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Signalling photography

Unread postby John Hinson » Sun Feb 28, 2016 3:54 am

Some railway staff may seem against railway photography, often due to lack of understanding or knowledge of the official arrangements.

Attention is drawn to the Network Rail document at http://www.networkrail.co.uk/aspx/777.aspx which could prove useful if carried at all times.

John
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Re: Signalling photography

Unread postby John Webb » Sun Feb 28, 2016 8:55 am

The problems of photography on railway stations due to unknowledgeable staff is a frequent topic of discussion on the RailUK forums website. The majority of complaints seem to indicate that security staff in particular, hired in from non-railway based companies, are often the worst offenders in this respect. By their nature they are often unwilling to back down from their "Thou shalt not take photos here." attitude even when presented with the document John Hinson mentions! However, I notice the number of complaints in the last year or two seems to have dropped off, so perhaps the message that photography is allowed is getting through.

I've done little photography on the railways in recent years except on preserved lines, although when photographing St Pancras a year or two after its refurbishment I had absolutely no problems whatsoever.
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Re: Signalling photography

Unread postby colin1501 » Sun Feb 28, 2016 10:15 am

It does seem to have got better in recent years, but in the past we often seemed to be the soft targets. Many years ago I was challenged by a member of staff at Southall, who came out of his office, over the footbridge, and right down to the platform end to do so. I carried on taking the pictures I wanted, and then followed him back over the footbridge, passing on the way a group of young men huddled in a corner. Money and packets of a 'substance' were changing hands, yet their activities went completely unchallenged!

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Re: Signalling photography

Unread postby Romsey » Sun Feb 28, 2016 7:51 pm

I have only been challenged twice in 44 years of railway photography in the UK. One was Blackpool North. Allegedly I was a suicide risk! Having explained what I was doing (photographing the platform starting signals) and I wasn't going to jump in front of a stationary dmu the station entity stalked off having said I needed written permission. A voice from the drivers cab said he'd sign nearly anything to wind up that miserable *&%$! The other one was at Dunfermline when I unintentionally photographed a train of military stores en route to Leuchars - the BT policeman thought I was getting background information to steal some whisky....

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Re: Signalling photography

Unread postby robert7111a » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:08 pm

As most signals are at the end of platforms, I've had mixed experiences due to what staff are on duty at the time. I have had many positive experiences and many awful experiences. And some of the "jobsworths" have actually been platform staff employed by the TOC rather than contracted security staff.
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Re: Signalling photography

Unread postby Mike Hodgson » Sun Feb 28, 2016 9:30 pm

My experience has been that people tend to be more helpful if you ask politely if it's OK rather than wait to see if you are going to be challenged. A friend of mine visiting Norway following this policy was told they weren't sure if it was OK to take pictures of the signalling, but they'd ask - and was duly ushered into the office of the Railway Company Secretary, who was only too happy to practice his English and given a guided tour. I was accorded very similar courtesy by the railway management at Cork. Obviously they will not be so receptive if they are having to deal with some immediate problem, but they are generally pleased to meet somebody who is taking a positive interest in what they do.
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Re: Signalling photography

Unread postby John Hinson » Mon Feb 29, 2016 2:32 am

Thanks, all, for your input.

My intention of making this a "sticky" was simply to provide an easily found link to the useful document and I don't want this to turn into a long discussion about individual places and experiences. I'm therefore going to lock the topic for now, but if anybody has any useful generic information to add please just drop me a line to have it unlocked.

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