Old 06-08-2006, 09:05 PM   #26
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As I was forming my thoughts, ccaranna made my point.

A phone call from a SkyWarn member that a tornado is brewing will hold more credibility than some anonymous guy driving around.

Furthermore, if something big is going down near where I am railfanning, a quick run of my license plate will reveal my name. Cross reference that with the BNSF database and less time will be wasted on me. Hopefully allowing the apprehension of criminals or preventing destruction/vandalism.

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Originally Posted by ccaranna
OK. For example, an accident or some type of crime occurs in an area near where I live. I don't know about you, but I think if I hadn't done anything wrong and have nothing to hide then it wouldn't be a problem if they contacted me. (Innocent until proven guilty ring a bell??)
Or maybe some people would rather be visited in person by detectives holding an aire of suspicion, rather than "risk" a phone call to collect possible eye witness info.
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Old 06-08-2006, 10:00 PM   #27
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Something else I just thought of:

The CRS officially legitimizes railfans as another layer of security. Sure, if you're not a CRS member, you can still call and report suspcious activities, but CRS makes it an official, company and nation-wide program.

Think of it this way: you know how there's been flap recently about 'no photography' with certain law enforcement communities? It'd be a pretty difficult spot for BNSF cops to give you a hard time about your hobby when you are a member of a legitimate program implemented by the company with rail security as it's purpose. The CRS program is another layer of protection against the 'no photography' crowd.

Thoughts?
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Old 06-08-2006, 11:18 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
It'd be a pretty difficult spot for BNSF cops to give you a hard time about your hobby when you are a member of a legitimate program implemented by the company with rail security as it's purpose. The CRS program is another layer of protection against the 'no photography' crowd.

Thoughts?
Very well put. IMO anything that can help railfanners indulge in their hobby without hassle can't be bad. The concerns regarding personal information are understandable but it is a sad fact of the times we live in that seemingly harmless hobbies cannot be followed without restriction
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Old 06-09-2006, 12:34 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Something else I just thought of:

The CRS officially legitimizes railfans as another layer of security.
I don't get the logic behind that thought. First off, I think the hobby is legitimate as a hobby as well as a layer of security already. But how does five minutes inputting your personal info on a web site and then printing off a card get you anything more than a card you can carrry around?

Be wary and weary when a major railroad embraces us railfans. Because I figure if they have one hand grasping ours in a handshake, there's something else in that other hand we're not aware of.


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Old 06-09-2006, 12:54 AM   #30
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
I don't get the logic behind that thought. First off, I think the hobby is legitimate as a hobby as well as a layer of security already.
BASE jumping is a legitimate sport in the eye's of jumpers, but it is illegal and therefore, by definition not legitimate. While the bulk of railfan activity is not done illegally, for BNSF to "sanction formally or authorize", railfanning has become a more legitimate aspect of railroading.
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Be wary and weary when a major railroad embraces us railfans. Because I figure if they have one hand grasping ours in a handshake, there's something else in that other hand we're not aware of.
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Old 06-09-2006, 01:27 AM   #31
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With this program from BNSF they have in essence admitted that we (railfans) are here and not likely to go away. Kind of "if you can't beat em, then join em" philosophy. I think it's smart move on their part and a bit of legitimacy for the railfan.
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Old 06-09-2006, 01:48 AM   #32
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Quote:
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Something else I just thought of:

The CRS officially legitimizes railfans as another layer of security.




I don't get the logic behind that thought. First off, I think the hobby is legitimate as a hobby as well as a layer of security already. But how does five minutes inputting your personal info on a web site and then printing off a card get you anything more than a card you can carrry around?
Joe, I wasn't saying that railfanning isn't a legitimate hobby. Nobody questions that. And, yes, like I said, anybody, railfan or not, CRS member or not, can call in if they see a security violation or something out of the ordinary, thus adding a potential layer of security.

The point behind my last post is that this whole CRS thing is a company derived and sanctioned program. With CRS, railfans aren't an unspoken, assumed layer of security, we are now officially part of BNSF's strategic goal in rail security. They are including us in their plans to secure their assets and ensure that their investors investments are protected. It's a pretty big nod to the railfan community that a company would include us as an official part of their overall plan.

So why be weary? What's the fear? What are they going to do to us, really? I'm sure there will be growing pains and morons who want to be 'Johnny Lifesaver,' but when/if CRS folks start making an impact on security, you'll see the relationship between big railroad and the railfan continue to grow...
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:31 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
Yeah, if you guys are worried about your name, address, and phone number being out there, I guess you're anti-phone book or anti-whitepages.com. C'mon, are you guys really that paranoid?
I'm not at all paranoid, I just see it as unnecessary. As Joe pointed out, all you need is a phone. If I were paranoid I wouldn't railfan at all. I don't care if the cops take my name, but I won't just give it to them for no reason. What I do is legal, has always been, better always be. I mind my business, they mind theirs.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
But the problems Pat brought up initially never occured to me since it never entered my mind that I would ever entertain thinking about what he was describing. Yet there are some out there who would. It's the same small population that makes the hobby as a whole look bad...
They're out there. That's for certain.
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Old 06-09-2006, 03:34 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by VirginiaSouthern
Don't need your information? They may need just that to call you for further information on the incident. I don't know if anyone has ever been witness to an auto accident before, but the cops will generally take all of your information incase they need to get back in touch with you. That's fairly standard procedure for many a law enforcement agency.
Any time I have called for various reasons, I have been asked if I want to give my name or remain anonymous. That's a fact, perhaps they do it differently here. They'll take the call, roll a car to check it out, and that is that. I've never called for an auto accident, so I can't say much about that.
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:22 AM   #35
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Do what you will, but I will not register myself into yet another ridiculous database just to gain recognition to further my hobby. If BNSF Police or any other RR Police want my name and address, they'll find it plenty easy to locate in almost any national database that they have access to.

That card isn't any more useful than a free order of french fries coupon at your local fast food joint.

If I see something wrong, I'm not going to dig through my glove box, or my already overcrowded wallet looking for an ID number. I'll call them, let them take care of the problem as appropriate and then they can ask questions later. That's why I have the local authorities and the RR Police phone numbers in my cell phone memory.

I'm just waiting for the first foamer to decide that the world is his to save, and get themselves or someone else hurt trying to be Superbuff.

Seriously, 99.9% of railfans are normal, safety conscious people, but that .1 percent are the fools that will believe this "membership" means they have some sort of an "all access" pass to RR property. And face it, it's the .1% of people that make the collective look bad.

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Old 06-09-2006, 04:48 AM   #36
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Sean, I'll grant you that .1% rule screwing it up for everybody!

But let's not get wrapped around the axle any more: it's not about the card. The card/certificate is pretty much useless; I haven't printed mine. But that's not the point. The point is the program being implemented by BNSF. It acknowledges this hobby as an asset to their operations, and that's a great compliment.
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Old 06-09-2006, 07:07 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoydie17

Seriously, 99.9% of railfans are normal, safety conscious people, but that .1 percent are the fools that will believe this "membership" means they have some sort of an "all access" pass to RR property. And face it, it's the .1% of people that make the collective look bad.

Sean
I agree with that .1% making the collective look bad, but then again, they always have. Every group has its "slow kids".
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Old 06-09-2006, 04:16 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
The point is the program being implemented by BNSF. It acknowledges this hobby as an asset to their operations, and that's a great compliment.
AMEN!

Thats all there is to it.

If I lived in BNSF territory I'd register... Maybe I will anyway if I go on a road trip in the future...
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:59 AM   #39
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I think this is really great, it really does show how BNSF doesnt view us railfans as trouble makers, they are letting us know that they know that we know what were doing (at least 80% of the time).

I registered anyways, even though iam in UP domain but i do take BNSF trip once or twice a year now. I wish UP would do something like this.

Its not a 'get out of jail free card' if you have a run in with the cops but it certainly cant hurt you in a situation like that.

Thanks BNSF for being once again the perfect RR.
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Old 06-10-2006, 02:26 PM   #40
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i'll pass on joining this merry little band of Fans. I prefer to photograph what I want, at a location I deem safe. They provide you a list of what to do and not do.
I prefer the wide open spaces of the transcon for photos but BNSF says no it much be a public location, I prefer to some time use the ROW road again no, I occasionally take photos at crossings BNSF says that fine. no photos of military trains well I find their cargo intesting so again no.
Now once they give out more information about their program then maybe. If I see a broken crossing guard, a person(s) riding or messing with a train or equipment I'll still call it in. If they don't want to accept my call there choice. Getting a printed card that you print off your PC and rules to cover their tail. I'll pass.
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Old 06-10-2006, 04:42 PM   #41
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Can someone point me to their list of rules?


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Old 06-10-2006, 05:15 PM   #42
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Quote:
Do not trespass on railroad property or rights-of- way. It is illegal and dangerous and will be viewed by law enforcement as a security risk.
Makes sense.
Quote:
Do not take photographs of military trains and equipment.
Makes sense as this is a program for security. Now wouldn't military movements be considered a 'high value' target? There's nothing illegal about taking photos of them...it's just asking for common sense.
Quote:
Only take photographs or view trains from public locations.
Of course. Ken, this isn't saying you can't shoot in the wide-open space of the Transcon...it's saying don't trespass in order to pursue the hobby.
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When taking photographs from public railroad crossings, stay at least 15 feet away from the nearest rail. This rule applies for staged "photo run- bys" as well.
This makes sense too. It's all about liability. I'm not sure how much either side of the tracks the railroad owns, but 15' is probably a safe distance, enough that they can't get sued. In other words, stay off the tracks.
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Cooperate fully with railroad police or other law enforcement officers when contacted.
Duh.
Quote:
If suspicious activities are noted, report it to railroad or local law enforcement officers. DO NOT TAKE ANY FURTHER ACTION!
Don't be 'Johnny Lifesaver.'

So there are the rules that are causing the heartache. If you would have problems following them, then maybe you should re-examine how you go about pursuing the hobby. There's nothing in there that isn't common sense or practical.
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Old 06-10-2006, 06:59 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by hoydie17
I'm just waiting for the first foamer to decide that the world is his to save, and get themselves or someone else hurt trying to be Superbuff.

Seriously, 99.9% of railfans are normal, safety conscious people, but that .1 percent are the fools that will believe this "membership" means they have some sort of an "all access" pass to RR property. And face it, it's the .1% of people that make the collective look bad.
Sean
The comments on this thread (including those above) are not confined to the railfan community. Railroads have debated the benefits of enlisting informed fans to assist and conclusions differ between companies (and within companies). Here are two examples - neither are BNSF
Quote:
I continue to believe that properly structured this can be a help as in my opinion vandalism is our biggest threat, and as a practical matter zero tolerance policies only work when and where there are people around to enforce them.
Quote:
They will use this duty as their excuse for unlimited and un warranted access to rail property. Giving them this opportunity opens up a whole new spectrum of concerns from individuals on teh property without proper protection and knowledge of safety practices. We are not in favor of this solicitation for railfan access.
As a railroad emplolyee you already have knowledge and access to railroad police but others may benefit from this program. As for your concerns about submitting information, you might consider that railroad police do not have the time or resources to do something naughty with this database and that the serial number is probably just a credibility check when something is called in.
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Old 06-10-2006, 07:00 PM   #44
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disregard - mispost
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Old 07-24-2006, 11:07 AM   #45
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For some reason the page won't load, anyone know if BNSF pulled the plug due to too many happy railfans?
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Old 07-24-2006, 03:35 PM   #46
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No. It's still there.
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Old 07-25-2006, 05:16 AM   #47
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pat Lorenz
Thanks BNSF for being once again the perfect RR.
Well, I'd have to agree that at least the BN part of that statement is correct...

IMO I think this is a pretty cool idea. I agree that its not a "get out of free card" but anything can help against the "non-believers". Also, don't try and use it as a "get out..." card, listen to BNSF police (sorta) and the real ones if they want you to move. Don't be that .1%!

If we show BNSF that we railfans are helpful (ie not calling for everyhting) and solving some potential problems , maybe this will lead to better things. Maybe some day photo-ID, plastic badges will be issued by the railroad.

I also see some potential problems with this. I believe J's comments are true, that the railroad and their legal department probably thought long and hard about this. I bet there will be plenty of people out there that will use this as a free tresspass card. Again, hopefully this program will go well and show the big RR's that we're not totally insane

Anywhoo, thats my $.02
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