Discussion related to commuter rail and rapid transit operations in the Chicago area including the South Shore Line, Metra Rail, and Chicago Transit Authority.

Moderators: metraRI, JamesT4

  by ryanbytes
I was down there today waiting for a train and decided to walk down one of the platforms to get some pictures of a flat sided bilevel. I came back to the area around the waiting room and a UP police officer politely told me that I couldn't take pictures on the platform. He said got a complaint from some of the employees. He said it was ok to take pictures from the area around the waiting room just not on the platforms themselves. I asked if this was a Metra rule or a UP rule and he said it was a UP rule. I thanked him and he was on his way.

Of course my post serves as a warning but it's also a request for information. Is there a rule from the UP about taking pictures at Ogilvie or was the cop just covering his butt because other employees complained?

  by doepack
I don't know precisely what UP's official stance is, but in the absence of an actual policy, sometimes the rules governing taking pictures on platforms can be a bit murky, since they're both used by passengers and railroad employees, which can blur the line between public and private property. From your account, it sounds like the cop was in CYA mode, and you were also fortunate that he seemed pretty cool about it, but just the same, you might have been better off not taking that chance in the first place, if you weren't certain about the official policy.

Perhaps you might want to try getting pics of trains going in/out of OTC from the Clinton/Lake Green line CTA station, which is just a couple of blocks away. Photo angles are somewhat limited, but I've gotten some decent shots of Metra traffic while standing on the far east end of the platform. Although I can't guarantee that you won't have to pay a fare to access the platform (I usually do, but I've gotten in free sometimes, depends on who's there) it's still a a good idea to inform the customer service attendant at the station about what you're doing beforehand, and you should have no problems.

  by ryanbytes
Honestly train pictures aren't my thing. The possibility of restrictions didn't even enter my noodle. I was in my usual "Hey that's cool. Take a picture." mode like I am with everything else. It's only been a problem twice and this was number two. Live and learn and share the knowledge right? :-D

  by MetraF40C607
Ya, I wouldn't advise shooting pics from the OTC platforms. Go to Union Station and take pics. They don't have a ban in place there.

  by AMTK84

When my mother, a friend and I were at Oggilvie a conductor came up to my friend and told him not to take pictures. As I remember my friend said something along the lines of "yeah rite" or something like that; Union Station is definately worse. We were hanging out on a BN platform recording; and an Amtrak lady gave my mother and I a heck of a time because she saw me holding my white cane and told us that I wasn't aloud on the platform...Descrimination, but that's another topic for another entirely different forum. Anyway I think the real reason is they didn't like the microphone out, that's all.
Last edited by AMTK84 on Sun Oct 09, 2005 11:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.

  by Amtrak31
Unfortunately, security has been tight since 9/11 and the London bombings. When it comes to "misunderstanding", Amtrak agents are right up there, IMO. They seem to take things the wrong way.

Nick Hart

  by meh
MetraF40C607 wrote:Go to Union Station and take pics. They don't have a ban in place there.
Actually I have been told that photography is not allowed in the Union Station concourse area, i.e. the space inside the station adjacent to the automatic doors opening onto the platforms. This was a few weeks ago when I was taking a photo of the new "Amtrack" sign inside Union Station. It was one of the additional security employees wearing yellow shirt who told me this, not an actual Amtrak police officer. He was polite and volunteered that it was fine to take photos of the other signs farther inside the station (e.g. near the ticket counters and Great Hall), just not those adjacent to the platforms.

I figured that it was possible he was incorrect, but I saw no good reason to challenge his statement since I could take the photos I needed that time elsewhere in the station. The additional security staff usually are only present during weekend events that bring unusually large passenger loads; they help with crowd management and enforce the special rules prohibiting glass containers and alcohol on Metra trains.

I have taken photos out on the platforms at other times when I saw something unusual or interesting and have never had any problems, whether photographing Metra or Amtrak trains. I have also taken quite a few photos of specials I have boarded in the station, but I think that greater latitude is allowed in such cases. In any case, Union Station's platforms are not a great place for photography (especially without a tripod, which even the most generous agencies often forbid on platforms) due to the lack of natural light and the off color imparted by the sodium-vapor lights.

  by AmtrakFan
I do take Photos in CUS of Amtrak stuff and I was even able to go out when they had 7 on the Platform once.

  by Metra 47 607
I also take pictures on the CUS platforms and never had a problem yet. But as for North western sta I havent tried to take pics for a long time beacuse I figure I would be hasseled by security. I don't like it but thas is the case post 9/11.
  by Tony T.
I was actually going to post about this when it happened, but it was no big deal.

Last September my brother and I were downtown Saturday night and had some time to kill before our train left OTC. As I used to do (in the past), we strolled out to one of the platforms which extend past the trainshed, just to take in the sights, sounds and smells. After about 15 minutes, a man approached us (looked like a UP hostler helper?) and gave us the "this is not the waiting area" routine.

He was nice enough about it and we promptly left, but it was the very first time I've ever been asked to leave that area. I do so very much miss "the good 'ole days..."