Old 12-06-2006, 06:21 AM   #1
Wonka001
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Default Is an apology at hand here?

On the evening of Thanksgiving I was out at night in the cold working on some night shots. I used flash in some cases, but mostly just took pictures at one place of one train. Here's the catch, as I was leaving they turned on the ditch lights as I walked a quarter mile back to my truck.
The other night as I was taking pictures of a train, the train driver hopped out of his train to talk to me (which was caught in the 25 second exposure). He asked me if I was in a certain place taking pictures a few days back, I told him I was. He then told me they had called the local police to report "potential terrorist activity" and they were searching all over the place for me, but to no avail. I told him what I was about and what I was doing there. He understood.. but didnt seem to happy. I apologized to him about the scare, but now the real question is this.. Is an apology to the towns local police department at hand? Do you think it would be nesecary, or should I just let it go as another railfanning/learning experience?
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:05 AM   #2
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Is an apology to the towns local police department at hand?
No, especially if you weren't doing anything illegal (i.e. trespassing)...
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Old 12-06-2006, 11:33 AM   #3
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No, plus I doubt the local police where looking all over for you. Thats a common railroad scare tactic against railfans.

I've had the policed 'called' on my a couple times. Since I wasn't doing anything wrong I always kept doing was I was doing, if the cops showed what where they gonna do? In all three cases the cops never did show up.
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Old 12-06-2006, 02:30 PM   #4
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Dont bother, he's right its just a scare tactic, ive been put in that situation before, not by the engineers but by a security guard near a power plant. I wouldnt go out of your way for that kind of stuff. I'm suprised the crew came out to complain, in all the situations i've been in, the crew took my side.

But it is at night time so it is unclear to them what was going on.
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:03 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonka001
..."potential terrorist activity"...
Im really getting tired of this "terrorist" bu****it.

I would not apologize.
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Old 12-06-2006, 07:16 PM   #6
Christopher Muller
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jdirelan87
No, plus I doubt the local police where looking all over for you. Thats a common railroad scare tactic against railfans.

I've had the policed 'called' on my a couple times. Since I wasn't doing anything wrong I always kept doing was I was doing, if the cops showed what where they gonna do? In all three cases the cops never did show up.

Being on both sides of this, the police often do get calls from the railroad, possibly too many. That's likely why some local police departments don't investigate them... which they should because all calls for service should be answered.

I don't think any apology is due, as long as you are on public property you have nothing to apoligize for.
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Old 12-06-2006, 08:32 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Christopher Muller
Being on both sides of this, the police often do get calls from the railroad, possibly too many. That's likely why some local police departments don't investigate them... which they should because all calls for service should be answered.

I don't think any apology is due, as long as you are on public property you have nothing to apoligize for.
Ifs funny you should say that because I was just thinking that when ever the police do show up and wonder what I'm doing, they are never called by the railroad but by somebody completely not related.

Most recently it was because I was "taking pictures of bridges." The officer never even considered that I might be taking pictures of the trains in the foreground. Once I explained what I was up to, he gave me the thumbs up and went on his way. I wonder in how many police departments they just get too many calls from the railroad and decide not to act on them?
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:25 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonka001
I apologized to him about the scare, but now the real question is this.. ?
you gave him the address, so he could look at the pictures, right?
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:32 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by SD70MACMAN
Im really getting tired of this "terrorist" bu****it.

I would not apologize.
Well said!
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Old 12-06-2006, 09:46 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wonka001
On the evening of Thanksgiving I was out at night in the cold working on some night shots. I used flash in some cases, but mostly just took pictures at one place of one train.
When growing up while railfanning I have always been "taught" not to use the flash A) if it's powerful enough it can be distracting to the crew and B) it can look like something other than a camera flash in some cases. When using flashes at night either make sure the crew or people around understand the situation or are aware you are there. Obviously this is easier on smaller RR's. If you are on public property and the train is stopped I wouldn't worry about the flashes going off, but if its possible to tell the crew what your doing thats the smartest thing to do. You never know if the crew will be a!*#@!!@es or even 'reward' you for being out there since some crewmen are railfans themselves.

As for the apology, HECK NO!!! If you were in the right to be there, they can't do anything. I actually find it humorous that they were "searching all over the place for [you]" and not actually responding to some real emergencies, if this is true. Like Mike said, I'm just sick of all this "terrorist" bull. I wish we could go back to the way it was in the early 20th century when you could go to a yard and hang out all day with crews and stuff. All I have to say is that I'm very glad I haven't been hassled by cops anywhere because you would probably be reading about it somewhere. I just have no tolerance for being treated like I'm doing something wrong when I have every right to be there and doing that.

A little advice for those who do photograph passenger RR's, try to find some kind of letter or article expressing that railfans are allowed to go about there business. I know when I train around I always have two things in my camera bag or back pocket when I'm at stations: 1) a copy of NJT's George Warrington's letter lifting the ban on photography and 2) a copy of Amtrak's Calender Contest rules page which clearly states that photographers are to shoot from public property INCLUDING Amtrak stations and to stay off of Amtrak property (i.e yards, etc.). What are local cops gonna say when I have actual written permission from the President of the RR whose station it is!

::deep breath:: Okay, I'm done ranting. If I were you I would want an apology from THEM for harassing you with no legal basis.
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Old 12-08-2006, 06:52 PM   #11
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I think after reading all this, then I'll not worry about it. He could have been using scare tactics, I have come across other engineers that were alot nicer and more willing to chat.. thanks for the input, I won't worry about an appology then..
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