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 Post subject: Bad experiences while railfanning from the PUBLIC?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 10, 2017 11:26 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1898
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
You hear about train fans getting hassled by police and people thinking you're breaking the law. But how about just problems with the public in general?
Yesterday afternoon, I was shooting diagonally across a grade crossing, and opposite me was a former RR depot which is now a museum. A group of people at a gazebo on the grounds of said depot (which was close at the time were yelling and making odd gestures as I was sitting diagonally across the grade crossing waiting for the Coast Starlight to go by. Just as the Amtrak train approached, I realized they'd been yelling at me the entire time. One yelled for me to leave. I was ticked once I realized this was all directed to me (but too far away to hear most of it or see whatever gestures one fat guy in the group was doing) and yelled back, "Come MAKE ME, you [bleepidy bleep bleep]. Of course, the woman in the group is the only one to try to walk over to where I was parked. If you've seen Kate Bosworth's meth head character from the movie, "Homefront," (but about 3X the thickness) you get an idea the type of person this was.
I was going to leave anyway once that train was passed, but I was glad to get out of there. They never put two and two together on what I was taking photos of and she yelled something about having my license plate and 'harassment'. I guess they though I'd been taking photos of them all along (oddly only when trains going by?).
I wasn't remotely scared, but I was pretty ticked off. I was glad to leave because I have a concealed weapons permit and I was packing. But I just didn't see any version of allowing her close to my SUV where I would have come out on top. Either she was going to do something to my vehicle, or try to do something to me and (God forbid) I would pull out my .45. Either version of that was unacceptable to me, so I left. Still, I was already going to leave once that train had past, regardless, long before any issues with these oxygen thieves came up.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad experiences while railfanning from the PUBLIC?
PostPosted: Tue Jul 11, 2017 9:21 am 

Joined: Mon Jan 23, 2017 11:47 am
Posts: 6
Location: Brighton, CO
Hi All,

Bad behavior is never acceptable to me no matter if from the public or a railfan. In my experience of 70 years as a railfan photographer, we railfans are definitely a greater problem than the public at least during railfan events in many cases. Bad driving chasing trains, unsafe acts on RR property, messing up runbys and photo lines, pushing and shoving etc. etc. There are many respecting fans and those are the one I hang out with. Unfortunately the crazy few foamers are the ones who make all of us look bad.

Shame that you had the bad experience, but it seems these days that bad behavior is becoming more the norm. When leading politicians lead by demonstrating little or no respect for others, I feel we can expect more problems in the future.

Be nice to your fellow man and set a good example for others around you, even if you do not get reciprocal treatment. Don't let those exhibiting bad behavior get you down!

Just my opinion,

Loco Bill

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 Post subject: Re: Bad experiences while railfanning from the PUBLIC?
PostPosted: Thu Jul 13, 2017 11:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Aug 22, 2004 1:51 pm
Posts: 8299
Location: Baltimore, MD
The late Ron Ziel had an insane but brilliant tactic for disarming hostile reactions behind the Iron Curtain.

When someone (police, stationmaster, etc.) would yell at him that he couldn't photograph whatever steam his camera was pointed at, he would turn to them with a stern, unsmiling face and bark back "SPASIBO!!!" or "DANKE SCH├ľN!!!" or whatever "thank you" was locally. And then just keep photographing.

He reported that about two-thirds of the time whoever was after him would simply ignore the obviously lunatic foreigner..........


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 Post subject: Re: Bad experiences while railfanning from the PUBLIC?
PostPosted: Mon Jul 31, 2017 11:22 am 
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Joined: Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:05 pm
Posts: 655
Location: MA
p51 wrote:
You hear about train fans getting hassled by police and people thinking you're breaking the law. But how about just problems with the public in general?
Yesterday afternoon, I was shooting diagonally across a grade crossing, and opposite me was a former RR depot which is now a museum. A group of people at a gazebo on the grounds of said depot (which was close at the time were yelling and making odd gestures as I was sitting diagonally across the grade crossing waiting for the Coast Starlight to go by. Just as the Amtrak train approached, I realized they'd been yelling at me the entire time. One yelled for me to leave. I was ticked once I realized this was all directed to me (but too far away to hear most of it or see whatever gestures one fat guy in the group was doing) and yelled back, "Come MAKE ME, you [bleepidy bleep bleep]. Of course, the woman in the group is the only one to try to walk over to where I was parked. If you've seen Kate Bosworth's meth head character from the movie, "Homefront," (but about 3X the thickness) you get an idea the type of person this was.
I was going to leave anyway once that train was passed, but I was glad to get out of there. They never put two and two together on what I was taking photos of and she yelled something about having my license plate and 'harassment'. I guess they though I'd been taking photos of them all along (oddly only when trains going by?).
I wasn't remotely scared, but I was pretty ticked off. I was glad to leave because I have a concealed weapons permit and I was packing. But I just didn't see any version of allowing her close to my SUV where I would have come out on top. Either she was going to do something to my vehicle, or try to do something to me and (God forbid) I would pull out my .45. Either version of that was unacceptable to me, so I left. Still, I was already going to leave once that train had past, regardless, long before any issues with these oxygen thieves came up.

That is why you should carry pepper spray or stun gun as well as your gun.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad experiences while railfanning from the PUBLIC?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 14, 2017 5:02 pm 
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Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1898
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
RCD wrote:
That is why you should carry pepper spray or stun gun as well as your gun.

Where I live, I'd have had almost the same type of legal nightmare for using either of these than if I'd had to pull out my handgun.
If that wasn't the case, yes, I'd carry both. I've had plenty of people come up to me in the past few years asking what I was doing, but 99.9% of them were simply curious homeowners adjacent to where I was. One couple thought I was documenting the oil trains as there are plenty of protestors to them. Once they found I was just a train fan with no agenda, they became quite friendly.

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 Post subject: Re: Bad experiences while railfanning from the PUBLIC?
PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 9:24 am 

Joined: Tue Mar 24, 2009 6:16 pm
Posts: 24
Several years back I was set up and waiting for an NS train at a soon to be removed PRR signal bridge near Gray Station, PA. There are several homes a few hundred yards from the tracks, though you can't see them due to the thick wooded area near the tracks.

After about a half hour of me standing there with my camera on a tripod I saw four men walking down the tracks toward me. When they got within a few yards of me one yelled "What the expletive are you doing!" -Now, railfans are VERY common along this stretch of the Pittsburgh Division, so I knew these guys were up to something. I replied "Photographing trains-what the expletive does it look like!" They proceed to to tell me I was trespassing and that they had already called the railroad police. I reminded them that they were also trespassing. Then I notice one of the guys had a revolver holstered on his hip. I made the suggestion that hey go back where they came from and I would go back where I came from. I left as they walked back down the tracks and then into the woods.

I suspect one of the guys was on worker's compensation or disability and, being paranoid because of this, he thought I was spying on him.


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 Post subject: Re: Bad experiences while railfanning from the PUBLIC?
PostPosted: Wed Sep 06, 2017 2:32 pm 

Joined: Sun Sep 05, 2004 9:48 am
Posts: 446
Location: Byers, Colorado
Since 911, railroads have really tightened up security. Even retirees have a hard time now getting onto the property.

You never know who's a cop (or robber) anymore, BUT one easy way to justify their jobs at no risk to themselves is to hassle harmless people, like train photographers. That went on behind the iron curtain for the same reason.

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