Taking photos at London St Pancras

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PaxVobiscum

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You may find my experiences at St Pancras a few years ago are relevant.
I took the precaution of emailing them first:

----- Original Message -----
From: (me)
To: (Network Rail contact for filming and photography)
Sent: (Jan 2011)
Subject: Non-commercial filming and photography at St Pancras

Dear R******,

I shall be visiting London with my son in early April and he has asked to Visit St. Pancras Station while we are there, probably on the afternoon or evening of the xx April 2011.

While I have found information on Commercial and News filming and photography applications, I have not been able to find specific information on non-commercial filming and photography at St Pancras other than the general Network Rail advice to rail enthusiasts at <http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/passenger_services/guidelines_for_rail_enthusiasts.html> .
I am familiar with these guidelines and have been allowed by relevant duty managers to use my camera at stations in many parts of the UK.

Since I am aware of the greater security issues which apply in the London area, would you please confirm that the use of a small handheld camcorder for purely family purposes would be permitted subject to the restrictions noted in the link above?

Thanks in anticipation,

(My name)

----- REPLY ------
Hi (name),

Thanks for your e-mail.

We welcome all photography as long as you sign in at station reception and respect all the standard rules i.e. use of flash etc, Not using it when trains are approaching etc.

Enjoy your day.

Thanks,

(different person, this one based at St.Pancras)
So far, so good.

But a different story at St Pancras on the day.

At first permission to film or photograph in the Station was flatly refused at the Station Manager's office but I persisted, showing the duty manager the correspondence. After much phoning and consulting, he reluctantly agreed, but insisted that I do a "Safety Course" there and then. This took about 1/2 hour and taught me nothing I didn't know already. At the end, I had to sign lots of paperwork wear a badge and vest and leave my monopod with them.

Good luck at St. Pancras.
 
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ANDYS

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Westcoaster,

I think he was one of the St Pancras staff as he had a blue high-viz on. I have no problem with him personally as he was polite when talking to both me and my son. However, my son was visibly upset afterwards as he thought that he was in trouble. Now it had been a long day and tiredness certainly played a part but as any parent will tell you, when your kid cries and is upset when they have done nothing wrong then a certain amount of parental protection can spring up!! We left straight away with me trying to comfort him!

As for where we were, when I said that we were at the north end of the platform, we were not that far. The trains were formed of 4 or 8 cars at the time so we had gone as far as necessary to get a decent shot. I will post some of the few shots and these may give an idea of where we were.

Anyway, thanks to everyone we has given their opinions. Next time (if there is one) I will be better informed.

Andy S
 

68000

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Westcoaster,

I think he was one of the St Pancras staff as he had a blue high-viz on. I have no problem with him personally as he was polite when talking to both me and my son. However, my son was visibly upset afterwards as he thought that he was in trouble. Now it had been a long day and tiredness certainly played a part but as any parent will tell you, when your kid cries and is upset when they have done nothing wrong then a certain amount of parental protection can spring up!! We left straight away with me trying to comfort him!

As for where we were, when I said that we were at the north end of the platform, we were not that far. The trains were formed of 4 or 8 cars at the time so we had gone as far as necessary to get a decent shot. I will post some of the few shots and these may give an idea of where we were.

Anyway, thanks to everyone we has given their opinions. Next time (if there is one) I will be better informed.

Andy S
I have met enough of those jumped up little Hitlers in my time (admittedly most in airport security). They have no common sense or empathy
 

westcoaster

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Westcoaster,

I think he was one of the St Pancras staff as he had a blue high-viz on. I have no problem with him personally as he was polite when talking to both me and my son. However, my son was visibly upset afterwards as he thought that he was in trouble. Now it had been a long day and tiredness certainly played a part but as any parent will tell you, when your kid cries and is upset when they have done nothing wrong then a certain amount of parental protection can spring up!! We left straight away with me trying to comfort him!

As for where we were, when I said that we were at the north end of the platform, we were not that far. The trains were formed of 4 or 8 cars at the time so we had gone as far as necessary to get a decent shot. I will post some of the few shots and these may give an idea of where we were.

Anyway, thanks to everyone we has given their opinions. Next time (if there is one) I will be better informed.

Andy S

The guys in blue hi vis jackets work for St Pancras and as such, we'll certainly what I've seen they go around doing security checks, never seen them interact with customers, also it maybe be prudent to also let the platform staff (look for them around the glass office's behind the escalators) who work for TL what your doing.
Don't let it put of your self or your lad of, it's just one person against the world.
 

westcoaster

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Tripod?
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---

They are Customer Service Assistants.
Are there two lots of staff wearing the blue hi vizz's, you see the ones who help do ramps and assistive travel, then the ones who check cabinets, doors , platform ends and go over the bridges at each end.
 

ANDYS

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EM2

My lad had a little tripod, all of about 12in high. He is only little and basically squats down behind it, takes his photo, and then picks it, and the attached camera up to come and sit with me.

The man was not bothered by that, it was more "No cameras!"

Andy S
 

EM2

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Are there two lots of staff wearing the blue hi vizz's, you see the ones who help do ramps and assistive travel, then the ones who check cabinets, doors , platform ends and go over the bridges at each end.
There are two teams, but all CSAs are expected to answer questions from customers if asked, to challenge unsafe behaviour and to be aware of security issues.
 

fowler9

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All seems a bit mad to me. When we got off a 373 at St Pancras International a couple of months back we took photos of it and the driver took a photo of us in front of it. Earlier in the day when we got off an Easyjet flight at Schipol my dad took photos of the Malaysian 777 parked up next to us. Nothing was said. Sounds like in some cases the terrorists are winning.
 

TheJRB

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I have taken photos at St Pancras (low level, SE and EMT) in the past without problem. Admittedly not that many and not for very long however.

It's not always the London termini that prove difficult as I've experienced difficulty at:

  • Barking - In July, a female member of staff said "Do you have permission?" and "The drivers won't like it."!
  • Bromley South - In mid 2011 I was taking a couple of photos between trains and got told "You need permission to do that.". Complained and got a letter back from Southeastern telling me I was in the right.
  • Ealing Broadway - One time there was a staff member who was really friendly and another time I got told by somebody else to stop taking photos!
  • Orpington - In November 2012 I got told that "Olympic rules" were still in place preventing photography. Been back since without problem but would definitely sign in if I was there for any length of time.

Yet of all the places I've been those are the only times I've encountered any trouble, so I'd say there are more welcoming staff about than otherwise!
 

jon0844

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Olympic rules?

I remember the fuss over the IOC wanting to control photos and videos taken and published at the games themselves, but elsewhere? Did the IOC really get given unlimited powers or something?

If so, I'm amazed I'm not still locked up in China after taking photos of soldiers at the 2008 games! Everyone was taking photos there and not being harassed.
 

ANDYS

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Thanks Jonmorris0844 I will pass your compliments back to my son.

Following on from all the comments, I want to thank all who have had the time to reply. Your ideas and musings are exactly what I needed. This was the first time we have ever had an issue anywhere and I thought it worthwhile for both me and my son to get the matter straight. I have printed off the National Rail advice and will keep it in my camera bag.

As you may see from the Flickr site we do get around a lot and have had lots of excellent, friendly interaction with both fellow enthusiasts and railway personnel. This one occasion will not put him off and the advice given here will back up what I have told him.

Thanks to all, Andy S
 

Kristofferson

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Just as an aside here, I had half hour spare at St Pancras a couple of days ago, so used the time to snap some pics from the Eurostar terrace and East Coast platforms (behind the gateline).

There happened to be a gaggle of EC staff (CSAs, a TM and gateline staff I believe) near me when I was snapping the EC trains, and nobody batted an eyelid. Just depends on which company's staff you're near I guess.

Employees of private security companies are likely to be a bit more "picky" and, sadly, less informed about what is and isn't allowed!
 

455driver

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Just as an aside here, I had half hour spare at St Pancras a couple of days ago, so used the time to snap some pics from the Eurostar terrace and East Coast platforms (behind the gateline).

There happened to be a gaggle of EC staff (CSAs, a TM and gateline staff I believe) near me when I was snapping the EC trains, and nobody batted an eyelid. Just depends on which company's staff you're near I guess.

Employees of private security companies are likely to be a bit more "picky" and, sadly, less informed about what is and isn't allowed!
Do you mean EMT staff?

EC staff work across the road at Kings Cross!
 

Kristofferson

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Sorry - it was Kings Cross! I just lumped them together without thinking, as the two are so close they might as well be the same station these days :)
 
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