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Sunday, August 23, 2015

My View On: Controversy Against Railfanning

Almost every true railfan has to talk to a police officer for being "suspicious" at least once. A lot of times, the police officer is responding to a call about the "suspicious" railfan, whether it is from a crazy bystander, or a train conductor. The craziest story I have heard is when a lady called in a railfan who had brought his dog with him for "wanting to throw a dog in front of a train." In this post, I will talk about incidents on both public and private property, and who is right to do what in those cases.

As I said in the paragraph above, most cases of a police officer coming up to a railfan is due to somebody calling in "suspicious activity." And in most cases, officers let railfans go if they are on public property and it is clear that they are doing nothing wrong. No, photography is not wrong. No, having a scanner while railfanning is not wrong. No, RAILFANNING IS NOT WRONG. And a lot of police officers do understand that. I know of a lot of railfans who are completely anti-police officer. I do not agree with those railfans, and they are wrong to believe that cops are always at fault. If you are on private railroad property, for example, then they are right to kick you out. Even if you are not on private property, but somebody called you in for being "suspicious," they are CORRECT to ask for your ID. Amtrak's photo policy is very clearly stated, and while most railfans do not follow the rule about having to have a ticket on a platform (even I am guilty sometimes), if an Amtrak employee asks you to leave, then they have every right to. Union Pacific's just states that you may not trespass on railroad property, very simple. BNSF's policy not only allows railfanning on PUBLIC PROPERTY, they actually encourage railfans to report suspicious activity. I have seen way too many railfans climb on signal bridges for better views, put their cameras under a train, and even stand in between tracks while waiting for a train. THAT IS ILLEGAL. Please, don't ruin it for other railfans.

On the flip-side, if a railfan is doing nothing wrong on public property, police do NOT have the right to force you out of that spot. If one tries to, I highly recommend that you record the conversation with the police officer. I do not recommend hardcore arguing back with them, as police can go overboard and arrest you. Although they will have no legitimate way to press charges against you, it is really not worth being treated like a criminal.

The video above from SpeakerPolice is a good example of a run-in with some of the ruder police officers. They may or may not have been on CSX property, I couldn't tell from the light, but the cops were extremely rude, especially referring to hardworking train engineers and conductors as "rail monkeys." Nevertheless, these people handled their encounter with some overprotective police officers very well, they kept their cool and complied to their requests. Even though these officers were rude, they did comply with their orders, which is sometimes what has to be done to avoid being arrested, lawful or unlawful.

So some railfans think that cops are always the bad guys. While in very rare cases this may be true, sometimes it's the train crew, or sometimes, railfans are the bad guys. So if a cop tells you to leave private property, then please leave the private property.

Sunday, August 9, 2015

The Mobile Blog

I would like to apologize to anybody who viewed my post from yesterday on their cell phones, I looked this morning and noticed that you could not see any text, just pictures. The issue has been resolved.


Saturday, August 8, 2015

Photos from Rosenberg on August 1st

Been a while since I've posted, but I am back with some more photos! I will likely upload some Tehachapi Pass videos to YouTube soon, but until then, enjoy some pictures from Rosenberg, TX from last week!

A BNSF ES44AC, 6131, leads an ethanol train with two NS units trailing.

A one unit wonder, BNSF 5225 leads an Intermodal.

My first time catching a Norfolk Southern EMD leader, SD70ACe 1076 leads the UP MEWLD-01.

BNSF 9280 leads a coal train South on the Galveston Sub.

One of my signature catches of the day, CSX Dash 8 7876 leads a Manifest East on the Glidden Sub.

A freshly washed BNSF Fakebonnet Dash 9!!

Yes, I did see more trains, but all of those photos were backlit and had nothing really interesting in them. Thanks for reading!