Trainspotting in European Countries

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Charlie2555

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This Summer, I have purchased a Interail Pass to use around Europe in August. I was planning to go to these countries on my holiday: France, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, Czech Republic and Germany.

Does anyone know if any of these countries are funny about rail enthusiasts on their railways and any advice would be much appreciated! Thank you.
 
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matt

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When I was in France the beginning of this month I had no problem taking photos at Parid Nord and Paris Est but at Creil I was told I needed a permit (but the SNCF website disagrees with this). No problems in Munich, Berlin or Amsterdam.
 

Capybara

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Germany and Austria are absolutely fine and I had no problem photographing in the Czech Republic though it was only a minor incursion. I think I read on here once that Italy is a problem, but no doubt someone will be able to clarify.
 

WestCoast

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Enthusiasts are generally welcomed in all of the countries you've listed, although I couldn't comment more specifically on Italy or Slovenia as my experiences of rail travel is limited to one journey through those nations.

I'm not a spotter myself, but I do often see spotters on the platform ends at larger stations in Germany and Switzerland. It's easy to access large stations as the rail companies in those countries never or very rarely inspect tickets on stations and there are certainly no barriers. Seems to be a popular hobby.
 

87015

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When I was in France the beginning of this month I had no problem taking photos at Parid Nord and Paris Est but at Creil I was told I needed a permit (but the SNCF website disagrees with this). No problems in Munich, Berlin or Amsterdam.
Interesting, Creil is the only place I got amped at in France aswell...
 

Tractionman

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hi Charlie,

Over the past few years I've done a lot of platform-ending in Europe - mainly photographing loco-hauled services - in many different countries: Portugal, France, Belgium, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Switzerland, Italy, Hungary and Romania!

On no occasion have I encountered any problems or difficulties either from station staff or locals - sometimes mild curiosity, but most often a cheery wave from drivers. I dress reasonably smartly, avoid the really big and busy urban stations, don't leave bags lying around on platforms or set up tripods in silly places, oh and do smile! It's worked so far.

I am off to Poland and the Czech Republic this summer and am looking forward to more trips around there. I've heard good reports from both.

Have a good trip yourself!

cheers,

Keith
 

MK Tom

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When I was planning my trip through Southern France and Northern Europe I was told on here that France was fine but Italy wasn't good with rail photography. Nevertheless I had absolutely no problem taking pictures in Ventimiglia, Genoa Piazza Prima, both Turin stations and Milano Centrale. I had no issues in France or Monaco either. I'm pretty sure staff saw me at some of the Italian stations and they took no exception to my activities at all.

Which gave me great results like this:
 

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timstours

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i went to slovenia a couple of years ago and had no problems with photos or taking numbers ,very nice and quite cheap country.
there are german railfans nearly everywhere and most i have met speak some english.
 

LouJ

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I have generally had no problem anywhere in Europe in recent years. I started photographing steam in Europe in the 1970s mainly behind the Iron Curtain. In those days life was much more difficult and you could be arrested in seconds after taking a photograph. The lessons learned then still help today and my best advice is to try to keep as low a profile as possible. I don't take tripods, keep my camera in my rucksack until its needed and don't spend too much time in the same place on any station. If security are around then I smile as I walk past them.

France can occasionally be a problem and you will find a letter in English and French on the web published by SNCF. This basically says provided you are in an area to which the public have legal access then you are OK. However you can't use tripods or flash. I suggest you find the document and take the French version with you. It saves hassle if you get stopped. Having said this if you have some basic French it is still surprising what access you can still get to depots and other facilities.

Have a great trip.
 

themiller

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Switzerland is a great country for rail interests and even encourages its own population to take an interest. This can be seen in the many "Open Door" events around the system. I personally have been to the big anniversary celebrations at Lausanne and to the Basel Wolf depot open day a few years ago. At no time have I come across any hostility from either staff or public and there appear to be none of the "Jobsworths" that are laughingly called Security that we have in the UK. Enthusiasts encountered are mainly German, Swiss & Brits. If there's a special event, you will encounter mainly families who take a close interest in where their SFr are being spent and how it benefits them.
 

rf_ioliver

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If you ever venture over to Finland then generally we have no problems. In fact I've never known anyone to be stopped photographing.

There's an excellent website for railway photography - practically *the* central place for this sort of stuff, enjoy: Vaunut.org

http://vaunut.org/

Its all in Finnish, but here are some translations

Uusimmat kuvasarjat - Newest Picture series
Kaikki kuvat - All Pictures : http://vaunut.org/kuvat/kaikki
Viikon kuva - Picture of the Week
Tuoreimmat kuvat - Latest Pictures
Tänään - Today
Eilen - Yesterday
Kuva - Picture
Kuvat - Pictures
'x' Kuvaa - 'x' pictures, eg: 2 kuvaa = 2 pictures
Välillä - between

t.

Ian

ps: just experiemented using google translate whcih works really well, though it does translate some place names, eg: Tammisaari becomes Oak Island and the "town" of Kolari becomes "Crash"....
 
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