Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

For topics on Class I and II passenger and freight operations more general in nature and not specifically related to a specific railroad with its own forum.

Moderator: Jeff Smith

Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby marcusp81996 » Fri Oct 12, 2018 2:28 pm

This is my first post, Not sure if I'm breaking any rules by posting a question like this. I'm well aware in any form of forum, the quote "Naming and shaming" is a rule most forums take seriously on a moderator level.

The reason why I chose this section is because it happened on a class 1 rail-line.

Anyways, don't want to say names nor give out a location, but just to give you guys a scenario, this is real of course, it really happened, but lets look at it this way.

My friend and I were at the table, he had his scanner. It was starting to get dusk out, he didn't have proper nightly wear. So he told me if a train does come, he's going to put on a vest so cars can see him. Me being a railfan myself I did concern him a little, asked him if the train crews will mind him wearing one. He told me he filmed over 30 trains in that area, not one engineer or crew said anything about his vest they were cool with it, as well as a hi-rail crew that got off the crossing he filmed at.

While we were talking, his scanner went off, a track warrant was issued from the yard, to a town 10 miles up track, he said He'll be back in a few mins to go film that train.

So as he was out there, I was cooking dinner and making food for him and I, and I heard two short blasts on the horn, I immediately recognized it as a departure signal, not a horn salute given to railfanners because after that, I heard the long long short long. The train went by our place at 15mph. I was like "Thats odd." trains out here do 30-35. Trackspeed in the area we were in. Within a few mins my buddy comes back inside and the first thing I noticed was he was a little pale.

I asked him, What was wrong? he said the train crew reported him as a "Trespasser" I was like "WHAT!? Tell me what happened."

He said he saw the headlight 3 or 4 miles down the track, it was a long straight track.

He stood 10 feet away from the tracks, behind the gates, off the road but by it. As the train got closer, he said he crawled to a stop, a couple hundred feet from the crossing, the train crew actually talked to him via scanner. He the engineer said, *someone's name* "Is that you?" to in which he looked at his scanner, and nodded No slowly to in which they departed. And as the train passed him he made the call.

CN #3118 to 43 dispatch over. 43 dispatch go ahead, We've been having weird signals since we left "Last known location" We're at the crossing at MP 190.27, there's a guy out there with a vest wandering by the tracks. Okay CN 3118 could you describe him? Yeah he's wearing a class 2 vest, black pants, blonde hair, approx 30 years of age. CN #3118 are you reporting a trespasser over? Yes We're reporting a trespasser."

He didn't hear anymore after that, He told me he turned off his camera, and walked back to the house, he panicked. I've seen his videos, he does everything by the book.

Any thoughts or opinions? He told me already he doesn't plan on ever wearing a vest again. So you guys can rule that out if you planned on saying that.

Thanks guys.
marcusp81996
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:02 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby John_Perkowski » Fri Oct 12, 2018 9:57 pm

Alway, always, always be off the right of way.
~John Perkowski: Moderator: General Discussion: Locomotives, Rolling Stock, and Equipment
Assistant Administrator: Railroad.net/forums
Please don't feed the spammers! If you see spam, please notify a Moderator
User avatar
John_Perkowski
 
Posts: 4687
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:12 pm
Location: Off the Q main near Parkville MO

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby Wayside » Sat Oct 13, 2018 9:45 am

I doubt if the vest has any relevance to the crew's behavior other than it made your friend easier to see. Train crews are encouraged/required to report trespassers. It's a good policy. In addition, they are subject to random observational testing for rules compliance. My guess is they suspected that the person in question was staging a test to see if they would report him as a trespasser. If your friend was actually back behind the crossing gates, then he was not trespassing. I agree it's a good plan to be highly visible when on an active road after dark.
We don't know what we don't know.
User avatar
Wayside
 
Posts: 137
Joined: Sun Jul 30, 2017 9:00 am
Location: The First State

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby marcusp81996 » Sat Oct 13, 2018 5:31 pm

Wayside wrote:I doubt if the vest has any relevance to the crew's behavior other than it made your friend easier to see. Train crews are encouraged/required to report trespassers. It's a good policy. In addition, they are subject to random observational testing for rules compliance. My guess is they suspected that the person in question was staging a test to see if they would report him as a trespasser. If your friend was actually back behind the crossing gates, then he was not trespassing. I agree it's a good plan to be highly visible when on an active road after dark.
That's right, He was behind the gates. He was off the road too so traffic was not on top of his list of concerns. I just found it kinda odd despite doing everything by the "Railfanner's book" he still got reported. We even stood outside waiting for the cops to come if he the engineer really reported him, because he told me it wasn't his first time with the police, and he had no problem of clearing things up with them. Because of the amount of footage he has of him routinely doing the same thing, commentating that there's a train coming, he says "Cleared the gates" as the gates are lowered, he usually railfans at the gates, but on this occasion, he was 10 feet away from the crossing on the side of the road. The crossing is rather spaced. There's about 8-10 feet from the gates to the rail. The cops never came.
marcusp81996
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:02 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby John_Perkowski » Mon Oct 15, 2018 9:51 am

If you’re on private properties, the ROW is typically 25 feet from the centerline of the outermost track.

If you’re on Federal property, it’s 100 feet.

In this post 9-11 world, the more relationships you build with local police, the better off you’ll be. In my neck of the woods, being a “photographer” has been a way for thieves to case a location.
~John Perkowski: Moderator: General Discussion: Locomotives, Rolling Stock, and Equipment
Assistant Administrator: Railroad.net/forums
Please don't feed the spammers! If you see spam, please notify a Moderator
User avatar
John_Perkowski
 
Posts: 4687
Joined: Wed Mar 17, 2004 5:12 pm
Location: Off the Q main near Parkville MO

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby marcusp81996 » Mon Oct 15, 2018 1:47 pm

John_Perkowski wrote:If you’re on private properties, the ROW is typically 25 feet from the centerline of the outermost track.

If you’re on Federal property, it’s 100 feet.

In this post 9-11 world, the more relationships you build with local police, the better off you’ll be. In my neck of the woods, being a “photographer” has been a way for thieves to case a location.


That's certainly what he did, he certainly improved relations with the police. We were up there for 9 days, it was a vacation spot, literally on the first night, somebody called the cops on us. We never had any intention of breaking the law, nor did we ever want to concern people in the town we were staying at. Small town, pop. of 900 people.

Anyways avoid getting sidetracked here, So anyways on our first night, we were both railfanning, We were listening in on the Scanner, and we heard a track warrant being issued, from the town to the yard 10 miles away. It was pitch black out, we both had vests on so cars could see us better at night. and this guy looked at us funny, and I actually looked at him, very shady character. My friend told me don't worry about it. he's the least of our concerns. It was rather quiet out so we headed back to the house. We were outside, talking and it wasn't until the train got very close we heard it. it was night time, it was rather cold out, so the chances of hearing a "Distant" horn was very likely. But the engineer never blew the horn, I only way I knew I heard the train coming, was because I heard the GE "Whoop" sound the train makes. At night they go at restricted speeds. which is half of the trackspeed in that area, 30mph. So he was crawling.

I heard the "Whoop" and I told him, "Did you hear that!?" He and I literally panicked, the train came around the curve which was about a quarter of a mile from our place, we had a long driveway, about 100 feet long or so, and it's another 100 feet to the crossing, So Me and him Sprinted at the crossing, We have our ways of filming a train.

The directional orientation of the track layout, the town is west, and the yard is east. Trains heading west, we film on the right side of the road filming away from the crossing signal, so at the most the gates are in the shot. If a train was heading east, we'd be on the other side of the crossing on the right side of the road.

So anyways this train was heading east. So we had to get on the otherside of the crossing for a better shot, We heard the roar of the engines, We heard the whoop. Then we heard the Bell on the locomotive, We knew he was right there and my buddy and I Sprinted. We saw some headlights from a car and we didn't give it much thought, then we looked to our right we saw the locomotive's headlights. He was just around the distance to trigger the crossing, We were just about to go over the crossing, and it was triggered as we were crossing it, we heard "STOP! STOP! Why are you running?" We snapped out of it, we realized we were standing in front of two women that were officers of the the PD. We were pale, scared. And My friend was like I'll talk to them. We were so angry, we were "Denied" of a train to film Because we had to clear things up with the officers.

So My friend said, "Did someone call about us? Because We weren't intending on doing anything bad, we're just railfanners trying to film a train."

The women were so nice, I swear to god. They said, "We got a report that there were people on the tracks, was that the two of you?" We strongly denied it because we were never on the "Tracks." And my friend is more familiar with the law than I was, he knew how to talk to cops to get out of certain things And he told them, "We weren't on the tracks, We're smarter than that, if anything we were crossing the road which is "Public Property". I'd never walked on the actual tracks, I'm aware of the fines given to trespassers, about $500." The officer said "You're right and that is alot the railroad demands for, We just wanted to make sure no one was going to commit suicide, self harm, so We came out here, Do you have an ID or anything?" We gave them our ID's we were a long way from home, 184 miles to be exact. and We told them that we were staying at a vacation house just down the tracks, We heard the train coming, we wanted to film it, we just weren't expecting officers to be laying in wait for us.

After the train passed, two more squad cars drove up. there were 4 squad cars at the crossing, so from what me and I told the two women, We had to tell the other officers that showed up the same stuff, And I was like You know what, I want to speed this up, I asked the officers If I can pull my phone out, she said sure, go ahead, I remembered recording some trains via phone on Instagram, and showed her. She took a look at it, and told us, "Okay, You're behind the gate, you're doing everything by the book. Okay, We're sorry to bug you two, Code four everyone. "Then that guy that reported me showed up, He told his side of the story which was all BS of course, We told the officers, "Don't believe what that guy said, I swear we did nothing wrong." The woman, calm again said, you two got nothing to worry about, We just wanted information, you're not in trouble, we're not giving any of you tickets. So me and my friend both gave the four officers hand shakes, told them have a goodnight and god bless them. And one of the cops that was there after the train asked us where were we staying, I told him, just by the tracks and pointed at the property, in which he said have a good night. All the cars drove off.

It was scary, but at least the cops knew who we were now. But he my friend strongly advised me to keep an eye out for the guy who reported us, because he might do it again.
marcusp81996
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:02 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby Roscoe P. Coaltrain » Mon Oct 29, 2018 1:56 pm

They may not mind it but you always run the risk of confusing a crew into thinking you are someone in authority, who will be required to wear one, and who maybe out performing efficiency tests.

Personally, I would not wear one, unless its deer season and I'm out shooting fall colors track-side far away from roads, or I was standing in a place where my life was at high risk from passing autos, like shooting off a bridge with limited clearance between the bridge railing and passing autos. I only wear one in tricky situations to potentially save my life, and not to be politically correct when one need not necessarily be.

There is a guy who is often seen on the Chesterton Railcam wearing a vest while shooting pictures. My opinion is that is hardly a place that needs hi-vis clothing, as crews should know about the B&B attracting fans by now, and the nearby cross street is slow moving cars with a wide pedestrian sidewalk area.

But then I have a general objection to fans loitering in front of the rail-cams anyway. I don't pull up the rail cams on my computer just for the joy of watching others shoot their pictures. If the cameras are located at a legit railfan park, or the individuals are paying customers of the B&B's who host these cameras, that's fine. But if they drive in for the day, not stay overnight thus not benefiting the innkeeper and by extension the continuation of the camera, just to stand there and be seen on the camera with their hi-vis clothing, I think that is the dumbest thing for me to sit there and watch. It reminds me of the facebook mentality where people just have to share photos of their lunch for whatever defective reason. It is as if they are so accustomed to presenting themselves to the world that they cannot stop it without psychiatric help.

Screenshot.jpg
Roscoe P. Coaltrain
 
Posts: 97
Joined: Sat May 29, 2004 5:01 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby atsf sp » Tue Nov 06, 2018 8:35 pm

No crews do not like when railfans wear PPE vests. It makes us think you are an official or something is wrong. PPE around tracks is for protection, not to show your loyalty to our job. If you are railfanning and need a PPE vest then you are too close to the tracks.
"Why would you take a train to go see another train?"
Some people just don't understand.
My Photos
atsf sp
 
Posts: 2180
Joined: Mon Jul 30, 2007 7:00 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby marcusp81996 » Wed Nov 07, 2018 12:07 am

Roscoe P. Coaltrain wrote:They may not mind it but you always run the risk of confusing a crew into thinking you are someone in authority, who will be required to wear one, and who maybe out performing efficiency tests.

Personally, I would not wear one, unless its deer season and I'm out shooting fall colors track-side far away from roads, or I was standing in a place where my life was at high risk from passing autos, like shooting off a bridge with limited clearance between the bridge railing and passing autos. I only wear one in tricky situations to potentially save my life, and not to be politically correct when one need not necessarily be.

There is a guy who is often seen on the Chesterton Railcam wearing a vest while shooting pictures. My opinion is that is hardly a place that needs hi-vis clothing, as crews should know about the B&B attracting fans by now, and the nearby cross street is slow moving cars with a wide pedestrian sidewalk area.

But then I have a general objection to fans loitering in front of the rail-cams anyway. I don't pull up the rail cams on my computer just for the joy of watching others shoot their pictures. If the cameras are located at a legit railfan park, or the individuals are paying customers of the B&B's who host these cameras, that's fine. But if they drive in for the day, not stay overnight thus not benefiting the innkeeper and by extension the continuation of the camera, just to stand there and be seen on the camera with their hi-vis clothing, I think that is the dumbest thing for me to sit there and watch. It reminds me of the facebook mentality where people just have to share photos of their lunch for whatever defective reason. It is as if they are so accustomed to presenting themselves to the world that they cannot stop it without psychiatric help.

Screenshot.jpg


Actually now that you mentioned it, it happened in mid september, it was Hunting season, I heard it all every day. .22's 9's .45's everyone was hunting around me, Although personally I didn't see anyone waving a gun around, but I certainly heard gunshots nearby.

So yeah for my safety was number #1, My Dad told me everytime I went outside, Wear my vest or something yellow or orange, There's always a possibility of getting accidentally shot.
marcusp81996
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:02 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby Gadfly » Thu Nov 15, 2018 3:54 pm

atsf sp wrote:No crews do not like when railfans wear PPE vests. It makes us think you are an official or something is wrong. PPE around tracks is for protection, not to show your loyalty to our job. If you are railfanning and need a PPE vest then you are too close to the tracks.


I suspect that part (not all) of this "vest" thing is an effort on the part of rail buffs to be railroaders. I don't mean it in an ugly way, but I saw so many of them when just desperate to live the experience they emulated/ copied everything they thought helped them to fit into that image. Yellow or orange vests are a relatively new thing, but it seems a lot like the striped overall/kroner cap/red bandana thing we used to see when the steam trains were in town. Or the regular photo buffs we used to see out at the crossings loaded with cameras and "railroad garb" that we wouldn't be caught dead wearing! :P

There's nothing wrong with wearing a safety vest; after all you have a right to wear whatever you want to. You just need to stay off railroad property and its RoW. If you do that, nobody has a right to tell you WHERE you can stand.
Gadfly
 
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby marcusp81996 » Wed Nov 21, 2018 7:57 pm

Gadfly wrote:
atsf sp wrote:No crews do not like when railfans wear PPE vests. It makes us think you are an official or something is wrong. PPE around tracks is for protection, not to show your loyalty to our job. If you are railfanning and need a PPE vest then you are too close to the tracks.


I suspect that part (not all) of this "vest" thing is an effort on the part of rail buffs to be railroaders. I don't mean it in an ugly way, but I saw so many of them when just desperate to live the experience they emulated/ copied everything they thought helped them to fit into that image. Yellow or orange vests are a relatively new thing, but it seems a lot like the striped overall/kroner cap/red bandana thing we used to see when the steam trains were in town. Or the regular photo buffs we used to see out at the crossings loaded with cameras and "railroad garb" that we wouldn't be caught dead wearing! :P

There's nothing wrong with wearing a safety vest; after all you have a right to wear whatever you want to. You just need to stay off railroad property and its RoW. If you do that, nobody has a right to tell you WHERE you can stand.


Yeah, You are right about that. But my buddy and I were worried about this one guy in particular, This guy had such a bad bone for us, After he called the cops on us, look up at previous replies to catch that story, Anyways that guy would tell us to "Get off the road!" despite not even having a foot on the asphalt and threatening to call the Sheriff on us. And One time, I was filming UP #1480, and while I was filming the train, I was behind the gate, on the road and I hear this car coming, I turned around to find out it was that guy, He made all these W. T. F. Gestures with his hands and facial expressions, and then he pointed sharply to the side of the road, and I choose to ignore because like you said, nobody can tell me where to stand, and he gets out of the car, with his phone out, calls the Sheriff in front of me. "THIS GUY IS OUT HERE ALL THE TIME, HE'S GONNA GET HIT BY A CAR! DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT, Yells at me, Sheriff is coming! That day, my dad was there, he was out in town, and I called him up to confirm my story if the cops did show up, a 2nd time. and We stood out at the end of the drive way to wait for them to come and We saw the guy's car coming, I told him to flag him down and he comes out of the car and he was like, "Are you his guardian?" "Yes I'm his father, Why are you picking on my son? He films trains for a hobby, it's his way of relaxing." Well you apparently don't care about your son's safety he's out in the road he can get hit by a car!" "He's got a vest on, Hes off the road when the train goes by" He, the guy gets angry, "THERE'S NOT ENOUGH ROOM ON THIS ROAD FOR TWO CARS!!! AND HE'S FLAGGING TRAFFIC!!!" "He does not!" "I'm getting the Sheriff down here!" Drives off in a rage."

But yeah, hows this related to train crews? Well that was a different situation. But Yeah me and my buddy filmed alot of trains and sometimes we don't think about our vest being a problem. Many trains we filmed and only 1 train crew who had a problem with it.
marcusp81996
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:02 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby Gadfly » Tue Nov 27, 2018 3:06 pm

`If he as nothing to do with the RR, then I'd tell 'im, (when threatened to call the cops) "GOOD! I'll WAIT for him!!!!" Then I'd file a complaint against him for ROAD RAGE! This guy has a mental problem and it is HE that needs to be reported! :-D :-D People like that are tender boxes waiting to go off!
Gadfly
 
Posts: 1198
Joined: Sun Dec 09, 2007 11:28 pm

Re: Do Engineers mind Railfanners wearing vests?

Postby marcusp81996 » Sat Dec 01, 2018 9:30 pm

Gadfly wrote:`If he as nothing to do with the RR, then I'd tell 'im, (when threatened to call the cops) "GOOD! I'll WAIT for him!!!!" Then I'd file a complaint against him for ROAD RAGE! This guy has a mental problem and it is HE that needs to be reported! :-D :-D People like that are tender boxes waiting to go off!


Okay, So From the looks of it, I guess there are no rules on what I said when I first submitted this post. So yeah for those of you curious on the location, it was Milepost 190.27 just outside the town of Necedah, in Wisconsin, on the Union Pacific Adams/Altoona sub.

So yeah, Me and my buddy had a minor run in with the Necedah PD after the guy filed a falsified report against us saying we were going to get hit by a car/train. Anyways It's up to the moderators whether or not to lock this post up or not. Because this was pretty much an open shut case here But if you want to continue on with the discussion, you are free to do so. The whole purpose of this post was That it had to do with train crews and of course the vest.


Here's that video I was talking about @Gadfly, I do commentate a little in my railfan videos, but anyways you will hear me talk about the guy, and near the end you can hear him yelling at the sheriff on the phone. Link down below. Enjoy

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=avkEUcX8eTU
marcusp81996
 
Posts: 6
Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 9:02 pm


Return to General Class I and II Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests