Maybe its time for a Railfan Public Awareness Project?

Discussion in 'Getting Started' started by Chessie 8563, Oct 29, 2002.

  1. Chessie 8563

    Chessie 8563 New Member

    with all this talk about the general public and law inforcement not knowing/understanding/comprihending the whole Idea of the RailFan/Buff perhapse it is time we all unite in some kinda project to make ourselfs more known about to the general public? Perhapse some kinda national club (simular to ARR, only railfan run and not a business venture). What's ya'll's thoughts or comments on this.

    (crossposted from my own post at
  2. tomfassett

    tomfassett Member

    I always thought this would be a good idea. Jake Jacobson (the C.O.O. of the Copper Basin Railway, and founder of the "Jake Safety Award" for shortline railroads) expressed an interest in doing something like this a couple of years ago. His idea was to "educate" the railfan community on what not to do around railroads, and why... He gave me some great examples of things I would not have thought of, and why they were a problem for railroads. I was working for a video production company at the time and he wanted to make a series of safety videos targeted towards railfans. Unfortunately, we never got enough free time to do it.
    I checked into the AAR thing, and it isn't much more than an extension of Operation Lifesaver, (but with a price tag...). I thought they were going to have at least some kind of certification process where one could, perhaps, study a safety course and maybe get an ID card. I was also hoping for some "credibility" for those of us who really keep an eye out and would be willing to call the RR Police if we see something amiss. Not so... Anyone can send 'em $39 a year and get a newsletter and some discounts on merchandise (I know... I joined... ;- ) I asked a UP police officer about their opinion of this (two weeks ago when I was in Tucson) and he just laughed... He said they wouldn't take any report seriously unless it was from a RR employee or a "civic" agency (like a municipal police department). He is of the general opinion that railfans ARE the problem... So are most other RR Police officers I have spoken to. Now, I am not saying they are all like that as I know some who are great, and some will even give you information on the best place to shoot photos if you promise to stay off the property (I met one like this in Topeka, Kansas--he was a great guy). Unfortunately, these are not the norm...
    All this aside, I still like the idea of a "non-aligned" organization of railfans. We are already a fairly loose knit but semi organized group through forums like this.
    I would be interested to see the responses to this idea.
    Thanks for bringing it up!

    Tom F

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