• How not to improve railfan relations with railroads

  • Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.
Discussion about the M&E, RVRR and SIRR lines of New Jersey, and also the Maine Eastern operation in Maine. Official web site can be found here: www.merail.com.

Moderators: GOLDEN-ARM, mikec, cjl330

  by Sandy Burton
On Friday the Morristown & Erie police where called to Whippany where a railfan was photographing from the roof of the Whippany Station. To reach this vantage point, this person had to climb up and across the roofs of four cars. Needless to say, he was arrested and escorted from the property. I would expect that there is a court date in this person’s future. And we wonder why railroads have zero tolerance to trespassing.


  by mountie17
Not to long ago I was working at Whippany cleaning up from one of our mini floods picking up trash/leaves and moving objects back when i heard the sound of a ladder hit the side of the Morris County passenger car. Next thing i knew some guy is on top of the roof with this really stupid smile. Another Museum volunteer was with me and he went over to see what was up. Well apparently a bunch of fools were trying to take photos of themselves for their CD. Only after being told that they were tresspassing on private property(the Morris County car) and THEY HAD NOT be given permission from the museum or M&E they got off the car and left. Presumably they never came back. That day it was lightly raining and everything was slippery, but one can only imagine what could've happened if one of "them" slipped or the ladder went flying.
Last edited by mountie17 on Tue Mar 21, 2006 8:12 pm, edited 2 times in total.

  by Steve F45
M&E have there own pd? how many guys? hiring?

  by Jtgshu
Gotta love "Stupid Railfan Tricks"

"But I NEEDED that picture!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!" riiiiiiiiiiiiiight

Clearly, this particular railfan is an idiot!.
Stupid moves like his make it that much worse for the other law abiding railfans.

  by RussNelson
CNJFAN wrote: the other law abiding railfans.
And for railfans who violate a law that is not commonly enforced, or for railfans who are law abiding but are merely annoying while not causing a hazard to anyone. Let's face it here: the problem is not the breaking of a law. The problem is the stupidity. The problem is unilaterally imposing a cost on someone else.

I wish we lived in a culture where a railroad could post a sign saying "Welcome railfans! If you hurt yourself on our property, try not to bleed on the equipment. If you kill yourself, expect us to call 911 if only to get your corpse removed." Some things are inherently dangerous (e.g. automobile racing, rock climbing, or wandering around railroads), and it seems unfair and inconsistent to permit one but not the other.

  by sallenparks
The realness of it is if you do something wrong then you should not be able to sue someone over your own stupity that would but a stop to some of it.I've done some stupied things to get a photo but if I got hurt its my fault no one elses.
  by EDM5970
Mountie, you have a problem with musicians? Well, I make part of my living in that field. I now know of a museum that I won't be taking my family to.

Your characterization was uncalled for.

  by 4353
EDM5979, I was alerted to this thread by someone else, and I ask your consideration in reading my comments.

I would ask that you wouldn't be so quick to judge an entire organization by the statement made by a member who recently joined the ranks of the Whippany Railway Museum. We are a small, but very dedicated, hard-working group of people who thrive on restoring equipment to the best of our ability and funding.

Just so you know, I was offended by Mountie's remark as well, even though I was the one who confronted the band members in question when they were clearly putting themselves in danger by climbing to the roof of the M&E's parlor car last fall. They clearly did not have permission from either the M&E or the Museum.

I would ask that all of you out there remember that what may be offensive to some, does not necessarily represent the opinions of our organization as a whole. Freedom of speech allows Mountie's opinion, but his words have certainly caused the Museum some damage here.

To anyone that might be offened like EDM, allow me apoligize on behalf of the Museum for Mountie's statement. Rest assured that I will speak to him about this.

Steve Hepler
Whippany Railway Museum

  by RussNelson
4353 (Steve), yes, Mountie certainly did use harsh language, however it's inexcusable for ANYONE (whether you're scum-bag wannabee musicians, regular wannabee musicians, successful musicians, scum-bag people, regular people, or even god-like saints) to climb on museum property. Doesn't matter if there's no sign, doesn't matter if there's no gate; it's a MUSEUM and you should assume that everything is a valued artifact.

Hello, Steve Hepler, and congrats on your continued success, with over 20 years now, running the museum. Regards, an "old friend" :-D

Hey Russ Nelson,
Wouldn't it be great if they would post signs welcoming railfans???
That way there would be no worries and no liability on the RR co.
However, I doubt it could ever be so cut and dry.

  by RussNelson
CNJFAN wrote:Wouldn't it be great if they would post signs welcoming railfans???
That way there would be no worries and no liability on the RR co.
Well, New York State has a law that says that if you open up your property to noncommercial recreational use, you cannot be sued for ordinary hazards. If there's a bolt sticking up out of an old concrete foundation, and somebody impales themself on it, that's automatically not your fault. If, on the other hand, you bury that same chunk of oncrete in the middle of a trail in the hopes that an ATVer will puncture his tire, that is your fault.

So, as you say, it's not cut and dried, but a railroad might be able to reduce its liability in New York State by opening up portions to recreational (in other words, railfanning) uses. There are dangerous disused elements owned by railroads which could only be removed at great cost (e.g. coal bins, ash pits, and the like), and if they can claim that a victim was making recreational use of their property, they might escape a claim. It's just a legal theory and existing case law may have already made a hash of it. Anyway, we can fantasize, right?
  by RussNelson
Trainlawyer wrote:attractive nuisance so the railroad has to be at least somewhat proactive in protecting its property.
You may be correct here. Adults are presumed to be able to properly discern hazards, whereas children are not. On the other hand, who created the nuisance? The railroad by building next to houses where children live? Or parents by living close to a railroad? In 2006, they would have a hard time arguing that they didn't know that the railroad is there. Or that their son wouldn't be fascinated by "choo choos".

I know that the law is what the law is; I'm just pointing out that there are other ways to solve the problem of "children living close to railroads."

  by RussNelson
Trainlawyer wrote: "stupid railfan tricks".
That practically BEGS to be discussed in a different thread. "What's the most outrageous thing a fellow ``railfan'' has done (and shouldn't have)?"