Europe's first Hackathon on a moving train was the brainchild of River Tamoor Baig and Alejandro Saucedo of Hack Partners and went from just a crazy idea to the best Hackathon in under 3 months. No mean feat, when you consider that this involved planning and infrastructure (not to mention tickets!) to take 40 Hackers plus HackTrain team and crew from London to Edinburgh and back to York by rail in just 52hrs!
The result was the HackTrain. The rest is history.
Ian was there at the beginning. As others scoffed at the idea of train operating companies giving over rolling stock (or even part of a train) to a bunch of hackers, for free, he and his Innovate York colleagues supported River to make the vision become a reality. We can't take credit for the HackTrain; but we played our (not insignificant) part in helping them establish it as the hackatahon phenomenon to end all hackathons. Such was it's success, River and Alejandro delivered HackTrain 2.0 only 8 months after the first event and it was three times the size, with at least ten times the impact!
Ian's role was helping to shape the event in the early stages and plan some of the logistics, particularly the York-based parts (which was most of Saturday daytime and a good portion of Sunday). The was even a last minute change of venue to the City of York Council offices for part of the event, when the Wi-Fi failed in the original venue on the Saturday!
From the launch event at the Digital Catapult in London Kings Cross, to Sheffield, through to York, on to Edinburgh and back to the National Railway Museum in York for the final pitching and awards, the HackTrain raised the bar for hackathons and at the same time, launched a movement that is already transforming the rail industry.