Plans in the works for second camera showcasing the BNSF bridge
BY KATIE SCOVILLE
Pen City Current
FORT MADISON – A camera, mounted on a local inn, has captured the attention of locals and people from around the globe. Railroad enthusiasts are on the edge of their seats as they watch Fort Madison trains pass along the riverfront.
The Railroad Cam has been capturing river and railroad traffic since late June and started streaming on July 7, has found great success among viewers.
Installed at the Kingsley Inn, the camera is placed in a premium spot for documenting trains rolling by and barges floating up and down the Mississippi.
Chi Eastin, manager of the Kingsley Inn, said that the most shocking element of installing the camera is the number of views that the feed receives.
“Out of all 57 locations of these cameras, we’re number one in views,” she said.
The live feed can be found on YouTube by searching Fort Madison Railcam or at the following link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=B9Zz9z92TKQ
Just recently, 1,700 viewers watched as wind blades were being transported by train to Siemens-Gamesa, a large manufacturer on the southwestern outskirts of Fort Madison. A month into installation YouTube statistics projected an astonishing 2 million viewers of the feed.
“We’re getting lots of comments and more people are wanting to come to Fort Madison,” Eastin said.
“I’m not the first person to have this idea. Two guests from West Virginia suggested it to me and believed it would be a great addition to the hotel,”
She then contacted Virtual Rail Fan in October and made plans for installation.
“People love it. We’re getting such great feedback about the feed. This camera is not only marketing the Kingsley Inn but the whole town of Fort Madison,” Eastin said.
The Kingsley Inn has hosted guests from all over the country because of the railroad feed, and they’ve spent time exploring Fort Madison. But the feed’s presence doesn’t stop within our country’s borders. Some of the feed’s largest views are coming from different countries such as Germany and Japan.
“I’ve even had people from England contact me to make future arrangements to stay at the Kingsley when it’s safe to travel,” Eastin said.
There are even hopes of installing a second camera down at the marina.
“We’re in the process of getting one to face the bridge,” Eastin said.
This would give an up-close look at bridge traffic and would highlight the opening of the bridge to let river traffic through. Eastin hopes that the marina cam will bring the same success as the railroad cam.
Kyle Galloway, Chief Financial Officer for Barker Financial, who owns the Kingsley property among others in downtown, said the feed can be surprisingly addictive
“I pulled it up and it was kind of boring-but then an hour and a half later I’m still watching it.”
Fort Madison City Manager David Varley said the city had been looking into the idea of putting up a Railcam, and Kingsley’s camera is showcasing the city.
“Fortunately, the Kingsley stepped up to the plate and got it on their building. We’re very pleased and would like to thank them for their efforts to put that up.”