A Railfan Code of Conduct

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pennsy
Posts: 1697
Joined: Sat Mar 11, 2006 4:07 pm
Location: Southern California

Post by pennsy » Tue Oct 24, 2006 9:56 pm

Hi All,

Probably the best rule of thumb here would be use your head and use your common sense. If it doesn't sound right, look right, etc. don't do it.

Nasadowsk
Posts: 4012
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:45 pm

Post by Nasadowsk » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:26 pm

If you're in electric territory, remember:
  • The wires are always on — catenary has no trouble moving a train. What do you THINK it will do to you?
  • Electrics can be surprisingly quiet. You will NOT hear an Acela comming at 125 mph until it's too late.
  • Arcs are cool to see, but don't stare. Granted, if they last that long…
  • Do a test run with the camcorder or tape recorder before you get that magic shot. Some of them can pick up electric interference!
  • Don't stand near the pan end of a Metro-North MU at New Haven, unless you like getting the **** scared out of you when they do the test drop…
  • Oh yes — in third rail land: clicking from the track means an electric's in the area.

nick11a
Posts: 9759
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:28 pm
Location: North Central Jersey

Post by nick11a » Tue Oct 24, 2006 10:58 pm

These area all very good and brilliant idea IR. I'd buy you a drink for that one!

Use good judgement—listen to your conscience.
  1. Keep out of the way of crews and passengers at all times.
  2. Avoid photographing crewmen in photos whenever possible and if you do get them in a photo, don't post it on the internet.
  3. A wave or a "hey" is fine to the crew, but only do it in passing and don't engage conversation—unless you are sure they are the type who would be conducive to conversation and you are the type that won't bug them.
  4. Most importantly: People are human beings. Act like one—a good, decent compassionate one and treat others—railfans, crewman and the like the same.
~Nick O.: Moderator: NJT Rail

Moderator of the "widely popular" NJT Rail Forum! What once was first is now seventh!

Idiot Railfan
Posts: 1736
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:56 pm
Location: The Cutting Edge of Extreme Commuting

Post by Idiot Railfan » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:30 pm

Frogger wrote:If you're an idiot and a railfan please remember that trains (especially Acela's) are much farther away then it appears and that it is perfectly safe to stand on the tracks with an oncoming Acela.
Hey, I'm an Idiot Railfan, not Mr. No Depth Perception! :wink:
"But Dad. It's Smokey!"

Idiot Railfan
Posts: 1736
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 10:56 pm
Location: The Cutting Edge of Extreme Commuting

Post by Idiot Railfan » Tue Oct 24, 2006 11:46 pm

Hey, people, thanks for the positive responses!

If I am reading this correctly so far, a major theme emerging is one that is not unknown, but not always articulated: Respect for railroad employees. I am not a railroader, but my father was a railroad man, so I am keenly aware of the hard work and sacrifices of working for the railroad. (I would not be where I am today had it not been for my dad's hard work, wisdom and guidance.)

My dad was always friendly to railfans and often bent the rules by allowing people like us on the caboose and engines, even taking them along for a ride once in a while, actions unheard of in this corporate, litigious environment.

So on behalf of my long retired dad, thanks!

...and keep 'em coming!
"But Dad. It's Smokey!"

Sirsonic
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Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:35 pm
Location: CP-Late

Post by Sirsonic » Wed Oct 25, 2006 12:37 am

  • Stay out of my way. I'm bigger than you and it's going to hurt real bad if we run into each other.
  • If I blow the horn at you, first, make sure you're not in my way or just in harm's way period. Then, wave. Yeah, wave. This way I know you see me coming, and aren't going to accidentally step in front of me.
  • Don't take a picture of me, that is a picture where I am the main subject, without my permission whenever possible. If you want to make me more likely to say yes, offer me a copy of the picture. Most railroaders are pretty vain, and dont have many, if any, pictures to show off what they do all day.
  • Don't assume that just because I work for a railroad I'm a train nut. Maybe this is just a job to me. Maybe I'm having a bad day. If I want to talk to you, Ill start the conversation. Remember, I'm at work.
Proven Theory #2 - If you don't work for the railroad, you don't know more than the people who do, no matter how many years you've hung around the tracks, or how well you think you understand railroading.

Rest in peace Jtgshu.

jb9152
Posts: 1836
Joined: Mon Nov 14, 2005 1:15 pm

Post by jb9152 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:51 am

ryanov wrote:Do not provide unsolicited information to those who don't appear to want it (ie. walking up to someone who looks lost and upset and directing them if you know where to go vs. walking up to everyone and giving them an entire recited subway map off the top of your head).
Oh, God, that's a good one. We used to have several foamers at SEPTA that would hang around the Station Master's office at Suburban Station and offer free transit information to anyone within earshot. Half the time, they were actually talking to engineers, who simply rolled their eyes and kept walking.

There's nothing more obnoxious for a railroad employee than someone telling you all about your job. A close second is being a passenger, and being harangued by a non-employee about the horsepower of the locomotive pulling the train you're about to board.

NJT4207
Posts: 319
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Location: State Of Confusion

Post by NJT4207 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 8:11 am

Sirsonic wrote: Most railroaders are pretty vain, and dont have many, if any, pictures to show off what they do all day.
You were thinking of me with this statement, weren't you. If my hair isn't good for 60 mph and I forgot my hairspray, I can be a bear in the cab. Stay away. Beware of angry German-Italian. :wink:
Mike
I hope everyone abides by Sirsonic's signature. Its pure wisdom.

Wanderer

Post by Wanderer » Wed Oct 25, 2006 2:49 pm

Here are some more Railfan Codes of Conduct:
  1. If you approached by the police, behave. Present ID, obey lawful commands, and be kind. If the police cross any lines, use the system and file a complaint. Don't hold trial trackside.
  2. If you can read the builder's tag...you're too close to the railhead.
  3. Don't be a sheep. Just because some other foamer is doing something dumb, doesn't mean you should. Including standing in a place the crew can't see you...you always should be visible. If they see you, they know whether or not they'll hit you. (Choice of whether or not to hit should be left up to engineer's discretion and mood.)
  4. Police your own. If you see another railfan or bystander do something wrong, and there is no employee or police around...SAY SOMETHING!!! If there is an employee or police around, back off and let them handle it.
  5. Don't call the railroad police unless you have actual reasonable suspicion. An open door on an empty boxcar doesn't count.
  6. Set an example. Your responsible and adult behavior/actions trackside are a one person effort towards bettering relations with railroaders and the public. Railfans are often generalized, but we're not all bad. Help make people realize that.
  7. LET RAILROADERS DO THEIR JOBS WITHOUT GETTING IN THE WAY! We have a right to be legally trackside. But they have a absolute right to do their jobs as easily as possible. Leave the complicating it to company management. If they want to chat, they'll say something to you.
  8. Make an effort. Basically just a re-emphasis of 1 and 6. Science fiction may have quotes such as "Do or do not, there is no try,". However, George Pullman said, "Success is measured by accomplishment, which can't be achieved without trying."

henry6

THERE IS

Post by henry6 » Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:12 pm

There is a reason they call us, "foamers".

nick11a
Posts: 9759
Joined: Thu Mar 11, 2004 8:28 pm
Location: North Central Jersey

Post by nick11a » Wed Oct 25, 2006 3:46 pm

Just because we're "foamers" doesn't mean we have to act in the stereotypical annoying way.
~Nick O.: Moderator: NJT Rail

Moderator of the "widely popular" NJT Rail Forum! What once was first is now seventh!

Sirsonic
Posts: 1705
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 6:35 pm
Location: CP-Late

Post by Sirsonic » Wed Oct 25, 2006 6:00 pm

Wanderer wrote:Don't be a sheep. Just because some other foamer is doing something dumb, doesn't mean you should. Including standing in a place the crew can't see you...you always should be visible. If they see you, they know whether or not they'll hit you. (Choice of whether or not to hit should be left up to engineer's discretion and mood.)
Excellent, thank you. "He was doing it/was there" is not an excuse for being somewhere you don't belong doing something you shouldn't be doing.

On a related note, if I find myself in a chatty mood, I would sooner talk to a well behaved railfan than one who is doing things everyone here has listed as things not to do. Someone who waves to me, and stays somewhere safe when I pass, even if he is trespassing, will not be reported by me unless he is doing something really dumb.
Proven Theory #2 - If you don't work for the railroad, you don't know more than the people who do, no matter how many years you've hung around the tracks, or how well you think you understand railroading.

Rest in peace Jtgshu.

User avatar
Otto Vondrak
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Location: New York

Post by Otto Vondrak » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:16 pm

I think the scope of this conversation extends beyond NJT territory, so I am moving this to the General Discusion.

Friends, I will say this: it's nice to know that you all know how to behave around a railroad, but how about encouraging your fellow railfan to do same? If you see railfans out behaving badly, do your best to keep your distance- no need to become associated with them.

-otto-
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Uzi-Cat
Posts: 1741
Joined: Fri Mar 12, 2004 12:06 pm
Location: Reporting to the Control Center for Reinstruction as we speak.

Post by Uzi-Cat » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:43 pm

Aha, here is a good one especially for people watching NJT. We all know that if you see something dangerous or bad, you should report it to the proper authority. How about if you see something really good. There is no reason you can't call NJT customer service and tell them how GOOD the service you received from a crew was. That rarely happens and you would be amazed how a good letter for a train crew can help them. If you choose to do so, get the train number and crew employee number or name if you happen to know it. NJT hates its crews and it really bugs management when we do a good job. :wink:
"All I wanted was a Pepsi!"

njt/mnrrbuff
Posts: 3582
Joined: Thu Sep 30, 2004 9:33 pm

Post by njt/mnrrbuff » Wed Oct 25, 2006 7:50 pm

In general, always act like any other passenger. Trespassing isn't the shortcut to getting great shots. It's the shortcut for being killed by a train. Even when you are alive, you will be in trouble with the law. Treat the railroad like it's someone else's backyard.

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