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Old August 31st 06, 07:56 PM posted to rec.photo.digital
ynx
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Default CHICAGO GESTAPO

Railroad doesn't want to be in pictures

http://www.chicagoredstreak.com/outp...rainpix28.html

August 28, 2006

Transportation Reporter





In a move that has Chicago area railroad buffs fuming, Union Pacific
Railroad recently banned photography of its trains from Metra station
platforms.

Union Pacific, which contracts with Metra to operate three commuter rail
lines, said the new rule was issued in response to heightened security
concerns.

"With recent incidents around the world, we felt that it would be prudent to
heighten awareness and step up security measures," Union Pacific spokesman
Joe Arbona said. "We want to keep people safe."

That argument doesn't wash with the Railroad Club of Chicago, whose
president said the restrictions will have the opposite effect.

"UP is targeting those who are most likely to observe and report something
out of the ordinary," Railroad Club president William Shapotkin said, noting
that rail fans spend much of their free time riding and taking photos of
trains.

Not only that, but because Metra station platforms are public areas, the ban
is on shaky legal ground, too, Shapotkin contends.

"The fact of the matter is, we live in the United States, not the old Soviet
Union," he said.

A rep for the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois said he did not
know of any state or federal laws barring photography at train stations or
similar public facilities. Such a ban could be challenged under the freedom
of expression clause of the First Amendment, ACLU spokesman Ed Yohnka said.

This isn't the first time rail station shutterbugs have come into conflict
with transit agencies balancing safety and security with a popular pastime.

Last year, two Homewood men were detained by police for taking pictures from
a Metra platform in Morton Grove.

Metra allows photography on its property as long as people are not
trespassing or endangering themselves, Metra Police Chief James Sanford
said.

The police department also reserves the right to question people "taking
photos that we don't feel would be of interest to rail fans and tourists,"
Sanford said.

Union Pacific has its own police officers to enforce the ban, which is
similar to one proposed in 2004 by the New York City Transit branch of the
Metropolitan Transit Agency. When riders complained and lawsuits were
threatened, the MTA proposal was dropped.

 




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