Originally Posted by Dave Parker
While I agree with you that a private corporation has every right to control access and usage of its property - in the particular instance this is not a clear-cut situation.
From what I understand of the Metra/UP set up it is this: UP (a private corporation) owns the rail right of way. Metra (a public agency) owns the stations, including the platforms and certain surrounding land (e.g. parking facilities).
Metra also contracts with UP to operate commuter train service for it.
As such, we have a mixed situation with property ownership divided b/w a private and public entity and with a private entity operating services on behalf of a public body. Those services likely include security (either directly or via sub-contract).
UP was apparently out of bounds in announcing that photogs could not take pics from the Metra station platforms because they were attempting to restrict usage on what is actually public property. I believe this is why they ultimately did a climb down.
However, if UP did own the station facilities then, yes, it would have the right to restrict access and/or usage.
This particular situation arises because UP once owned the facilities and provided the service. The public sector stepped in and acquired the facilities (but not the ROW) when UP could no longer financially make a profit. It then contracted with UP (as an experienced operator) which, under such an arrangement could now operate profitably since it was relieved of such costs as station maintenance and repairs. UP was acting according to an ownership structure that no longer exists - and was call on it.