Stations where spotters were not welcome

Gostav

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I can understand why some staff really didn't like photography in the old days because many spotters usually taken a cheap "auto" 135 film cameras (and someone may take a 110 pocket camera) which have a simple flash system - the flash would be on work in every times and for the most there are no switch to turn off.
 
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warwickshire

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Waterloo you have to wait for permission from SWR control even when you sign in with NR.
Good point.
Wondering myself iff that it is the same at London liverpool Street ie yes signed in network rail but final approval from abeillo Anglia control or staff dependent on day and situation at the time?.
 

Taunton

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Back in the mid-1960s, at the end of steam, the entrance to the long footpath by Crewe station that led to Crewe South shed had a properly made railway enamel notice in the standard LMR style reading "TRAIN SPOTTERS MUST NOT PASS THIS POINT". You can imagine that Crewe had more than its fair share of them, but was it unique to have a specific notice made about them?

I'm surprised about the poor experiences on the Isle of Man as, visiting in 1966, one of the years the railway was closed, during the time of the manager mentioned, it seemed no trouble for my father to arrange a visit to the Douglas sheds, where we were shown around and discovered, as well as those which had recently run and featured in magazines, several of the locomotives which had not run for many years.
 

rg177

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This wasn't a chap with short dark hair and a foreign accent, by any chance? No xenophobia intended but his accent was a distinguishing feature. I had a 'run in' with him around 2016ish where he came out with the 'photography is banned on Merseyrail because you might be a terrorist' line. Complete rubbish and he ruined a video of an interesting 6 car combo I haven't seen since. It remains the only time I've ever had an issue taking photos on Merseyrail, whose staff are generally very good.

I've only had one issue in the London area and that was at Finsbury Park in late FCC days when a dispatcher claimed our photography was 'putting off the drivers'. Not wanting any confrontation, we agreed to stop and he was nice enough about it. Otherwise, no problems at all in the capital.
No this was a blonde middle aged woman in glasses with a thick scouse accent.
 

bramling

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I've never had a problem at any station, although I'm not a photographer ! Railway policy is now for staff to speak to anyone behaving unusually, eg loitering at the end of a platform where trains do not stop, in the interests of suicide prevention, and that has already saved lives.

Regarding Chesterfield, IIRC in the early 80s there was a particularly zealous ticket inspector at the barrier who tried to ensure that every haulage enthusiast's ticket was clipped, even if they did not leave the station !

Speaking to potential suicides is one thing, however someone with a camera is unlikely to be that.

I can understand why some staff really didn't like photography in the old days because many spotters usually taken a cheap "auto" 135 film cameras (and someone may take a 110 pocket camera) which have a simple flash system - the flash would be on work in every times and for the most there are no switch to turn off.

I’ve always though a bit much is made of flash. Even on LU where drivers work in a dark environment, it really isn’t a massive deal. Worse flashes come from the live rails.

In my view (I realise others take a different view) it’s an issue bigged up by people looking for something to be a problem.
 

Dumpty

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I remember the guy at Chesterfield in the 80's.

"Johnny Rotten" was his nickname.
 

APT618S

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NRM Have a picture from 1962 at New St:


With regard to Engine Spotting at Birmingham New St it states:
"British Railways announce with regret that in the interests of safety the practice of boys remaining on the platforms and railway premises at Birmingham New St Station for the purposes of engine spotting and watching trains is prohibited"

Presumably girls were allowed to go engine spotting :D:D
 

Bevan Price

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I've never had a problem at any station, although I'm not a photographer ! Railway policy is now for staff to speak to anyone behaving unusually, eg loitering at the end of a platform where trains do not stop, in the interests of suicide prevention, and that has already saved lives.

Regarding Chesterfield, IIRC in the early 80s there was a particularly zealous ticket inspector at the barrier who tried to ensure that every haulage enthusiast's ticket was clipped, even if they did not leave the station !
Now that was a good idea. There were some cheating bashers who purchased ordinary returns (valid 3 months) to places like Skegness, and reused the ticket each week if it had not been clipped.
 

Spamcan81

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Interesting timing this thread, Ive been photographing 40+ years, and in more than 50 countries, even some dodgy ones, and never had an issue.

However in the last 3 months Ive found a total step change around London..

first up Clapham Junction, last month, was the worst, and SES security guards saying photography is banned under terrorism laws… they actually got quite strong as several of them approached me all at once and surrounded us, it felt as if they were waiting to catch someone. My 10 year old daughter was with me and got quite distressed.

I have printed out Network Rail / Southern guidelines, but they count for nowt, the SES guys at Clapham took it off me and didnt give it back, and were asking me to delete my pictures (of the yard taken from the footbridge) and said they would take my phone if I didnt comply, I didn’t really have a lot of choice in that so I did… it was very intimidating. Ive since emailed both network rail to ask for clarity, but a month on ive no reply, and let it go.

But.. it repeated a second time last week with 35018 where SES came to clear the platform as the train was in sight, though this time it was just the 1 person, shouting to return up platform 5. However minutes earlier, another security guard shouted at me in the tunnel whilst walk/running between 15 and 5 to see 35018 that I had to put cameras away whilst walking through the tunnel as its forbidden (i was just carrying it on my shoulder moving between platforms).

The first encounter, the security guards for their side did say they were told every morning that under no circumstance are people to take pictures without any exceptions, saying they had been told it is a strict non-negotiable policy, referencing the Manchester Terrorist attacks.

those three events have convinced me Clapham junction is no longer welcoming. Security presence at Clapham Junction is quite large, 30+ people at least.. 1 at each set of stairs minimum, both footbridge and tunnel, plus usual platform staff.

second is Purley, photographing a 59, where again I was told photography isnt allowed without a permit. (i only had my iphone on this occasion, so thought it a bit discriminatory, just because I pointed it at a loco). Again I find it best not to argue, as generally the mindset wont change.

third is Harrow & Wealdstone 2 weeks ago, where after 45 mins or so a polite station officer approached and just asked me to stop taking pictures as its against tfl policy without written permission, all cordial. He said its because too many enthusiasts are putting pictures on youtube.

fourth, same day as Harrow, was Wembley Central, where I was told they close the platforms between trains, which given how narrow it was I suppose is fair enough.

Common thread was TFL managed stations ( I was told at the time), though Purley and Clapham are not.

finally, last week and 57310 on sleepers, I was at Langley (alone) at midnight, I was asked if I was a russian spy, but otherwise didn't care.

I‘m only carrying a Canon SLR camera, usually with my 10 year old little one, who finds being told she is a terrorist a little bit scary, she has an ipad, no tripod or other equipment.

Whilst highlighting the downs, Its worth mentioning the ups.. I turned up Tattenham corner at 1am to see the 73’s on a cold wet night, the station security guard was just pleased to see anyone at all, and we had a 15-20 minute chat about what the fuss was about, and think at the end of it he was a bit more excited about trains.
Similarly several stations have no issues allowing photographers in / out, London Victoria comes to mind, Basingstoke is another, Euston and Kings Cross have never been an issue. During recent engineering works last year the staff at South Croydon let me in to take pictures.

Glasgow Central asked me to sign in, but then went out of his way to radio the staff of my presence and some of the staff came around with me, very welcoming, and even gave me heads up of whats coming / where.

its all a very long way from Bialystok, where turning up at the depot, the foreman promptly gave me a guided tour using an SU45 diesel as our personal shed taxi to go around the place, or Israel, where the driver invited me up to the cab for photographs (where I really wasn't expecting anything like that ).


Either way its a very obvious change from what Ive seen before around London in the last 2-3 months.

Blimey! I was at Clapham Junction last month scoping it for possible shots of 61306. Took some photos without any problems whatsoever. Either I was lucky or you were unlucky.

Have only had real hassle at two stations. Once at Chorleywood during a Steam on the Met event back in the 1990s. One member of staff started ranting that I could not bring a dog onto LT property. Complete nonsense of course but he went on to say that if I did not leave the station he would throw all the photographers off the station. To avoid further confrontation I left the the London bound platform and went to the carpark. As the train approached, I stepped onto the Amersham bound platform, took my picture, gave the guy a cheery wave and went on my way. This was the only time I had any hassle during any of the Steam events. The other station was Arlesey a few years ago. The chap in the booking office was a miserable old git at the best of times but seemed to reserve the worst of his attitude for spotters. He'd make announcements over the tannoy and if you ignored them, he'd leave the booking office and come on to the platform to confront you with all manner of nonsense.
 
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warwickshire

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Don't forget no one can ask you to delete photos from your phone it's your copyright only the police can but with a court order. Ie written.
Security cannot. Security or pcso have no justification whatsoever.
This rule has also been mentioned on YouTube especially the police audit ones good information on them.
However both London euston and Manchester Piccadilly is on there and it appears it has changed very recently.
Or it could be for the next few months or so as lockdown measures are ending.
Also as well especially at the momment with both Manchester and the anniversary off the very sad tube incident ie underground bombings on the tube trains both together and both in mind.
 

colchesterken

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I have given up at Harrow & Wealdstone no use since they put in the fence
I now go to South Kenton good view of pendos at speed, Chap came to me for a chat few weeks ago told him I was a spotter we had a laugh and I was welcome to stay.
Went to Liv st to see the new platform arrangement last week got in the back carriage of a 315 walked back to dee the new layout as I walked past the back of the train a cleaner
asked if I was alright I said very happy to look at the new works, she said OK would a suicidal person do it at a terminal station with a 15 mph limit overaction me thinks.
 

LowLevel

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I have given up at Harrow & Wealdstone no use since they put in the fence
I now go to South Kenton good view of pendos at speed, Chap came to me for a chat few weeks ago told him I was a spotter we had a laugh and I was welcome to stay.
Went to Liv st to see the new platform arrangement last week got in the back carriage of a 315 walked back to dee the new layout as I walked past the back of the train a cleaner
asked if I was alright I said very happy to look at the new works, she said OK would a suicidal person do it at a terminal station with a 15 mph limit overaction me thinks.

You would I think be unfortunately surprised. Not so common but certainly not unusual - they're not thinking straight.
 

warwickshire

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I have given up at Harrow & Wealdstone no use since they put in the fence
I now go to South Kenton good view of pendos at speed, Chap came to me for a chat few weeks ago told him I was a spotter we had a laugh and I was welcome to stay.
Went to Liv st to see the new platform arrangement last week got in the back carriage of a 315 walked back to dee the new layout as I walked past the back of the train a cleaner
asked if I was alright I said very happy to look at the new works, she said OK would a suicidal person do it at a terminal station with a 15 mph limit overaction me thinks.
Agree about harrow and wealdstone fence Is in way.
However was there for only 10 minutes late evening to catch the two 8 car and 12 car 319 services to bletchley and Northampton and also to get a quick shot over the fence off 350127 leading from London ie one off the two in London Midlands livery in case I don't see it again in that livery and no issues at all.
However a lul tube guy was watching but nothing happened.
However I was only there for 10 minutes not much more.
 

Ianigsy

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Back in the mid-1960s, at the end of steam, the entrance to the long footpath by Crewe station that led to Crewe South shed had a properly made railway enamel notice in the standard LMR style reading "TRAIN SPOTTERS MUST NOT PASS THIS POINT". You can imagine that Crewe had more than its fair share of them, but was it unique to have a specific notice made about them?

I'm surprised about the poor experiences on the Isle of Man as, visiting in 1966, one of the years the railway was closed, during the time of the manager mentioned, it seemed no trouble for my father to arrange a visit to the Douglas sheds, where we were shown around and discovered, as well as those which had recently run and featured in magazines, several of the locomotives which had not run for many years.
Warrington Bank Quay had a “No Train Spotters Allowed” sign circa 1980 (and in the post-1960s rail alphabet style) although when my dad and I were passing through we would have had tickets for travel.

One relic of times past on the Isle of Man is perhaps the speed with which locos are detached and run round on arrival at their destination, which took me by surprise to begin with!
 

philthetube

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Does anyone know if platform tickets are available for Blackpool north, I looked at the machine recently and nothing there, but it would be interesting if they were,
 
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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".
I was about to mention Wigan North Western, and then read Bevan Price’s entry: my experience exactly in the mid-1950s ......
In the early 1970s era of double-headed Class 50s, I don't remember ever being booted off the platforms at Wigan NW, but I do recall it could be a bit touch-and-go getting on there as a spotter in the first place.

There was always at least one man on the barrier back in the day (and it was always a man} and it seemed to depend on the ticket collector's mood or whim whether you were allowed onto the platforms as a spotter.
  • 3 times out of 4 there was no problem.
  • Sometimes the blackboard provided to advise passengers of any disruptions had the chalked message NO SPOTTERS, so you knew to go away.
  • But sometimes the ticket collector would just mutter "Sorry lad, no spotters today". Unfortunately this was after you'd spent 2p of your hard-earned pocket money on a platform ticket.
    Nowadays, of course, you could start an argument that your platform ticket meant you had "entered into a contract with the railway". Or you could post the unused platform ticket into Customer Services and get a RTV for 2p as compensation.
 

Kilopylae

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Speaking to potential suicides is one thing, however someone with a camera is unlikely to be that.

would a suicidal person do it at a terminal station with a 15 mph limit overaction me thinks.
Better safe than sorry, in both cases. Your mild annoyance at being asked if you're OK is not worth watering down a life-saving general policy over.
 

nickw1

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Warrington, Wigan and the permit policy at Stafford... was London Midland in general perhaps rather negative towards enthusiasts in the 1970s/80s?

Crewe on the other hand seemed to take a more balanced approach of only prohibiting things which were actually unsafe, as in, walking on the lines or into the depot.
 

bramling

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Better safe than sorry, in both cases. Your mild annoyance at being asked if you're OK is not worth watering down a life-saving general policy over.

Personally, I find it irritating to be asked “are you okay” just through hanging around for slightly longer than normal in a location. One can get this even sitting on a bench waiting for someone.

I tend to mind my own business to what others are doing, and to a large extent expect same to apply in return.

Mental health care in this country is a shambles, we shouldn’t be needing to rely on making railway staff the last line of defence. As well as being an irritant, in my view it places an unfair burden on them - I’ve known of incidents which have happened, and afterwards questions have been asked along the lines of “wasn’t anyone watching the cameras?”.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views on this, however in my view a lot more should be done before someone gets anywhere near a station platform.
 
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I now go to South Kenton good view of pendos at speed, Chap came to me for a chat few weeks ago told him I was a spotter we had a laugh and I was welcome to stay.
Yes, South Kenton is a good spot. And yes, someone came to have a chat with me too. Really friendly guy who was just concerned about my welfare. His remit was something like "customer engagement" and his patch included stations in that area - obviously looking out for "jumpers".

He even let me take his picture and put it on the internet (with permission) as he felt it would help get the message out to a wider audience and reassure others.

Someone mentioned Purley above. I was there early doors when a message came across the tannoy - "will someone check the person on platform 5 wearing a woolly hat" (ie me). Again, had a friendly chat when said member of staff approached me.
 

61653 HTAFC

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Personally, I find it irritating to be asked “are you okay” just through hanging around for slightly longer than normal in a location. One can get this even sitting on a bench waiting for someone.

I tend to mind my own business to what others are doing, and to a large extent expect same to apply in return.

Mental health care in this country is a shambles, we shouldn’t be needing to rely on making railway staff the last line of defence. As well as being an irritant, in my view it places an unfair burden on them - I’ve known of incidents which have happened, and afterwards questions have been asked along the lines of “wasn’t anyone watching the cameras?”.

I don’t expect everyone to agree with my views on this, however in my view a lot more should be done before someone gets anywhere near a station platform.
It would be easy to get angry at this post, but I do see where you are coming from to an extent: ideally the intervention for a person in crisis would happen before they get to the point of going to a platform end. Expecting railway staff to pick up the slack in the mental health system is ultimately not a sustainable solution, not least because they probably don't receive much training in terms of distinguishing between a spotter and a person at the end of their tether. On the other hand, a few false positives are a small price to pay if it saves lives.

The greater issue is the lack of funding for mental health services, often resulting in treatment only being offered after a person has already self-harmed in some way (or come close to doing so). But to the bean-counters, the proverbial ambulance at the bottom of the cliff is cheaper than a fence at the top.
 

bramling

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It would be easy to get angry at this post, but I do see where you are coming from to an extent: ideally the intervention for a person in crisis would happen before they get to the point of going to a platform end. Expecting railway staff to pick up the slack in the mental health system is ultimately not a sustainable solution, not least because they probably don't receive much training in terms of distinguishing between a spotter and a person at the end of their tether. On the other hand, a few false positives are a small price to pay if it saves lives.

The greater issue is the lack of funding for mental health services, often resulting in treatment only being offered after a person has already self-harmed in some way (or come close to doing so). But to the bean-counters, the proverbial ambulance at the bottom of the cliff is cheaper than a fence at the top.

Having had some experience of mental health “care” in respect of a relative, dire is an understatement. The mental health care received was worse than if it hadn’t happened at all.

This is why I largely object to this notion of railway staff being expected to pick up the pieces, which then translates to anyone then having to explain themselves just because they happen (for whatever reason) to stand still in a location for a few minutes. I don’t kick off if staff ask as I realise why it happens, but I intensely dislike it.

It isn’t just funding for mental health care (though that’s a big part of it), but societal attitudes as a whole. Large segments of society treat others like dirt, yet when someone dies the tears are turned on, which I find quite hypocritical. Just as a basic hypothetical example, no doubt there are people who take their life as a result of financial difficulties - how about doing something about things like loan sharks or the way credit limits are increased for people in debt? Simple things which would go some way to stopping people getting to the point where they’re on a station platform.
 
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Scotrail314209

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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).

I have to say, I was at Blackpool North just last week myself, and the staff were very welcoming. There was still RPI on the platform who were friendly as was the staff member letting people through the gates.

Contrast to my visit before that when the staff couldn't be bothered.

Someone somewhere has obviously got a telling off and it's changed.
 

colchesterken

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No Please dont get me wrong I do not mind being spoken to, It just seemed pointless
at a terminus station platform
As to South Kenton I fully understand, an old git watching 125mph trains for 1/2 hr
is understandable if it helps one person it is worth it.
 

Islineclear3_1

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Had a minor issue with a jobsworth social distancing woman recently who appeared on the station from town. I was walking up the platform (with my camera) and crossed the yellow line to give her space (the platform was crowded where we passed). She ordered asked me to stay on the right side of the yellow line. I politely informed her the reason for crossing the line (to give her space) and added I would cross back once we had passed. There were no trains due. The woman was not impressed and muttered something to herself before continuing up the platform and exiting the station

The other station was Arlesey a few years ago. The chap in the booking office was a miserable old git at the best of times but seemed to reserve the worst of his attitude for spotters. He'd make announcements over the tannoy and if you ignored them, he'd leave the booking office and come on to the platform to confront you with all manner of nonsense.
I had this once at South Kenton a few years ago. I politely informed the officious clerk that if he did not return to his booking office, I would report him for abandoning his duty. He promptly turned around and walked back the other way and I never saw him again
 
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45039

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I've never had a problem at any station, although I'm not a photographer ! Railway policy is now for staff to speak to anyone behaving unusually, eg loitering at the end of a platform where trains do not stop, in the interests of suicide prevention, and that has already saved lives.

Regarding Chesterfield, IIRC in the early 80s there was a particularly zealous ticket inspector at the barrier who tried to ensure that every haulage enthusiast's ticket was clipped, even if they did not leave the station !
Yep that particular member of staff if i remember correctly was called johnny i used to bash sheffield-chesterfield was very disheartening if you got gripped on the first trip he used to stand at the top of the steps at platform 1 on the subway, we used to wait while the train on P1 was due to depart then rush him and pile on the train as it was leaving.

Really? Surely not? I don't believe it! :D
Yep we did !!!
 

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