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Christmas Trains Photographs

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Christmas Trains Photographs

Every year most railway enthusiast like to go out and take photographs of Christmas trains. Most young children love to have a ride on the train with the chance of meeting Father Christmas.

During December I usually spend time out in the cold weather photographing Christmas trains in my local area. This would be on the South Devon Railway and the Dartmouth Steam Railway. As you probably already know, both of these Heritage Railways, plus many more around the country are currently closed due to the COVID-19 virus.

Photograph 1

The ‘Santa by Steam’ on the South Devon Railway is also a popular train service, this one allows children and their parents to meet Father Christmas on the train.

Although this service runs during the day and not at night like the Dartmouth Steam Railway, it still has plenty of steam train enthusiast at different locations with there cameras.

I was standing on Hood Bridge that is near Staverton. It was not raining but the weather was dull and there was no winter sun, which was a shame. The photograph came out OK considering the weather. I do wish though, that the loco was throwing out some steam!

Camera Settings

Canon 5D MK3

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens

ISO: 1000

Shutter Speed: 1/400

Aperture: F7.1

Photo: GWR 0-6-0PT No: 6412 is seen at Hood Bridge on the South Devon Railway working the 11.30 Buckfastleigh to Totnes Riverside ‘Santa by Steam’ service on the 7th December 2019

Photograph 2

The photo below was taken on the Dartmouth Steam Railway near Kingswear. The Christmas train is called ‘Train of Lights’ and is very popular for the passengers and photographers.

When I arrived at my chosen location waiting for the train, there were already other people there with cameras, some had a tripod with them. I thought ‘oh no, I should have brought my tripod’. If I had my tripod I know now that I could have had a lower ISO instead of the high one that I used.

Taking a moving train photograph at night in the dark is never that easy to do. I tried many times with different settings, and I eventually got it right. 

Camera Settings

Canon 5D MK3

Canon EF 24-105mm f/4L IS USM lens

ISO: 2500

Shutter Speed: 1/400

Aperture: F4

Photo: BR Standard Class 4 4-6-0 No: 75014 ‘Braveheart’ with Class 37 no: D6975 on the rear are seen approaching Britannia Crossing on the Dartmouth Steam Railway working the 17.30 Kingswear to Paignton ‘Train of Lights’ service on the 29th November 2019


If your local heritage railway is running this Christmas or early in the New Year, then if it is possible for you to go out, do so and try and get some great railway photos. You will be happy looking at them once you are back home.

Hopefully 2021 will be a better year than this year. I wish you all a very Happy Christmas, enjoy it but please keep safe.

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