Old 09-18-2007, 10:33 PM   #26
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Originally Posted by EMTRailfan
I've had a few similar situations that turned out for the good. I mentioned in another thread that security for what I consider a "photo sensitive" refinery had one of the truck drivers check me out since he was coming up into a safe zone for a smoke. I was not taking pics there, just watching the train. Turns out that the truck driver and I have an aquantence that is a modeler that I didn't know about. I'm not a modeler, but a railfan is a railfan. He said that he is his boss, and he is also a part time EMT for a neigboring EMS service, which is how I know him. The truck driver and I BS'ed for a while and we went our seperate ways.
Greg P.,

We've had the debate of photography from public areas before, etc. and to each is their own. I don't take shots around "sensitive" areas whether from a public area or not, but that's just me. I feel that even though I have no intentions other than photography, someone else looking at RP, rrpicturearchives, etc, or even Google Earth and those sites may use the shots for other intentions.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:56 PM   #27
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Originally Posted by Greg P
For the record, I am a Criminal Justice student and I have read reports of terrorists photographing their targets. I actually worked with a policeman who stopped a family who had very detailed photos of security points around Washington DC.
While I'm sure all of this is 100% true, you would have to stop cell phone use (they are not only used by the terrorists to talk to each other, but as triggering devices), you would have to disallow travel (if they can't get here, they can't get to us), and more if you follow this statement to its logical conlcusion that maybe we shouldn't be taking train pictures.

If your point is that photography should be banned, I disagree. Yes, bad guys take pictures. But bad guys also make phone calls and ride on public forms of transportation. Should we ban these too? Bad guys use e-mail. Should e-mail be illegal? It makes what they do easier. Truth is, this could just go on and on, so I'll stop... but photography should not be made illegal in a free country.

Sorry to jump on the soapbox, but I am disturbed by references to what could happen, which specifically are designed to make those of us enjoying our 100 year old hobby feel like we should be ashamed for it.
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Old 09-18-2007, 10:56 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg P
For the record, I am a Criminal Justice student and I have read reports of terrorists photographing their targets. I actually worked with a policeman who stopped a family who had very detailed photos of security points around Washington DC.
Your point is what? Was the family a bunch of terrorist or is it illegal to take photos of security points?

Last edited by Mike B.; 09-18-2007 at 11:53 PM.
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Old 09-18-2007, 11:51 PM   #29
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Originally Posted by SP3197
The most I have ever gotten is the occasional curious railroad employee saying "Hey what's ya doing?". Nothing more than that. I guess I must have an honest face
You must have a Halo over your head or a white suit on. As long as I can remember back to the late 70s there was always a gumshoe (rr police) or a local "barney" asking questions, especially around Richmond, W. Oakland and Taylor yards.
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Old 09-19-2007, 02:11 AM   #30
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[quote=Rich K]For you folks that carry and distribute railfan business cards .

I designed my own in Photoshop and then print them at home on heavy photo paper. They come out far better than anything I could get done commercially.

. .

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Old 09-19-2007, 06:16 AM   #31
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No, no, not at all.

As I was reading the thread, I thought I saw someone ask if terrorists photograph their targets. I just wanted to comment on that, not on anything else.

I wasn't accusing anyone of anything.
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Old 09-19-2007, 06:20 AM   #32
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Originally Posted by ottergoose
It's the patriotic loco you're using for your avatar. Nobody who has a pic of a bicentennial unit is a terrorist.
It could be a ruse, you never know!!

My only confrontations with Law Enforcement has been with Port of Tacoma Police. The first time, I had the bad timing to take the photo of an officer passing though my shot in his patrol car. My son wanted me to take a photo of a rail car he liked. The guy pulled me over a few blocks away. After seeing the laptop, camera, and scanner he said he have to report me to Homeland Security, even though he admitted I did nothing illegal. Public property and all that. We negotiated, tersely, down to a report to the Tacoma police.

The next time I was setup alongside an overpass looking over the Tacoma Rail yard, waiting for the right combination of moon rise and locomotives. A POT officer showed up with lights on and said someone from Piece County Terminal had reported me. I pointed out the rising moon, and that I was on public property. I showed him my BNSF Railfan card and my personal Railfan card. He took some information from the BNSF card and told me I probably shouldn't hang around much longer. I left a few minutes later.

I've made my own card as well, using the Business card stock from the office supply stores and templates in Publisher.
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Old 09-19-2007, 01:05 PM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg P
For the record, I am a Criminal Justice student and I have read reports of terrorists photographing their targets. I actually worked with a policeman who stopped a family who had very detailed photos of security points around Washington DC.
For the record, what terrorist and what targets?


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Old 09-19-2007, 01:30 PM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Greg P
No, no, not at all.

As I was reading the thread, I thought I saw someone ask if terrorists photograph their targets. I just wanted to comment on that, not on anything else.

I wasn't accusing anyone of anything.
Got it - thanks for clarifying...
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Old 09-20-2007, 02:25 AM   #35
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There was a man and a woman and they were acting suspicious so the cop stopped them and asked to see their camera. In there camera was highly detailed pictures of the barriers near the capital and one of the secure entry points.

In the womans bag, drawings of the same thing were found. The photos were erased and the drawings confiscated but no arrests were made.

This happened two summers ago. I was doing Intro to Criminal Justice and my friend's brother was a cop.
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Old 09-20-2007, 12:47 PM   #36
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Originally Posted by Greg P
In the womans bag, drawings of the same thing were found. The photos were erased and the drawings confiscated but no arrests were made.
The photos were deleted and drawings were confiscated because...they're illegal? If a cop tried to make me delete my photos, he would have to pry the camera out of my hands before anything would be deleted.
What could these people be arrested for anyway?
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Old 09-20-2007, 06:36 PM   #37
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This story makes me wonder if there might be a market for safety-orange photog vests with "Railfan" or "Rail Photographer" on the back.
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Old 09-20-2007, 08:00 PM   #38
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Into your life it will creep.

It starts when you're always afraid.

Step out of line, the man come and take you away."

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"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

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Old 09-21-2007, 02:55 AM   #39
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Only time i have had a run in with RR police around here was one friday afternoon i was just outside the city. Along the CN east west main, Someone an hour earlier driving a ford explorer tried to commit suicide by stopping on the tracks. He just let me know to stay back from the tracks and keep the truck out of site as the crews had orders to stop if an explorer was trackside. I called it quits and headed home for the day to avoid any problems.

But for the most part i don't get bothered as most RR Police around here know my vehicle, And a few crews on CN are family friends.
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Old 09-24-2007, 09:37 AM   #40
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It would make me very angry too, though I've rarely had any problems. But the fact is that major terrorist atrocities have been avoided because people have followed up what they percieved to be suspicious - two explosive-packed Mercs in London's West End, earlier this year, for example.

Your intial encounter with the cop who was polite and didn't tell you to stop was very irritating but acceptable. Its the ones who try to tell you it's illegal who don't know their backside from their elbow who really irritate me, though I've had very few problems. Difficult when your in a bad mood, but a fiendly 'Hello' - you speak first - will disarm most of them.

Bob, UK.
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Old 09-24-2007, 02:01 PM   #41
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Quote:
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Your intial encounter with the cop who was polite and didn't tell you to stop was very irritating but acceptable.
Bob;

I totally agree. The whole episode was more irritating than anything. The part that rubbed me the wrong way was him repeatedly asking me if I didn't know it looked suspicious. Thankfully, my run-ins with LEOs have never gone beyond the let me see your ID stage, though that one time in Monroe when they came up with lights blaring did make me real mad.

The last thing I would suggest to anyone who has one of these encounters would be to stop shooting. That's just crazy. And now with more people shooting video, roll on the whole encounter. You don't even need to make a show of it. Let the camera keep rolling, even if it's just picking up audio.


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Old 09-26-2007, 06:21 PM   #42
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I didn't read the rest of the replies in this thread, but if someone hasn't mentioned it already, the next time an officer tells you it's "suspicious" to be standing near RR tracks taking pictures, give him the web address to RP.

Furthermore, when it is suggested to notify the RR office that you are there taking pictures, it can be noted that probably MOST railroad employees are well aware of railfans with cameras, as they are visible in almost every city across the nation. I'd feel dumb walking into a RR office and saying, "Just to let you know, I'm taking pictures of trains, even though you already knew that."

Joe, it's obvious the officer was oblivious to the world of railfanning, and I think you handled it in the best way possible. The next time he sees someone with a camera near railroad tracks, he may not think it's as suspicious.
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Old 09-26-2007, 09:27 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JimThias
Joe, it's obvious the officer was oblivious to the world of railfanning, and I think you handled it in the best way possible. The next time he sees someone with a camera near railroad tracks, he may not think it's as suspicious.
Jim;

I'd like to think that. I'd also like to think that I'm going to win the lottery tonight or that Kate from "Lost" will call me over the weekend for a night out on the town. I think all three have about the same chance of happening. As the LEO was giving me my license back, he again went into his "suspicious" speech and said, "now I can't tell you not to take pictures of trains..." Yet it was very evident that he was at the least suggesting I rethink my hobby.


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Old 09-26-2007, 10:13 PM   #44
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EMTRailfan-

Can't say I've ever run into him, but your right, those guards down at Station Square do seem to think highly of themsleves. To be honest, CSX is the safe bet for me because I think there is about one CSX Cop between here and Cumberland. NS on the other hand has a pretty sizable force based in pgh, all of whom are reasonalbe decent guys if you give them respect (expect for one officer who pretty consistanly sucks).

As for local cops, I've been questioned a ton, nothing serious ever came of it expect for once in Mckeesport where a officer really over stepped his bounds.
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Old 09-27-2007, 12:22 AM   #45
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In the few months I have been taking pictures I have not had any real problems, their is one spot that the police seem to like to look me over though, it is behind a vacant warehouse where you have a nice long view of the CSX tracks, less then a mile away is where the Columbus Police Helicopter unit is based, so a lot of time I will have them circle me, or fly low enough strait at me where if I'm still sitting on my car they can see me in there, most of the time I take there picture, and wave. Another time I had a cop pull in there fast a few min before the train approached that area, I was thinking great, he is going to make me stand there and talk to him while the train passed by me, he came up to me and said "Did I miss it??" and then took pictures and left, only bad thing is he parked his car where I wanted to stand. Another time one was doing a normal patrol, I was still in my car, he came up real slow, then he must of recognized me from before, and just waved and drove on. I have had NS come up to me on an overpass downtown that has a walk way on it, and asked me what I was doing, as soon as I responded taking pictures, he said ok, and left. The most odd thing so far has been a NS signal maintainer walked up to me, took my picture, and the picture of my car, then asked what I was doing. Some of the other local railfans have had minor issues with the police, mainly from officers that just got assigned to an area that has tracks, and there were no tracks in there previous area. I do have to say sometimes I look real suspicious, mainly in the area where the tracks pass under the convention center, most of the time when I first get there I jump up on some of the bridge supports and guard rails to try to figure out some angles and how to position myself, and so far nobody has said a word to me there. I also talked to a trainmaster a few weeks ago, and he told me everywhere he went that day, there were people track side taking pictures, so I think some of the hassles some get come down to someone being clueless.

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Old 09-27-2007, 09:24 PM   #46
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Interesting thread, and something I worry about quite a bit seeing how I apparently have a knack for strange encounters while looking for trains. One of the most frustrating occured near downtown Charlotte where the CSX and NS cross each other at Graham. It's a rather quiet warehouse area, and I was parked on the side of a wide street sitting on the hood of my car. A CSX freight was stopped about 100 yards away waiting for a signal.

A cruiser rolled past, not seeming to notice, then a minute later four cruisers, two from each direction, swarmed around me with lights going and such. Two of them actually popped up on the curb to block my car in as if i was going to try to hop in and flee the scene. I was pretty sure i'd been mistaken for some killer they were after. [After unloading my trousers] I spoke with several of the officers who looked through my car, ran my ID & tag, and asked a plethora of "you know we have to look out for terrorists" type questions. Mean while CSX has the green and rolls by whilst i'm still chatting away with the LEO's whose cars did a nice job of blocking my shot. I understand they have jobs do to, and it's good that they're on top of things, but wow! they should try not to scare the crap out of people like that. Just thought i'd share.

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Old 09-28-2007, 05:19 AM   #47
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So far I've never had problems with RR police, the only time I was even approached by someone was a worker when I was by CN's Symington yard in Winnipeg.

He was just curious what we were doing, and even gave us a heads up on trains heading our way.

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Old 10-16-2007, 09:35 PM   #48
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Here is the second train that passed. I just loaded it today. It's the picture I took while the officer was running my license through the system.

Image ©
PhotoID:
Photograph ©


I'm still tinkering with the first one.


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Old 10-16-2007, 09:48 PM   #49
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I belive our railfanning days may come to an end.
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Old 10-16-2007, 10:01 PM   #50
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Quote:
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I belive our railfanning days may come to an end.
Why, you calling it quits or something?
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