HEx - Photography Policy Change

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Coxster

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Heathrow Express press notice issued on 30 June 2006.

Heathrow Express, the non-stop rail-air link between Heathrow Airport and London Paddington, has officially welcomed trainspotters and particularly train photographers on to the platforms at Paddington Station, London to photograph the Heathrow Express trains.

Managing Director, Brian Raven explains, “Since our launch in 1999 there has been considerable interest in our trains from all round the globe but unfortunately there have been a few mis-understandings regarding photography and its impact on security.

I am happy to report that there is no reason why enthusiasts can not take photographs of our train. We would urge everyone to be sensible and take safety precautions when photographing any train. If you are shooting at any station, including Paddington, please ensure you have told the Duty Manager beforehand and that you adhere to the Network Rail guidelines”
 
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Mojo

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Can they say that though? I thought the station was managed by Network Rail, or is there special consideration to the two platforms normally used by HEx?
 
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Tom

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HEX understandably has a higher security issue mainly due to the fact that if an explosion was to go off within a tunnel, it could result in a collapse of a runway... and, I know everyone will make me sorry for saying this ... but it is thought we are terrorists. ;)
 

Coxster

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Tom said:
HEX understandably has a higher security issue mainly due to the fact that if an explosion was to go off within a tunnel, it could result in a collapse of a runway... and, I know everyone will make me sorry for saying this ... but it is thought we are terrorists. ;)
Note that it only mentions 'we' are welcome at Paddington ;)
 

yorkie

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What was the previous policy?

The problem with it is, say I have 2 minutes between changing trains at Ealing Broadway and as I step off the train, I see one of their trains approach, are they suggesting I can't take a photo before getting my connection and instead I have to either miss my connection by asking permission, or simply not take a photo?

Of course, it's not enforceable and there is no law against doing as I describe, but if a jobsworth enforces their directions 'to the letter' it could mean someone having a go at me for taking a photo.
 

Coxster

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Yorkie, I think it is basically clearing up the confusion of whether people can or can't photograph their trains. I think the reason they mention asking the duty manager at Paddington is just to stop 'jobsworths' trying to stop you.
 

Jim

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Coxster said:
Yorkie, I think it is basically clearing up the confusion of whether people can or can't photograph their trains. I think the reason they mention asking the duty manager at Paddington is just to stop 'jobsworths' trying to stop you.
Hit the nail on the head there!
 

yorkie

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Unfortunately a jobsworth stopped me at Ealing Broadway, saying I had to sign in, within about 30 seconds of stepping off a train! The jobsworth can say "it say please ensure you have told the Duty Manager beforehand" which is pretty much what this guy said to me.
 

yorkie

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Tom said:
Well he is part right as they do recommend you tell the DM.
Who is "they"? And "recommend" does not mean there is any obligation to do so.

And, as I've said before, I am not going to ask permission, especially if I just have a couple of minutes between changing trains!
 

Coxster

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yorkie said:
Who is "they"? And "recommend" does not mean there is any obligation to do so.

And, as I've said before, I am not going to ask permission, especially if I just have a couple of minutes between changing trains!
The company recommend telling the DM as they don't own the stations so therefore it isn't their staff on them. The word 'recommend' is used becuase there is no strict rule AFAIK.
 

ChrisCooper

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I think the major problem with the guidelines is that they don't differentiate between someone who is just taking one or two photos between trains or of a train they are about to get on or off, usually being on the station no more than a "normal" passenger, and someone who hangs around for quite a while either photographing or just taking numbers. Oddly, on the times I've been hanging around stations taking photos, often down at the end of the platform, I've not once had problems, yet on the other hand all the times I've had problems have been when travelling and on stations for very short periods of time, in cases where I wouldn't have time to get permission. Actually, I've had more problem when travelling "normally" (rarther than in the cource of line or haulage "bashing", although sometimes to or from), and just taken an opertunistic photo of an interesting train (I nearly always take my camera with me when travelling by train), in which cases I've usually barely got time to get my camera out let alone get permission to photograph. On one occasion I almost missed a train (although this was only if I'd have taken up the persons offer to go to the station manager to "confirm" that photography was banned on that station, something I would have happily done had I not had an hour to wait for the next train which would have caused me to be late for an important interview. Interestingly, a later phone call to the TOC concerned confimed that no such rule existed, although irritatingly they did try to deny that the person worked for them [true, but he was under contract to them as a cleaner, and he did tell me he worked from them]).
 

The Gricer

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ChrisCooper said:
....I've had problems have been when travelling and on stations for very short periods of time, in cases where I wouldn't have time to get permission. ...
Damon and myself had a similar problem a few months back at Liverpool Street. A 'one' train was in with a 47 on the concourse end and Damon dashed to get a picture but was stopped by a jobsworth who put his hand over Damon's camera and physically pushed his arm away while repeatedly saying "you can't take pictures, it's againt the rules". A bit of an argument resulted and by the time his 'superior' (a BTP officer) arrived the train had left. The BTP chap gave the impression that he would have let us take the picture, but of course it was too late by then.

I've had similar problems at St Pancras and Victoria. And then there was the time at Brighton when a security chap told me I couldn't take pictures. When I challenged him by asking his name and who he was working for he changed the rules a bit and said I could take photos at the outer ends of the platform but not the concourse end. Now where's the sense in that?


Frank
 

LucaZone

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I read the above to mean that the Platforms at Paddington Station were quite open for train spotters to enter and take photographs of the 332 trains. It seems to be that staff may have prevented persons not holding HeX tickets from accessing the platforms.

The above note from HeX mentions nothing about other stations, so im not sure why other stations are being discussed.

You can take a picture of any train from any location, but it is the location you take the picture that is of concern to any rail industry body. As stations and railways are private property, they have a right to request that you declare your intentions.

At no point have I ever found that any station staff are trying to prevent me from taking any pictures. All processes they ask me to partake have always been to ensure the safety of other passengers, continued operation of the station and adequate contact information incase anything further develops from the event that they wish to question me over. I see no problem with any of the above.

HeX, in the initial quotation, are simply stating that people are more than welcome to enter the HeX platforms at Paddington Station and take photographs, BUT recommend that for peace of mind and reduced potential hassle, to notify the Duty Manager of your activities.

Wheres the problems with that?

Any hassles people have experienced at other stations dont really have a place in this discussion because HeX dont operate at any other stations but Paddington and Heathrow, so such issues are outside their influence.
 
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Tom

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It actually says particularly at London Paddington, which says to me that staff at the underground stations (HC and H4) will welcome you, but asking permission would be the best idea there.
 

16CSVT2700

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The Gricer said:
I've had similar problems at St Pancras and Victoria.
St Pancras for me was alright, I asked the chappies there and they said I can take pictures as long as I don't use a flash, to which I replied that I never use flash anyway as it will temporarily blind the drivers.

I also asked a chappy if I could take down the coach numbers and he said "if you really want to then thats ok!"

Both above incidents didn't take more than a minute yorkie, so why won't you ask? It wouldn't kill to just confirm it..
 
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Tom

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Remember, the railway isn't ours. It's private property that the public are permitted to use.

Imagine if the railway banned all photographing? You can't complain, as you don't have a right to use the railway, its a privelidge.
 

yorkie

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50149 said:
Both above incidents didn't take more than a minute yorkie, so why won't you ask? It wouldn't kill to just confirm it..
I refer you to ChrisCooper's post, and like him that most of the times I've had problems are when changing trains somewhere.
Tom said:
Remember, the railway isn't ours. It's private property that the public are permitted to use.
Depends how you define private/public. It's owned by a company that is owned by the Government, and therefore is "ours", and some areas are for public use (e.g. platforms), while others (e.g. tracks!) are not.

Tom said:
Imagine if the railway banned all photographing? You can't complain, as you don't have a right to use the railway, its a privelidge.
I can't imagine such a byelaw being passed, no...
 

16CSVT2700

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Tom said:
Remember, the railway isn't ours. It's private property that the public are permitted to use.
I know that, hence why I asked! Unlike some people I ask where appropriate to take photos, just to see if it is OK with the staff.
 

yorkie

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50149 said:
I know that, hence why I asked! Unlike some people I ask where appropriate to take photos, just to see if it is OK with the staff.
But what if they say no? I heard they said no at KGX and you did anyway? (Not that there's anything wrong with what you did - as you didn't break any byelaws).
 

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Tom said:
Imagine if the railway banned all photographing? You can't complain, as you don't have a right to use the railway, its a privelidge.
Depends how you look at it, Human Rights laws guarantee the freedom to carry out their hobbies and interests, but there's a limit, what if, for example my hobby was scratching my name into train windows?
 

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yorkie said:
I refer you to ChrisCooper's post, and like him that most of the times I've had problems are when changing trains somewhere.
Yes, thats the problem, if you're at a station as a "normal" and see an interesting train that you want a photo of, in a lot of cases you might only just have time to get you're camera out of you're bag and set up before the train passes through, let alone having time to go and get permission. Remember, the guidelines state that at Major stations you should contact the Duty Station Manager, which is going to take a lot longer than just finding any member of staff, and at a lot of more minor stations you might struggle to find a member of staff anyway, even if this only takes 5mins, it's a waste if you are only going to be on the station for 10mins before your train. Of cource, it doesn't help that on all the occasions I've had problems, getting permission has never been mentioned, I've just been told that no photography is allowed at that station, and on one occasion the person concerned was quite sharp and rude aswell. Interestingly, all those ties I've later contacted the TOC that operated the station and been told photography is allowed, although they have always recommended getting permission, but when I explained that I was only there for a short time they did say that this only really applied if you were going to be "hanging around" for some time, and really applied to spotters aswell as photographers.
 

LucaZone

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Is this why we have a thread containing a list of all stations wehre people have/have not had issues with staff.

It is quite obvious that SOME staff know less about their stations policy than others.

However I do not udnerstand the argument where people think they have a god given right to disobey staff operating the station, just for the sake of a few pictures. If you ask and they say no, then its their say that has authority, end of story!

Ive worked in a Theme Park, and although it might be safe to do something in the eyes of the publich going on the rides, and the staff may do the same thing, it is down to the judgement of the staff operating a ride, how the public are to act while under their supervision. No ammount of arguing with the staff is going to change that.

At the end of the day, 99% of staff are simply making decisions for the benefit of the masses. If that means you cant take a pic of a train, sheesh its not the end of the world!
 

yorkie

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Here we go again.... :(
LucaZone said:
It is quite obvious that SOME staff know less about their stations policy than others.

However I do not udnerstand the argument where people think they have a god given right to disobey staff operating the station, just for the sake of a few pictures. If you ask and they say no, then its their say that has authority, end of story!
It is not "their say" that has authority. Most of the "staff" who have a go are not really staff but people like cleaners or security people who work for other agencies. If you are complying with the byelaws then they will have to accept that.
LucaZone said:
Ive worked in a Theme Park, and although it might be safe to do something in the eyes of the publich going on the rides, and the staff may do the same thing, it is down to the judgement of the staff operating a ride, how the public are to act while under their supervision. No ammount of arguing with the staff is going to change that.
I wonder if cleaners make up rules and shout them at the punters at that theme park? I somehow doubt it.
LucaZone said:
At the end of the day, 99% of staff are simply making decisions for the benefit of the masses. If that means you cant take a pic of a train, sheesh its not the end of the world!
If I want to take a photo, then sheesh it's not the end of the world either.
 

The Gricer

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Well said Yorkie.

I have found that it is invariably contract security staff who tell you you cannot take pictures. The reason I have argued with them in the past is because of the 'jobsworth' way they put over their non convincing arguments.
In contrast I have found that most TOC employed staff are freindly and chatty and quite welcoming to photographers and enthusiasts, probably because many of them are enthusiasts themselves whereas to the security chaps it's just a job.

Frank
 

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The Gricer said:
Well said Yorkie.

I have found that it is invariably contract security staff who tell you you cannot take pictures. The reason I have argued with them in the past is because of the 'jobsworth' way they put over their non convincing arguments.
In contrast I have found that most TOC employed staff are freindly and chatty and quite welcoming to photographers and enthusiasts, probably because many of them are enthusiasts themselves whereas to the security chaps it's just a job.

Frank
This is the problem with employing external contractors to do that sort of job when they don't know enough about the railway etc. Take, for example, the Securicor staff checking tickets at Manchester Picc - I wonder how many of them actually understand fully what they are looking for, or if they just check you have a ticket with a valid date??
 

yorkie

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Lewisham2221 said:
This is the problem with employing external contractors to do that sort of job when they don't know enough about the railway etc. Take, for example, the Securicor staff checking tickets at Manchester Picc - I wonder how many of them actually understand fully what they are looking for, or if they just check you have a ticket with a valid date??
Absolutely.

Although it seems they don't even check the date sometimes, Metcam tested them by using a ticket dated 1981*, and they accepted it. :o

* Note he did also have a proper ticket at the time ;)
 

LucaZone

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Originally Posted by Yorkie
Originally Posted by LucaZone
Ive worked in a Theme Park, and although it might be safe to do something in the eyes of the publich going on the rides, and the staff may do the same thing, it is down to the judgement of the staff operating a ride, how the public are to act while under their supervision. No ammount of arguing with the staff is going to change that.
I wonder if cleaners make up rules and shout them at the punters at that theme park? I somehow doubt it.
Actually the cleaners at the Theme Park I worked at DID have the same level of authority, and infact they were more effective than many other members of staff, as they were able to freely move about the park.

As far as I can see, noone is making up any rules, its simple different interpretations of the same policy, however all interpretations have the same goals - Safety of the station - Why is that a problem to you?

Originally posted by Yorkie
Originally Posted by LucaZone
At the end of the day, 99% of staff are simply making decisions for the benefit of the masses. If that means you cant take a pic of a train, sheesh its not the end of the world!
If I want to take a photo, then sheesh it's not the end of the world either.
Im affraid in todays terrorism obcessed world, it may well be!! Todays security forces would much rather be safe than sorry, and thus some consider photography as a means to research towards a potentially horrific event, and thus they they want block such activity at the roots, not just as the explosive backpack walks onto the platform.

Do you really consider the importance of you taking a photograph above that of the safety of other passengers at the station? I cant really see how security staff can be more intelligent over vetting photographers when we're all getting home and uploading our stuff to the net, for terrorists to download and examine! Which results in itchy feelings about ANYONE taking pictures. get it???

Im not disagreeing with the fact that we shouldnt be stopped and treated unfairly when taking pictures, but i AM disagreeing with the attitude taken when we ARE stopped. This is a hobby I thought, so why would you want to waste your time arguing. Simply move on and take pics else where.......
 
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