard. Bringing these staff near or on rail sties could also result in numerous incidents, due to their lack of knowledge of rail site hazards/risks.

A way that system providers can get around this is with TVP’s (Track Visitor Permits). However these permits come with a host of their own issues. For example staff will TVP’s will have to be accompanied at at times when on site. In fact, for every two TVP users on site, there needs to approximately one PTS trained member of staff accompanying them. So utilising system suppliers with TVP’s could strain the rail workforce itself. TVP users are also limited when it comes to visiting frequency, in many cases capped at a certain number of visits. With only a limited number of visits per year, companies can quickly become limited with regard to how many installations and filming shifts they can complete in a given period.

As a time lapse system provider for rail, we can testify to the importance of having PTS accredited staff, instead of relying on TVP’s. In fact, we have found that they are almost mandatory for effective system installations on rail. This is why all of our staff are PTS accredited and why we encourage all other time lapse system providers to do the same.

network rail on lineDouble check that your planned provider has PTS staff available. If they don’t, you might want to think twice about working with them.


Sure- the experience factor may seem obvious. A more experienced service provider will frequently yield better results. But this is particularly important when it comes to choosing a time lapse system provider for rail. Experienced rail time lapse providers will have a range of advantages over those that aren’t as well versed, such as…

  • A superior awareness of key rail processes, key areas of activity and different rail site roles. 
  • A keener eye for what areas of site will be most visually interesting to time lapse.  
  • An ability to pinpoint more options when it comes to time lapse system mounting on rail sites. 

Another underrated advantage of an experienced rail time lapse provider will be their safety on site. Their experience will make them aware of potential hazards on site. This will mean that they’ll operate safer and be less of a danger to other workers on site. Not to mention, experienced rail time lapse providers will have a better understanding of rail terminology and processes. This will help them effectively work around rail staff and be more in tune with the site goings on.

network rail purley station

a portfolio of rail centric time lapse

A varied body of rail centric time lapse work demonstrates a suppliers ability to produce consistent and quality time lapse work for rail. The quality of a suppliers rail time lapse portfolio should be considered when deciding if they make a good fit for your rail project. This is because the quality of the films being showcased is highly indicative of what you can expect from their services.

Ideally, you should look for a system provider who can showcase their experience with a variety of rail related companies. This will show that they are also adaptable to different rail site layouts and processes. So look for a clear and transparent portfolio of rail time lapse work when selecting a system supplier for your project.

good communication

Rail sites can be a hectic place, with a lot of goings on. Power sources can suddenly shut off, construction work can become compromised and weather can reek havoc. Through all of this the time lapse system installed on your site may have it’s field of view compromised. Therefore, it’s imperative that you have a system supplier that communicates well and offers suitable support for such occurrences.

network rail peterborough We personally offer 24/7 support to all of our rail time lapse clients and we’d advise choosing a system provider that offers some kind of basic support outside of the regular 9-5.

So to recap, you should utilise a time lapse system provider who…

  • Is PTS accredited
  • Is Experienced
  • Has a solid existing body of work
  • Provides high level customer support & communication

We at the Inside Out Group have been installing our reliable time lapse systems on rail sites for over half a decade. We pride ourselves on having fully PTS accredited staff and providing 24/7 customer support. To see some examples of the rail centric time lapse films we’ve produced for rail take a look at our case studies. Or to learn more about our various time lapse services click here. This month we’re carrying out free installations across all of our time lapse systems.


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