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Author Topic: Railway Photography  (Read 5661 times)
moonrakerz
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« on: August 25, 2009, 08:35:58 am »

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1208784/Innocent-trainspotter-suspected-terrorist-police-taking-photos-trains-near-oil-refinery.html
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Tim
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« Reply #1 on: August 25, 2009, 08:40:44 am »

I undrestand that an oil terminal might well be a terrorist target and why police might want to engage with people acting suspeciously there. 

BUT I have never been able to figure out why photography is such a threat.  I am sure real terorists could operate without cameras if they had to. 
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bignosemac
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« Reply #2 on: August 25, 2009, 09:07:46 am »

A nothing story as far as I'm concerned. The police responded to a call of 'suspicicious behaviour' at an oil terminal and quite rightly responded. They are not going to know what this 'suspicious behaviour' is until they investigate. So tracing the person who was acting suspiciously using CCTV footage and vehicle registration was warranted. As soon as the police had spoken to the photographer, no further action was taken.
There are many incidences across the rail network of heavy handed treatment of railway photographers; this doesn't appear to be one. An oil terminal is a bit different to a station or lineside.
Permission to take photographs of private railway property should always be sought.
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grahame
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« Reply #3 on: August 25, 2009, 10:44:29 am »

As soon as the police had spoken to the photographer, no further action was taken....

From the article:

Quote
An officer then phoned her in the early hours ...

Police swooped on the campsite the next day, and again ...

The next day, they say, their car was pulled over by a police officer with his blue lights flashing. Again ...

I think it would be better to say "as soon as the police had satisfied themselves, no further action was taken", but they took at least four contacts to satisfy themselves.  Not helped by the photographer feeling the whole thing was a bit over the top, and not being as helpful as he might have been.
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Tim
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« Reply #4 on: August 25, 2009, 11:13:45 am »

The police responded to a call of 'suspicicious behaviour' at an oil terminal and quite rightly responded. They are not going to know what this 'suspicious behaviour' is until they investigate. So tracing the person who was acting suspiciously using CCTV footage and vehicle registration was warranted.

I agree with you to this point.  It is unclear whether the police were trying to confiscate/erase the photos or if they just wanted to view them.  If the former, the police had no right and the photograppher was prefectly entitled not to cooperate. 

Permission to take photographs of private railway property should always be sought.

Where do you get that idea from?  If the photos are taken from a public area no permission need to be obtained.  Almost all property in this country is private (a view of the hills will involve photographing a privately owned farmer's field) , but there is nothing to stop it being photographed. 
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moonrakerz
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« Reply #5 on: August 25, 2009, 11:58:05 am »


Permission to take photographs of private railway property should always be sought.

Mac, I'm afraid that you are being carried along with the tide of misinformation about what can and cannot be photographed.

You can take photos OF whatever you wish - with some exceptions (mainly "security" related).  There is absolutely no bar to you taking photos of 'private property' - if you are ON private property, then strictly speaking you must seek permission from the land owner.

So, if I wish to take a photo of a train passing through Warminster from the station platform, theoretically I should seek permission. If I walk 100yds to the Imber road overbridge I do not need anybody's permission.
However, this is where over-zealous citizens and policemen start to believe that anybody with a camera is either a budding terrorist or a paedophile - madness !
There has been a lot of controversy about Google taking photos, with one bunch of irate villagers "running" Google out of town - yet these villagers would undoubtedly be equally indignant if they were prevented from taking photos of Lacock, Castle Combe or even Buckingham Palace on the same pretext !  "Don't do as I do, do as I say"
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grahame
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« Reply #6 on: August 26, 2009, 02:25:55 am »

So, if I wish to take a photo of a train passing through Warminster from the station platform, theoretically I should seek permission. ...

I'm not sure that you need to on ATOC member property, as there's already a blanket permission given on their web site:

From http://www.nationalrail.co.uk/passenger_services/guidelines_for_rail_enthusiasts.html

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Photography

Taking photographs on stations is permitted providing it is for personal use. For any commercial photography, prior permission must be sought from the appropriate train operator or, from Network Rail at their 17 major stations. On busy stations the use of a tripod may cause a dangerous obstruction to passengers and you may be asked not to use one. In addition, tripod legs must also be kept away from platform edges and behind the yellow lines. Flash photography on platforms is not allowed as it may distract the attention of train drivers and train despatch staff and is therefore a potential safety hazard. You are also not allowed to take photographs of security related equipment such as CCTV cameras.

So if you want to use flash - bottom step of the footbridge, right?  Wink Cheesy Grin
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #7 on: August 26, 2009, 02:35:35 am »

Personally, I disagree with any photography being allowed at Taunton ...  Roll Eyes Grin
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readytostart
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« Reply #8 on: August 26, 2009, 04:24:48 pm »

I have a specific album on my Facebook entitled 'Photos of me inadvertently getting in the way of trainspotters', albeit only with three pictures in, where I have found myself emblazoned across the internet without knowing it. One of them was very complementary, shot from an over bridge with half a boots meal deal sticking out of my face!
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bignosemac
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« Reply #9 on: August 27, 2009, 09:51:30 pm »


Permission to take photographs of private railway property should always be sought.

Mac, I'm afraid that you are being carried along with the tide of misinformation about what can and cannot be photographed.

You can take photos OF whatever you wish - with some exceptions (mainly "security" related).  There is absolutely no bar to you taking photos of 'private property' - if you are ON private property, then strictly speaking you must seek permission from the land owner.

So, if I wish to take a photo of a train passing through Warminster from the station platform, theoretically I should seek permission. If I walk 100yds to the Imber road overbridge I do not need anybody's permission.
However, this is where over-zealous citizens and policemen start to believe that anybody with a camera is either a budding terrorist or a paedophile - madness !
There has been a lot of controversy about Google taking photos, with one bunch of irate villagers "running" Google out of town - yet these villagers would undoubtedly be equally indignant if they were prevented from taking photos of Lacock, Castle Combe or even Buckingham Palace on the same pretext !  "Don't do as I do, do as I say"
I should've qualified my post with '...private railway property in a security sensitive area'. There would be lots of hand-wringing and questions of 'why?' if the police didn't investigate and there was a subsequent attack on the site. The Daily Mail would be first in the queue demanding to know why the police took no action......
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moonrakerz
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« Reply #10 on: August 28, 2009, 08:02:53 am »

A bit more:-

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/comment/letters/6100921/Trainspotters-have-the-right-to-spot-in-peace.html
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Tim
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« Reply #11 on: August 28, 2009, 09:52:11 am »


I should've qualified my post with '...private railway property in a security sensitive area'. There would be lots of hand-wringing and questions of 'why?' if the police didn't investigate and there was a subsequent attack on the site. The Daily Mail would be first in the queue demanding to know why the police took no action......

still don't agree.  A security sensitive area may have more policing and the police have every right to question you and stop and serach you if they have genuine concerns (and the chap in the Mail story may have been less than cooperative on this count - I don't know the full story).  BUT that doesn't means photography is not allowed. 

Photography itself is not a security risk nor is it illegal.  (and it would be completely futile to try and ban it on security grounds anyway because a real terrorist could take a snap on a phone without anyone seeing, or go onto google, or just memorise the security weaknesses of a site and draw them out later)

The police are completely right to take an interets in any activity that they think might be suspicious, but all that this means to railway photographers is that they may have to answer a few questions from teh police and show them the contents of their sandwhich box occassionally.  It does not mean that teh police can stop their photography or consicate their photos. 


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bignosemac
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« Reply #12 on: August 28, 2009, 07:07:43 pm »


I should've qualified my post with '...private railway property in a security sensitive area'. There would be lots of hand-wringing and questions of 'why?' if the police didn't investigate and there was a subsequent attack on the site. The Daily Mail would be first in the queue demanding to know why the police took no action......

still don't agree.  A security sensitive area may have more policing and the police have every right to question you and stop and serach you if they have genuine concerns (and the chap in the Mail story may have been less than cooperative on this count - I don't know the full story).  BUT that doesn't means photography is not allowed. 

Photography itself is not a security risk nor is it illegal.  (and it would be completely futile to try and ban it on security grounds anyway because a real terrorist could take a snap on a phone without anyone seeing, or go onto google, or just memorise the security weaknesses of a site and draw them out later)

The police are completely right to take an interets in any activity that they think might be suspicious, but all that this means to railway photographers is that they may have to answer a few questions from teh police and show them the contents of their sandwhich box occassionally.  It does not mean that teh police can stop their photography or consicate their photos. 



I never said anything about confiscation or stopping photography, I merely pointed out that permission should be sought. If given, this should then negate any problems if the police do turn up, after a call of 'suspicious behaviour'. It's more about common courtesy than rules and regulations. If I saw an architecturally interesting private dwelling, I could just snap away from the public highway, but I'd rather tap on the door and seek permission first. However I'm not suggesting that a general view of an area like a landscape scene (unless it is security sensitive) needs permission.
I'm travelling through Heysham to the Isle of Man next month and could take photos of the nuclear installations there, however I suspect the answer to a permission request is a flat 'no'. Fine, I'll respect that. Taking photographs is not a human right as some here seem to suggest.
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moonrakerz
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« Reply #13 on: August 28, 2009, 09:05:18 pm »

I'm travelling through Heysham to the Isle of Man next month and could take photos of the nuclear installations there, however I suspect the answer to a permission request is a flat 'no'. Fine, I'll respect that. Taking photographs is not a human right as some here seem to suggest.

Sorry again Mac, but taking photographs IS a right. You are letting yourself be "bullied" into submission by a "law" that doesn't exist - but that the police and Government would like to exist, but they know that they could never get such a Bill through Parliament - "stealth taxes" and now "stealth laws" !
First it's power staions/oil refineries, already we have the police trying to stop people photographing filming the police when they misbehave - of course soon you won't be allowed to take photos of MPs, or their duckhouses or moats.

You have every right to photograph Heysham nuclear power station - exercise that right ! or lose it ! Don't let anyone try and stop you - the Daily Mail would undoubtedly take up your case   Cheesy Cheesy
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Chris from Nailsea
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« Reply #14 on: August 28, 2009, 09:30:00 pm »

If anyone is interested, there are excellent photographs of both power stations at the Heysham nuclear power site, at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heysham_nuclear_power_station  Wink Cheesy Grin
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William Huskisson MP was the first person to be killed by a train while crossing the tracks, in 1830.  Many more have died in the same way since then.  Don't take a chance: stop, look, listen.

"Level crossings are safe, unless they are used in an unsafe manner."  Discuss.
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