I think your options in Johor are Kluang, Segamat and Gemas (the latter is on the border with Negeri Sembilan).
The TEBRAU Express (end station - Kluang) looks interesting 'cos of the cheap fares and because if it offers the latest departure back to Singapore (departs from Kluang at 2100 - arrives at Tanjung Pagar 2400).
I've been contemplating doing such a day trip myself - very free and easy and no worries about driving/parking. I would assume the photographic opportunities would present themselves left, right and centre...simply because everything would appear so different to our eyes. You'd probably be shooting a lot of street/candid, archi and abstracts.
I did a one day unplanned trip to Mersing !!! wandered aimlessly @ Mersing, talking to people, visited kampung villages and clicking pictures. no frills solo trip .. I took a bus in the morning from SG and came back to SG by midnight !!!
If can afford a little more time, you can consider spending the to and fro journey over night in the sleeping berth by taking the night trains (e.g. Express Senandung Malam to west coast and Express Timuran to east cost of Malaysia).
Example 1: going to Ipoh by taking Express Senandung Malam: hop on the train 10pm Friday evening, reach Ipoh the next morning at 10am, go wonder around the town and take pictures, and then hop on the 6pm train to get back to Singapore 8.15am the next morning.
Example 2: going to Dabong by taking Express Timuran: hop on the train 6pm Friday evening, reach Dabong the next morning at 6am, go caving (you can get a guide at the coffee stall just outside the train station) and wonder around the village afterward (or take a taxi to Gua Musang, which is a larger town), and then hop on the 10.20pm train to get back to Singapore 10am the next morning.
Otherwise, it will be as gossipmonger suggested: Kluang, Segamat or Gemas. No the railway does not pass by Melaka.
You can consider a day trip to Kluang. After arriving there, please enjoy a cuppa coffee in the Railway St. The coffee is quite famous. Dont forget the toast bun with home made kaya too though nowadays its electrically toasted.
The Railway Station is located in the town so you can easily head out to the old town for your photo shoots. The post office and Fire station is quite nearby.
After your trip please share your travel journal.
How to do various things....where buy tickets, where to get off.
Best timing to start from Sing and return from MLY.
What to look out for..
Best hotel motel to stay if more than 1 day trip.
where is good makan.
any good shopping.
good things to photo.
how not to get robbed...
I'm going bk this weekend, if u all really wanna visit Kluang..u r welcome!! maybe i can give u a ride to Gunung Lambak, if u dont mind travel v my lao pok car...lol:embrass: but maximum i can only fetch 4 person at a time.. BUT v terms n condition apply..anyone willing to be my "SIFU"..haha coz jus bought a DSLR camera and im very new to it, so u all know what to do la?:bsmilie: oh ya..most of d wedding photo studio will choose Gunung Lambak too!