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Photo Charters and Photography on Heritage Railways

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by I. Cooper, Mar 4, 2021.

  1. RichardBrum

    RichardBrum Member

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    Photo charters are nothing like film/tv shoots or NR contractors

    The people at film shoots or NR work sites are employees, covered by their employers insurance, mandated to attend safety briefings, don't wander around looking for a better angle, etc etc.

    Film shoots are completely planned out in advance, so they know exactly where the camera will be, where the sound guys will be, etc. They also have their own safety advisors.
     
  2. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    So a railway enthusiast is not normal? While I agree that we form a minority of fare paying passengers, it's not the family groups who subscribe to share issues or put their hands in their pocket when disaster strikes, such as the floods on the Valley in 2007. The new wave of railway management just cannot understand that the initial pioneers with the passion and determination are the people who laid the foundations of the railway they have now. When the Valley were attempting to get the LRO from Bridgnorth to Hampton Loade they were faced with, at best, official apathy but more often outright hostility.
    The SVR may think the profit margin is not worth the effort but they are not the only ones involved. A week of charters could quite easily be filled with a premium rate being charged for the Saint and I'm sure the GWS could do with the steaming fees. It's sad that my 52 years of membership will now come to an end but there are many enthusiast friendly lines out there that are more deserving of support
     
  3. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    You have clearly never been on a photo charter. Talk of mobs on untrained people roaming around is ludicrous and insulting, we are all adults and many of us are volunteers on other lines or with loco owning groups. As for portable fenced enclosures, we're not sheep!! If it comes to this I'll save my money and do some of the German plandampfs instead, the lunatics haven't yet taken over the asylum over there
     
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  4. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    What makes you think a photo charter is any different?
     
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  5. billbedford

    billbedford Member Friend

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    Agree john we have over the last few years found the Ecclesbourne and the Battlefield lines very friendly and welcoming more so than the bigger lines.
     
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  6. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    I can only re-iterate my experience with photo charters which is from the footplate side, not the camera side, but that is that movements out on the line are very well controlled - the charter organiser sees to that, and each movement is planned and agreed in advance, generally by the footplate crew and organiser being in radio contact.

    Bear in mind as well that "film shoot" covers the whole range from a Hollywood blockbuster to a fashion company wanting to take some shots of models against a steam loco as a background or inside an old carriage. There isn't a one size fits all, but whether it is a Hollywood blockbuster, enthusiast charter or magazine fashion shoot, the railway would always have a representative on the ground who is there to liaise between the railway's operational staff and the client.

    I don't inherently see a properly organised enthusiast film charter as being more risky than a big budget film shoot.

    Tom
     
  7. henrywinskill

    henrywinskill Part of the furniture

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    Well said John!
     
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  8. 2392

    2392 Member

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    The only photo shoot of sorts I've attended a few years ago [2018], was the Friday evening part of Tanfield Railways Legends of Industry Gala. You just turned up and paid a tenner on the evening. Thoroughly enjoyed it and nobody did anything stupid. Granted they had various areas cordoned off using chain link fencing. Where folk needed to cross the lines around Marley Hill shed and yard there was a member of staff acting as a crossing keeper. The locos in steam were moved around as little as possible, but under supervision with the staff in appropriate out fits and not a high vis in sight!
     
    Last edited: Apr 28, 2021
  9. D1002

    D1002 Part of the furniture

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    Not a Heritage Railway but a Heritage Centre - Didcot. Don’t seem to have any issues with people wandering all over the place despite, albeit slowly, engine movements.
    Don’t think anyone’s been killed, yet!
    The Lady of Legend weekend was a good example of the ‘freedom of movement’ of locos and visitors....

     
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  10. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    On the Bluebell and often elsewhere we have the benefit of the Bluebell's resident comedian at the lineside, I'm sure you know who I mean!
     
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  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    Indeed, I was quite surprised on my visit to Didcot how freely moving engines and moving people could mix.
     
  12. 73129

    73129 Member

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    Just because it happen in the past doesn’t mean it will continue to happen.
     
    Last edited: Mar 24, 2021
  13. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    No indeed, we can't have people enjoying themselves can we? The car journey to get there is far more dangerous than anything that happens on the Didcot site, the movement of engine's is always supervised from off the footplate in a very safety conscious way.
     
  14. Jamessquared

    Jamessquared Nat Pres stalwart

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    Just imagine a whole day when he’s your driver ;)

    Tom
     
  15. 73129

    73129 Member

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    I totally agree with your post. I remember going to a gala at another railway and being allowed to walk around the yard freely and now you can’t.
     
  16. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    I would respectfully suggest you're talking total rubbish with regards to what I may or may not have done and my experiences - I have been on a good number of photo charters, to the point where I don't bother to count numbers. Granted - as mentioned already - only one at the SVR, but many elsewhere and not always railway based, although the majority are rail. (having "untrained people roaming around" active military airfields against the instructions of charter organisers and their hosts is really not welcomed or advisable, funnily enough charter participants are quite good at doing what their told during safety briefings in such circumstances after having signed onto base with photo ID). At the charters I've attended the majority of locations have been on land adjoining railway property, where indeed a few people have departed from the main group, but then that isn't a problem to the safe operation of the railway. Where the photographic locations have been on railway property the majority have clustered together - largely because in those locations there is only a narrow window of view where the scene works. Having stopped for the charter participants to disembark, the train would not move again until the railway representative present along with the charter organiser were content people were settled in their positions and the line was clear, where upon they would radio to the crew on the train the request for what was wanted and that people weren't about to suddenly start moving enmasse across the tracks. If the next location was a short walking distance away from the first, then usually the train would be sent on ahead and the charter participants - accompanied by railway representatives would walk along behind - the train having once again become stationary long before the charter participants caught up. Perhaps I've just by pure chance only booked to attend well organised and run charters?

    Whilst you may not appreciate the suggestion of fencing off a section of railway property adjoining the running lines with a temporary fence, and thus being restricted to the predetermined viewing angle - the point remains that it would address any "safety concerns" about "mobs of untrained people roaming around" whilst trains were in motion: Train stops, participants disembark and train movements don't recommence until the group is either away from railway property or is contained away from the running line - be that in areas normally accessible to the public, or in specially created areas fenced seperately. At that point clearance can be given for movements to recommence, run pasts to take place until the organiser is content, at which point train stops for participants to reboard and no movement takes place until participants are back on the train.

    I guess it's the difference between a 'can do' attitude where you accept concerns and look to address potential problems with a willingness to do things differently to allow activities to take place, and a "can't do" attitude that just declares 'that won't work' or 'that can't happen'.
     
  17. Johnb

    Johnb Resident of Nat Pres

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    You have described just about every charter I have ever been on. The SVR are using the safety angle as an excuse for not doing charters for other reasons, ie not being honest and creating a problem where none exists. From what I know of the ORR, they don’t want to ban anything and are quite happy for safe events to go ahead.
     
  18. Steve

    Steve Resident of Nat Pres Friend

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    In my experience, film/TV shoots can be a nightmare for various reasons so you're probably right; photo charters are no different.
     
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  19. I. Cooper

    I. Cooper Member

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    I can only speak for the railway charters I've attended myself - in those cases the charter has been completely planned out in advance, the organiser either already knows the venue from previous events, or in the case of one charter at a line that had never hosted such events before, the organiser had been to recce the line and adjoining land and landowners in advance. The day has been planned and the train takes the participants from one location along the line to the next, where the organiser herds people to the preplanned area - granted, when you're stood in a field overlooking the railway you'll find people spread out to find different positions to place overhanging tree branches in nice positions, but my experiences with the more limited viewing points actually on railway property the assembled participants follow the instructions of the organiser and railway representative - if the railway rep who's with the charter group isn't happen with the situation then they speak up before they radio to give the clearance for the train to move to the crew on board.

    As for attending safety briefings - I can't off hand remember a charter where there hasn't been some form or briefing or 'ground rules' from the organiser before hand. Ultimately if the railway wants to include a mandatory safety briefing on the day's activities before things start - well I for one don't see a problem in that, I'd be expecting it. ...but then if the host railway don't want to give a safety briefing that's hardly the charter participant's fault.

    As it turns out, since the initial posts were made on what's become this thread I've since learnt that actually the SVR does have a fairly regular and healthy number of people throwing themselves off high places onto hard surfaces, so perhaps for the time being it might be better if they focus on running their core business and ensuring their employees are kept safe and well before worrying about special events. ...but that doesn't mean to say photo charters can't be run in a safe manner if there's the will to do so.
     
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  20. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Nat Pres stalwart

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    I'm not sure that really addresses the primary safety concern I've seen quoted, which is getting on and off of trains not in platforms.
     

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