Increased Scrutiny of Railfans

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by TomPM, May 21, 2004.

  1. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    Recently here in the Philadelphia area there have been several stories about suspicious surveillance of trains. As a railfan the following articles are something I don’t like to see. Things like these just add to the paranoia. I saw the news piece from the local ABC affiliate last night on TV and they were sensationalizing the story.

    First one is from the local ABC affiliate news

    Second one is from Time Maganzine:,9171,1101040524-638410,00.html

    When I rail fanned on a regular basis I was known by many of the trains crews and a few of the police officers. Now when I go I usually have the kids with me. Since I am certified as an Amtrak contractor I carry an Amtrak contractor ID and on the back of it is Amtrak Police phone number. I also carry a cell phone and I will report any suspicious activity I see. I do need to get Norfolk Southern and CSX’s Police numbers and carry them with me.

    In my opinion the rail fans can be a good thing for the railroads. We are out there because we like trains. We don’t want to see anything bad happen to them. We can act as another set of eyes and ears for the folks that are charged with secure the railroads. As such there are rules and a code of conduct that must be followed. I stay off of private property. I do my railfaning from public areas or areas that railfans use on a frequent basis. I don’t try to hide the fact that I am out there. I wave to the crews and acknowledge and respect them. As of yet I have not been approached by security personnel, but I am sure it will happen some time down the road.
  2. jon-monon

    jon-monon Active Member

    Right on Tom! If we don't help prevent the problem, we will be considered part of the problem.

    When I go to the CSX yards, I always check in at the office and ask permission. I do so as a courtesy and to let them know what I'm up to. They are very friendly and accomodating. I don't really want to be tackled by security. I would do the same at NS if they had an accessable office. In liu of asking at NS, I stay well away from operations and don't violate local tresspassing laws. 99% of the time I'm on a public roadway and I also treat their people as well as their hazzards with the utmost respect.

    Common sense would say to always go out there with a valid ID, and don't violate any of their security measures by hopping fences and such. Recent news indicates they will probably get serius about security soon.
  3. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

    The story about the inferred motion detector just gets better and better. It is strange how SEPTA and the FBI seemingly place a low priority on the matter but the local media keeps trying to sensationalize the story. I hate local TV sweeps time.

    Also note the last paragraph about the Amtrak photo contest. I guess some of that suspicious activities that the media was talking about may have been people trying their luck at the Amtrak sponsored contest.
  4. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Isn't it kind of sad/funny when the government (AKA AMTRAK) promote a contest to take pictures of their trains that another part of the government find frightful? Them IR detectors will probally be found later to be counting devices or such put there by a private contractor to fulfill some contract with the local railroad or AmTrak. Gee, we forgot. You already can't go plane fanning. I use to like to occasionally drive to the airport or airbase and watch jets blast overhead on takeoff, today that will land you in jail. :mad: :( Next railfanning? What next, can't go on a Sunday drive? A home land security cop will stop you and demand to see your papers? Can't drive down that street because there is bulk gasoline plant down there? Have to wait 45 min at a security check post before you can get into the hospital? This is scary guys. FRED
  5. Fred_M

    Fred_M Guest

    Posted on another thread by Mikey (NGauger)
    I rest my case. FRED :(
  6. TomPM

    TomPM Another Fried Egg Fan

  7. rcwatkins

    rcwatkins Member

    Uh oh, lets all hope that railfanning never becomes illegal. What if a passenger train collided with another train in the middle of nowhere and you were the only one that was in the area besides the people on the trains? What if a railfanner found this situation and the railroad didn't know about it? Would we let those people die helplessly on those trains? This is one way/reason along with many others that railfanning should be allowed. ;)

    If railfanning becomes illegal, what next? Having to go to school two hours early to go through security, no driving after sunset, having to go through security even if you need immeadiate care at a hospital? DASH was right my friends. If railfanning becomes illegal, the floodgates are opened for all hobbies to be illegal and my passengers in paragraph 1 all die. :( :cry: One day we may not be able to go to the grocery store for fear of terrorism. :(

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