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Amtrak taps into rail fan base to boost security

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"Through a new program dubbed Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security being launched Tuesday, Amtrak will recruit people who are already watching and riding trains to keep an eye out for suspicious activity on trains and around stations and tracks.

 

Passengers and rail fans can register online to participate in the "neighborhood watch style program." They'll be issued membership cards and learn more about what safety and security concerns they should look out for and how to report them.

 

Rail fans — or "railfans" as they call themselves — are the ideal candidates for the program, Amtrak Police Chief John O'Connor said Monday. They're already out watching trains and tracks across the country every day and will notice if something is amiss. They know sometimes better than our employees...They know engine numbers and car numbers and time tables. They know better than the fisherman knows the tides."

 

 

 

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/AP6dafd9ce67e84599bda131364a41b223.html

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Notice to people from NYCT registering-watch the age limits! Apparently, you must be over 18. A bit weird, since you can get an Amtrak Guest Rewards account at 16.

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Notice to people from NYCT registering-watch the age limits! Apparently, you must be over 18. A bit weird, since you can get an Amtrak Guest Rewards account at 16.

 

Not really. I personally wouldn't want a 16 year old kid looking out for security issues.

 

What Amtrak is doing is actually pretty common in Europe (Great Britain especially). Hopefully the (MTA) and NYPD catch on instead of harassing photographers.

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This is something the MTA could definitely do... as a volunteer program

 

Yeah like an internship.

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Not really. I personally wouldn't want a 16 year old kid looking out for security issues.

 

What Amtrak is doing is actually pretty common in Europe (Great Britain especially). Hopefully the (MTA) and NYPD catch on instead of harassing photographers.

 

Maybe in Great Britain, but not here in The Netherlands.

 

Good idea btw from Amtrak :P Would love to see that here too :)

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Hopefully one day the PATH does this instead of harrasing fanners with there Unconsitional laws...

 

PATH and PATCO have the right to do that for only one reason. They are both interstate railroads (not subways) that cross large bodies of water. If they allow filming a terriost can easy know where and when to hide a bomb by looking at railfanner's youtube. MARTA in Atlanta need to lift their anti-photography policy. That one's just plain fudging stupid.

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PATH and PATCO have the right to do that for only one reason. They are both interstate railroads (not subways) that cross large bodies of water. If they allow filming a terriost can easy know where and when to hide a bomb by looking at railfanner's youtube. MARTA in Atlanta need to lift their anti-photography policy. That one's just plain fudging stupid.

 

There are no photobans along the Interstates or restricting Bridge photograph , why would you ban photography on a public Transit system. Alot of systems have lost that battle in court due to the first amendment , the PATH and PATCO are the only 2 systems that haven't been sued yet , but that will probably happen soon.

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There are no photobans along the Interstates or restricting Bridge photograph , why would you ban photography on a public Transit system. Alot of systems have lost that battle in court due to the first amendment , the PATH and PATCO are the only 2 systems that haven't been sued yet , but that will probably happen soon.

 

I never knew PATCO had a photo ban...

 

By the way, there is a photo ban on all MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and maybe other bridges/tunnels in NYC.

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"Through a new program dubbed Partners for Amtrak Safety and Security being launched Tuesday, Amtrak will recruit people who are already watching and riding trains to keep an eye out for suspicious activity on trains and around stations and tracks.

 

Passengers and rail fans can register online to participate in the "neighborhood watch style program." They'll be issued membership cards and learn more about what safety and security concerns they should look out for and how to report them.

 

Rail fans — or "railfans" as they call themselves — are the ideal candidates for the program, Amtrak Police Chief John O'Connor said Monday. They're already out watching trains and tracks across the country every day and will notice if something is amiss. They know sometimes better than our employees...They know engine numbers and car numbers and time tables. They know better than the fisherman knows the tides."

 

 

 

Read more: http://online.wsj.com/article/AP6dafd9ce67e84599bda131364a41b223.html

 

Since when did railfans become vigilantes??? I think this is a little overkill. If they want to deter crimes, hire more damn police and put them undercover. I don't see the need to have railfans sign up for this. EVERYONE should be on the lookout, not just railfans.

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Since when did railfans become vigilantes??? I think this is a little overkill. If they want to deter crimes, hire more damn police and put them undercover. I don't see the need to have railfans sign up for this. EVERYONE should be on the lookout, not just railfans.

 

Who said anything about deterring crime? From what I read in the article, it's about having people out there who will notice unusual activity that employees might not even notice. No where does it say that there giving these people bill clubs and telling them to go after any one, just observe and report. And while everyone should be on the look out for suspicious activity, your average passenger doesn't really know what is suspicious and whats not.

 

Taken from the Amtrak site for this program:

"Remember to cooperate fully with Amtrak Police or other law enforcement when contacted. If suspicious activities are noted, report it to Amtrak Police at (800) 331-0008 or local law enforcement officers by dialing 911. Do not take any further action!"

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Who said anything about deterring crime? From what I read in the article, it's about having people out there who will notice unusual activity that employees might not even notice. No where does it say that there giving these people bill clubs and telling them to go after any one, just observe and report. And while everyone should be on the look out for suspicious activity, your average passenger doesn't really know what is suspicious and whats not.

 

We've seen how obsessed fans can act... I don't want to stereotype either, but I'm sure you recall that crazy guy that was arrested numerous times for stealing city buses and driving them? I know it doesn't say anything about vigilantes, but sometimes folks can get ideas in their head and they may go above and beyond what they should be doing. I think they need to be a bit careful with this, not so much the whole watching thing, but just the idea of choosing specific people to do so. You know what I'm talking about... The I'm a big hero so let me be robocop and take matters into my own hands because I've been asked to watch suspicious activities.

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We've seen how obsessed fans can act... I don't want to stereotype either, but I'm sure you recall that crazy guy that was arrested numerous times for stealing city buses and driving them? I know it doesn't say anything about vigilantes, but sometimes folks can get ideas in their head and they may go above and beyond what they should be doing. I think they need to be a bit careful with this, not so much the whole watching thing, but just the idea of choosing specific people to do so. You know what I'm talking about... The I'm a big hero so let me be robocop and take matters into my own hands because I've been asked to watch suspicious activities.

 

I know what your talking about but how many people have taken a bus or a subway train for a joy ride compared to the number of people who take photos of trains?

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I never knew PATCO had a photo ban...

 

By the way, there is a photo ban on all MTA Bridges and Tunnels, and maybe other bridges/tunnels in NYC.

 

That has been repealed or is never enforced....

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I know what your talking about but how many people have taken a bus or a subway train for a joy ride compared to the number of people who take photos of trains?

 

I know what you mean, but I just think that it's pathetic that we need to have "specific" people be on the lookout. Whatever happened to people using common sense?? It seems like we're becoming less aware and self-absorbed everyday.

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I know what you mean, but I just think that it's pathetic that we need to have "specific" people be on the lookout. Whatever happened to people using common sense?? It seems like we're becoming less aware and self-absorbed everyday.

 

There is no such thing as common sense any more though.

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Most Rail fanners trespass and violate the rules set in the program so i don't know how this will work.

 

I wonder how it ill work with photography, as very limited Amtrak employees don't know about photography being legal.

 

There are no photobans along the Interstates or restricting Bridge photograph , why would you ban photography on a public Transit system. Alot of systems have lost that battle in court due to the first amendment , the PATH and PATCO are the only 2 systems that haven't been sued yet , but that will probably happen soon.

 

(MTA) and the Port Authority has a ban on photography along there bridges. Now if your on public property and not an (MTA) / PA NYNJ Bridge your good for a shot... Or take the risk of taking a pix on there bridge.

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I wonder how it ill work with photography, as very limited Amtrak employees don't know about photography being legal.

 

 

 

(MTA) and the Port Authority has a ban on photography along there bridges. Now if your on public property and not an (MTA) / PA NYNJ Bridge your good for a shot... Or take the risk of taking a pix on there bridge.

 

you can take a photo in a car and noone will see you, have someone drive and you sit in the passenger seat and you can take photos all you want of the roadway and the signs.

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