A Discussion:

Discussion in 'The Caboose' started by N Gauger, May 4, 2006.

  1. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    If this turns out well, I'll submit it to the moderation staff, that we try to do this once a month about current events......


    Click the above link and read the story about "Videotaping European subway stations"
    You don't have to read the entire article, just get the idea behind what is happening as compaired to us as railfans taking pictures.

    Questions for comments:

    ~~ Do we as a group of railfans (Weilding cameras and video cams) feel that we have to "tone down" our trackside picture taking?

    ~~ Since 9/11 have you changed your habits --- i.e. Places that you take pics, times of the day (or night) you take your pics...

    ~~ Do you use "lesser value equipment" - just in case you do get questioned by law enforcement, because you think that you might have your "good" camera confiscated???

    ~~ Are you even more vigilant of your surroundings, when railfanning, now???
  2. Russ Bellinis

    Russ Bellinis Active Member

    I don't do a lot of railfan photography. My interest is the mid 50's railroading and it is difficult to catch a shot today of a gp9 working an industrial area in 1955! The closest that I can get to it is to shoot the Pacific Harbor Lines shortline railroad in the L.A. Harbor. They are running some older equipment in traditional paint schemes- A low nose gp9 in S.P. black widow, a sd23 in Santa Fe zebra stripe, but they have signed an agreement with the feds and thesouth Coast Air Quality Management District to upgrade the fleet to new clean air units. When I do photography, I do it from public roads obviously not inside buildings. I can see where someone shooting the inside of a subway station or stop might be suspicious. We still have protections against illegal search and seizure, so I don't think a railfan needs to worry about a camera being seized if they are caught taking pictures in the U.S., but they may be questioned about their activity. Carrying a small photo album showing some of your previous work; and if you model from the prototype, pics of your models or model railroad that you could show to a police officer will probably help prove the innocence of your picture taking. It also wouldn't hurt to wear a t-shirt featuring your favorite railroad to identify you as a railfan and not a terrorist.
  3. MasonJar

    MasonJar It's not rocket surgery

    I am not so much worried about taking pictures of the trains, as I am the other reference material - industries, other structures, landscapes (ok, not landscapes), but you know what I mean.

    Although I have not done a lot of this kind of photography, what I have done has been greatly facilitiated simply by asking first. Other railroad friends report the same - one was even pressed into an impromptu "tour of the factory" which he really could not decline due to the enthusiasm of the plant manager!

    I think we are all a bit more wary of public photography these days.

  4. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    I got to say that I was just a bit squeemish when I stopped at a couple of electrical sub-stations in the area to take a few pictures since I want to model one on my layout. Why would anyone want to do something like that, so I had my speech prepared just in case someone were to ask.:rolleyes:

    One would have to be careful what they took pictures of and where. I don't think I'd head down to the LA harbor, hide in some bushes and take shots of them unloading a ship onto rail cars, nor would I risk taking pictures anywhere that you know would arouse suspicion even if it was in the name of railfanning.
  5. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Interesting.. I never realized, I'm the same way.... I always make sure of the surroundings in my pics..as not to "document" something I should not be seeing :)

    Yes, I'm more wary, that's one reason i posted this discussion :)
  6. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    I try to take pics of "structures" (substations for example... from my car, I find that if you are in a car - you're not making a huge scene, and are less likly to arouse needless suspicion :)

    one or 2 quick pics and then you're on your way :)

    As far as "if" you were questioned..... I wonder if it would help. if you had a few pics of the layout with you. To kind of back-up your story???

    :D I have a pic of my layout in my wallet - I took the wife's pic out to make room :D :D :D
  7. Gil Finn

    Gil Finn Active Member

    I will address number one. Once ridding the train at Casss some moron littery walked and climbed all over me taking video pis. THE WHOLE TRIP. Not once dis he appologize.

    WE were on the first closed top other wise opened car in front of the engine going backwards up hill.

    This rude behavior is unexcuseable and if it happends again I am tooing his camer over the mountain and he with it..
  8. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    My last job required me at times to take photographs all over army and navy bases (and sometimes the marine corp.) all over the United States. Mostly I was just working on facility updates and the such but sometimes we had to get a little more involved. Before we ever even got on base, we had to go through pass & badge and register the camera by it's serial number as well as a detailed explanation of what it was we were to be taking pictures of and then, most of the time, we were issued a photo badge. We usually never ran into problems however we also ran into the occasional "hassler." I called them that because that is what they were doing to me and I knew what I was doing was legitimate however I can't blame them as they were just doing their job and looking out for the installation. In Ingleside Texas, I was photographing a building from the rental car and some higher up inside saw me through a window and came running out to the car. He was quite in your face and almost seemed disappointed when I was on the up and up. Turns out, the building was some sort of terrorist training and explosives disarmament bldg. Learned my lesson there - if there are any sensitive buildings, TAKE AN ESCORT!
    Another time I was up on a hilltop taking pictures of the Levee system for the airfield portion of Camp Pendleton when another hassler got very much in my face. Being confronted like that teaches you how to take sensitive photos very discreetly. At Mayport Naval Station near Jacksonville Florida, we were told to not even point the camera in the direction of the harbor and our escort made quite certain to supervise each picture. Serious stuff.
  9. Harold Cole

    Harold Cole Member

    Hi all,this is interesting.I work for the Railroad and the Security is VERY tight now.I work for Amtrak as a Forman in the E.T. dept (Substations).Most of the Amtrak Police are very understanding,but still don't allow any Rail-fans anymore,Security is getting very tight.As for Ezdays what substations are you going to model,Step down or Stepup and stepdown¿
  10. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way


    I just want to do a small distribution sub. Quite a few years ago I designed control systems for some major switching subs as well as local distributions subs. Some of those big subs can get pretty complexed. I don't have enough room on my layout for anything bigger than maybe two or three three-phase banks of breakers and step-down transformers.:D
  11. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Guys,I been out several times this year railfaning my local spots here in town and I have talked to several other railfans and all agreed its pretty much business as usual at the popular hot spots,Bellevue,Willard,Fostoria,Marion,Toledo and the Port Clinton to Sandusky areas.
    Here in town I get a lot of "you again looks" from the Police as they drive by..Some even smile and wave! sign1
  12. steamhead

    steamhead Active Member


    Some time ago I built a 30" truss bridge, but before I began, I thought it would be a good idea to take some pics of one that's about 1/2 hour away. As I was getting my stuff together to go out, a thought crossed my mind...What would people (cops, as well) think, or do, if they saw a bearded guy shooting pictures of a bridge, near the U.S. border...? I unpacked my stuff, and went to the train room.
    Gus (LC&P).
  13. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Interesting....... you are talking about "Regularly visited places" I guess :D

    Around these parts, we don't have regular railfans or regular spots. Most of my freight pics are taken from the car - a few on the interstate highway after I pulled over to the shoulder. All my passanger pics are taken from 3 nearby stations.

    I have maybe seen 1 other railfan (refered to as "Foamers" around here) that I have actually seen take pics when I was there also taking pics.... I got this term from the other guys at the Railroad museum, who go 3 hours away from me, to see yard operations in Maryland.

    Keep in mind that the populatioon here is about 10,000 per sq. mile. Most of the "local police" know me, but I railfan in the other 2 towns too. I have never been questioned, in the almost 30 years I've been taking pics. But i only go out once every few weeks, if that.
  14. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Yeah, that's the idea I meant.... If you feel nervous it's ok - but if you feel as if you may be unnecessarily harrassed, is it worth it to take a few pics???
  15. sumpter250

    sumpter250 multiscale modelbuilder

    I'll try to keep this short, and clean. I spent twentyone and a half years, day for day, from 1961, to 1983, defending the Constitution of the United States, against all enemies, both foreign, and domestic. I will not surrender my freedom to any Nazi Gestapo SOB!, and God help the stupid (explative deleted) that tries to confiscate anything of mine. You want war, I'll give you war! I didn't run from it in the sixties, I won't run from it now.
    The current administration, the congressmen, and senators, and all others who supported the "Patriot Act" are, as far as I am concerned, domestic enemies of freedom, and the Constitution.
    I earned my freedom the hard way. I served my country, in a time when serving was not looked on favorably! Now I have to deal with those same people, the sniveling cowards who ran to their "government" crying save me, save me after 911.
    My elected representatives know exactly how I feel, I email them regularly.
    I can still hit what I aim at.
    I VOTE !
    Please don,t push that button again.

    P.R.Juengst CPO USN RET
  16. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Mikey said:Interesting....... you are talking about "Regularly visited places" I guess:D
    Right you are Mikey..I would say the spots I mention are the most popular railfan spots in North Central and Northern Ohio.:thumb: I omitted Berea on my list so,I will add Berera and Greenwhich...As I mention before Bucyrus,Marion and Crestline is rich in railroad history and I suspect that is why model railroading is popular in these parts..Of course modelers railfan as well so,you will usually see somebody track side during the evenings and weekends.
  17. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Andrew and Don,I have never worried about taking pictures of any industry because it happens to be framed in the back ground of a picture..
    Any time one is afraid to enjoy his/her hobby because of terrorist then we lose and they win.:(
  18. ezdays

    ezdays Out AZ way

    There's no fear, just a sense of uneasiness that someone's going to get the wrong idea. It hasn't stopped me so far, just made me a bit more cautious and more prepared in case I do get asked.

    But still, I wouldn't go hiding in the bushes shooting at sensitive locations regardless. If you don't belong there, ask first, don't hide and don't assume it's OK. If someone was taking pictures of my house or business, I'd sure want to know why.
  19. N Gauger

    N Gauger 1:20.3 Train Addict

    Sumpter & brakie, this is what I mean, also :) :) Not a fear (Especially of terrorists) just an uneasyness of being "approached" by someone either a law enforcement or owner of a business... Remember - most times I'm out there all alone - just me & the train (When it comes) I never go out at night (Mostly because of the area I live in) and when I do go out during the day - I make sure there are people around. If there are 2 of us - I don't worry that much.

    To complicate this further - there have been many instances of idiots that impersonate police.... they drive around the area trying to pull over young ladies in the middle of the night...(we even had a local woman, raped & murdered by one such derilict ) They average 1 or 2 such reports a year.

    So - of course everyone male & female are wary of even the law enforcement as it gets later in the night... You really never know, unless you are familiar with the area.. and you are familiar with the police vehicles. :(
  20. zedob

    zedob Member

    Only once was I ever asked as to what I was taking pictures of and that was an old sugarcane mill and it was about 20 yrs ago. However, I always wonder about it happening now and how far the inquisitor will take it. That's why I bring along a notebook with a ton of pics and sketches to back up my story.

    Then again, most of the pics I take are of some dilapidated building or old bridge abutments, so most people who do see me look at me like I'm just some nut taking pics of a dilapidated building or bridge abutment and why would anyone waste their time doing that.

    I also make sure that I am as obvious as a bright orange safety vest (no I don't wear one) so that the local authorities won't be so suspicious of me.

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