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 Post subject: Railway Police Escorts For Steam Excursions?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 12:21 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:30 pm
Posts: 209
I was out photographing the Milwaukee Road 261 this morning. I was out along the Cedar Lake Trail in St. Louis Park awaiting the train's passage when I saw a BNSF railway cop in an unmarked SUV was preceding the train, driving along where the second track used to be on the BNSF's Wayzata Sub (ex-Great Northern). Apparently BNSF wants the 261 escorted through there due to the close proximity of the trail and the potential for yahoo photographers to be putting themselves at risk when shooting the train (though I saw no such activity, the cop did talk to a fan set up with his video camera on the second main's R-O-W who turned out also to be a BNSF employee).

Has anybody else seen steam excursions with a railway police escort?

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 Post subject: Re: Railway Police Escorts For Steam Excursions?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 2:49 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 12:59 pm
Posts: 523
In 1992 I was on a UP steam special with 3985 returning from the NRHS convention in San Jose, CA.. Going over Altamont Pass we unloaded for a photo runby. Some trespassing photographers were set up in front to the photo line and ignored requests to move out of the picture. UP special agents arrested them.


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 Post subject: Re: Railway Police Escorts For Steam Excursions?
PostPosted: Sun Oct 11, 2015 9:24 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:30 pm
Posts: 209
Al Stangenberger wrote:
In 1992 I was on a UP steam special with 3985 returning from the NRHS convention in San Jose, CA.. Going over Altamont Pass we unloaded for a photo runby. Some trespassing photographers were set up in front to the photo line and ignored requests to move out of the picture. UP special agents arrested them.


Wow, that was some nice, firm action on the part of the railroad.

Going back to what I saw today, I suspect BNSF sent that patrolman out along the Wayzata Sub as insurance against any Darwin Award winner wannabes from trying to take selfies of themselves with the 261 as it approached and so forth, which is good. One yahoo getting himself/herself killed by a mainline steam train and we might see mainline steam vanish due to the yanked up insurance rates.

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 Post subject: Re: Railway Police Escorts For Steam Excursions?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 9:45 am 

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:16 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Atlanta, GA
I wasn't able to do any of the excursions this year, but I know NS had a police officer chasing the trains I rode a few years ago.


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 Post subject: Re: Railway Police Escorts For Steam Excursions?
PostPosted: Mon Oct 12, 2015 2:47 pm 

Joined: Fri Apr 27, 2012 6:30 pm
Posts: 209
scarabbrian wrote:
I wasn't able to do any of the excursions this year, but I know NS had a police officer chasing the trains I rode a few years ago.


Did they follow the train via company property, or did they take public streets too?

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 Post subject: Re: Railway Police Escorts For Steam Excursions?
PostPosted: Tue Oct 13, 2015 1:11 pm 

Joined: Thu Mar 21, 2013 8:16 pm
Posts: 27
Location: Atlanta, GA
Mostly public streets. The officer was basically following the photographers chasing the train.


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 Post subject: Re: Railway Police Escorts For Steam Excursions?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 9:49 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 5:19 pm
Posts: 1604
Location: Pottstown,Pa.
We always coordinated with the railroad and local police especially when that days operation took us through " rough" areas.

When we operated out of Baltimore ( where merchandise trains regularly get looted in the area the railroad guys call " the jungle" ) we'd always be sure that there was a good police show of force before we went through that neighborhood especially if it was after dark. We carried a loaded 30-30 and 12 gauge shotgun on the shop/tool car so we were prepared. Glad to say we never needed to execute the plan.

I'm told that its only gotten worse since then and that CSX makes every effort not to stop trains that can be looted in those areas.

Sad but true. Ross Rowland


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 Post subject: Re: Railway Police Escorts For Steam Excursions?
PostPosted: Fri Oct 16, 2015 10:13 am 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8354
Location: Baltimore, MD
When UP operated 844 and 3985 through the Feather River Canyon to Sacramento and SP 4449 dropped south from Portland for Railfair 1991, some eons ago, there was some (for the time) unique coordination with the California Highway Patrol, with one officer (a noted railfan, supposedly) actually riding the train with a radio pack to coordinate with CHP patrols. It was said at the time that the mission was not mass arrests, but simply avoiding cataclysm. As I recall, the mission went as far as marking off the shoulder of the bridge at a famed vantage point with flares and a patrol car to protect the inevitable mob of photographers. Nonetheless, there were supposedly a few citations for the most egregious of nuts.

I was told some similar "protection" by police was in play during the "Farewell to the Sierra RR" specials around the same time period--and that, nonetheless, a few mishaps occurred, including one struck photographer and a ditched vehicle or two.

Baltimore City Police have, in the past, directly "escorted" B&O Railroad Museum out-and-back shuttles over the "First Mile" in southwest Baltimore, riding on police-owned dirt bikes and ATVs, sometimes right alongside the train. I'm torn as to whether this gives a bad impression to train riders, or is indeed a prudent measure. I've personally witnessed rock-throwers both from the train and while trackside. I lived very close-by for a couple of years, and even as a cynical city-dweller used to urban urchins and worse, I have to say that this is an exceedingly bad neighborhood. This notion was reinforced by having to cut a hole in the rusted-out nose of the B&O E8 we were prepping for movement to West Va. to shovel out hundreds of syringes.....

I know the areas to which Rowland is alluding above. I have seen CSX personnel in the areas watching stopped trains with binoculars and night-vision goggles, well-armed as well, and was told to avoid these areas, not so much for personal safety but so as to not be mistaken for a thug and find myself at the wrong end of a gun barrel..... Indeed, one well-known railfan train-watching location was shut down by railroad police in part because it was believed to be in use as a surveillance post for the thieves' spotters.


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