Thursday, September 8

Security, photography, and railfanning in Post 9/11 America

The major impact of Sept 11th on the American Railfan has been the increased security designed to prevent terror attacks in the future. This security has led to an increased awareness by law enforcement to persons spending time around transportation infrastructure, places such as railroads, airports, ports, etc...

Railroad Crossing Sign
Many a photographer has bemoaned the new security measures closing off past favorite railfanning locations, rules against photography at train stations, and even questioning by law enforcement. Many of these railfans are quick to blame authorities and shout LOUDLY at times about their rights and the coming police state.

However, railfans are not immune to breaking laws in pursuit of their hobby. Many (but not all) railfans have been known to tresspass in order to get "the shot" that they want. This might be crossing the tracks to get to the right angle for the sun, driving past "no tresspassing" signs into railyards, etc...

So who is right in the post 9/11 world?

Do some law enforcement "professionals" or railroad employees overstep their bounds when dealing with photographers? Of course.

Do some photographers get "overworked" about their rights when Law Enforcement asks what they are doing? Yep.

BUT, If, or when, an attack occurs against America's railroads more people are going to say, "Why didn't we do more to protect the tracks and trains?" These were the same questions that were asked about airport security after 9/11 and led to the creation of the TSA and all the hassles we go through to fly now.

Just my thoughts. I'd love to hear your opinions.

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