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.
I understand the situation as you do, my only point in this was that if we all go off hell bent for election, often times we are going to be met with a flying bird, it is quite obvious the cooler heads prevailed in this situation and the photographers still have the permission to photograph the trains...Often times in our zeal to invokve the rights we believe we have, our actions dictate the outcome of the situation..
I am glad to see that if I visit this area, I still have the right to set up my camera and take photographs, this really is a situation we should ALL keep an eye on, but sometimes we need to enter through the back door instead of bursting through the front with guns blazing..
The position of railroads as far as property ownership is pretty ambiguous. Many US rail lines were built on easements acquired by the government through the right of eminent domain, then transfered to the railroads. Other similar arrangements also exist. Whether this makes them truly private property I will leave to a real estate attorney.
Originally Posted by Dave Parker
Dave: One of the things that concerns me with these threads is the thinking that folks have that they have an "unfettered" constitutional right to take pics on public property. That is not true. No right is "absolute".
Originally Posted by DBP
So I agree that to go off "half cocked" screaming about rights is likely to result in diminished freedom. If you constantly petition the courts you may be disappointed in the decisions.
In situations such as this (at least before the UP climb down) I think it is important to keep two thoughts in mind:
1) It is easier for "functionaries" to be safe and say "NO" than to take a risk and say "YES".
Therefore, as regards shooting pics in "questionable" circumstances.
2) It is better to beg for forgiveness than to ask for permission!
DBP: I am an attorney and work in R/E law. The rights-of-way conveyed to RR's and other common carriers by the grantor (property owner - whether public or private) include all of the rights of control as if the grantee were the fee simple owner of the property.*
With one caveat:
So long as the grantee of the ROW continues to use the property for the reasons vested in the conveyance by the grantor (e.g. to operate a railway line).
*BTW: this usually includes the obligation to pay property taxes.
Prohibiting photographers from taking pictures of train stations, airports, public buildings etc is a falsehood in security. One can bypass this by using digital or video cameras that are extremely miniature in size to hide in a briefcase, purse without arousing suspicion. There isn't enough manpower or electronic surveillance equipment to watch for all possible intel gathering unless we are living in a nation where everyone is spying on everyone. The government wants us to feel save by implementing these types of actions claiming it is for the good of the people knowing fully well this is not true. We the people allow the government and our enemies to play on our fear, lack of participation in our government and ignorance to control us. Throughout history there has been groups of people or nations that did not agree with another and this will continue til the end of mankind. Yet we can attempt to make changes through understanding the issues we have to break barriers. Despite this attempt many will not be happy with the answers or results. Not only does our government wants us to feel that we actually need them they thrive on it. The American people can actual use good judgement when provided with truthful information and make decisions that are sound. It only takes a few to make life miserable for many. So, if you do not like what you see voice your opinion and vote in this up coming elections in you state. Remember: "Evil wins when good men do nothing"
I can go on and on.
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But what if that property is private? does the good of the many out weigh the good of the few? and if it does, do you agree wtih the supreme courts choice last year?
Originally Posted by Edwardv
You have NO rights when it comes to private property, if you don't own it..Period, end of story...
I think by the many postings in this thread has shown that there was an uproar that didn't need to happen, part of the property in question is in facct private, part of it is public and the public prevails, which is the way it should happen.