Feb 9, 2007
Glad you joined. It me RRBozzo
I was told by the A&M railroad police that I had to be 50 ft from the centerline.
Not trying to start anything here, but I'm wondering why this is seen as an overreaction by the railroad, DHS, etc., but the reaction to the little electronic billboards in Boston was seen as the correct response.
The reason I bring it up is that the prosecutor's case was that a terrorist could use a more well known cartoon character to disguise a bomb. Could a terrorist not pretend to be railfanning as well? Compared to the scare in Boston, restricting photography even from public areas seems perfectly reasonable and as long as we let politicians scare us into voting for them, we are subject to their restrictions.
Again, not trying to be a troll here.
Nobody will complain about the RR having a right to protect themselves from the liability of trespassing.
At least part of the reason is that they're (railroads) trying to push their jurisdiction beyond their actual property. There have been many reported cases of harassment, arrests, seizures of cameras and film, from people taking photos when clearly outside of RR property.
In every instance of which I am aware, the courts have tossed out these cases. But their poor victim has to spend their precious time and money to win, and get back their personal property. And protect our rights.
Also, there is the certain knowledge that what is happening, is a reaction to (real or potential) terrorism. The object of which is to alter their targets lifestyle. Exactly what we are seeing. This equates to a victory for them. Loss for us all! And that upsets many of us. There is nothing secret about a railroad! Pretending otherwise just looks bad.
Bugnerd, I hope you are kidding.
Anyway, I think this is much adeu about nothing. You should not be on private property taking pictures period, unless you have permission. That's something most kindergartners can understand.
I was not suggesting that they should restrict photography from public areas. I was only comparing it to the Boston reaction which I felt was a little much.
My point was just that anything put in the context of national security could be used to remove little bits of freedom so a little scepticism and common sense should be in order.
If a railroad runs along a road, like many do, can you take pictures if you are on the road, but within the RoW?
If the road is public you certainly can. Just find a place where you can be legally parked, and are safely out of other vehicle traffic.
If not public, then it's private access. And requires specific permission.
I'll try an keep this short. Exerpts from an article titled "Photographer's rights"
The general rule in the United States is that anyone may take photographs of whatever they want when they are in a public place or places where they have permission to take photographs. Absent a specific legal prohibition such as a statute or ordinance, you are legally entitled to take photographs. Examples of places that are traditionally considered public are streets, sidewalks, and public parks.
Property owners (RR's) may legally prohibit photography on their property but have no right to prohibit others from photographing their property from other locations.
Commanders of military installations can prohibit photographs of specific areas when they deem it necessary to protect national security.
Accident and fire scenes
bridges & other infrastructure
residential and commerical buildings
law enforcement officers
They have no right to confiscate you film or digital media.
Sometimes agents acting for entities such as owners of industrial plants and shopping malls may ask you to hand over your film. Absent a court order, private parties have no right to confiscate your film. Taking your film directly or indirectly by threatening to use force or call a law enforcement agency can constitute crminal offenses such as theft and coercion.
Law enforcement officers may have the authority to seize film when making an arrest but otherwise must obtain a court order.
You have rights, know them or lose them.
If I may expand on this a bit....I have worked in television news for decades so I deal with this every day. There is something called "reasonable expectation of privacy " that could get you in a bad spot. YES you can take photographs or video from public property, but beware if your lens strays towards a home, a back yard or even a private section of beach. If you can see the person in a setting like a bathroom or sun bathing, you might be in violation even if you are on a public sidewalk or street. If they person is in a place where they have a reasonable expectation that no one can see them, then you shouldn't be shooting pics of them in that setting. Photographers have been successfully sued for this. Just be careful in questionable situations. This includes private yards surrounded by wooden fences. A free lance news photog lost $80,000 a few years back after shooting a pic of a local politician wanna-be laying nearly nude in her back yard, surrounded by a tall fence.
This thread is 10 years old, BTW.
But I do appreciate the new information added. I will be careful not to stray from railroad subjects to folks back yards.
I'm thinking resurrecting a 10 year old thread has to be a record!
We've seen them from 2000. But it is not a problem. Any open topic can be brought back to life.
I used to railfan Winslow. AZ yard and th SF let me park in their parking lot then i could sit on the employee overpass steps and take pictures of the yard and the mainline. I sat over the mainine. When it became BNSF i went in the office and asked if i could still do the same. Wow, what a difference, i was thrown out and informed to move my vehicle off their property. Very rude. I drove down along the tracksto photograph trains. There was a liw spot full of water and they sent a pickup after me and the guys drove into the water got stuck and aske me to pull them out, i refused. I was outside the right of way. I asked for permission, and they were rude what a difference from my old SF guys. I went on to the Canyon. Diablo massive bridge, parked off the right of way to photograph trains on the bridge. On the scanner i heard the engineers calkin in about trespassers on their property. I waited for them to arrive. The rancher came by while i waited and i told him what was going on. He stayed and when personel arrived and ordered me to leave the rancher told them to get off his property, then said i had his permission to be there.
Times have sure changed, and not for the better.
Some years ago a friend and I were railfanning NS's Pocahontas Division and my scanner came to life with an Engineer reporting that "trespassers were near a tunnel". My friend and I were near a tunnel, but stood far distant from it in a safe location. We were puzzled because the last train had passed perhaps 15 Minutes prior. It likely wasn't us, but not wanting to ruin our weekend, we retreated to a restaurant to lie low for a while.
Sometimes irresponsible fans can spoil the pot for others.
I used to drive to Winslow, AZ and the Sante Fe folks let me on their property to take pictures. Very nice folks. When things went downhill to BNSF I went in their office to make sure I could still do that. They were rude and threatened me. I went down a ways on public property and was taking pictures. A BNSF pickup came flying down to where I was, drove in a huge mud puddle and got stuck. They asked if I would pull them out with my pickup. I laughed and kept taking pictures of the yard there. A world of difference in railroads.