Old 03-01-2008, 11:48 AM   #76
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CSX is apparently stepping up it's "security" in the Carolinas. On Carolina Rails, we are discussing various incidents where CSX either aproached the photogrpher and told them photographing trains or yards is illegal now or where the crews called dispatch who called the local LEOs. Follow my link to Carolina Rails below to see more.


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Old 03-01-2008, 12:40 PM   #77
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Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
CSX is apparently stepping up it's "security" in the Carolinas. On Carolina Rails, we are discussing various incidents where CSX either aproached the photogrpher and told them photographing trains or yards is illegal now or where the crews called dispatch who called the local LEOs. Follow my link to Carolina Rails below to see more.


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Old 03-01-2008, 06:09 PM   #78
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Here are some sites germane to this discussion.

Krages is a lawyer and is cited frequently on photogprahers rights.
http://www.krages.com/phoright.htm

Popular Photography article on photographers rights.
http://www.popphoto.com/popularphoto...l?print_page=y

BNSF public security website
http://www.citizensforrailsecurity.com/index.html

A more extreme First Amendment Rights website.
http://www.nycphotorights.com/wordpress/?p=54


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Old 08-24-2009, 04:20 PM   #79
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Dusting off this thread... I had an incident last week down in Brielle, NJ shooting NJ Transit. I was parked legally on a residential street at the site of the fomer PRR Brielle Station (now public property). The station closed years ago and now the area is just a grassy knoll, with great light from about 3PM to 5PM this time of year. There is even a sign at the location commemorating the old station, it reads "Brielle Historic Site - Former Railroad Station". This is one of my favorite spots, if not my favorite spot, on NJT's Coast Line. This location is also between the second to last and third to last stations on the Coast Line, so it is the very end of the line.

I had just shot a northbound train and was waiting for the southbound to come through (around 4PM, there are two trains that come by in a five minute span). After the northbound train passed, a police officer pulled up with the 'someone called in a suspicious person taking pictures of trains' and asked what I was doing. We go through the usual lines, and he tells me to have a seat in my vehicle as he makes a U-Turn. I comply, and he pulls his car behind me like he is pulling me over. Then comes up and asks for ID. I give him my license and my employee ID and explain that railroad photography is just a hobby of mine. He says "Taking pictures of the same train? And just a train? Sounds like a silly hobby to me" and then starts questioning me about everything other than this incident. Driving record, work history, etc. He walks back to his car with my ID and about ten minutes later (and missing the southbound train), he comes back and says that I'm clean, but then says "You do understand this looks suspicious, so I'm going go have to ask you to refrain from taking photos of any kind in my town". Annoyed, I just drove off without pushing the issue.

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Old 08-24-2009, 05:31 PM   #80
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I would have gone along with that whole rigamarole, except for the last line...that is very much over the line. It's not even telling you not to take photos of trains with some security of the nation BS, it's way beyond anything reasonable.
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Old 08-24-2009, 06:00 PM   #81
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The last line was over the line and impropper. You need to write a letter to the chief of the town and tell them about the entire incident. What is especially disturbing is that the officer believes it is "his town."

Be polite and 100% honest in your letter. Do not fabricate a single event or exagerate a single event. Explain everything exactly as it happened and ask for clarification seeing as your actions were absolutely legal.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:05 PM   #82
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The last line was over the line and impropper. You need to write a letter to the chief of the town and tell them about the entire incident. What is especially disturbing is that the officer believes it is "his town."

Be polite and 100% honest in your letter. Do not fabricate a single event or exagerate a single event. Explain everything exactly as it happened and ask for clarification seeing as your actions were absolutely legal.

What he said. Except that I would send it to Chief of Police, the Mayor, and if you're a resident of the town in question, I'd also send it to your city council person.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:46 PM   #83
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Next time, pull your pants down to your ankles and do the chicken dance... at least the LEO will have more of a reason to speak with you. I wonder how many crimes were committed while this guy was harassing you.

Been questioned the odd time, but as soon as the "waiting for a train" comes out of my mouth they loose interest.
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Old 08-24-2009, 07:47 PM   #84
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Did anyone read Don Philips' article this week? He was out of line starting with the "silly hobby" comment. At some point, you could have asked what he thought you were doing because it should have become obvious you were, in fact, doing what you said. Someone called you in. He had to come out. Fine. I get that. But he then took the lead in making you feel like you had to leave and to stop doing what you wanted. You need to pursue tis because otherwise he gets the message that what he did was correct. Make fun of someone, harrass them, intimidate them and get what he wants.

You shouldn't have let him do that. But now, you need to pursue this in the ways others have mentioned.
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:04 PM   #85
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I'd been questioned so many times at the tunnel here at home it progressed from "what are you doing here" to "why are you doing that at this hour" to "got any good shots yet?"

Thank goodness the police officers here have some common sense.

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Old 08-24-2009, 09:12 PM   #86
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I only had one LEO start to question my hobby, and I have to admit it really got me annoyed. Unlike Gerald's covnersation, this happened to be a totally nice guy otherwise, but I still sent a letter to his supervisor.

About a month later I got a phone call from the head of the department (can't remember the rank, but it was a very high officer) apologizing for the entire incident and telling me that if any of his officers ever stopped me again, to have them call their field commander and ask them what the rules regarding rail photogapher were, so that I would be able to continue taking pictures. Moreover, he was going to talk to all of his officers the next day to instruct them that it was not their place to comment on citizens' hobbies.
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:22 PM   #87
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Joe/Charles -

I think I'll take your advice and write a letter to the Chief of Police. I was really steamed after it happened (I was ranting to AB-2 immediately afterwards). Unfortunately, I did not get his badge number, but I think date and time should be sufficient in the letter.

John -

I am not a resident of the town, but was visiting a friend in a nearby town, so I stopped at this location. The officer wanted to know all about that too, including his address.

The town of Brielle is a shore town, and for those unfamiliar with shore towns, the police force doubles during the summer months. During the off-season, everything is fairly laid back, but during the summer months, the police are very quick to find reasons to issue citations and violations.
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Old 08-24-2009, 09:24 PM   #88
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Small towns with big police forces, and new cars are a huge warning sign to stay away

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Old 08-24-2009, 09:40 PM   #89
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Small towns with big police forces, and new cars are a huge warning sign to stay away

Loyd L.
Amen to that.

I was shot in the leg by someone with a paintball gun in a car speeding past on the Rte. 57 bridge in Cresson, PA., in 1999. As luck would have it a local LEO drove past with 30 seconds of the incident and I flagged him down, and explained to him what happened including a description of th car. Though he was kind of sympathetic, we explained that the car was likely too far away for them to catch, given all the backroads and whatnot. I went looking for the guy, but could not find him. Still, great response from the cops... I mean I was merely shot in the leg from a passing car, no big deal.

For the record, I have not been back there since and they have not received any of my tourist dollars for the local cops. Bet if I had been dringking beer underage they'd have been all over that
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Old 08-24-2009, 11:16 PM   #90
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I've been questioned once or twice. I was in South Charleston one night trying to get a shot of P051 going over an underpass when a cop pulled up and asked us what we're doing. I think he found it a bit odd for two guys to be in a church parking lot at night.

He was a nice guy, we just told him what we're doing, and he continued along his way.

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Thankfully, the city of St. Albans (where I spend the most of my time) has a railfan for a cop!

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Old 08-25-2009, 04:37 AM   #91
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chase55671
Thankfully, the city of St. Albans (where I spend the most of my time) has a railfan for a cop!
Chase

Not always a good thing, the cop in Hilliard, Ohio is a railfan, he tends to ask more questions about what you're doing even though he already knows the answer... Though he probably gets a kick out of doing this..

Columbus though tends to just ignore me, though someone called me in once, I already took the shot and was leaving, the next thing I knew is 4 police cars were boxing me in, I told them what I was doing, showed them the picture I just took and they sent me on my way, the whole thing took about 3 min.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:11 AM   #92
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"Sounds like a silly hobby to me"

"I'm going go have to ask you to refrain from taking photos of any kind in my town"
Kudos for keeping your cool These are two VERY inappropriate and misguided comments, and the 2nd is clearly worthy of a letter to the supervisor. The intent should be to educate this person and the department as a whole on the protected legal right to take pictures from public property. I hope you will follow up on this, and if you receive any contact back from the Department please do post here.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:41 AM   #93
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I have been chased down by 2 LEO's cause they thought I was running from them........... I was legally parked and standing well off the roadway at a 4 lane divided hiway waiting for a 10 unit move at a turn. As I was taking the shot, a local LEO sees me as he passes by on the other side of the divided hiway. I didnt see him. He had to go about a block to make a U turn. While he was doing this, I got my shot, camera on the seat, and off I go up to the first cross-over and I make a U turn. LEO takes this manuver as an evasive action and he calls for back up........ I am oblivous to any of this at this point so I was surpreised when I had a LEO car on my left and behind me "forcing" me into Walmart parking lot. I am asked to put hands on the dash, back out of truck with hands up, blah, blah blah...... They wanted to know why I was running from them, I said I didnt see them. How was I running since I never went over the 40mph speed limit? What was i doing taking pictures of trains? Luckily, I had my portfolio with me and after 5 or so minutes, they apoligized profusly. I have seeen them a few times since and they do remember me....

Looks like the East is worse for railfans. I recently went to Grafton, WV. Small town, great RR history, and I aint a local, so, as a coutesy, I went to the CSX office to tell them that I woulkd be around for a couple days, gave em my card with my cell phone and said call me if any whatevers. All they could say toi me was stay off CSX property, blah blah............Next time, I wont bother them, I will just do my thing..........
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:28 AM   #94
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Dusting off this thread... I had an incident last week down in Brielle, NJ shooting NJ Transit.

...he comes back and says that I'm clean, but then says "You do understand this looks suspicious, so I'm going go have to ask you to refrain from taking photos of any kind in my town".
I'm trying to picture it....

No more photos of any kind in my town.

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Old 08-25-2009, 04:32 PM   #95
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Not always a good thing, the cop in Hilliard, Ohio is a railfan, he tends to ask more questions about what you're doing even though he already knows the answer... Though he probably gets a kick out of doing this..

Columbus though tends to just ignore me, though someone called me in once, I already took the shot and was leaving, the next thing I knew is 4 police cars were boxing me in, I told them what I was doing, showed them the picture I just took and they sent me on my way, the whole thing took about 3 min.
Were you standing on a bridge when this occurred? Someone probably thought you were going to commit suicide, if so.

Which in itself is kind of ridiculous. Would someone commit suicide with their SLR around their neck and a scanner in their pocket?

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Old 08-25-2009, 04:42 PM   #96
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Would someone commit suicide with their SLR around their neck and a scanner in their pocket?

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Old 08-25-2009, 04:43 PM   #97
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I've been questioned once or twice. I was in South Charleston one night trying to get a shot of P051 going over an underpass when a cop pulled up and asked us what we're doing. I think he found it a bit odd for two guys to be in a church parking lot at night.

He was a nice guy, we just told him what we're doing, and he continued along his way.

Image © Chase55671
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Thankfully, the city of St. Albans (where I spend the most of my time) has a railfan for a cop!

Chase
I hate a very similar encounter while waiting on P051 in Cincinnati one night.

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I was standing in a parking lot close to a local factory at 2:30 in the am, local PD rolled up, asked what we were doing. Gave him the 'we're waiting on a train' answer. Said be safe and have a nice day and off he went. Very nice LEO.
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Old 08-25-2009, 06:20 PM   #98
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A few months ago I was shooting the switching operation at a local Cemex in downtown area about 9PM... LEO pulls up and says "what ya doin?" I had my camera, tripod, headlight & pack. I thought it was a little obvious, but I replied "just shootin that train"........ "He said I can see that but just what are you doin? You have a few thousand dollars of equipment in an area I dont like to come to in the daylight"......... Can you wrap it up in 5 minutes?" I said yes and he waited until I was in my truck and moving. Nice guy LEO from Phoenix didnt hassle me, but just concerned for my safety........... Just rememeber most are simply doing what they have been trained to do. I do not mind being asked for my ID or being asked what I am doing altough I think its a little silly to ask someone that. Like I am gonna say " Oh, I am just a foriegn agent for a terrorist group here taking pictures of my next target."
I am always courteous and I expect nothing less from them in return.
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Old 08-25-2009, 07:44 PM   #99
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Looks like the East is worse for railfans. I recently went to Grafton, WV. Small town, great RR history, and I aint a local, so, as a coutesy, I went to the CSX office to tell them that I woulkd be around for a couple days, gave em my card with my cell phone and said call me if any whatevers. All they could say toi me was stay off CSX property, blah blah............Next time, I wont bother them, I will just do my thing..........

We have a problem with people who talk with a normal accent.



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Old 08-25-2009, 07:46 PM   #100
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A few months ago I was shooting the switching operation at a local Cemex in downtown area about 9PM... LEO pulls up and says "what ya doin?" I had my camera, tripod, headlight & pack. I thought it was a little obvious, but I replied "just shootin that train"........ "He said I can see that but just what are you doin? You have a few thousand dollars of equipment in an area I dont like to come to in the daylight"......... Can you wrap it up in 5 minutes?" I said yes and he waited until I was in my truck and moving. Nice guy LEO from Phoenix didnt hassle me, but just concerned for my safety........... Just rememeber most are simply doing what they have been trained to do. I do not mind being asked for my ID or being asked what I am doing altough I think its a little silly to ask someone that. Like I am gonna say " Oh, I am just a foriegn agent for a terrorist group here taking pictures of my next target."
I am always courteous and I expect nothing less from them in return.
It's always nice to hear stories of LEOs actually doing their job instead of hassling us. I don't mind being approached by an officer and I now expect it everytime one passes but when I'm courteous and say "Hi. How are you?" I expect a pleasant response not a condesending "What are you doing?" with the implication that it is wrong. My opinion of cops was severely damaged after an ordeal in South Amboy that required going to court and getting chiefs of police involved: http://www.railroad.net/forums/viewt...p?f=69&t=63336 My faith in them was restored when I had to wave an unmarked Manalapan PD car out of a line of traffic to tell him that the lights would be going for 5-10 mins as the local crew worked a spur. He allowed me to flag and let traffic through which was backing up to the light causing a mess. Most people respond by saying that the LEOs are just doing what they are suppose to which is often incorrect as one can clearly see in Gerald's case. Asking what we are doing is fine. Telling us to stop is not. When "laws" and "Homeland Security" are brought up it becomes laughable.
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