Visiting GEML on Tuesday

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leomartin125

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Hi all,

I'm due to take my new camera out to the GEML on Tuesday for the first time. Wanted some advice on:

> Good places to spot (station wise) Somewhere not too far outside London but with a good view of speeding class 90's, freight and what not.

> What times are good for freight action, what time I should get to what station.

> Good DSLR Camera settings for train shooting.

Thanks, Leo
 
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306024

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Stratford is the obvious choice, although I believe Oyster card is valid to Shenfield. Freight generally any time between 09.30 and 16.30, just look at real time trains for more detail. Also use open train times for the signalling maps, the GEML is well covered right out to Hatfield Peverel so you can see if it is worth waiting around.

If you go to the smaller stations, many didn't used to have staff on the platforms, but now TfL have taken over they do. Of course many staff are new and may wonder what you are up to, but Stratford are used to enthusiasts so you hopefully won't have a problem there.

Also if you want a different angle for photography a trip up the London Orbit at Stratford may be worthwhile.
 

leomartin125

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Stratford is the obvious choice, although I believe Oyster card is valid to Shenfield. Freight generally any time between 09.30 and 16.30, just look at real time trains for more detail. Also use open train times for the signalling maps, the GEML is well covered right out to Hatfield Peverel so you can see if it is worth waiting around.

If you go to the smaller stations, many didn't used to have staff on the platforms, but now TfL have taken over they do. Of course many staff are new and may wonder what you are up to, but Stratford are used to enthusiasts so you hopefully won't have a problem there.

Also if you want a different angle for photography a trip up the London Orbit at Stratford may be worthwhile.

Great, thanks for your help. Are any other stations good a bit further out, maybe as far as Shenfield, possibly Brentwood? I like to see freight passing at speed mostly which is why Stratford may not be as much my cup of tea.
 

306024

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Brentwood would normally be good for freight coming down the hill from Shenfield, but the platforms are being lengthened at the country end for Crossrail so you may find a few workers in your shot. Similar at Harold Wood at the moment. Both these stations have fences along the middle platform to try to reduce potential suicides.

Gidea Park is a bit different as there are two island platforms there, a shot of a down freight from the up electric platform (pfm 3) would be OK as freight is getting up speed before tackling the climb up Brentwood Bank, and an up freight will have just come down the hill so should be at top speed.

Romford is OK too, you'll have access to all platforms there including the Upminster platform which gives good views of up trains, but no good for down trains.

I'd suggest catching an all stations train from Liverpool St to Shenfield (a chance to ride a 36 year old class 315!) to see where you fancy. It will take 43 minutes rather than 20 but you'll get more chance to see which locations are suitable for you. If you don't like somewhere the trains are every 10 minutes so you can soon move on.

Hope the weather is kind, looks like you'll need to wrap up warm.
 
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leomartin125

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Brentwood would normally be good for freight coming down the hill from Shenfield, but the platforms are being lengthened at the country end for Crossrail so you may find a few workers in your shot. Similar at Harold Wood at the moment. Both these stations have fences along the middle platform to try to reduce potential suicides.

Gidea Park is a bit different as there are two island platforms there, a shot of a down freight from the up electric platform (pfm 3) would be OK as freight is getting up speed before tackling the climb up Brentwood Bank, and an up freight will have just come down the hill so should be at top speed.

Romford is OK too, you'll have access to all platforms there including the Upminster platform which gives good views of up trains, but no good for down trains.

I'd suggest catching an all stations train from Liverpool St to Shenfield (a chance to ride a 36 year old class 315!) to see where you fancy. It will take 43 minutes rather than 20 but you'll get more chance to see which locations are suitable for you. If you don't like somewhere the trains are every 10 minutes so you can soon move on.

Hope the weather is kind, looks like you'll need to wrap up warm.

Thanks ever so much buddy, that's so useful. I will definitley wrap up warm don't worry, but it should be great weather and a good day. I'll see where is best for me by riding on the TFL 315 from Liverpool St.

Regards,
Leo
 

EssexGonzo

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I can say from my experience of waiting at Shenfield on platform 2 that platform 3 London end would be a good vantage point for freight. They come thundering up the hill from Brentwood and sound as if the foot is still on the gas going through the station as most of the train will still be on the hill through the Brentwood cutting.

You'll also get the Norwich trains going at a fair old rate.
 

leomartin125

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I can say from my experience of waiting at Shenfield on platform 2 that platform 3 London end would be a good vantage point for freight. They come thundering up the hill from Brentwood and sound as if the foot is still on the gas going through the station as most of the train will still be on the hill through the Brentwood cutting.

You'll also get the Norwich trains going at a fair old rate.

Decided that I will buy a ticket for all the way through to Brentwood but try out the different stations along the way. There is heavy fog forecast so that iwll make the video's look crisp indeed especially with the freight at speed. Thanks for your help guys.

Regards,
Leo
 

306024

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You are welcome. Not often anyone takes an interest in the poor old GEML, but it's a route I've grown up with and never tire of for some reason. If you are going to Romford just be aware there was a fatality there this evening so the staff may be extra concerned if they see someone at the end of the platform.
 

leomartin125

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You are welcome. Not often anyone takes an interest in the poor old GEML, but it's a route I've grown up with and never tire of for some reason. If you are going to Romford just be aware there was a fatality there this evening so the staff may be extra concerned if they see someone at the end of the platform.

Thanks for your advice, I settled with Brentwood in the end. Was a good station, although way too dark to ever consider returning again, the light was the only issue though. Trains-wise it was perfect, so much variety.

Here is the results:

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSWspMc6fWo
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcjXTnAqg8s

Many thanks once again for your advice!

Regards,
Leo
 

AM9

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Thanks for your advice, I settled with Brentwood in the end. Was a good station, although way too dark to ever consider returning again, the light was the only issue though. Trains-wise it was perfect, so much variety.

Here is the results:

> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BSWspMc6fWo
> https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pcjXTnAqg8s

Many thanks once again for your advice!

Regards,
Leo

Hi Leo,

The videos certainly show a good variety of rolling stock still running on the GEML.
As far as the darkness in some of the shots goes, that is mainly caused by the low angle of the winter sun on a bright day. The camera, I presume was on 'Auto', which means that the brightness of the picture is adjusted to keep the brightest and darkest parts of the picture within the range that the camera can record. The Canon APC-C sensor is very sensitive and you can see that the darker foreground is closed right down to keep the bright sky from burning out. To allow the contrast level to be adjusted, the camera has 'picture style' settings in the menu. The default settings can be changed, but for special lighting issues, there are three user defined picture styles.
The way to fix this difficult lighting situation for Canon SLR video is to load a 'flat' picture style setting into the camera. The best one I have found that is freely available seems to the the Technicolor 'Cinestyle', which can be downloaded here:

http://www.technicolor.com/en/solutions-services/cinestyle

A video showing how to install the style in your camera is here:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z-gexE9L_c4

When you playback video taken with this picture style you will find that although it looks a bit washed out, the detail is retained at all light levels. I assume that you have put the You Tube clips together with a video editor, so you will have the ability to adjust the contrast and black levels to show the footage to its best. The flat profile of the footage will give you maximum adjustment of the picture before 'banding' and crushing at the extremes occurs. It certainly would be worthwhile taking some test clips in difficult conditions, and playing with the adjustments before your next shoot.

Hope that helps.
 

306024

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I did wonder whether the sun, welcome as it is this week, would cause you any issues. Still AM9 seems to have given some helpful advice. There certainly was a fair bit of variety, although that Freightliner with just a few boxes was a bit unusual. Appreciate the thanks, and enjoyed the viewing.
 
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