• Hassled at Bound Brook Junction

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New Jersey

Moderator: David

  by kpiersol
My daughter needed some poster board for a school project on Tuesday (yesterday), so on my way to Michael's in Bridgewater the timing was right for me to catch a westbound (head-end) NJT on the Raritan Valley Line at the Pothemus Lane crossing at Bound Brook Junction. I had stopped my car slightly off the road and after about 30 seconds a guy pulls in behind me in a pick-up. He gets out of his truck and walks up to me on the passenger side, sees my camera, and announces that "the railroad doesn't allow taking pictures because of the terror alert." Has this happened to anyone else lately? I was on public property! I really don't want to do anything I'm not supposed to do, but why was this guy trolling?

By the way, here's the shot I got.

http://kpiersol2.rrpicturearchives.net/ ... x?id=66170

Kim Piersol

  by sodusbay
Tell this guy and any others like him to get stuffed. It's a free country (still, barely) not North Korea. You must comply with a direct order from a law enforcement official (uniformed or not) who shows appropriate ID and has jurisdication, even if the order is unconstitutional. A member of the public or an employee of NJT has no right whatsover to challenge you on public property. This has been covered extensively over the past year in various threads.

As a great Jamaican political philosopher once said "Get up, stand up, stand up for your rights!"

  by Gruntled
Were you really "hassled?" The guy gave you some advice. If he wasn't a RR employee or cop, just smile and say "Thanks for the tip." You might even want to call him "Pal," "Buddy," Sir," or "Jack." Then snap away.

Cooler heads everybody!

As the same Jamaican philosopher said, "One Love." ;)

  by kpiersol
I guess I really wasn't "hassled." Just curious as to this "terror alert" stuff, if it's true that NJT doesn't want you photographing.

The guy wasn't at all threatening, but am curious as to his motivation. No ID was given.

  by sodusbay
OK Gruntled, good comeback! Yes, I guess I should chill out... but... when I go back and read some of the ridiculous things from last year both in NJ and on the NY subway that have been posted here, and I think of the officious busybodies who think that "terror" is an excuse for any invasion of privacy... I guess I got carried away! One love... indeed! I will follow your suggestion to be nice, but I will finally stand up for my rights if necessary.

  by njtmnrrbuff
Very nice shot, only if that set was arranged a little better. However, that road might be a private road.

  by nick11a
A garbage man threatened to call the police on me in New Brunswick back a few months back. That was my only time being hassled. What a load of bologni.

  by PVRX
The NJT crossing IS a public road. The CR crossing may be private property, but is marked as Polhemus Lane.

In any event take as many pictures as you want. It is legal and some of these over zealous commonsensless security nuts need to be put in their places with a few good lawsuits.

Between readily available information, camera phones, etc. there isn't much a derranged loon needs with a train picture.

  by sullivan1985
PVRX wrote:The NJT crossing IS a public road. The CR crossing may be private property, but is marked as Polhemus Lane.

In any event take as many pictures as you want. It is legal and some of these over zealous commonsensless security nuts need to be put in their places with a few good lawsuits.

Between readily available information, camera phones, etc. there isn't much a derranged loon needs with a train picture.
The road is public until the gates go down, then its owned by the railroad (but thats kinda duh).

As for being hasseled, it doesnt sound like he hasseled you. If he hasseled you it would have been like he followed you, or demanded you hand your camera over (which would have resulted in a choice word if it was me if he was just some random guy).

Not sure if the road is private or not because im not from the area, but from what you said, everything is OK that you did. No crimes commited.

Its a nice shot too... Could be a bit brighter, but thats nothing Photoshop couldnt fix up.
  by trainman2
I don't see anything wrong with photographing the train itself, at least not in that area of the line, but at a crossing, there are signals, wires, the signals case, and the gates, all of which can be useful to a would-be saboteur.

Most railfans simply photograph trains, and if somebody is taking pictures of things railfans normally don't pay attention to, then obviously NJT has to investigate. After all, if you were a bank guard, and one of the depositors was overly interested in the vault, wouldn't you be suspicious?

Now for the not-so-good news. A would-be saboteur could also start out by photographing trains, just so as not to arouse suspicion. Then, when nobody's looking, they could start taking pictures of switches, signal wires, and the like. That's where the problem really lies.

If you know somebody who works for the railroad, by all means, talk to them about photographing your favorite trains. That way, they can give the right people a heads-up.

  by sodusbay
Maybe I'm just an artistic photographer who finds signal wires attractive. Actually I find those huge bank vault doors beautiful. In the USA we do not prosecute someone for what is in their mind (because we can't tell) but only for their actions. I am not damaging anything or causing any wrong by photographing signal wires (or bank vaults). How do you know whether I am planning sabotage, making some artistic statement, or am just plain weird?

I realise there are exceptions -- you can't photograph at immigration in EWR or JFK, probably because the inspectors don't want their faces known (is that it? I could never figure out why) but I disagree with that too. They're doing their job in the open, why can't I photograph them?

  by Jtgshu
Well, if you are interested in photographing the infrastructure of the railroad, there is a good chance that your going to get reported by the passing trains and crews. There is soild evidence that many terrorists have pictures of railroads, stations, trains, buildings, and its also documented that they like to scope out the locations they plan on attacking by taking current, up to date photographs of the location, to see if anything has been changed and probably for a sick before and after collage they do or something.

Now, you might feel that if they have the pics already, whats teh difference, they already have them. But they don't have CURRENT pics. They NEED current pics adn videos to make sure that everything they planned for will still work and that nothing has changed between wehn they were there last and the time when they are ready to commit the act.

As for the taking of anyone's picture.....you need to respect the privacy of people. I do my job out in the open, but im not thrilled when people take my picture, and especially if the media is involved and taking pics of trains loading and unloading, etc, etc, etc. The company don't like that either, and we are not to make statements to the press, or be interviewed or anything like that, because then we become a spokesman for the company, and they have people for that.

I understand photographing is a hobby, but there are things you just cant do in your hobby in these times. You have to control yourself and use common sense. I konw it sucks, but Im in the same boat. My hobby is riding sportbike motorcycles. I LOVE to go triple digit speeds, but I CAN'T (not to say that I don't every once in a while :wink: ) but I have to refrain and control myself, so I don't get myself and others in trouble.

Just use common sense. Think as if you are outside of your body looking at your actions. You know they are innocent, but would someone who doesn't know you think they are???

  by Lackawanna484
I'd also argue that the time to intervention is useful for would-be terrorists. Knowing that you have ten minutes is more useful than knowing you have two minutes before a cop, etc arrives.

I encountered security on a public road in Bayonne, out in the refinery complex off Constable Hook road. Less than 90 seconds after I stopped to photo the burgundy red switcher, two security guys were there to get my info, observe, etc.

If I was an advance guy for somebody who wanted to set up rocket propelled grendade launchers and light up the complex, that would be useful to know. The 9/11 terrorists made at least three test trips thru security to see whether box cutters would go thru, scissors, small knife, etc.

If fast intervention by security causes a terrorist to take his S*&^ down the road and away from a target, that's good, as far as I can tell
Last edited by Lackawanna484 on Thu Nov 25, 2004 3:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by PVRX
Clarification 1: I have never been harassed at Polhemus Lane.

I was only harassed, in 2002, by the Port Jersey Railroad conductor who jumped out of his locomotive and into his pickup truck, drove up the road and cut his truck across the path of my Ford Crown Victoria to tell me photography is illegal, and ask my need for taking pictures of his engine, and my credentials. HE was advised that it is a public street, there is no such law, to remove his truck, and to take me over to his boss or have his boss call my office. He did neither and drove back to his locomotive.

Calrification 2: Personally, I have had enough of the anti-railfan movement and when you read the railroad security briefings and watch the security films - - terrorists have the same characteristics as railfans.
I, like may others, will continue to exercise the right to have a hobby.
When approached, we should cooperative with legitimatge officials but not intimidated, displaced or inappropriately instructed.

Nuff said. Thats my opinion.