Chicago photo ban at train stations

Discussion in 'Chicago' started by Mike A, Aug 28, 2006.

  1. Mike A

    Mike A Member

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    More good news. I pulled this off a train geek site after I saw a blurb in one of are local rags.

    "August 16, 2006
    CHICAGO - Union Pacific Railroad has announced that with the recent
    increase in security concerns across the United States, it will no
    longer allow photography of trains from Metra station platforms in
    the Chicago area. Metra is the region's commuter-train agency.

    "We recognize that railroad fans can be our eyes and ears out
    there," said UP spokesman Mark Davis. "But we live in different
    times. The number one concern for Union Pacific is the safety of
    everyone. Right now, and since 9/11, security has been heightened
    and increased. This is part of that effort." Davis added that, "This
    stuff about UP not liking railfans is not true. But we have to be as
    safe and secure as we can."

    Metra was pulled into the photography-rights controversy last year
    when two railroad fans were detained by Morton Grove, Ill.,
    municipal police and Metra police while photographing trains from
    the public train-boarding platforms at town's Metra station. That
    route, the Milwaukee District North Line, is owned by Metra. Union
    Pacific owns the property on its three commuter routes, and UP
    employees operate the trains under contract to Metra.

    After the glare of publicity enveloped the Motron Grove incident,
    Metra recanted its position and publicly reversed its stance, saying
    it would allow photography of trains from its stations.

    Metra spokesman Tom Miller today told Trains News Wire that as long
    as people are in areas accessible to the public, are acting in a
    safe manner, and are willing to provide identification if asked by
    authorities, that Metra has no problem with them taking photos. "But
    as far as the UP policy, we have no comment on that," Miller said.

    UP might be on shaky legal ground if it attempts to enforce its ban.
    Attorney Walter Zullig, who did legal work for New York's Metro
    North Commuter Railroad, today told Trains News Wire, "There is
    nothing in statute that prohibits photography from public areas.
    There is no federal law on this, and nothing from Homeland Security.
    The U.S. Supreme Court considers photography a part of free speech
    protected under the First Amendment."

    In a column that will appear in the October 2006 issue of TRAINS
    Magazine, Zullig writes that research has not turned up any state
    law on the subject in existence anywhere. According to Zullig,
    railfans have the legal and constitutional right to photograph
    whatever they please from locations "open to the public," which
    would seem to include Metra and other passenger-train-boarding
    platforms.

    Maryland's MTA rapid-transit and commuter-train system has a photo
    ban on MARC commuter trains, which run on CSX and Amtrak trackage,
    as well as the Baltimore subway and light-rail systems, but Zullig
    believes there is no legal basis for the ban and is attempting to
    get MTA to explain its legal basis for it.

    Both the New York City Transit Agency, which operates the city's
    vast subway system, and New Jersey Transit, which operates commuter
    trains and bus and trolley lines throughout the Garden State,
    attempted to adopt photography bans but withdrew their proposals
    after a flood of negative comments and threatened lawuits on
    constitutional grounds.

    Public financial support of transit and commuter facilities may or
    may not have any bearing on the legality of such bans. In the Union
    Pacific instance, UP, a private railroad, contracts with Metra, a
    public entity, to provide the commuter-train service, on three
    routes out of Chicago. Metra uses tax money to fund the service and
    maintain the station facilities, including the train-boarding
    platforms."

    end quoted material.

    In other news, the SP Heritage loco is going to be unveiled at
    Roseville this Saturday. The event is supposedly only open to UP
    employees and their families. The locomotive arrived in Roseville
    under tarps yesterday. One UP employee stated that security around
    the unit is tighter than airport security. The CRSM SP Daylight E
    unit is also up at Roseville for the ceremony.
     
  2. JBrunner

    JBrunner Moderator Staff Member

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    Photography is not a crime. Criminal activity involving photography is.
    Makes about as much sense as banning cars to prevent drunk driving.
     
  3. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    They didn't say it was a crime, only that they were not going to let you do it anylonger!

    Don't make a lot of sense..beings more than half the people carry cell phones with cameras in them, I don't know of to many terrorists that use 8x10 cameras!

    dave
     
  4. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    Your are free to photograph Metra trains from any road or sidewalk that crosses or goes under the tracks, just not from the platform. The policy makes absolutely no sense, but if they own the platform, they can kick anyone off of it. But as far as I understand, any photos that you take before they give you the boot are perfectly legit.

    That said, if you live by a CTA line, then take that instead of this.
     
  5. reub2000

    reub2000 Member

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    I just saw in the tribune that they decided to allow photography.
     
  6. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    If you think THAT'S bad, we've got people like Lord Wakeham in England trying to get all water sources (including old wells in people's back yards and 'public' lakes) privatised, so that any drink of water costs money - !!

    In the meantime, the FBI never bothered formally charging Bin Laden for 9/11, the presumed perpetrator...!

    What the hell's going on in this world??!
     
  7. eclarke

    eclarke Member

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    We are falling right into the hands of terrorists and woud-be terrorists when subtle threats can put the entire nation into a tizzy of silliness, we certainly aren't scaring them. Maybe we need to "bite the bullet" and land a few nukes in strategic places..that would scare them...eC
     
  8. Frank-G

    Frank-G Inactive

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    You're kidding, right?
     
  9. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Nope. No joke. He was Maggie Thatcher's right-hand man, sat on the board of directors for Enron, is on the IMF/World Bank Board, on the board at NM Rothschild (basically the real axis of evil!) - just google his name and 'water' and 'privatise', etc.. see what you come up with.

    I mean - from THEIR perspective I'm sure it makes sense - ! You have to 'enter markets like that to maximize financial gains...' that's what it's all about.
     
  10. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Personally, I think a lot of these threads, like all the airline threads, should go to the doom and gloom area.

    I'm sitting here in La Guardia waiting for my flight to Mexico. Two cameras, lots of film, two laptops, etc... right next to me and lots of other gear (mostly lighting and stands) checked in. Took me all of 10 minutes to get through security this morning. Most of it was waiting in line.

    What was all the bruhaha about?

    Regards, Art. (The sky is falling, the sky is falling!)
     
  11. Frank-G

    Frank-G Inactive

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    I see flying saucers. :smile:
     
  12. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Be prepared to defend your rights or LOSE them. Do you think once a 'no photography' law is passed, that it will be repealed?
     
  13. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    Like I said - doom and gloom.

    Regards, Art. (Gotta go - boarding call)
     
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  15. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    ignore it and it'll go away, huh?
     
  16. gr82bart

    gr82bart Member

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    When I see an anthill, I step over it. I don't put on mountain climbing gear.

    Regards, Art. (OK, now I really gotta go.)
     
  17. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    But clearly though - this is a growing trend, don't you think? It may not affect you and you may not care, but it seems there are increasing numbers of photographers who are being affected by this, being accosted by security personnel with a dubious understanding of the law...

    Personally, I feel this is not cool, and may be some sort of test bed for things to come. I think anything we can do, including writing to congressmen, etc., will be helpful.
     
  18. dmr

    dmr Member

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    I'm in Chicago most of this week on business, and I saw this (?) item on the local news this morning (August 28, not 16) that said that UP and Metra had rescinded an earlier item (which prohibited photography), and now DOES allow photography from the Metra platforms.

    They said that they still reserve the right to question anybody acting suspicious, with a camera or not.
     
  19. Mike A

    Mike A Member

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    Cool deal, thanks for updating, I'm glad to see common sense prevailed. This could not have possibly been a corprate decision.

    Mike
     
  20. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    It sounds to me like it WAS a corporate decision - through and through - but that they realized what they were doing was fascist and was attracting a lot of bad press! So - that's why they rescinded. I'm guessing, anyway...!
     
  21. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Frank - when you cover one eye... are they still there? You might want to go to an opthamologist for that.
     
  22. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I can't see how it is Fascist, they own the property hence they have the rights to govern what is done on that property...

    Not saying I agree or disagree, but if you don't own it, which in this case we don't, then you can't dictate what goes on...far from being fascist when a company decides what can and can not be done on their private property!

    Dave
     
  23. dmr

    dmr Member

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    If we define facism to be militant absurd authoritarianism, yes, it is.

    Corporations are often absurd and authoritarian in their way of thinking. Anybody who has worked for one knows what I mean. :smile:
     
  24. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    Yea! Fight Club!
     
  25. Dave Parker

    Dave Parker Inactive

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    I happen to disagree, a private corperation that owns the property has the rights to do what they want when they deny access to the property, short of killing someone or maiming them, this is not a government situation, this from what I have read was a private corp dening access to photographers to their property...

    I do know one thing, running around calling companies fascist, does not further our cause to have access to the areas we want to photograph, this is not even a 1st amendment thing, from the articles I have read, 100% in whole this is private property..

    And I have worked for many corperations, and I agree that many are very militant in their thinking, I also spent 26 years in the military, so am very familier with the terms and definitions, but I can tell you this, if someone showed up on my personal private property and started taking photographs with out permission, they run a good chance of getting a butt full of rock salt from the 12 gauge..and here in Montana, I would win in court...personal private property rights are held in the highest reguards where I live.

    :D

    Dave
     
  26. Sparky

    Sparky Member

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    To me - attempting to control public behaviour beyond what is considered 'appropriate' (okay - that's a real loaded word, but I'm talking about spitting, defacing property, attacking people, etc. etc.. just acting reasonably...) is fascist to some degree. Something like banning photography just really smacks of paranoia, self-importance (possible implied wrongdoings) and just seems absurd.

    But we're not even talking about private property here - are we? I thought it was the adjacent public spaces we're talking about - they didn't want pictures being taken OF their property/equipment - and that's just plain against the law to try to enforce...! And - let's get real here...! do you think any self-respecting 'terrorist' (if any actually exist) are going to attack a form of transportation after 9/11?? No way. You'd have to be a real imbecile.