Old 10-16-2007, 09:03 PM   #51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NSFan14
I belive our railfanning days may come to an end.
Hahahahahahaha! And how will that happen? There was just a significant increase of security around mass transit in the Tri-State area, but that does not mean that I will stop shooting NJT one bit. I'm just smart about it. I emailed the company asking for the chairman's personal mailing address to ask for a photo permit. They emailed me back stating that, that is not necessary as photography IS allowed from stations and other public areas. I just carry that letter in my pocket (chest pocket so an officer does not think I'm reaching for a weapon if approached) as well as in my camera bag along with a copy of the Railpace with my NJT article in it. I also never point my camera towards any passengers without first asking permission so they do not become suspicious of me. If I want a shot with people I either ask or use a wide angle. The last thing I do is step away from the yellow line so I don't freak out the crew. If I read their facial expression as friendly or indifferent, I give a wave or just a nod to show I'm an allie not an enemy. It may sound silly, but nowadays you can never be too careful.

As for being asked to delete the photos off my card, HA! I will simply refuse since they do not have the right to make me, and if not you will be seeing a pretty picture(s) of me with a ruler in the background, holding a little sign.
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:04 PM   #52
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No! If it got to the point where they banned railfanning then they'll have to take me to jail. Im just hoping that it doesnt happen.
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:08 PM   #53
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Well ive never had a problem with police around here. I guess its because alot of the guys around here know who we are and dont report us. But in the november issue of trains there was an article about BNSF supporting railfans. I didnt get time to read the whole article but I thought the parts that I read was interesting.
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:18 PM   #54
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I was recently back in the NJ/NY area and while shooting passenger trains got called over the cab window of two different trains. First guy wanted to know what I was doing, but then was totally cool when I told him (called me a buff). Second guy looked much angrier, so I thought, oh boy, this is going to be trouble. I get to the window and he says "That the Rebel XT or XTI?, I just ordered a 40D myself."
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Old 10-16-2007, 09:30 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by Freericks
I was recently back in the NJ/NY area and while shooting passenger trains got called over the cab window of two different trains. First guy wanted to know what I was doing, but then was totally cool when I told him (called me a buff). Second guy looked much angrier, so I thought, oh boy, this is going to be trouble. I get to the window and he says "That the Rebel XT or XTI?, I just ordered a 40D myself."
Sounds like you met some good ole rail crews huh? Yea one time me and my dad was railfanning at a CSX yard. And the engineer got off the train cause they was waiting for the runners to come get em. Well he came over and he was like are yall just buffs? And my dad replied yes we are just intrested in train. He was like oh neat. Then he said thats a nice scanner you got there. He said id really like to get into railfanning when im not working.
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Old 11-14-2007, 03:34 AM   #56
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I was railfanning Monday and had a very pleasant experience.

My buddy and I were stopped on a slightly busy road, but off the road behind the white line of the wide shoulder. I had my flashing-markers on, and vehicle running. I was standing by the trunk, my friend went across the street - we were waiting to catch the train coming out of the woods onto the over-pass.

A state trooper rides by and slows down, looking. I look over my shoulder and he's turning around and coming back. As he pulls up to me and the back of my car, I noticed he put only his rear-flashers (facing passing traffic) on for safety, so I took my hands off my camera (around my neck), showed him my hands non-chalantly, and approached his window.

He asked if we we're broken down, or needed assistance. I replied "No, we're photographers, just waiting for the train." He said "Oh, OK, I just wanted to make sure you guys were alright.", I replied "Yup, we're fine, I appreciate it", he said "Have a good day." and left. That was it - a very nice experience; he did his job and we went about our hobby. The officer couldn't have been too many years (maybe even months) out of the academy, but was very professional and pleasant in our brief conversation.

I just thought I should post this because its positive - not every experience is negative.

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Old 11-14-2007, 05:16 AM   #57
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Telesha
I was railfanning Monday and had a very pleasant experience.

My buddy and I were stopped on a slightly busy road, but off the road behind the white line of the wide shoulder. I had my flashing-markers on, and vehicle running. I was standing by the trunk, my friend went across the street - we were waiting to catch the train coming out of the woods onto the over-pass.

A state trooper rides by and slows down, looking. I look over my shoulder and he's turning around and coming back. As he pulls up to me and the back of my car, I noticed he put only his rear-flashers (facing passing traffic) on for safety, so I took my hands off my camera (around my neck), showed him my hands non-chalantly, and approached his window.

He asked if we we're broken down, or needed assistance. I replied "No, we're photographers, just waiting for the train." He said "Oh, OK, I just wanted to make sure you guys were alright.", I replied "Yup, we're fine, I appreciate it", he said "Have a good day." and left. That was it - a very nice experience; he did his job and we went about our hobby. The officer couldn't have been too many years (maybe even months) out of the academy, but was very professional and pleasant in our brief conversation.

I just thought I should post this because its positive - not every experience is negative.
From my experience, I find it easier to leave my flashers off, as then I don't get multiple people stopping to ask if I need help. Not that I don't appreciate their generosity, but it gets old after a while.

Plus, if it is an area I travel to regularly, it prevents a case "crying wolf." I.e., if I actually have a problem, people won't say, "Oh, he's just railfanning," but instead "He might be having car trouble."

But that's just my $0.02.
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Old 11-14-2007, 02:40 PM   #58
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That makes sense, Mike.

I normally don't think about it, just hit them on my way out when I'm stopped in the shoulder with my car running, more or less as a standard procedure. The way I always figured it, was if someone did manage to drift onto the shoulder and hit my car I could at least say I had my flashers on! LOL!

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Old 02-20-2008, 09:50 PM   #59
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Ive had a run-in with police, railroad or otherwise, all in a 3 hour span.

A buddy of mine an i were going to take pics of the RBBB circus train as it pulled into the station at Pittsburgh to unload. We were on public property.
First, an NS cop pulls up and asks what we are doing and asks for our ID. We hand our licenses over and tell him we are waiting for the circus train to come over and unload. "It did about an hour ago" was his response. we told him we were just over watching it break down in the yard. He then looks over and sees the cameras and tripods and asks if we are railfans. we say yes. he hands us our licenses back and says "we had to make sure nobody from PETA was over here protesting the treatment of the animals in the circus". Before he left, he handed us his card and told us if anyone bothers us while we are there taking pictures to hand them his card and he would set them straight.

About an hour later, a black Impla comes flying up past where we are and stops and 2 guys get out. both come walking over to us and start asking us questions.

"what are you guys doing here?"
"taking pictures of trains"
"why?"
"because we like to."
"You're not allowed to be here."
"Yes, we are"
"Who said?"

at this point i notice the gun on his belt and the chain hanging around his neck. I hand him the card the NS cop gave us and said "call him, he'll explain everything." The cop came back with a disguisted look on his face and told us "Dont do anything stupid." The rest of the night went fine. When the Circus train came ove to unload we heard the NS cop say on the scanner "Leave the two guys near the unloading zone alone. they are with me. Dont bug them."

On a side note, the NS cop saw my name and asked if my dad had worked for Conrail. i told him yes he did. Here they both started with Conrail about the same time and became good friends till my dad went to the comunications side of the RR.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:07 AM   #60
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Originally Posted by Tgranville
On a side note, the NS cop saw my name and asked if my dad had worked for Conrail. i told him yes he did. Here they both started with Conrail about the same time and became good friends till my dad went to the comunications side of the RR.
I think that explains the whole of the evening and lackof problems for you right there.
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Old 02-21-2008, 03:25 AM   #61
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Just to throw some food for thought into the discussion over asking for ID. A part of the job of LEO is to be accountable for what you did over the time of your shift. In a lot of jobs this is no problem because there is a supervisor of some sort looking over you, and knows that you weren't taking a nap or out shopping for new underwear or something. LEO's don't have this constant supervision, and they rely on reports of the activities of their day. For example they may take their Sergent a copy of two speeding tickets, a warning for a busted headlight, an incident report from a domestic dispute, and a report from a vandalism case. All of this paperwork is a form of accountability for how the officer spent his time on duty.

If said officer doesn't have paperwork from when he radioed in that he was going to be out of the car checking out some suspicious activity then he has no accountability for his time. Do you honestly think his Sergent is going to say "Oh ok, you were out talking to some guy taking pictures, but he has no name and no address?
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Old 02-21-2008, 06:27 AM   #62
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I was just curious as to where most people have trouble with police officers when railfanning? Is it in cities or in more rural areas.

For the most part I watch trains in a more urban setting. While I live in a safe city, that cant always be said of some the areas to railfan in Michigan which arent the greatest places to be, mainly those being Detroit and Flint, recently voted as the #1 and #3 most miserable cities in America by Forbes Magazine.

I would say about 95% of the contact ive had with police officers in those areas has been with railroad police in Detroit. City police have bigger things going on than to stop and bug me for railfanning. This area presents a unique job for railroad police with the tracks going through high crime areas, along with traffic on the CP coming through the tunnel from Canada, so you add border patrol into the mix as well. People stealing from stopped auto racks and stack trains is a pretty regular occurrence.

Two occurrences have happened to me in the past six months or so.

The first was near Milwaukee Junction when a CN Train was departing from the yard near there. A CN officer was across the tracks from me as I was checking things out for a possible photo, and I take one step off the curb and heís yelling at me on his cruiser PA ďget back from the tracks.Ē I didnít want to push it since the photo was going to be shadows so I just waved and went back to the car.

About 10 minutes later that train was passing a stopped train waiting for them. Some of the locals decided to steal tires from some new pickups in an auto rack and throw them onto the adjacent track. The first train hits the tires and screws up the air lines so they stop. My Dad was driving at the time and we hear about it on see what was going on. The Engineer calls the CN Police and they report to officers that they think my dad and I are involved with the thefts. Next thing I know here comes 4 CN Copcars and a K9 unit flying up, but thankfully that cop from earlier was also there and got on the radio saying those are just some hardcore railfans, and said to us better call it a day.

Second time was in Ecorse, which another dubious area just south of Detroit.
I waiting for an NS train to finish making a pickup in their yard when an Ecorse PD officer was driving down the street, (I was sitting in my car parked on a side street next to the tracks.) It was a one way street so he turns around going the wrong direction and starts giving me itís a bad area what you doing down here speech. Its 3:00PM and Iíve been to that yard a few times before that. Anyways to make a long story short, he didnít ask for my ID and I got the shot, but the cop was still there watching me, and even followed me until I crossed into the next town.

So overall if you are visting Detroit to railfan, like many people did this past summer during a model railroading convention. I have noticed that the railroad police wont bug you for the most part if you stay off railroad property and you are aware of the areas you are in.

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Old 02-21-2008, 12:42 PM   #63
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SDavey
Some of the locals decided to steal tires from some new pickups in an auto rack and throw them onto the adjacent track.
1)call the PD you spoke to earlier
2)get the shot.
3)get the shot of the arrest and post it here!

BTW, Sounds like I will not be visiting Detroit any time soon.


I have never had any run-in's with PD, but in the local Transit yard I had been asked to leave. (not IN the yard, on a public service rd)
First they said I can't be there... I was in my car on a public road... Then they wanted my camera - yeah, RIGHT!, then told me to delete all my pic... said no way, I didn't need to. Then, almost politely, he said I was making some people nervous in a post-9-11 way, please leave. I thanked him and left.
I know I didn't need to, but was ready anyway. Plus, there will be other days.

Take care.
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Old 02-21-2008, 12:53 PM   #64
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JBCagle7073
If said officer doesn't have paperwork from when he radioed in that he was going to be out of the car checking out some suspicious activity then he has no accountability for his time. Do you honestly think his Sergent is going to say "Oh ok, you were out talking to some guy taking pictures, but he has no name and no address?
It's not my responsibility that an LEO can give his super a clear indication of what he was doing for the day. I'd rather him be ready to go at the drop of a hat if something bd really does happen. If I'm not doing anything wrong, he does not need my name and address to prove it to his boss.


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Old 02-21-2008, 01:08 PM   #65
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I mostly agree with you, Joe. If an LEO stops to check on us on their own accord, not my problem like you said. They should be radioing in to dispatch just incase we are the terrorist with a camera, and back up can be sent if they lose contact with the LEO. Dispatch keeps a log of radio traffic, and that should be enough for the supervisor if they question their officers' work ethics. But, if they actually get a "suspiscious person" complaint, then that is a different story, and they have to do a report. Not to prove to their supervisor that they were "working", but to prove that they handled the complaint.
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Old 02-21-2008, 01:25 PM   #66
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doing anything wrong, he does not need my name and address to prove it to his boss.


Joe[/quote]
a Long time a go i was scanning the cops, and a Sergeant was chewing a new-be cops butt for wasting a maybe chance to bust some one, by not stopping and checking some out that wasn't doing a thing. I wont say what i think of COPS as i will get banded. As far as i'm bleep they need a reason to stop you. Not a made up one like a hunch like some one had long hair and may have something.

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Old 02-21-2008, 01:45 PM   #67
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Slopes09
From my experience, I find it easier to leave my flashers off, as then I don't get multiple people stopping to ask if I need help. Not that I don't appreciate their generosity, but it gets old after a while.
I know how that goes, and when you're in the desert people are even more helpful. I pulled off the road to shoot a train last summer and had bunches of people stop to ask if I needed help. It got so old after awhile that it was tough to refrain from giving the sarcastic reply "Yes, my car is having trouble, so I'm fixing it with a CAMERA..."

I actually had a positive experience with a cop a couple weeks ago. I was in Lima, OH at the Sugar St. diamonds which is almost at the end of a dead end in a semi-rough neighborhood. While waiting for a CFE switch job, I noticed a cop car cross the tracks south of me. I held my breath, but he turned the opposite direction. A minute later, as the train headed towards me, I hear the splash of tires through puddles and looked to see the same cop roaring towards me. Fortunately a quick explanation of what I was doing was enough for him and I was able to get the shot. Good thing I wasn't trespassing!
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Old 02-24-2008, 12:19 PM   #68
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Once I've been stopped by a man wearing entirely black clothes and holding a machine gun - fortunately he didn't point that on me but it was loaded. It turned out fairly well, they told me that the most important railway bridges are considered strategic therefore they are heavily guarded. I showed him my pass that allowes me to visit any property of the Hungarian railways and it was resolved in the second, I could go on photographing. But first I was quite scared by the machine gun because I had some problems beforehand with security people of the railways, but not this one: he turned out to know the law.
Ordinary security people usually don't: they harass photographers on the platforms which by Hungarian law is public land. Railwaymen often call the police which usually end up funnily as they are told by the policemen that the photographer didn't break any law or regulation. They are usually just people living in the past believeing that everything they think useless is prohibited. In the Socialist era of course it was prohibited but even young people think that now it's prohibited to take photos at public places or don't care my pass signed by an executive of his company.
But in Hungary most problems come from railwaymen not knowing the law (no surprise, it's unfortunately not taught at school) or because people tend to think more of their rights instead of other people's. I often see railwaymen running towards me ranting and yelling from five hundred metres that he doesn't want to be included in my photo - well, had he stayed where he was he would have been smaller than a pixel. Locomotive drivers often use their horn frightening us because they think they can be seen on the picture. First of all by Hungarian law a railwayman is just like the president, he does public service, he can be photographed by working no matter what he thinks of it. But of course a geod photographer will be careful not to publish a photo with someone on it who doesn't want to appear. The second issue is that a one-pixel big locomotive driver behind a glossy window can hardly be seen but still they sometimes stop, get out and start shouting, which is not good.
But for me it seems even worth to hear that in the USA (and in the UK as well) they suspect a terrorist behind every camera pointed on a railway. I don't know why a spy would care for esthetic qualities.
In the Socialist era railway photographers were often made turn in their films for demolition to the military or the secret services and they've been lucky if they weren't taken for "interrogation" which always meant torture. That's why ex-socialist countries or countries oppressed by the Nazi Germany are and has to be very careful now about the rights of people as they know what it's like when individual rights are sacrificed for some undefined common good or "to protect us all". Maybe it means it's easier for spies to get intelligence but the possibility that the photographer is a spy is far less than that he's just a railfan and action without proof is on my opinion outrageous.
Security is the job of security people - that's FBI for you. Encouraging ordinary hired guards to act as anti-terrorist officers, accuse people of spying and terrorism doesn't seem sane to me. Choosing democracy should mean choosing democracy all the time. Last year I asked the VR - Finnish Railways about photographing. Their answer was simple: "You can go anywhere you wish and take as many photographs as you can. Have a nice stay!"
Of course, this is just my opinion and I don't want to and don't try to judge what may be necessary or what is good in the United States.
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Old 02-24-2008, 01:34 PM   #69
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Quote:
Originally Posted by milwman
As far as i'm bleep they need a reason to stop you. Not a made up one like a hunch like some one had long hair and may have something.
And if they DO stop you for no reason, just make sure you don't call the officer a "dude": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NtQ99mCRM2g



Quote:
Originally Posted by ken45
I know how that goes, and when you're in the desert people are even more helpful. I pulled off the road to shoot a train last summer and had bunches of people stop to ask if I needed help. It got so old after awhile that it was tough to refrain from giving the sarcastic reply "Yes, my car is having trouble, so I'm fixing it with a CAMERA..."
Dude (haha), I had something similar happen in December. After a heavy snowfall the night before, I found a bridge on an old country road that I parked on to get some pics of the river it was crossing. As I'm standing there with my camera pointed at the river AND taking pictures, a few people driving by stopped and asked if I needed any help.

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Old 02-24-2008, 07:20 PM   #70
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I don't think I've ever had a run in with a LEO. I've had several encounters with special agents, but only one that was because we looked suspicous driving back and forth in West Colton Yard, but I was with a RR employee and when he showed his ID all was fine. I've had the most run ins with security guards and I deal with them accordingly.

Someone mentioned vests and hard hats. The other day while taking the shot below there was a bunch of employees and supervisors where I stopped for the shot. I felt comfortable because another railfan was up on the hill to the right of my shot. But as I passed the front of a work truck to get a closer shot the supervisor yelled at me to stay behind his truck unless I had a vest and hard hat, which I didn't. I thought it was cool though that he made the offer if I had the vest and hat he would have let me go close to the tracks where they were dumping the ballast. I think the vest and hat deal is good where crews are working or construction is going on.

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Old 02-24-2008, 08:43 PM   #71
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Just be careful, though, as you probably don't want look as though you're impersonating a rail employee.

I have most of this equipment for work (not railroad issue stuff, mind you), but I wouldn't dream of using it to go railfanning because I have a feeling I could get in more trouble for wearing it than simply going dressed as I was. Plus, for me, I personally don't want to seem like I'm using my position as a future railroad civil engineer simply as a way to get to get better railfanning positions.
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Old 02-24-2008, 08:47 PM   #72
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Quote:
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Plus, for me, I personally don't want to seem like I'm using my position as a future railroad civil engineer simply as a way to get to get better railfanning positions.
You have another motivation?

That would actually be an excellent position to be in... do your best to design as many sweeping curves as possible.
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Old 02-24-2008, 10:01 PM   #73
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I'd only be impersonating them if I was trying to do there work, beyond that, everything they were is generic. I'm mostly talking about Ames Construction on the 3rd main project in the Cajon Pass. They've told us several time if we have the right gear we can go alot closer. It's a visibility issue is all it is.
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Old 02-26-2008, 01:08 AM   #74
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Quote:
1)call the PD you spoke to earlier 2)get the shot. 3)get the shot of the arrest and post it here!
Yea I donít think Iíll be shooting photos of railroad police making an arrest anytime in this lifetime. If you think conductors and other train service personnel donít like their picture being taken, what do you think a cop would do!

I didnít have to contact the police either as the conductor talked to CN Police on their road channel and notified TD2 (Dispatcher) of what was happening.

And come on Detroit isnít that bad, Iíve gotten a lot of my photos on this site in Americas Most Miserable City. Theres 4 Class 1's, Conrail Shared Assets, and a shortline that still uses GE 65 Ton Switchers.

Last edited by SDavey; 02-26-2008 at 01:15 AM.
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:04 AM   #75
rahul.v.rao
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In India (where I stay) the most beautiful locations have clear warnings boards saying Photography prohibited.
Thats why the country with the largest railway network has almost no pictures posted.
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