Discussion relating to the operations of MTA MetroNorth Railroad including west of Hudson operations and discussion of CtDOT sponsored rail operations such as Shore Line East and the Springfield to New Haven Hartford Line

Moderators: GirlOnTheTrain, nomis, FL9AC, Jeff Smith

  by Terminal Proceed
I realize this is not the subway forum, however, this has very real relevance here. I believe if this goes into effect, the 2 commuter railroads will follow through as well.


Smiling will still be allowed on the subways, but - sorry, tourists - taking pictures may soon be banned.
Transit officials, at the request of police, yesterday proposed prohibiting photography and videotaping in the subway system and on buses - hoping to thwart terrorists from gathering information for an attack.

It's just one of several proposed revisions to the Transit Authority's Rules of Conduct that include these other hard-to-enforce no-nos:

Walking between subway cars.

Placing a foot on a subway seat, bus seat or a platform bench.

Wearing skates, standing on a skateboard or riding a scooter.
Violators could get slapped with tickets ranging from $25 to $100.

"The world we live in has changed dramatically," TA President Lawrence Reuter said as he announced the first proposed revision of the rules in a decade. "These changes are intended to enhance security and safety."

Some riders railed against the new rules, which must be approved by the full Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board.

"All that stuff is just common New York behavior," said Patrick DeShond, 18, a college student from Brooklyn. "I think the city is so desperate for money that this is what it's come to."

Others said some of the rule changes make sense - especially penalizing those who soil seats with dirty shoes.

John Erboso, 46, a messenger from Queens, supported a photo ban, saying it's hard to tell a tourist from a terrorist. "You don't know who to trust anymore," he said.

But Christopher Dunn, associate legal director of the New York Civil Liberties Union, called the photo ban "grossly excessive."

"There is no reason a tourist taking a snapshot in a subway car should be interrogated by the police or face the prospect of being taken into custody," he added.

NYPD Transportation Police Chief Michael Scagnelli said police would use discretion in issuing summonses to shutterbugs. But violators could be questioned and subjected to background checks, he said, and have their film confiscated.

The TA said exemptions would be granted to the press, and others who have obtained "written authorization" from the agency to snap pictures.
  by N340SG
Your concern is well-placed. Today's Newsday already has an op-ed piece indicating that the LIRR intends to follow suit and adopt the TA "code of conduct", including the ban on photography. MNCR would likely fall into the fold. The writer's opinion is, of course, the common sense opinion that it is basically a poor decision to ban photography. It would do zilch to stop the bad guys, only penalize innocent tourists, rail buffs, etc.

  by Otto Vondrak
Fat chance this photo ban would ever become a rule. ACLU would have a field day.


  by JayMan
Otto Vondrak wrote:Fat chance this photo ban would ever become a rule. ACLU would have a field day.

I don't know about that – after all it's not unprecedented – NJ Transit and MBTA have enacted photo bans. And the average citizen is, really, unconcerned about us railfans (those that even know we exist). The only upside I see so far is that Bloomberg has come out pubically criticizing the ban, so at least we know the Mayor is not onboard – but right know I would say it's impossible to call whether or not this ban will pass.

The only thing however is that locking the storm doors between the cars is a stupid idea as well. I just hope in all the fervor over the photo ban that this little issue doesn't get missed and slips in to the ROC.

  by N340SG
Jay Man,

I would be surprised to see the storm doors ever allowed to be locked between cars. That becomes an obvious safety issue. Suppose there's a small fire in one car, is contained, but smoke fills the car. The commuters are locked in, and the nearest trainman is 3 cars away, and has no idea of what's going on.
The time spent getting a response could well be precious time.

Movement between cars while the train is in motion has always been prohibited. Many, if not all, cars should say that on or around each storm door. (I would have to look at the M-7s. I haven't really paid attention to whether it says that on the storm doors. I bet it does.) The rule is summarily ignored by all of us, and nobody has really busted chops about it until this proposed TOC thing. (Do we make an announcement at all station stops that anyone who may have to use the bathroom while enroute must sit in a car with a bathroom in it?)

To digress slightly, remember that a rule like that in writing also has the potential to possibly mitigate lawsuit amounts awarded stemming from someone getting injured while moving between cars. The RR lawyer says, "Well, you weren't supposed to be doing that in the first place. It's in the code of conduct, and written on the door. So, what's up witchu?"

  by Otto Vondrak
The MBTA's policy on taking photos of their equipment from their property (ie- shooting a train from their platforms, shooting a bus from a terminal) has been in place since the early 1980s. Photo permits are free, valid for three months, and easy to obtain from their main office. The MBTA photo policy is not a misguided reaction to recent tragic events, like NJT's new "policy."


  by Sean W.
I agree, this is FUBAR. Banning railroad photography? Turn railfans into criminals? To say the least, this is not a proportiaonate response. While Sept. 11th was a horrific catastrophe, it was still just one incident. Remember that in the four years preceeding this one, 00-03, a person had a 0.00025% chance of dying in a terrorist attack here in the U.S. What are the statistics for gun deaths? Road fatalities? I don't have stats to hand but I'm guessing these are much higher. Yet we do not hear officials talking about the need to get guns off the streets, or people away from car dependency, at least not from the Republican side anyway. Yet when it comes to this issue we get disproportionately harsh measures. We've given the authorities powers, trillions of dollars in security & military funding, Guantanamo Bay, a farce in Iraq, and the Patriot Act (just 6 weeks after 9/11). If they can't keep the country reasonably safe with THAT pork barrel - without resorting to absurd measures such as this - then this country is in SERIOUS trouble.

Rail security only has a budget of about $10M, perhaps this has something to do with it?

Hopefully the officals in the LIRR and Metro-North will have the sense to either not implement this, or merely to use it in a guideline. I do see some merit. For example if a cop sees some 50 yr. old Middle Eastern dude in a turban or burqa taking photos of strange things like the underneaths-of-platforms, sets of points or chassis of equipment, that's something to take note of, while if an American looking person (black or white, young or old) is not acting suspiciously and just taking everyday railfan photos then that SHOULD be protected. Vigorously. The only problem with this type of approach is defining 'suspicious.'

The temptation for me to get really political here is increasing, but I'll refrain for the time being. Above all, I just hope that some common sense prevails.

  by DutchRailnut
Tom movement within a pair is allowed, going from pair to pair while train is in motion is prohibited. due to no rubber bellows or guards.
but it is most definitly allowd to move from A to B car to go to toilet for instance. on MNCR the locks in doors (bombardiers) have even been removed by FRA order, after the Maryland MARC crash.
  by N340SG
You know, I never even looked to see if the admonition to not pass between cars was only on the "F" end storm doors. That's how much I pay attention to those signs. OK, nix the extra announcement. It's definitely a lot riskier passing between "F" end doors while train is in motion than "B" end doors, particularly when train is turning.

The signs say something to the effect of, "passing between cars while train is in motion is prohibited."
The obvious problem is when a ten car train is going to make 4 car station stops, or similar situation. Imagine telling the riders to sit tight until the train comes to a stop at the station, and only then walk up.

As a somewhat-related aside: On the LIRR, I remember a conductor once telling me he had to chase two young people who were smoking outside between the "F" ends of 2 cars....luckily before the train got to Jay interlocking, where the twisting and turning of the cars would have made it interesting for them.


P.S. For what it's worth: Since posting this, I've looked at a few pair of LIRR cars, and they have the no passing between cars message on the "B" end storm doors, as well as the "F" end. Mistake? LIRR rule? I don't know.