Wish I Was There – Network Rail launches art competition celebrating the marvel of rail travel: Wish I was there

Monday 19 Apr 2021

Wish I Was There – Network Rail launches art competition celebrating the marvel of rail travel

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Network Rail is today launching an art competition that will celebrate rail travel and the destinations people have missed travelling to during lockdown over the last year.

The competition titled ‘Wish I Was There’ invites art students from across Britain to create and submit pieces of artwork that conjures up images of the places that they have been looking forward to visiting- whether it be a town, city or beach, a shopping street or even just a pub or a park - a place that means something special to them.

Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chair of Network Rail, said: “The railway, from the very beginning, has been an integral part of bringing people and places together. From visiting family and friends, to that cherished day trip to the seaside. It gives us access to places that we might not otherwise have gone to. We all have those special places that we like to visit by train and that is something we have all missed in the last year.

“That is why we are inviting the UK’s next generation of artists to bring this to life, by creating images that capture and celebrate the journeys we’re all looking forward to making when we can.

“The railway has a long history of creating works of art to promote the destinations that people could travel to by train, and the art submitted through this competition will become part of that history, documenting what has been an unprecedented time for all of us.”

The competition is open to art students across the UK, aged 18 or over. Up to 100 submissions will be selected and will be exhibited this summer at major mainline stations across the country beginning at London’s Waterloo station in July. There will also be a chance that some of the works will also be displayed on large-scale digital screens at 20 of the biggest mainline stations in the country.

The deadline for submissions is 16 May 2021 and it is expected the judging will take place in June. Students can find more information by visiting - https://www.wishiwasth ere.love/

The railway network has been vital in keeping the country running during the pandemic including keeping key workers and freight on the move and it will play a massive part in the country’s economic recovery. The industry is working hard to make sure it is safe for people to travel as restrictions are lifted.

Notes to editors:
• Network Rail will select 20 of the top entries who will receive £2500 in exchange for the rights for Network Rail to retail the artwork as printed posters and postcards.
• Guidance for the artwork are as follows:
• Students are invited to design and submit a piece of art done to the scale of a postcard (landscape or portrait);
• They can choose any place in the UK that is special to them and can be reached via train– from a whole town or city to a beach or a landmark, to a country lane, to a shopping street, or even just a pub or park;
• To capture that feeling in one iconic image in a style and manner that is unique to them in any of the following mediums;
• Painting, drawing (any material), collage, print, illustration (hand-drawn or computer) and bas-relief – photography may appear but only part of a piece and not as a stand-alone image.
• Students are encouraged to be as expressive as they like, but to remember, that the image must capture a sense of place.


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Tracey O'Brien
Media relations manager
Network Rail

About Network Rail

We own, operate and develop Britain's railway infrastructure; that's 20,000 miles of track, 30,000 bridges, tunnels and viaducts and the thousands of signals, level crossings and stations. We run 20 of the UK's largest stations while all the others, over 2,500, are run by the country's train operating companies.

Usually, there are almost five million journeys made in the UK and over 600 freight trains run on the network. People depend on Britain's railway for their daily commute, to visit friends and loved ones and to get them home safe every day. Our role is to deliver a safe and reliable railway, so we carefully manage and deliver thousands of projects every year that form part of the multi-billion pound Railway Upgrade Plan, to grow and expand the nation's railway network to respond to the tremendous growth and demand the railway has experienced - a doubling of passenger journeys over the past 20 years.

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