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Written by Ben Cannell - 23 Feb 2004
last update by Marcus Dawson - 27 Feb 2004
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Location notes
Ely is located 12 miles north of the city of Cambridge. It is an important railway junction on the mainline London to Kings Lynn route. Other routes from the junction head north east to Norwich, south east to Ipswich and Felixstowe, south to Cambridge and London, north-west to Peterborough and the East Coast mainline.
Railway type and traffic
Trains are mainly DMUs operated by Anglia Railways and Central Trains and EMUs run by First Capital Connect.
There are a number of daily freight trains from DB Schenker, Freightliner and GBRf passing Ely at all times of the day.
Link to Real Time Trains
RTT Link Ely, Riverside
This link should be close to the location, but may not be the actual location so please check the page. This link will take you to what is happening 'around now'. Dates and times can be changed at the top of the page.
The riverside location is on a public footpath running from the marina at Ely in the general direction of Queen Adelaide, a village about two miles north near Ely North Junction. The ground is often wet and soggy, so welly boots are essential unless you visit on a baking hot summer day. There is no seating in the area so a deckchair may be needed!
Road directions
From the A10:
Once at the southern side of Ely take the A142 (signposted Newmarket) to skirt round the southern end of town toward the station. Go straight over at the roundabout by Tesco’s and turn left at the next to head into town. After about 150 yards turn right onto Broad Street, see below:

From the A142:
From the A142 from Newmarket direction pass into Ely under the railway bridge, past the station entrance and Tesco’s. At the mini-roundabout, take the second exit to head into town and turn right after about 150 yards onto Broad Street.

Once on Broad Street:
Continue along it passing the chip shop and two free parking areas. There is a 90 degree left turn with a junction off to the right, take this turnoff and take the first left, and then the first right. Follow this road down to the marina, along to the trackside and it will lead you to the parking area. From here, the rest of the journey is on foot, walking back out of the parking area and turning right along the boarded pathway under the railway bridge and out onto a raised footpath beside the river. It is along this path that you should choose your photo spot, see Photographic Notes for more details.

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Ely, Riverside map co-ordinates
See the road directions.
Public transport
From Ely station:
Head out of the station parking area, turn left at the exit and cross over using the pelican crossing. Bear right at the mini roundabout, keeping on the same footpath. Shortly after the roundabout you’ll find a road called ‘Annesdale’ leading off to the right. Go down here to find yourself at the Marina with the Cutter pub in front of you. Keep forward, following the riverside path. When you get to the Private Access bridge leading to the boat storage area, walk round the bottom of the ramp and you’ll see the path continuing between bridge and nearby buildings. The path leads up to the railway over bridge (with parking area to the left) and out into the marshy riverside area, through the middle of this marsh is the raised footpath from which the photos are taken.

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There is the Cutter Inn on the waterfront at Ely for drinks and food, as well as a number of cafes. Alan’s Chip Shop can be found on Broad Street, a short walk away, and is right beside the access to Ship Lane parking area.
You can find toilets in the free parking area at Ship Lane.
The Cutter Inn offers accommodation, tel: +44 (0) 1353 662713.
Ely Online lists other hotels and guest houses.
Sun Compass
Sun Compass using Suncalc by brought to you by Vladimir Agafonkin:
It might be necessary to adjust the time to suit your visit, this link should open with the current day.
Ely, Riverside

Googly map
Streetmap links
Ely, Riverside general view map
Ely, Riverside close up map

Windows Local Live Link - image quality may vary
Ely, Riverside

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Railway Gen Group
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Photographic notes
The traditional view here is a three-quarter front view of northbound trains with the Cathedral as the backdrop, facing south-west so you’re limited in opportunities if you like a nice arty picture. To achieve this I stand well back from the track and use a telephoto lens, which makes the cathedral fill the frame. Walking the path and checking the view is the best way to find a shot that suits you. If you’re closer to the rail bridges then you can get photos of southbound trains by facing north-west, but you won’t have the cathedral background, similarly if you go further from the bridge to get the classic view the shots of southbound trains are compromised.
The best time for photographing here is the early morning around 8am to 1pm when the sun is behind you, later in the afternoon it ends up over the marina making the classic northbound train shot very difficult to achieve. Unfortunately most freights in the early morning are southbound, returning north in the early evening; however I reckon if the conditions were right and a suitable spot picked, a spectacular silhouetted shot of the classic view could be achieved.
Speeds of trains is fairly limited, there’s a restriction over the river bridges (35mph for units, 20mph everything else).
Videographers shouldn’t have any problems filming, the area is open grassy marsh with the occasional fisherman and dog walker. However, if nearby RAF bases Lakenheath and Mildenhall decide to send out the heavy planes, as they often do, then things do get noisy.

MD: Just to the north of the marsh is an automatic crossing. This can be heard in the distance and gives ample warning of approaching trains.
Links to photographs at this location

Rail-net - A few hours at Ely

General views - All photographs © Ben Cannell unless otherwise stated
Fig 1 - Looking south west - Image © Mark Tassell

Fig 1 - Looking south west - <i>Image © Mark Tassell</i>

The classic view from the footpath composed with the cathedral as an impressive backdrop.

Fig 2 - Facing north west - Image © Mark Tassell

Fig 2 - Facing north west - <i>Image © Mark Tassell</i>

Fig 3 - Facing south west - Image ©Mark Tassell

Fig 3 - Facing south west - <i>Image ©Mark Tassell</i>

A closer zoom on the train and the cathedral in the background.

Fig 4 - Looking south west - Photo by Marcus Dawson.

Fig 4 - Looking south west - <i>Photo by Marcus Dawson.</i>

From the classic location. This view shows the locations proximity to the river. The unit in the picture has just come off the bridge.

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