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GWR experience

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PudseyBearHST

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Hi. I was at Reading Station today and I was going to Slough and only about every 3rd or 4th fast train stops at Slough so I was just waiting at the front of the platform where it says 'HST car stop 7/8' so I can have a nice view of the HSTs as I am a big fan of trains- I have had free train travel (BR pass and SWT pass) all my life and I particularly love the HSTs so I thought I would get a nice view by standing at the front. But today when I did this, the driver got out of his cab and says I should go away and that 'I was acting suspicious'- I am Muslim and it probably is not hard to guess from my skin colour that I am Middle-Eastern so I was not sure if I should be offended. And for those of you who know Reading Train station, it is an extremely long platform. Was I doing anything wrong bearing in mind I was standing well behind the yellow line and so atleast 4-5 metres away from the cab door- I understand if I was right next to the cab door, he might think I might hijack the train or something but I was standing very far back. And also I do this regularly because I travel to and from University pretty much every Monday-Friday; some drivers are actually very friendly and they will smile, wave and one or two have even come out of their cab to say hello but today's experience was, sadly, a bit different. Sorry if it seems like I'm writing a story but I just want to know did I do anything wrong? Legally, could I get arrested or anything like that? Have I just taken this too personal?
Oh and I would just like to add that there are usually some other people standing/sitting there to. And also, there is plenty of platform staff and not once has anyone said anything to me.
 
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najaB

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Sorry if it seems like I'm writing a story but I just want to know did I do anything wrong? Legally, could I get arrested or anything like that? Have I just taken this too personal?
As long as you were behind the yellow line and hadn't passed any signs that prohibited you from being in the area, then you did nothing wrong. The driver was probably just having a bad day and wanted to share.
 

PudseyBearHST

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As long as you were behind the yellow line and hadn't passed any signs that prohibited you from being in the area, then you did nothing wrong. The driver was probably just having a bad day and wanted to share.

Yes thats what I thought. I didn't mention this in my original post, but the first thing he asked me when he got out of his cab was "What are you doing?" I answered him because I wanted to be polite but I don't think he has any right to ask me that because I was not doing anything wrong. I was definitely not in a prohibited area and I was a comfortable distance from the cab door (a good 1-2 metres behind the yellow line). Even when got out of his cab to speak to me, I still stood back because I don't want him accusing me of hijacking the train or anything stupid like that.
Thanks for your comment :D
 

robbeech

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He most certainly does have a right to ask, and you can answer him to say you are looking at trains because you like them and everyone can get on with their day. As has been stated already, he was likely having a bad day. You haven't done anything wrong so there isn't anything to worry about.
 

route:oxford

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I particularly love the HSTs so I thought I would get a nice view by standing at the front. But today when I did this, the driver got out of his cab and says I should go away and that 'I was acting suspicious'- I am Muslim and it probably is not hard to guess from my skin colour that I am Middle-Eastern so I was not sure if I should be offended.

On the GWR it's very common for people who hang around the end of the platforms to step in front of non-stop services.

It's not your skin colour he was worried about, it was your mental health.
 

route:oxford

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That's a very good point. Sounds like it might just be two different meanings of 'suspicious'.

There was a "near miss" at Didcot in the afternoon

http://www.oxfordmail.co.uk/news/14775409.Man_rescued_from_train_tracks_at_Didcot_Parkway_station/

Maybe got the same driver...

POLICE have taken a man to safety after he trespassed onto train tracks at Didcot Parkway.

Great Western Railway and Cross Country lines were delayed after the fear for welfare incident, which happened at about 1.15pm this afternoon.

Matt Woodhouse, a spokesman for British Transport Police, said officers were called out to the railway line near Marsh Lane.

He said: "A passing train stopped and helped him. He will be taken to a point of safety."

Trains are now running as normal.
 

najaB

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Strange thread
Not that strange. When you have brown skin you get asked questions that you get the feeling wouldn't be asked if you were white. Doesn't happen often, but it does happen. So I can understand why PudseyBearHST was a bit confused about it.

Edit: I'm not accusing the driver of being racist, to be clear. I think the 'might be suicidal' is a likely explanation for the question.
 
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route:oxford

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True. But all trains stop at reading and I have said, I was no where near the platform edge.

You need to look out for the thread about the Friday non-stop services through Reading...

There are also positioning moves and freight services that are not stop through Reading.

Then there are approaching services that are stopping at Reading, that would still prove fatal if they were to strike an individual who chose to take a step or running jump forward.
 

PudseyBearHST

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I guess I was a bit confused because so many other people do it and they don't get asked. Also I would of thought that would be a matter of the platform staff who have never said anything to me. And for those of you who know Reading train station, it has an extremely long platform. Even with the HST which has 8 coaches, there is a still a good 15/20 metres to the end of the platform. But yeah I guess he was looking out for my safety which I might not appreciate.
But thanks again everyone for your help!
 

Muzer

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It might be he did think you were up to no good for dubious reasons. Or it might be he was just jumpy because of the aforementioned incidents earlier in the day. I remember when a friend and I were attempting to take photos on Thameslink stations, and all the way up the line at almost every stop we were being accosted by staff telling us that we should have asked at the office before taking photos (which IS in the guidelines but in this instance would have been infeasible because we were just doing short hops within the travelcard zones, getting a couple of shots and then catching the next train). Turns out there had been a bomb scare at Luton Airport and the staff were all told that they needed to be vigilant that day.
 

PudseyBearHST

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It might be he did think you were up to no good for dubious reasons. Or it might be he was just jumpy because of the aforementioned incidents earlier in the day. I remember when a friend and I were attempting to take photos on Thameslink stations, and all the way up the line at almost every stop we were being accosted by staff telling us that we should have asked at the office before taking photos (which IS in the guidelines but in this instance would have been infeasible because we were just doing short hops within the travelcard zones, getting a couple of shots and then catching the next train). Turns out there had been a bomb scare at Luton Airport and the staff were all told that they needed to be vigilant that day.

Yes thats true. Unfortunately I think it was my second post that has seem to sway the question from what I was asking in my original post. My main point was that he actually told me to 'go away' even though I was doing absolutely nothing wrong. I don't care that he was asking me questions. (although I am still not convinced I have to answer them). But the fact he told me to go away is what I don't agree with!
 
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Antman

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Hi. I was at Reading Station today and I was going to Slough and only about every 3rd or 4th fast train stops at Slough so I was just waiting at the front of the platform where it says 'HST car stop 7/8' so I can have a nice view of the HSTs as I am a big fan of trains- I have had free train travel (BR pass and SWT pass) all my life and I particularly love the HSTs so I thought I would get a nice view by standing at the front. But today when I did this, the driver got out of his cab and says I should go away and that 'I was acting suspicious'- I am Muslim and it probably is not hard to guess from my skin colour that I am Middle-Eastern so I was not sure if I should be offended. And for those of you who know Reading Train station, it is an extremely long platform. Was I doing anything wrong bearing in mind I was standing well behind the yellow line and so atleast 4-5 metres away from the cab door- I understand if I was right next to the cab door, he might think I might hijack the train or something but I was standing very far back. And also I do this regularly because I travel to and from University pretty much every Monday-Friday; some drivers are actually very friendly and they will smile, wave and one or two have even come out of their cab to say hello but today's experience was, sadly, a bit different. Sorry if it seems like I'm writing a story but I just want to know did I do anything wrong? Legally, could I get arrested or anything like that? Have I just taken this too personal?
Oh and I would just like to add that there are usually some other people standing/sitting there to. And also, there is plenty of platform staff and not once has anyone said anything to me.

Without having been there it is difficult to pass judgment but if you think the driver behaved inappropriately you should take the matter up with GWR.
 

PudseyBearHST

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Without having been there it is difficult to pass judgment but if you think the driver behaved inappropriately you should take the matter up with GWR.

Ok Thank you. I'll definitely think about that!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Without having been there it is difficult to pass judgment but if you think the driver behaved inappropriately you should take the matter up with GWR.

I think you make a very good point and something I did not really think about when I made this thread because a lot of people are talking about how the driver was interested in my safety and mental health, etc... when I am fairly confident that it had nothing to do with that because as I have already said many times, I was no where near the platform edge or even near the end of the platform! And lets say I was mentally unwell, you would have thought the driver would have been more polite and said 'hello, can I help you' or something rather than 'What are you doing here' so abruptly. And I would of thought it would be something for the platform staff to be concerned about rather than the driver.(at least 3-4 people on that platform)
 

najaB

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And lets say I was mentally unwell, you would have thought the driver would have been more polite and said 'hello, can I help you' or something rather than 'What are you doing here' so abruptly.
Not necessarily. Since the objective is to break the suicidal thought chain, it's often suggested to say or ask something weird or shocking. 'Can I help' just adds to the feeling of helplessness that often precedes a desperate act.
 

Dieseldriver

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As a driver I generally try tout say hello to people who are in a 'strange' place on a platform (far away from other passengers at the approach end in particular). This is just to check that they are OK and to try guage their reaction as to whether they have any intentions of harming themselves.
 

PudseyBearHST

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As a driver I generally try tout say hello to people who are in a 'strange' place on a platform (far away from other passengers at the approach end in particular). This is just to check that they are OK and to try guage their reaction as to whether they have any intentions of harming themselves.

Yes I have absolutely no problem with that. In fact some drivers I meet are extremely friendly- they will smile, wave and may even come out of the cab to say hello. I have no problem with that and in fact I encourage it. But I don't agree with drivers being rude and certainly don't agree with drivers telling me to 'go away' when I am not in a prohibited area!
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Not necessarily. Since the objective is to break the suicidal thought chain, it's often suggested to say or ask something weird or shocking. 'Can I help' just adds to the feeling of helplessness that often precedes a desperate act.

True but you know what I mean- A warm smile, being polite, etc...
 

PudseyBearHST

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Don't expect either of those from a driver! There's a reason they lock themselves in metal boxes for hours on end! <D;)

Fair point but as I have said, some drivers are very friendly. Ive had some wave and smile at me before, while others just give me a cold, hard stare down. But this is the first time anyone has ever told me to 'go away.' I guess it depends on the mood of the driver. In fact Ive noticed a lot of drivers play soduko or a cross-word when they are stopped at a station.
 

Antman

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In my experience most train drivers are friendly and sociable and probably welcome the chance of a chat if they've spent hours in the cab on their own, certainly when I've taken the grandchildren out on a train they often get a friendly wave from the driver or even a blast on the horn:D.
 

LowLevel

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Not necessarily. Since the objective is to break the suicidal thought chain, it's often suggested to say or ask something weird or shocking. 'Can I help' just adds to the feeling of helplessness that often precedes a desperate act.

I can vouch for that. In some degree of desperation with someone that had climbed a bridge parapet, a long time ago a colleague said 'get down from there or I'm going to smack you one'. The person in question was so taken aback by the two completely incompatible concepts of jumping to their death and being punched in the face by a burly cleaner that they climbed down as the police arrived.

Not something I'd exactly recommend but it did work on this occasion.
 
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Hi. I was at Reading Station today and I was going to Slough and only about every 3rd or 4th fast train stops at Slough so I was just waiting at the front of the platform where it says 'HST car stop 7/8' so I can have a nice view of the HSTs as I am a big fan of trains- I have had free train travel (BR pass and SWT pass) all my life and I particularly love the HSTs so I thought I would get a nice view by standing at the front. But today when I did this, the driver got out of his cab and says I should go away and that 'I was acting suspicious'- I am Muslim and it probably is not hard to guess from my skin colour that I am Middle-Eastern so I was not sure if I should be offended. And for those of you who know Reading Train station, it is an extremely long platform. Was I doing anything wrong bearing in mind I was standing well behind the yellow line and so atleast 4-5 metres away from the cab door- I understand if I was right next to the cab door, he might think I might hijack the train or something but I was standing very far back. And also I do this regularly because I travel to and from University pretty much every Monday-Friday; some drivers are actually very friendly and they will smile, wave and one or two have even come out of their cab to say hello but today's experience was, sadly, a bit different. Sorry if it seems like I'm writing a story but I just want to know did I do anything wrong? Legally, could I get arrested or anything like that? Have I just taken this too personal?
Oh and I would just like to add that there are usually some other people standing/sitting there to. And also, there is plenty of platform staff and not once has anyone said anything to me.

It doesnt sound like you did anything wrong. You are perfectly allowed to stand on platforms and do trainspotting / watch trains / photograph trains. Unfortunately some railway staff are jobsworths. Just ignore them and file a complaint against them. Hopefully their manager will have some words with them.
 

Darandio

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Marvellous.

Said driver could well have been involved in a near miss earlier. Said driver could possibly have been involved in a fatality at sometime in the past. But he is a jobsworth and should be reported?

With regards to being 'perfectly allowed' to stand on platforms and take pictures, if you are asked to leave, you leave. You have no divine right to be there.
 

Chris125

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Unfortunately some railway staff are jobsworths. Just ignore them and file a complaint against them. Hopefully their manager will have some words with them.

Is it any wonder that some staff have no time for enthusiasts? Good grief.
 

3141

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If the driver told the OP that he was “acting suspicious” it doesn’t sound like he was trying shock therapy on someone he feared might be planning to jump in front of a train.

Let’s try the simplest explanation. The driver doesn’t much like young enthusiasts, or people with a Middle Eastern appearance, or Muslims, or maybe some other people, either singly or in some combination. He thinks he can tell people to go away, though he doesn’t have authority to do that just because he doesn’t like the look of someone. That doesn’t necessarily make him a racist, or a jobsworth, whatever that is; more likely he’s just grumpy-minded and generally intolerant, and there are plenty of those around.

Is it worth complaining? That’s for the OP to decide. It’s unlikely that a complaint will lead to the driver acquiring a new cheerful and friendly disposition. If you’re not doing anything you shouldn’t then it’s annoying and perhaps upsetting to be treated as if you were, but you might just take it as an example of the way some people behave, unfortunately.
 
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