Stations where spotters were not welcome

rg177

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I had issues at Luton a few years ago. It all boiled down essentially to the bloke wanting to feel important and saying all photography was banned unless he allowed you to. Thankfully I was only passing through.

Liverpool Central I also had a weird incident around 2016 where, having gone down to the platforms, took a photo of my train then boarded, a staff member chased me onto it and told me that was banned because I might be a terrorist (!)

I remember back in 2017 when I was on the Madrid Cercanias network, I sauntered to the back end of the train I'd just left, only to be chased by two security guards, followed by a collective "ohhhh" as I spun around and took a photo of the train. Photography, surprisingly, was perfectly fine by them, they just thought I was off for a wander down the tracks!
 
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ClagLover

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I have found the staff at Man Picc (even when signed in) on p13/14 to be rather wary of spotters. Maybe due to the business of the platforms? Preston, on other hand, have always been great.
 

Gloster

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In the mid-1970s they were fine at Reading as long as you stayed at the west end of Platform 5, the Up Main. Wander anywhere else and you might get told off.

About twenty years ago I had a few hours to kill in Birmingham and decided to have a look at Snow Hill, which I hadn’t seen since it was a rubble-strewn wasteland. The amount of explanation I had to give before grudgingly being allowed to go down to the platforms was ridiculous. I was told that I wasn’t allowed more than twenty minutes and had to report back to the desk when I came back up again.
 

warwickshire

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London liverpool Street and Birmingham new Street.
Even signed in.
Or for a very quick photo between trains ie even with a five minute connection and valid tkt.
 

LowLevel

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I have found the staff at Man Picc (even when signed in) on p13/14 to be rather wary of spotters. Maybe due to the business of the platforms? Preston, on other hand, have always been great.

There's always spotters at the south end of platform 13. I've never seen any of them receiving any hassle or doing anything but quietly spotting or photographing trains and I've been working trains through those platforms for years now.

They might not keen in the busier areas though - they have significant crowding issues at times.
 

ClagLover

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There's always spotters at the south end of platform 13. I've never seen any of them receiving any hassle or doing anything but quietly spotting or photographing trains and I've been working trains through those platforms for years now.

They might not keen in the busier areas though - they have significant crowding issues at times.
Whenever I’ve been spotting down the end I’ve always been questioned.
 

Bevan Price

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Many years ago (steam era) Wigan North Western was generally tolerant, but if the crowds of enthusiasts got too large and too noisy, they would broadcast the announcement we dreaded "It is now time for all trainspotters to leave the station".
 

Vespa

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Liverpool Central I also had a weird incident around 2016 where, having gone down to the platforms, took a photo of my train then boarded, a staff member chased me onto it and told me that was banned because I might be a terrorist (!)

I would love one of them to do just that just so I can show them my pass and demonstrate that my security clearance is way higher than theirs :D

Never had a problem but then I'm not so overt, did get asked once in Lime St, just said taking a pic for my friend so he would know where I am.
 

Grumpy Git

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I'm not a spotter, but during a particularly long change at Crewe last year I wandered to the south end of P6 and an Avanti staff member came down and asked if I was OK.
 

Merthyr Imp

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Back in the early 1960s you weren't allowed on New Basford station. At Grantham at the same time I (aged 11) could only get on with a platform ticket if I was with my father (although they didn't seem to mind spotters arriving and departing by train - but insisted they stay on the island platform).

Tamworth was apparently notorious for not allowing spotters in those days, and I remember once I was only allowed on Nottingham Midland as I was wearing my Ian Allan Locospotters Club badge.
 

pdeaves

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I'm not a spotter, but during a particularly long change at Crewe last year I wandered to the south end of P6 and an Avanti staff member came down and asked if I was OK.
That's standard policy now, just in case you had intentions to end it all. I had a similar question somewhere else recently and it was only after I left I twigged the real underlying concern. Better check for no reason than ignore the person and something bad happens.
 

Dave W

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That's standard policy now, just in case you had intentions to end it all. I had a similar question somewhere else recently and it was only after I left I twigged the real underlying concern. Better check for no reason than ignore the person and something bad happens.
Yes I regaled in the recent thread about fatality procedures my tale of being very tentatively approached by a young lad at Finsbury Park. An interaction of any kind could make people think again. In context of this thread, such an act of kindness - even if required by the company - is at the opposite end of the spectrum to some of the power trips described.
 

Aictos

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Waterloo you have to wait for permission from SWR control even when you sign in with NR.
 
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David Goddard

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Not had too many issues over the years but a couple stand out.

Bedford circa 2003 - was in the town for the day and thought I would go and watch the trains for an hour. Asked at the ticket office for a platform ticket (was happy to pay the 10p) and was advised to just ask at the barrier. Did that and was let through, only to be ordered to sit on a bench near the gateline, where they could see me, and from where you cant see much else once a train comes into the platform. I duly said "don't bother" and left.

Chester 2012 - we were on the platform waiting for the breakfast WAG just as far as Shrewsbury and took a few photos of the station. Some officious twit came up to us and said he had seen us on the CCTV and that we could not take photos as it was a sensitive area of the station where security equipment was located. My response was "thank you for telling me where the security equipment is located, I would never have known if you had not made me aware, its just as well I am not a terrorist". He duly retreated as we boarded the train.

I echo others comments about Reading, my local station. Have never had a problem there at all. Did wonder if it would get more difficult when the rebuild happened but not at all.
 

Grumpy

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I recall that in the early 1960's there were posters on Crewe station (and possibly at Chester) saying that train spotters were not allowed. Also getting chucked off both stations. I suppose that it must have been a nuisance in the summer school holidays/Saturdays when most of the benches and platform trolleys were occupied by trainspotters.
 

WesternLancer

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A friend of mine who is older than me and used to spot in the late 50s early 60s talks about 'the field' at Tamworth, and going there to spot. He speaks as if this field was leased / provided by BR for spotters in order to clear them off the station to a location where they may be less nuisance to other passengers or to stop crowds of kids building up (this may of course be his childhood assumption about it as he admits, you don't tend to wonder about such reasons too much when you are a child I guess). Of course it could simply be that there was a field with easy access and staff told people to use it, and whoever owned it had no issues.

I'm not sure if this was combined with any sort of unwelcoming attitude on the part of staff at Tamworth or not.

On passing through Tamworth on the train I've looked out to wonder which field this was. I'm guessing some people on this forum will be well familiar with it and can give me a clue / map reference?
 

Islineclear3_1

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Blackpool North is the obvious one, though it does seem to be the case that if one asks to be allowed on the platform then it *may* be granted, depending on who’s on and what mood they’re in!

Others which have cropped up over recent years:
Anywhere on c2c and the London end of Greater Anglia
Tyne & Wear Metro
Wadhurst
Bexhill
Luton
Liverpool Street

In genera attitudes seem to have softened again over the last few years, after things got worse with the advent of private security and the general post 9/11 focus on “security”.

No doubt others will have experiences to add.
Bexhill??

I used to be a regular there and never, ever had a problem. Mind you, the ticket barriers didn't arrive until later but even so...
 

ABB125

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In 2016 (I think) I was at Liverpool Central with some friends, taking a few pictures whilst waiting for our train. A member of staff came along and told us we weren't allowed to take pictures, because it interfered with the signalling, or somesuch nonsense...
 

Grumpy Git

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In 2016 (I think) I was at Liverpool Central with some friends, taking a few pictures whilst waiting for our train. A member of staff came along and told us we weren't allowed to take pictures, because it interfered with the signalling, or somesuch nonsense...

The same person probably thinks the Covid-19 vaccine contains a microchip.
 

Radley

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A member of staff at the barriers at East Tilbury station one weekday morning noticed I was filming. She then threatened me to show her my photo gallery on my phone (not everything but just the recordings that morning). So I deleted them all, and she let me out and get the returning train back home.

Thanks to iPhone’s recently deleted folder, you get a second opportunity to delete videos/photos so when I hopped on the train back home, I just recovered all the videos recorded that morning! (That was pretty naughty of me haha)
 

Bikeman78

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At Fenchurch Street I thought I was going to get told off for a taking a photo. Quite the opposite, the member of staff came to congratulate me on getting a photo of a 302 and a 317 side by side in the middle two platforms. Apparently it was quite rare. The two classes didn't overlap for long.
 

ABB125

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A member of staff at the barriers at East Tilbury station one weekday morning noticed I was filming. She then threatened me to show her my photo gallery on my phone (not everything but just the recordings that morning). So I deleted them all, and she let me out and get the returning train back home.

Thanks to iPhone’s recently deleted folder, you get a second opportunity to delete videos/photos so when I hopped on the train back home, I just recovered all the videos recorded that morning! (That was pretty naughty of me haha)
The thing is, what's the point in making someone delete pictures/video? It sounds rather like being spiteful, and making a point
 

Radley

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Oh wow, that’s definitely the contrary, especially with c2c!

The thing is, what's the point in making someone delete pictures/video? It sounds rather like being spiteful, and making a point
yeah. she probably had a stupid reason to spit out.
 

6Gman

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In 50+ years I can only think of two incidents (both in my early/mid teens).

Photographed a 26 at Glasgow Queen Street and a member of staff pointed out that there were some soldiers alighting from the train and maybe I should put the camera away while they were around. Reasonable.

On the same holiday at Inverness there was a Griddle Car in the platform. (For younger readers, Griddle Cars were few in number (single figures), largely based in Scotland, and their origins obscure - some were converted from other stock IIRC) In order to try to work out its origin I looked at the works plate to check its Lot Number and date. At which point a member of staff told me to stop immediately, that the works plate was staff use only and that I had no right to read it, and certainly not to write down the details! Fortunately my father (a railwayman) was with me and he quickly put him in his place!

Now, you try photographing buses! ! !

Obscene gestures, cursing, and numerous (false) claims of legal prohibitions . . .
 

YorksLad12

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A great many years ago I was a student on placement at WYPTE, and had observed a meeting between us and BR Provincial about poster adverts on the new Pacers. The conversation went nowhere as it was clear that no-one else in the room actually used these trains; but I knew where they could best be displayed (carriage ends, near the doors). So I was given a Polaroid camera and told to get on with (at Leeds), hopping on and off any trains waiting to depart.

"If I'm stopped I'll tell them I'm a spotter," I said.
"Don't tell them that you'll get thrown off the station!"

In later years working for them I had many occasions where it was just me and a tame photographer but sometimes it was just me trying to take sample shots that he could do properly afterwards, including one time at the end of P17 to get a Northern and TPE unit in the same shot. Never a problem, and I never signed in when it was just me (even though I could have, they had my photo in the system to make up the badge). The trouble with Leeds is that there aren't than many good places to stand except at the end of P6/P8, which is quite narrow.

Someone railway related did once point out the usefulness of spotters as they notice people behaving oddly (for suicidal or terrorism reasons) and should be welcomed as an extra pair of eyes if they followed the rules (no flash, no tripod, etc).

Now, you try photographing buses! ! !

Obscene gestures, cursing, and numerous (false) claims of legal prohibitions . . .
Yep. They usually think you're photographing their poor driving.
 
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I was about to mention Wigan North Western, and then read Bevan Price’s entry: my experience exactly in the mid-1950s. We were also shooed away from Thatto Heath station sometimes, especially when there were up to seven of us on the steps down to the platform. My spotting visits nowadays, to stations, are mainly to Shrewsbury, my local. I remember someone relating his bad experience here, but on the contrary, my contacts with BTP personnel at Shrewsbury station have always been good (I am usually awaiting the appearance of a particular train, so am on my way after a few minutes).
 

LOL The Irony

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Also I don't really get this hate on Blackpool North, I was there very recently and the staff were very friendly.
You appear to be the exception. As a rule of thumb, they have general disdain for pretty much anyone using their station and only open the platform doors with minutes to spare. But to be fair, this has improved over recent years after the Geoff Marshal incident. Also the door thing doesn't seem to effect Avanti (probably because when Virgin ran it, they were told in no uncertain terms, were the doors to still be closed with x minutes to departure).
 

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