Accused of Trespassing while filming

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chuckmitchell

Accused of Trespassing while filming

Post by chuckmitchell » Sun Oct 07, 2007 8:30 pm

OK BNSF. I got called in by your people while not on BNSF PROPERTY, for TRESPASSING. Now does that sound like a person that would call me in for filming a train because they don't want to be on the internet, and don't have anything better to do? It does to me. Now why wouldn't he just pay attention to operating the train...I am not harming them, or the track they run on. I just film, and take pictures. I hope some BNSF official reads this and messages me about it. I want this resolved...I have been wrongly accused of doing something that I did not do. I want you all understand what point I am trying to bring about.

Chuck
Last edited by chuckmitchell on Tue Oct 09, 2007 4:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Conrail4evr
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Post by Conrail4evr » Mon Oct 08, 2007 3:45 pm

So, what, were you arrested? Was your film confiscated? Did the FBI show up? Or did a cop show up just to have a chat? Many times, I've had a police officer stop by to see who I was talking to, whether it was someone who called me in, or they just saw me passing by. I just explain what I'm doing, and I never have any problems.

Now, you have to realize, these guys are REQUIRED to report ANY suspicious activity. Contrary to what you may believe, standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains DOES look quite suspicious, and quite honestly, I'd be more concerned if no one cared at all about what we were doing (the same goes for aviation enthusiasts).

Like it or not, this is how things go these days. They didn't violate any of your rights, or even come close for that matter, so I'm failing to see what is so horrible about this incident. 9/11 was a real wake-up call to our country, and these run-ins with the police are an example of the side effects at work. I'd much rather have a run-in with the police now and then, than to turn on the news one morning and see a monstrous train wreck with sabotage as the suspected cause (which would most likely spell the end of all of our railfanning days).

chuckmitchell

Post by chuckmitchell » Mon Oct 08, 2007 5:34 pm

Thanks Nick, but there is more to the story....It quite long and involved. I took a video of a BNSF loco and a UP train almost colliding with one another, and there is no railroader in Hutchinson that hasn't seen it, and they hate me for filming their mistakes, which is pretty stupid, and selfish. So they try and report me every chance they get. I have talked with the Union Pacific Police Officer 3 times since last year, and I haven't done anything wrong. But I guess this will be an on going battle to film. Ha

BigWeb
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Post by BigWeb » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:00 pm

chuckmitchell wrote:Thanks Nick, but there is more to the story....It quite long and involved. I took a video of a BNSF loco and a UP train almost colliding with one another, and there is no railroader in Hutchinson that hasn't seen it, and they hate me for filming their mistakes, which is pretty stupid, and selfish. So they try and report me every chance they get. I have talked with the Union Pacific Police Officer 3 times since last year, and I haven't done anything wrong. But I guess this will be an on going battle to film. Ha
So you film a near accident, show it to a bunch of people, and then you're mad when the railroad is out to get you? You foamers just don't get it do you?

The railroads are all about P.R. and safety when it comes to the public, and the last thing that they want is somebody going around showing a film with a near train accident in it. Especially when it's their own railroad involved.

Also, if you're mad that the trainmen turned you in, there's two good reasons for that too. From day one we are told to report ALL suspicious activity around the rails. You guys may think a camcorder is innocent, but sitting in the cab, it just seems a little odd to us.
The other is that the railroads would do anything to get rid of train crews all together and go with a cabless unit. And showing that film of a near accident doesn't bode well for the crews involved, and just gives one more reason for the railroads to get rid of us, along with the many other reasons that they have.

Needless to say, everytime that I see a foamer with a camcorder I want to tell them that they're #1, but I'm afraid that they'd take it to a trainmaster and I'd lose my job. That P.R. thing again.

chuckmitchell

Post by chuckmitchell » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:21 pm

Well I may be a foamer, and I may not understand, but I don't want to start anything I won't want to carry on, so I will leave it at that.

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Post by 3rdrail » Mon Oct 08, 2007 8:34 pm

Conrail4evr wrote:So, what, were you arrested? Was your film confiscated? Did the FBI show up? Or did a cop show up just to have a chat? Many times, I've had a police officer stop by to see who I was talking to, whether it was someone who called me in, or they just saw me passing by. I just explain what I'm doing, and I never have any problems.

Now, you have to realize, these guys are REQUIRED to report ANY suspicious activity. Contrary to what you may believe, standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains DOES look quite suspicious, and quite honestly, I'd be more concerned if no one cared at all about what we were doing (the same goes for aviation enthusiasts).

Like it or not, this is how things go these days. They didn't violate any of your rights, or even come close for that matter, so I'm failing to see what is so horrible about this incident. 9/11 was a real wake-up call to our country, and these run-ins with the police are an example of the side effects at work. I'd much rather have a run-in with the police now and then, than to turn on the news one morning and see a monstrous train wreck with sabotage as the suspected cause (which would most likely spell the end of all of our railfanning days).
Well put, Nick ! Bravo ! :-D
~Paul Joyce~
Moderator: Toy Trains, Model Railroading, Outdoor and Live Steam
Paul Joyce passed away in August, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion at railroad.net.

Conrail4evr
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Post by Conrail4evr » Mon Oct 08, 2007 10:45 pm

chuckmitchell wrote:Thanks Nick, but there is more to the story....It quite long and involved. I took a video of a BNSF loco and a UP train almost colliding with one another, and there is no railroader in Hutchinson that hasn't seen it, and they hate me for filming their mistakes, which is pretty stupid, and selfish. So they try and report me every chance they get. I have talked with the Union Pacific Police Officer 3 times since last year, and I haven't done anything wrong. But I guess this will be an on going battle to film. Ha
Well, I'll give you an honest piece of advice. Sure, you can say it's their own damn fault and post these videos anyhow. However, they can also call you in and say it's your own damn fault as well. Like anyone, these guys do occasionally make mistakes - I know and respect this. If I take a shot that I think is even "iffy", it doesn't get posted out of respect for the crew. Little things like that get you on the good side of the crews, rather than having them call you in whenever they see you. All in all, it's a two-way street. You don't have to make way for them, and they certainly don't have to make way for you - it just makes things a lot easier for both parties if you do.

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Post by Terrapin Station » Tue Oct 09, 2007 12:54 pm

Conrail4evr wrote:Now, you have to realize, these guys are REQUIRED to report ANY suspicious activity. Contrary to what you may believe, standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains DOES look quite suspicious...
Taking photos of trains is not at all suspicious. There is a well known hobby that takes part in this activity; it is called railfanning. So by default "standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains" is NOT suspicious. There would need to be something added and unusual on top of that for it to be suspicious. As such, railroaders should not be reporting this activity. It is simply a drain on the resources that could be following up actual suspicious activity. And all this is totally besides the point that I can't think of anything nefarious that could come from "standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains."

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Post by Terrapin Station » Tue Oct 09, 2007 1:02 pm

BigWeb wrote:...Also, if you're mad that the trainmen turned you in, there's two good reasons for that too. From day one we are told to report ALL suspicious activity around the rails. You guys may think a camcorder is innocent, but sitting in the cab, it just seems a little odd to us...
Taking photos and video of trains is not at all suspicious. There is a well known hobby that takes part in this activity; it is called railfanning. So by default "a camcorder" IS innocent. There would need to be something added and unusual on top of that for it to be suspicious. As such, railroaders should not be reporting this activity. It is simply a drain on the resources that could be following up actual suspicious activity. And all this is totally besides the point that I can't think of anything nefarious that could come from "[using a] camcorder" near railroad tracks that you couldn't instead use your eyes for. Nothing. Railfanning might not be what you do, but that doesn't make it criminally suspicious.

Orgnoi1

Post by Orgnoi1 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:10 pm

BigWeb wrote:You guys may think a camcorder is innocent, but sitting in the cab, it just seems a little odd to us.
Sorry but I am going to call BS on this statement... Just how long have you been a railroader? I mean come on... putting all the "foamer" attitudes aside since I am not a foamer... but you have got to be kidding me (and everyone else for that matter) saying that it seems odd to see someone around tracks shooting pictures and video...

I have been doing railroad photography (and worked for a railroad) for 2 years... and I even have people shooting pics of ME while I am shooting pics for PR for my railroad...

Orgnoi1

Re: Accused of Trespassing while filming

Post by Orgnoi1 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:17 pm

chuckmitchell wrote:OK BNSF. Im done with your crap. I got called in by your people while not on BNSF PROPERTY, for TRESPASSING. Now does that sound like a person that would call me in for filming a train because they don't want to be on the internet, and don't have anything better to do? It does to me. Now why wouldn't he just pay attention to operating the train...I am not harming them, or the track they run on. I just film, and take pictures. I hope some BNSF official reads this and messages me about it. I want this resolved...I have been wrongly accused of doing something that I did not do. I want you all understand what point I am trying to bring about.

Chuck
Chuck I took a look through your shots... I will just say this...some were obviously taken from the row... so regardless of harming them or whatever you may have trespassed in the past... I am not saying myself or anyone on this board is innocent... but I would hesitate to post pictures and such that can be construed as you trespassing on your RRArchive page and then cry BS when you get called in...

Quite frankly we live in a different world than 10 years ago... and it doesnt surprise me when someone calls me in... I deal with the questioning from whoever comes and usually they leave and I keep shooting... it really has a lot to do with your demeanor when it all comes down...

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Post by Conrail4evr » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:36 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
Conrail4evr wrote:Now, you have to realize, these guys are REQUIRED to report ANY suspicious activity. Contrary to what you may believe, standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains DOES look quite suspicious...
Taking photos of trains is not at all suspicious. There is a well known hobby that takes part in this activity; it is called railfanning. So by default "standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains" is NOT suspicious. There would need to be something added and unusual on top of that for it to be suspicious. As such, railroaders should not be reporting this activity. It is simply a drain on the resources that could be following up actual suspicious activity. And all this is totally besides the point that I can't think of anything nefarious that could come from "standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains."
How do you determine a railfan taking pictures with someone intent on destruction also taking pictures? Simply put, you can't! They don't go around wearing signs saying "Look At Me, I'm Going To Derail A Train!", contrary to whatever you may believe. Whether it be kids with nothing better to do, or even a terrorist, they generally won't be advertising their intentions.

In regards to the comment about the hobby being well known, it really isn't. Besides railroaders and fellow railfans, few people understand what we're doing out there, and thus it DOES look suspicious (hence why passing motorists are the usual suspects when calling in railfans). You just need to step back and look at it from other peoples' perspectives, and you'd see this. If you need further proof, flag down a random passing motorist and ask them if the sight of you standing next to the tracks with a camera is in any way suspicious - I'd be willing to bet money they'd say yes.

And, lastly, we all seem to keep forgetting that we are indeed at war, that railroads are private property, and that crews are required to report suspicious activity (which CAN include railfans). As I've said before, I have no problem with a law official stopping to check on things - they're generally smart, well-intentioned individuals and will quickly see that you're just a harmless railfan and be along their way (whereas some railfans choose to raise a big stink and then wonder why it escalated into a big fiasco). Just keep on railfanning, respect the property and the people, and use common sense - you'll be fine, I promise.

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Post by Ken W2KB » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:37 pm

Terrapin Station wrote:
Conrail4evr wrote:Now, you have to realize, these guys are REQUIRED to report ANY suspicious activity. Contrary to what you may believe, standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains DOES look quite suspicious...
Taking photos of trains is not at all suspicious. There is a well known hobby that takes part in this activity; it is called railfanning. So by default "standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains" is NOT suspicious. There would need to be something added and unusual on top of that for it to be suspicious. As such, railroaders should not be reporting this activity. It is simply a drain on the resources that could be following up actual suspicious activity. And all this is totally besides the point that I can't think of anything nefarious that could come from "standing in the middle of nowhere by the tracks taking pictures of trains."
It depends on the perspective. To the State of NJ, it is suspicious. A few weeks ago, on September 11th, a representative of the Hunterdon County, NJ counter terrorism unit was handing out brochures to passengers waiting for the train at High Bridge, and likely other stations in the County. The brochure appears to have been prepared by the NJ State DHS and lists "16 examples of suspicious behavior" which should be reported to the County's "tips line" telephone number. Example 3 states "Persons observed near a place of interest, using or carrying video equipment, still cameras, or other observation devices."

I spoke to the officer mentioning the hobby of rail photography. He acknowledged that it was permissible from areas such as public streets, private land with owner permission, etc. but suggested that a courtesy call to the local police jurisdiction was in order just prior to starting the photography. Though not required, such a call would reduce the anxiety level of the officer dispatched to investigate any citizen complaint, thus basically defusing the situation in advance since the officer would not be arriving at a totally unknown situation.
~Ken :: Fairmont ex-UP/MP C436 MT-14M1 ::
Black River Railroad Historical Trust :: [/url]

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Post by 3rdrail » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:42 pm

I believe that the word "suspicious" is often misunderstood among civilians in that it usually suggests "the belief that criminal activity is taking place" to the average person. What it means in this context, absent of other facts which would actually make the term rise to the level of probable cause, is "worthy of a check to see what's up". This is the mindset of the vast majority of police officers who would, trust me, rather be doing something else, than conducting a field inquiry with a railfan. If you feel as if such a "check" is not warranted, you have your head in the sand. As the vast majority of responders to this original pouty poster have indicated, a simple explanation - respectfully delivered without getting your panties wrinkled is usually all that is necessary. Arrogance and avoidance during such an interview heighten any police suspicion, as it should. Take pictures without trespassing. (If you're trespassing, you're actively committing a crime of which you may be arrested in most jurisdictions, legitimately railfanning or otherwise.) If you need to get onto restricted private property, ask first. A little common sense is all that's needed.
~Paul Joyce~
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Paul Joyce passed away in August, 2013. We honor his memory and his devotion at railroad.net.

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Post by jgallaway81 » Tue Oct 09, 2007 3:56 pm

And railfans can't understand WHY railroaders dont like us fans... sheesh!

Here is a tidbit.. respect is a two-way street. You have to GIVE in order to GET!

To make the case Chuck, here is what I'm gonna do... I'm gonna follow you around, all over the place, taking pictures of you in your car... and when you get pulled over for some traffic violation, I'm gonna film the entire thing and then post it on YouTube for the entire internet to see! Now, you gonna have a problem with me the next time I show up near you taking pictures?

As for the railroader/railfan relationship, its the plain and simple truth. On a major railroad (Class 1 and major Class 2's) railroaders DO consider railfans very odd indeed. In fact, a railroader identified as a buff can expect a career with of torment and teasing.

It's so bad that many of us feel pressured into being "Closet-Buffs". Working day to day in fear of being outed... of having our favorite past time being discovered.

As Nick said, very few people realize that there are multiple hobby industries based on railroads... from scale modelling, outdoor photography, railfan videos, garden railroading and of course live steam railroading... it all stems from our love of the machine that carved our great country from the wilderness it was.

As a railroader for a steam shortline for five years, a volunteer on a second steam shortline for over a year and now a four year employee of a Class 1 railroad, I understand BOTH sides of the issue...

That one picture, the thing no one has seen yet... or in several years... That perfect shot when the consist, folliage and lighting all come togethere for the absolutely perfect shot.

On the flip side, railroading is a multi-billion dollar a quarter business. The companies are there to MAKE MONEY. They aren't there for us. They answer to their stockholders. If they make no money, they close up shop.

Add to that, railroads have a two prong'd life... They are mandated to carry ALL TYPES of freight... from boxcars of bubblegum to flat cars of military hardware. At the same time, they have rules of behavior that are mandated by the Federal Government. You think h eroads ENJOY being forced to remove their engines from service every three months for inspections? You think they like the fact that every inch of road has to be inspected visually each year? You think they spend millions in ditching along the right of way each year simply to help the local economy?

All said, railroads are the very backbone with which our country runs... stop the trains and inside of a week, gasoline becomes scarce, orange juice disappear, trash begins to pile up, walmart starts to go empty, UPS deliveries go missing, US mail service degrades even further, the truck traffic on the roads increases a thousnad fold or more, and a continental blackout sweeps across the country as 52% of the electricty in the grid fizzles out as the coal-fired power plants shutdown.

When you pause to consider how vital railroads are to the national economy, and America's security, you ought to be thankful that the FRA and DHS haven't given railroad police the right to shoot to kill on site. You think I over exagerate teh vitalness of the rails.. consider that when hitler send nazi sabatuers over from Germany, one of their targets was Horseshoe curve and the tunnels at Gallitzen.

And you dare complain because you got hassled for tresspassing???

Shame on you. Shame on you!

Now, having said my piece... I'm headed back to the forum for my favorite pet shortline and back to my model railroad empire.

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