• Photolines: A thought on people who haven't bought a ticket

  • General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.
General discussion related to all railroad clubs, museums, tourist and scenic lines. Generally this covers museums with static displays, museums that operate excursions, scenic lines that have museums, and so on. Check out the Tourist Railway Association (TRAIN) for more information.

Moderators: rob216, Miketherailfan

  by Tadman
This is a thought that came to me this week, please pardon a repost if I've missed the appropriate thread. I don't usually make it to this forum.

I don't take a lot of excursion trips. I don't have a lot of time to do so. However, it would be neat for me to be able to show up at a nearby grade crossing if something exciting is coming through. I've noticed, though, a little concern by organizers and ticket holders that guys who show up and grab a pic aren't financially supporting the hobby in the same way a ticketholder, at $50-$150+ is, and I think it's a genuine concern. Do organizers or volunteers ever take a five minute lap through the photoline and take up a collection? Maybe $5 if you haven't bought a ticket, and you get a sticker that says "I donated $5 to the #999 today" or something of that nature? I think it would be a good-natured way to increase contributions and reduce hostility. I'd gladly give $5 or $10 if 4449 or 1225 came through town and I wanted to join a photoline or take a pic, but didn't have a full day to ride. Thoughts?
  by Noel Weaver
This is a wonderful idea and I think it has been done by a few organizations. I worked on various trip committees many years in the past and we would always get questions from free loaders. Most of these free loaders would not even enclose a stamped envelop so we would just put them in the round file. A couple of them did send a contribution and in those few cases we would send them a letter with some information that would be helpful in pursuit of the trip.
There are a number of possibilities that this could be done today too.
Noel Weaver
  by GSC
The random guy who shows up at a crossing to take a pic or two never bothered me. The ones who would chase you and be at every good location drove me nuts. Or the ones who came to the museum on open house day and expected you to park with rods down, make more smoke, and other demands while not buying a ticket would rankle me too. True freeloaders.

Passing the hat in the photo line is a great idea. I'm sure a few would balk, but others would feel a little guilty about the free show and cough up $5 or $10. (Remember "railfan droppings"? Little yellow Kodak boxes, rarely in use anymore)

Back in my before-married days, usually four of us would ride the fantrip. Buy two tickets, two guys ride out and the other two chase it, and then the chasers would ride the trip back, with the others driving back and chasing it. Seemed fair to us to do it that way.

One of the worst cases of freeloading I ever saw was during an East Broad Top Fall Spectacular (1987?), when guys in a minivan (open side door and a big video camera) would pace the train coming in to Orbisonia, slowly, backing traffic up for a mile or better, keeping other people from camera pacing the train. And they did it every trip, as EBT was then running four 2-8-2s at that time. The crew said that bunch never bought a single ticket, and they weren't commercially taping the train for anything EBT knew about.
  by mxdata
And in many cases the freeloaders pile into these events to get exactly the same shots that five dozen other people have gotten, and end up being the eighth one to send it to the editor at their favorite railfan magazine. In a lot of cases they could make better use of their time doing uncrowded photography of interesting railroad subjects that will prove far more useful for publication use or research support in the years to come.

  by GSC
As I said in a previous post, my Dad heard that Milwaukee Road 261 was going west thru Waverly NY on its way home from Steamtown some years back. He went trackside to see it pass. He later realized that he was probably the only one there who saw the loco go by with his own eyes, rather than thru a viewfinder or eyepiece. He didn't need a camera to plant that memory.
  by Bartman-tn
As someone who organizes and runs quite a few trips (www.southernappalachia.railway.museum), both of a rare mileage nature and for photographers, the folks that demand information without buying a ticket are the real pains. I have a number of folks who do regularly chase my trips, and they buy tickets to help pay for the trains. On the other hand, I seldom run a trip where I don't find a discussion from chasers about organizing up and how they are going to photo the event.

The locals who stand trackside don't bother me, most are just watching something different, its the folks that travel great distances and then don't help financially. A few years ago I cut a series of trips short one day due to a lack of ticket sales and I actually had chasers complaining that I did so. I asked if any had bought tickets and none had. That was enough explanation.

Recently I was on a trip when a chasers started cussing at people because they were in his way. He had not bought a ticket and the folks he was yelling at were passengers. Some folks just don't understand.
  by Otto Vondrak
We run a "Winter Holiday Train" in the city of Kingston, NY on the Catskill Mountain Railroad (where I volunteer). Sometimes, if there's no passengers, we don't run. A photographer had come up to shoot the train. We set up for a shot and wondered why the train wasn't moving. I backtracked and found out we had no passengers. "If I buy $40 worth of tickets, can I get this train to move?" I asked. The sun was perfect and there was no reason not to run. Everyone smiled and said, "Sure!" I rejoined my friend at the next crossing and told him the train was going to move now. "What did you do?" he asked. "I put $40 in the fare box."