Old 08-18-2006, 12:36 AM   #1
NicTrain35
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Default UP Bans Photography from Metra Stations in the Chicago Area

CHICAGO - Union Pacific Railroad has announced that with the recent increase in security concerns across the United States, it will no longer allow photography of trains from Metra station platforms in the Chicago area. Metra is the region's commuter-train agency.

"We recognize that railroad fans can be our eyes and ears out there," said UP spokesman Mark Davis. "But we live in different times. The number one concern for Union Pacific is the safety of everyone. Right now, and since 9/11, security has been heightened and increased. This is part of that effort." Davis added that, "This stuff about UP not liking railfans is not true. But we have to be as safe and secure as we can."

Metra was pulled into the photography-rights controversy last year when two railroad fans were detained by Morton Grove, Ill., municipal police and Metra police while photographing trains from the public train-boarding platforms at town's Metra station. That route, the Milwaukee District North Line, is owned by Metra. Union Pacific owns the property on its three commuter routes, and UP employees operate the trains under contract to Metra.

After the glare of publicity enveloped the Motron Grove incident, Metra recanted its position and publicly reversed its stance, saying it would allow photography of trains from its stations.

Metra spokesman Tom Miller today told Trains News Wire that as long as people are in areas accessible to the public, are acting in a safe manner, and are willing to provide identification if asked by authorities, that Metra has no problem with them taking photos. "But as far as the UP policy, we have no comment on that," Miller said.

UP might be on shaky legal ground if it attempts to enforce its ban. Attorney Walter Zullig, who did legal work for New York's Metro North Commuter Railroad, today told Trains News Wire, "There is nothing in statute that prohibits photography from public areas. There is no federal law on this, and nothing from Homeland Security. The U.S. Supreme Court considers photography a part of free speech protected under the First Amendment."

In a column that will appear in the October 2006 issue of TRAINS Magazine, Zullig writes that research has not turned up any state law on the subject in existence anywhere. According to Zullig, railfans have the legal and constitutional right to photograph whatever they please from locations "open to the public," which would seem to include Metra and other passenger-train-boarding platforms.

Maryland's MTA rapid-transit and commuter-train system has a photo ban on MARC commuter trains, which run on CSX and Amtrak trackage, as well as the Baltimore subway and light-rail systems, but Zullig believes there is no legal basis for the ban and is attempting to get MTA to explain its legal basis for it.

Both the New York City Transit Agency, which operates the city's vast subway system, and New Jersey Transit, which operates commuter trains and bus and trolley lines throughout the Garden State, attempted to adopt photography bans but withdrew their proposals after a flood of negative comments and threatened lawuits on constitutional grounds.

Public financial support of transit and commuter facilities may or may not have any bearing on the legality of such bans. In the Union Pacific instance, UP, a private railroad, contracts with Metra, a public entity, to provide the commuter-train service, on three routes out of Chicago. Metra uses tax money to fund the service and maintain the station facilities, including the train-boarding platforms.

This information was obtained from the Trains.com forums.
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:05 AM   #2
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Since, from what I understand, the stations on the UP-owned lines are owned by Metra, UP really can't dictate policy for them. And even if they could... well.

UP policy or no, I'm not going to stop taking pictures from my local Metra station, and if UP tries to stop me I will burry them in bad press.
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:08 AM   #3
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:37 AM   #4
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Real interesting, but considering how fast Metra did an about-face when they tried this, I'm pretty confident in what the end result will be.
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:40 AM   #5
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The only part I don't understand is about being on station platforms. Is this an area where people who are not riding Metra or working for Metra can be? If not, then it seems on the outset that maybe UP isn't on as shaky ground as it seems. Note that UP obvisouly is not saying you can't photograph from public grade crossings or anything.


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Old 08-18-2006, 01:45 AM   #6
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:56 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
The only part I don't understand is about being on station platforms. Is this an area where people who are not riding Metra or working for Metra can be? If not, then it seems on the outset that maybe UP isn't on as shaky ground as it seems. Note that UP obvisouly is not saying you can't photograph from public grade crossings or anything.
You would be correct that if UP owns the platforms, they can say who can and can not be there... but (and this is why its not a cut and dry issue), I believe the platforms are owned by Metra, in which case Metra is the agency that sets policy for them. I could be wrong, and the Metra stations along the UP lines are in fact owned by the UP and operated under the same type of agreement they have for other services UP provides Metra. But I believe that they're mantained with Metra funds, and if so, UP is over-reaching with such a dictate. Since this story says Metra is not changing its policy, I'm not changing anything until I get clairification that UP isn't just blowing smoke with this.
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Old 08-18-2006, 02:28 AM   #8
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This sounds more like a case of "CYA". If there is an attack on UP property, the finger pointing that inevitably takes place afterwards will consist of questions like "what security measures did you have in place before the attack?" UP can point at this policy and say "we tried", even if the policy is perfunctory.
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Old 08-18-2006, 02:37 AM   #9
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(Duplicate post) Oops...
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Old 08-18-2006, 02:38 AM   #10
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Honestly, I could care less if the UP or Metra bans photography from their stations. I'll just walk a block from the station to some grade crossing or something...no big deal!
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:06 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CG_F45
I'll just walk a block from the station to some grade crossing or something...no big deal!
That's what I was going to say. Good idea.
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:34 AM   #12
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Oh well.....too many Metra photos on this site anyway. They are doing us all a favor and I am sending METRA a thank you letter tommorow.
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:37 AM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuente1
Oh well.....too many Metra photos on this site anyway. They are doing us all a favor.
Funny you should mention that...

I was riding to Ashland with a friend this morning and we were discussing this on the way. We came to the same conclusion you did. The age old question, "How many shots of Metra does one need to see before they all look alike?" came up.
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:40 AM   #14
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I've been given s**t by the UP cops downtown at Northwestern Station before, especially this last winter and spring, and I don't care much about that venue being taken away from me, at least until I get that 50mm f1.8 lens! I'm gonna keep taking my pictures out in Geneva and Elburn though - and I know for a fact that the La Fox and Elburn stations were paid for with my tax dollars! Viva la resistance!
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:48 AM   #15
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A+ for UP!

BNSF: We Welcome Railfans!
UP: Piss Off Picture-takers!

Just another reason...
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Old 08-18-2006, 04:13 AM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cmherndon
"How many shots of Metra does one need to see before they all look alike?" came up.
Well, as a Chicagoan, I can honselty say I have seen and shot enough Metras to make me want to puke!

Nick, thank you!
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Old 08-18-2006, 04:20 AM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CG_F45
Well, as a Chicagoan, I can honselty say I have seen and shot enough Metras to make me want to puke!

Nick, thank you!

NO offense to anyone who loves Metra but its friggin boring. The thank you letter is written and going out next day FedEx with Saturday delivery in the morning.
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Old 08-18-2006, 04:44 AM   #18
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I'll agree with the general consensus here RE: Metra photos. If you're out shooting a Metra train on the racetrack west of Chicago, or anywhere else for that matter, it's pretty much gotta be perfect to get it past me when I'm screening.
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Old 08-18-2006, 06:21 AM   #19
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Quote:
This sounds more like a case of "CYA". If there is an attack on UP property, the finger pointing that inevitably takes place afterwards will consist of questions like "what security measures did you have in place before the attack?" UP can point at this policy and say "we tried", even if the policy is perfunctory.
That is probably the best answer I have heard on this whole debate ( I even went to the forums at Trains.com...interesting). This will probably be handled by lawyers, since UP and Metra have contracts covering these areas. The "No comment" from Metra seems to indicate Metra does not totally agree with UP.

Quote:
Public financial support of transit and commuter facilities may or may not have any bearing on the legality of such bans.
Public or private financing has no bearing on legality of the ban.

Quote:
A+ for UP!

BNSF: We Welcome Railfans!
UP: Piss Off Picture-takers!

Just another reason...
It would really be a shame to stash all the heratige units in a Metra station.
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Old 08-18-2006, 06:46 AM   #20
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I guess its just me, but I've loved Metra since before I can remember and don't get tired of looking pictures of Metra trains. Strip-nose F40s, cab cars, gallery cars... granted the new ones don't have half the character of the old ones, and the flat-siders are gone, but even still... I think Metra is the only railroad on the top list in the photo submission menue that I routinely search for in the database to see what new pics have been added. But that's just me.
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Old 08-18-2006, 01:44 PM   #21
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Quote:
Originally Posted by J. E. Landrum
This sounds more like a case of "CYA". If there is an attack on UP property, the finger pointing that inevitably takes place afterwards will consist of questions like "what security measures did you have in place before the attack?" UP can point at this policy and say "we tried", even if the policy is perfunctory.
And the next question would be

"Did any one get any photgraphs of the attackers we can use to track them down?"

Response

"Arrrr No"

"Why not?"

"We banned the general public from taking photographs!"

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Old 08-18-2006, 03:08 PM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Kilroy
I'll agree with the general consensus here RE: Metra photos. If you're out shooting a Metra train on the racetrack west of Chicago, or anywhere else for that matter, it's pretty much gotta be perfect to get it past me when I'm screening.
Sounds good to me.... Whenever I go to submit a Metra photo my dad always jokes "they should reject that for being so boring!"
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Old 08-18-2006, 03:15 PM   #23
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I suppose these days are long gone...

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Old 08-18-2006, 05:21 PM   #24
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I Thank That Rule Is Stupid They Need To Pay More Attention To Them PUNX Out There Like Grafftist Well To Me It Seems Like Railfanz Get In Trouble More Then Graffitist We Love Trainz So Why Would We Do Something Bad Like That
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Old 08-18-2006, 10:13 PM   #25
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fuente1
Oh well.....too many Metra photos on this site anyway. They are doing us all a favor and I am sending METRA a thank you letter tommorow.
AMEN !

Be sure and send a copy to BNSF, suggesting that they implement the same policy on their line.
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