Railfanning NY Penn Station

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Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby peanut1 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:35 pm

Hello,
I need some help. I have winter break coming up in a few weeks and will be out of college at least until middle of January. At some point during that break I wanted to maybe go and do some railfanning in NY Penn Station. Is their anything I need to know? Amtrak police might detect me as a suspicious person. Is railfanning in NY Penn Station allowable or will I be asked to leave by Amtrak police? I only ask this as I don't want to waste time going their only to be kicked out. Any help is appreciated. Thanks in advance
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby Greg Moore » Mon Nov 28, 2011 9:54 pm

First, search the other discussions here, this topic has come up before.

And keep in mind the Amtrak Photography Policy.

Generally, if you're in public areas and not on platforms (w/o a ticket that is) you should be fine.

That said, you may be bothered regardless. Be polite and non-confrontational. Ask what rule or law you are breaking and if necessary comply with their request. Heck, honestly, I'd recommend complying with their request even if it's in the wrong unless you want to make a point (and not saying that's right or wrong). And no, the PATRIOT ACT did not take away your 1st amendment rights or your right to take photographs in public areas.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby Amtrak7 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:38 pm

Since Amtrak doesn't have any exclusive platforms at NYP and all platforms are accessible through places other than the Amtrak concourse, shouldn't having a commuter rail ticket be sufficient?
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby cruiser939 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 10:55 pm

Amtrak7 wrote:Since Amtrak doesn't have any exclusive platforms at NYP and all platforms are accessible through places other than the Amtrak concourse, shouldn't having a commuter rail ticket be sufficient?

Theoretically... but if you're holding an NJT ticket and standing on a platform with 2 Amtrak trains snapping away pictures I'm not sure how that's gonna go for you.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby hi55us » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:00 am

Here's a word of advice, don't do it in NY Penn.

#1. The lighting is horrible.

#2. The platforms can be VERY crowded, even during the middle of the day.

I would head on over Herald Square (34th & 6th) pay $1.75 and take the PATH to Harrison, NJ (take a train going to Newark). Then you can check out the action on amtrak's northeast corridor mentioned in this thread.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby morris&essex4ever » Tue Nov 29, 2011 12:16 am

Try going over to Newark Penn or as mentioned before, Harrison.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby Jersey_Mike » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:09 am

Photo policy or not if you take pictures in Penn Station you are almost guaranteed to be swarmed by police in about 5 minutes if you linger or wait for something to come by. I can recall numerous occasions where I took a picture, got back on the train and then later saw police hit the platform responding to the report or CCTV footage or whatever. If you use T66/67 I used to have a lot of success taking some night shots during the hour layover between 2 and 3 am, but then not so much.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby jwhite07 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 7:13 am

Harrison is a PATH station, and PANY&NJ specifically and in writing prohibits photography on its property. I know it's a popular place to photograph at, but wouldn't one expect an increased chance of being confronted there than at Penn Station? Sucky lighting aside, at least at NYP none of the tenants there (MTA/LIRR, NJT or Amtrak) have any written prohibition against photography.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby peanut1 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 8:47 am

hi55us wrote:Here's a word of advice, don't do it in NY Penn.

#1. The lighting is horrible.

#2. The platforms can be VERY crowded, even during the middle of the day.

I would head on over Herald Square (34th & 6th) pay $1.75 and take the PATH to Harrison, NJ (take a train going to Newark). Then you can check out the action on amtrak's northeast corridor mentioned in this thread.


That sounds actually better, but I would have to do it that during the summer. Thats not a problem as I don't have my digital camera yet anyway. Which station would be better for me to go to in honest opinion. Newark Penn Station OR Harrison?
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby Ocala Mike » Tue Nov 29, 2011 10:37 am

Takes me back to my youth when I used to railfan both GCT and Penn Station. I would be arrested in a minute today for the things I did back then. Of course, it was the mid-50's, and we didn't concern ourselves with terrorism, only the threat of nuclear annihilation! Only wish I was into picture-taking back then; all I have is memories of GG-1's, stainless steel streamline passenger cars with real railroad names on them in elaborate paint schemes, and watching the 20th Cntury Limited leave from red-carpeted Track 34 at GCT.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby Tadman » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:00 am

If it's anything like CUS or Northwestern Station, you gotta keep moving. Take a couple pics here and there, but don't set up shop. And by all means, when approached, be very polite. If they tell you to get lost, consider getting lost or making yourself scarce. A new location is also wise; Maybe find that giant hole where LIRR yards their trains and watch from above for a while, or catch a few Amtrak moving out of the west side connection.

Whenever I railfan downtown, I assume I'll walk 3-5 miles that day.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby RedbirdR33 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:09 am

Pennsylvania Station is not the best place to do railfanning especially if you plan to take pictures. There are many staircases to climb and limited views from the platform.

I would recommend taking a train to Secaucus Junction. It is outdoors with a lot of wide open views. Your have Amtrak and NJT electric trains on the upper level and the Hoboken-based NJT diesel trains on the lower level. The station is very clean and your have restrooms and a small cafe there. Also you there is a very high service level so there is always something to see.

I visited there yesterday which is one reason that I am enthusiastic about it. The place is very big though and it takes a little while to get your bearings.

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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby peanut1 » Tue Nov 29, 2011 11:25 am

I will look into all three options and see which one I decide on. Thank you for all the help.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby R36 Combine Coach » Tue Nov 29, 2011 3:42 pm

There's one location I prefer at 9 Avenue & 33 Street, at the southwest corner. It overlooks Penn Station's west end (which is open air) and Amtrak and NJT trains, along with LIRR deadheads to/from West Side Yard can be seen. It's inside the Megabus staging area, but shouldn't be much trouble. Better hurry, as a new office tower is proposed on the site by 2015.

Or if you want to walk a bit more, head to West 37 or 38 Street between 10/11 Av, which crosses over the Empire Line. With the right timing you can catch a northbound or southbound here.
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Re: Railfanning NY Penn Station

Postby njt/mnrrbuff » Tue Nov 29, 2011 4:42 pm

NYP isn't glamerous for railfanning. It's underground, and the photo policy is definately enforced there. No matter whether if you have a ticket or not, expect to be questioned there. If you don't have a ticket, DON'T wander down to the platforms.

While Harrison is a better station for photography, you still can risk the chance of being asked to move along. PATH has a NO PHOTO policy, period. SEC is a better place.
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