Spotting at main line stations

Paul.Rosser

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Good morning all this is a curious post are all enthusiasts welcome at main line railway stations to do their usual things without being pulled up by platform staff or the British transport police as I may go to Doncaster this Wednesday for a couple of hours or so so can anyone say if we can or cannot do our hobby thank you Paul
 
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ANDREW_D_WEBB

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I’ve been photographing (although not using the trains) at several suburban stations in south west London. Most I have been ignored completely, although at Hanwell I was asked what I was doing and then offered water! At Syon Lane a ‘Welfare and Trespass Officer’ watched me take photos and then said it wasn’t allowed as “they” had said it wasn’t. He was unclear who “they” were or when the policy changed so I contacted SWR customer services who confirmed I was allowed subject to the usual health and safety rules and apologised that not all staff k ow the rules. A similarly titled colleague at Hounslow had no problem with me.
 
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I'd say there's no problem even travelling on the train to get where you want to go. I travelled to stations in North East London last week and wasn't questioned once.
 

james60059

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Moderators, please align with another relevant thread if applicable.

Hi Folks,

I'm asking for a work colleague who's little boy is mad on trains, and said I'd ask here as there's some very knowledgeable people, plus unlike social media groups, unlikely to get some stupid answers either.

She lives near Bedworth Station and from time to time she'll take him either to Nuneaton or Coventry, even Leamington on one occasion, obviously since the pandemic started and subsequent lockdown she hasn't been able too, but with the restrictions being eased, with more likely to follow, would it be frowned upon if she was to take the train to one of the aforementioned stations, also is it permissable to watch the trains on a station such as Nuneaton given the current circumstances?. I'm aware it's forbidden at the moment on Doncaster.

She has got face masks to wear as I mentioned to her that they would be compulsory from 15th June.

Thank You in Advance.
 

Huntergreed

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Moderators, please align with another relevant thread if applicable.

Hi Folks,

I'm asking for a work colleague who's little boy is mad on trains, and said I'd ask here as there's some very knowledgeable people, plus unlike social media groups, unlikely to get some stupid answers either.

She lives near Bedworth Station and from time to time she'll take him either to Nuneaton or Coventry, even Leamington on one occasion, obviously since the pandemic started and subsequent lockdown she hasn't been able too, but with the restrictions being eased, with more likely to follow, would it be frowned upon if she was to take the train to one of the aforementioned stations, also is it permissible to watch the trains on a station such as Nuneaton given the current circumstances?. I'm aware it's forbidden at the moment on Doncaster.

She has got face masks to wear as I mentioned to her that they would be compulsory from 15th June.

Thank You in Advance.
A journey on the railway is permitted provided you can't use another form of transport (car, bike etc) so a train trip would be fine.

I don't think spotting is permitted on stations at present sadly and you would likely be asked to leave. There are plenty of locations lineside or even unstaffed stations that you could watch trains from, but I wouldn't visit a staffed station to watch trains until travel is more widely permitted.
 

221129

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Would they be allowed to travel by train? Legally yes, although the TOCs would prefer you didn't. Would they be allowed to hang around Nuneaton station to watch trains? Probably not.
 

yorkie

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I wouldn’t say train spotting is an essential journey
In terms of journeys, just to clarify the Government guidance allows journeys to be made for any reason now; passengers are merely asked to consider other modes of transport before choosing by train.

Many train companies have dropped the "essential travel only" guidance accordingly but some do still say this; whether they should or not is covered by the following thread: https://www.railforums.co.uk/thread...vernment-allows-travel-for-any-reason.205584/

However...
and I would be very surprised if they let anyone hang around in a station for a good few weeks yet.
...I agree that many train companies may be reluctant to allow people to hang around at a station for the purpose of spotting.

... is it permissable to watch the trains on a station such as Nuneaton ...
It depends on the policy of the relevant company.

Nuneaton station is operated by West Midlands Trains, so it would be up to them.

There is no automatic right to be on a station for this purpose so it is entirely at the discretion of the relevant train company. It may be better to choose an unstaffed minor station, or even better a non-station location from where trains can be observed.
 
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Thanks for clarifying, Yorkie

I also think travelling to spot, and then standing on a platform, are entirely different things to consider.

5 people standing at the end of a platform to spot, socially distanced 2m apart, reduces the length of the platform available then by up to 10m, and so the number of genuine passengers able to now wait for a train is reduced by the same. Now is the time to find some new locations, seize the day!
 

alexdodds

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With lockdown easing further are we now allowed to go spotting at stations again with social distancing and face masks? Have any of the TOC's and Network Rail said anything? Our hobby is actually very covid secure cos its all outdoors whether at stations or not and most of the time small groups do keep apart to get good photos and videos.
 

ValleyLines142

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I wouldn't recommend going to large stations (i.e. Doncaster, Birmingham New Street, Crewe, Manchester Piccadilly, etc), but you could probably get away at a smaller, unstaffed station.

Having said that, some members on here have commented saying that they've been to larger stations, asked for permission from the staff and carried on doing so, staying well clear of travellers and wearing a face covering.

I'm quite lucky as I do my train spotting en route to work!
 

adc82140

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I'm sure a lone spotter well away from anyone else at a quiet station won't be an issue. If gaggles started forming at the end of platforms there could be a problem.
 

Scotrail12

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You could probably do it no problem at a quieter, smaller station but not at one of the larger ones like L. Euston, M. Piccadilly, G. Central, B. New Street etc. A lot of stations don't have staff on the platforms.

I've not been into a station to trainspot although I have been standing next to the bridge at one of my local stations to see some of the trains in the past week (it was shut for about 2 months and reopened last week)
 

alexdodds

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Sorry I didnt know there was another thread on the same subject.

I would of thought the big stations would not be a problem cos they have plenty of outdoor space on platforms. Take York for e.g I prefer the southern end of P5/6 loads of space there.

We have to get back to a near normal at some point but in a way that is safe including the hobbies we all know and love.
 

bramling

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Good morning all this is a curious post are all enthusiasts welcome at main line railway stations to do their usual things without being pulled up by platform staff or the British transport police as I may go to Doncaster this Wednesday for a couple of hours or so so can anyone say if we can or cannot do our hobby thank you Paul
Ultimately I’d say it would depend on whether it can be done without making a nuisance of one’s self.

Certainly I’ve seen lone old guys at the platform ends even at places like London Bridge much earlier into the lockdown, and no one - staff or BTP - seemed too bat an eyelid.

One thing to bear in mind though, there’s a certain amount of passive-aggressive vigilantism at present, so issues may well come from unexpected directions. Having said that your stereotypical Terrified of Tunbridge Wells types are probably staying well clear of the railway at present.
 

james60059

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Looking at some of the posts on Yahoo mailing lists, it looks like some enthusiasts are back on stations again like Preston, Stafford and Willesden Junction.
 

mawallace

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Does anyone know what the offical view is re enthusiasts and stations at the moment? Are they allowed to go onto platforms? do they have to wear masks?
 
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I went to north-west London last month and had no problem. If I'm going to go out now that the masks are enforced it'll probably be stations that are quieter.
 

bramling

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Does anyone know what the offical view is re enthusiasts and stations at the moment? Are they allowed to go onto platforms? do they have to wear masks?
You *probably* won't have a problem providing you make an effort to ensure you're not getting in the way. If you want to be sure then discuss with staff first if it's a staffed station.

Certainly my local station has been quite welcoming to spotters over the last month or so, but like with everything this could change if people start to take the mickey.

*However*, be aware there's a small possibility you might encounter some self-appointed mask enforcer who could stir up some trouble. This applies equally to unstaffed stations.
 

Peter Mugridge

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While changing trains when out shopping yesterday I saw two "platform enders" at Clapham Junction; staff were not giving them any hassle at all.
 

steamybrian

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You *probably* won't have a problem providing you make an effort to ensure you're not getting in the way. If you want to be sure then discuss with staff first if it's a staffed station.

Certainly my local station has been quite welcoming to spotters over the last month or so, but like with everything this could change if people start to take the mickey.

*However*, be aware there's a small possibility you might encounter some self-appointed mask enforcer who could stir up some trouble. This applies equally to unstaffed stations.
Avoid Guildford as they are insisting you wear a mask whilst on the station. When I was there recently staff were at the station entrance checking and requesting you use the hand wash sanitizers.
 

DannyMich2018

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A few weeks ago on Wednesday 17th June I travelled the short 6 min (4mile) journey from Hinckley to Nuneaton to go shopping/look at the market. There were no spotters on the station at all, in normal times they'd be a good number particularly on a Tuesday or Thursday. Whether there are any now not sure?
 

221129

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greyman42

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Legally there is no requirement to allow people access to the station if they are not travelling. You are likely to find it'll be wear a face covering or leave.
I have not been asked to wear a face covering on a station yet.
 

Islineclear3_1

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On my travels through main-line stations, my impression is that staff don't want you, the traveler to be there in the first place. Heaven's knows what would happen if you stood on the platform for longer than necessary with trains coming and going

I have however, taken some photos on a station where most of the trains pass through on the fast lines and only once was I challenged, but allowed to continue.

Maybe wait until the Covid-19 "threat" dies down further
 

bramling

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On my travels through main-line stations, my impression is that staff don't want you, the traveler to be there in the first place. Heaven's knows what would happen if you stood on the platform for longer than necessary with trains coming and going

I have however, taken some photos on a station where most of the trains pass through on the fast lines and only once was I challenged, but allowed to continue.

Maybe wait until the Covid-19 "threat" dies down further
I don’t think this is quite true, what staff don’t want is people who are going to cause problems, which they are then going to have to expose themselves to an element of risk in having to deal with.

If you turn up at a station, don’t thrust yourself directly in the face of staff if you have to deal with them, make some effort not to cough all over the place, and not get in the way, then I don’t think there will be too much of a problem.
 

Islineclear3_1

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I don’t think this is quite true, what staff don’t want is people who are going to cause problems, which they are then going to have to expose themselves to an element of risk in having to deal with.

If you turn up at a station, don’t thrust yourself directly in the face of staff if you have to deal with them, make some effort not to cough all over the place, and not get in the way, then I don’t think there will be too much of a problem.
From my own personal experience, lots of staff at a particularly large London station have stared at me even though I have been wearing a face covering and clearly not hanging about or making myself look suspicious. In work attire too. Clearly, I find this quite off-putting. Perhaps others have not had the same experience
 

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