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Word of warning

Discussion in 'Photography Advice & Discussion' started by mawallace, 17 Jul 2009.

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  1. mawallace

    mawallace Member

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    A word of warning to all!


    I had a day out spotting and photographing at a busy station today. It ended abruptly after an encounter with the BTP.

    I had been at the end of the platform, level with the “Passengers must not cross the line” sign, when it started raining. There was a signal a foot beyond this sign (which provided shelter from the rain) and I therefore moved forward. It was probably three or four feet from the start of the ramp decline. I had probably been there ¼ hour.

    I was then approached by two BTP. They explained that they had been summoned to visit me by a member of the TOC staff as two members of staff had seen where I was standing – and this was trespassing. Also a train driver had expressed concern as to how close to the track I had been.

    I kept calm, explained that I was sorry if I had upset anyone, and I was undertaking my hobby in accordance with the Nat Rail guidelines (I had told the platform staff I was there) – I also pointed out that no member of staff had approached me to move

    They said that they were fully aware that I could take pictures, and it was not that that was the issue. It was the issue as to where I was standing. I again apologised and promised not to stand there again.

    This was when they turned nasty – If you admit you were standing beyond the “Passenger must not cross the line” sign – then I WAS trespassing – these signs mark the end of the platform. I explained that it DID not say “Passengers must not cross THIS line”.

    At this point they said there was only one thing – they would issue a penalty ticket of £50 – the Offence “Trespassing across the lines of the Railway”. I said that was rubbish, I had not crossed any lines etc etc.

    They then asked me for id, and used this to complete the form, and gave it to me.

    They also told me “Stay on this station as long as you like, enjoy your day out, but do not cross those signs again”

    So in conclusion, be careful – I feel a bit silly as I accept perhaps I moved further to the edge then I should have been, but also helpless as I have ended up with a penalty ticket which I feel unjustified. But n the other hand I cannot face appealing against and risking loosing!
     
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  3. Daniel

    Daniel Established Member

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    I'm sorry if this sounds harsh, but at the end of the day, however far you were past the sign, you were out of a passenger area, and because the sign was there to mark the boundary, it is actually trespass.

    If I was the officer with you, as you were not on the ramp or physically on the track, I would just give a stern warning. However, I do feel that the police officer was within his right to act as he did.
     
  4. Jordy

    Jordy Established Member

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    Indeed, although it is an annoying situation you were technically trespassing and they had the right to approach you.

    However, the signs leave a little to be desired. Is the line "The railway line" or the (often non existant) line on the platform, where the sign it. The "Passengers must not pass this point or cross the line" sign is better, if it was a "Passengers must not cross the line" sign then I can see your mistake!
     
  5. thefab444

    thefab444 Established Member

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    Those signs are rather ambiguous, if the station staff require pax/veg to not go beyond a certain point then there is a perfectly good "PASSENGERS MUST NOT PASS THIS POINT" sign available. The "PASSENGERS MUST NOT CROSS THE LINE" signs actually refer to the fact that passengers should not cross the line on foot, but do so by means of the subway or footbridge.
     
  6. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    Don't accept it!

    It possibly will go on your record if an enhanced CRB check is done (perhaps someone can confirm?)

    If people accept these things they will bully us even more!!

    Appeal it. If you need to ask for donations to cover the cost of the appeal, I'd donate. We need to show these absolute jobsworths that they are totally wrong.

    The lines saying "Do not cross the line" mean do not cross the railway line. You did not cross the line therefore you did not trespass. The possibility that you were too close to the platform edge is irrelevant as that is not trespass and thousands of people would be "guilty" of that every day (especially on London Underground for example).
     
  7. eos

    eos Member

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    The word 'line' refers to the track, not an arbitarily painted and often missing line.
    Try this sign and try and match it to a painted line.... http://railfoto.fotopic.net/p56876502.html

    This is the correct sign to be displayed , saying 'do not pass this point'... http://railfoto.fotopic.net/p47996871.html

    Try this and imagine how you can cross the (painted line) using the footbridge, which this sign imples is lawful... http://railfoto.fotopic.net/p743363.html on display on the station building in the centre of the platform. You have to pass the sign to go on the platform.

    At the east end of Southampton station there is both signs displayed on the same post at the bottom of the ramp. Having checked into this previously, the ramp is considered to be part of the platform, and the 'track' or 'line' starts at the ballast, you will need to check back to pre-nationalisation for the origins of that.

    If 'passengers must not cross the line' was intended to mean 'the painted line' how would passengers board a train on a station with yellow lines, blue lines ( Birmingham International) and Green lines ( london Midland stations with 2x 323's operation) painted along the length of the station.

    Look at the picture on your own Fotopic site at Manchester Piccadilly http://markwallace.fotopic.net/p59330612.html . Exactly what line are they not supposed to pass , when the only one is on the edge of the platform and would make it illegal to board a train anyway.

    I would write to a magazine like The Railway Magazine immediately .

    Name the station on here please and it will be checked out...

    My Advice is 'DO NOT PAY' the fixed penalty , and appeal... ( providing that the facts as stated are correct.) Did you photograph the sign or your position on the platform, Can you post a shot or two that you took from that position ( fotopic etc) and let us have the links for checking...

    A dictionary definition can be found here :- http://www.thefreedictionary.com/line

    quote - [Line] the railway or a single track of the railway Passengers must cross the line by the bridge only. - Unquote

    The Line means the track NOT a painted line..

    --------
    The Office of the Rail Regulator does not give a deffinition of 'Line ' , see here http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.3 but does give the following cover-everything definition of 'Track'- ( http://www.rail-reg.gov.uk/server/show/nav.001002/chooseLetter0/T )

    Track
    Section 83(1) of the Railways Act 1993 defines “track” as follows:
    “any land or other property comprising the permanent way of any railway, taken together with the ballast, sleepers and metals laid thereon, whether or not the land or other property is also used for other purposes; and any reference to track includes a reference to:
    (a) any level crossings, bridges, viaducts, tunnels, culverts, retaining walls, or other structures used or to be used for the support of, or otherwise in connection with, track; and
    (b) any walls, fences or other structures bounding the railway or bounding any adjacent or adjoining property”
     
    Last edited: 18 Jul 2009
  8. 37401

    37401 Established Member

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    I think the BTP were a bit too harsh on you, you realised there was a problem and you apologised and the sign says dont cross the line not dont pass this point. did/do you have the money for the fine? as stated by Yorkie an appeal would be good, to show we are sick of it all
     
  9. william

    william Established Member

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    I know just how you feel. EXACTLY the same thing happened to me but i was a couple of yards past a no fishing sign (it was the nearest comfortable spot to sit). Environment Acency officer come. i ended up with £75 fine oplus £75 costs. Felt rather stupid really. Theyre like parking attendants, with their lines/regulations, etc. for what seems unneccessary at the time you do feel 'robbed' or hard done by, but i suppose there has to be a line somewhere. take it on the chin mate and move on.
     
  10. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I don't agree that he should 'take it on the chin'; as he was not in an area where he shouldn't have been and was not trespassing. As so many people are confused by these signs and they really should re-issue them to make it clear that "the line" means the railway line.

    mawallace -Don't let the BTP bully you. They think you're a soft target. Prove you are not! They should be catching criminals instead of going for soft targets, and people like you can make a difference by appealing and ensuring that they get told by their superiors to stop harassing innocent members of the public. This will mean BTP spend more time doing something useful (although I realise they may not like it as dealing with an abusive chav who is threatening to beat people up is not as easy for them...)
     
  11. william

    william Established Member

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    I'm sorry Yorkie but if the sign said passengers must not cross the line and a BTP officer found him to be so, he hasn't got much of a leg to stand imo. It isn't worth the stress mate, trust me. Anyway, I'm sure many on here would love to know where this goes and what course of action you intend to take, please keep us informed.
     
  12. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    But the point is he didn't cross the line!
     
  13. william

    william Established Member

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    Well, I suppose it depends upon the definition of the line! Mawallace said himself/herself that he/she took it to mean an imaginary line on the platform. That's what I'm basing my opinion on. Were gonna have to agree to disagree on this one Yorkie!
     
  14. Phoenix

    Phoenix Established Member

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    Personally rather than thrash the exact place of this line and wheathe it or had not been crossed it is always best in the "nanny culture" to always give a wider berth to the rules so they say "stand away from the line" give the line at least 2 foot.
    mawallace I think that you didn't do any wrong as it was a simple misunderstanding and one of those lessons which we have all learn regardless if we admit it or not so honestly I wouldn't let it prey on your mind and destroy an otherwise great hobby.

    Like I said just take ever rule literally and give it a wide berth.
     
  15. eos

    eos Member

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    He did not CROSS the LINE as in the dictionary railway definition of track ( from his post anyway- and I have no doubt he was not anywhere near the tracks.
     
  16. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    It means the railway line and the photo posted above proves it, along with various other examples:

    http://blog.garethjmsaunders.co.uk/wp-content/20071118_donotcross.jpg

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/pikerslanefarm/2581830146/

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/37984062@N03/3494440481

    They should say what the alternative is, e.g. "footbridge" or "subway" however some are generic and do not specify the alternative (probably to avoid the situation in the last photo where one of the signs is wrong)

    All these signs have the same meaning.

    'Line' means railway line

    'Line' does not mean an imaginary line that is in the BTP's imagination.
     
  17. Phoenix

    Phoenix Established Member

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    Problem is with this argument is although there is a great deal of evidence backing our friends case here he accepted to the authority that he did something wrong due to a common misconception even I have only realized so for him to re-tract his admittance to the deed and the whole situation is simply not possible as they say "don't say anything as it will be used against you"

    Also yes an appeal for the funds of the fine is all well and good and I don't mind chipping in either but in no way will it do any good to the cause because frankly the BTP deal with trends of crimes and gangs not individuals and their opinions.

    With the BTP and Network Rail there are major injustices towards enthusiasts daily and there is a great deal of us fighting this but we can only gain our full rights back if we give the boys in blue a wide berth because they are seriously waiting for the slightest slip up from the enthusiast because although they say they are "happy to welcome enthusiasts after recent negative events" they don't give a stuff about us and want us gone.
     
  18. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    I'm not chipping in to pay a fine that shouldn't be paid.

    I will chip in toward the costs of an appeal and a case against the BTP, and I am sure we could get many others to do so if it comes to that.

    are you sure?
     
  19. Phoenix

    Phoenix Established Member

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    In my opinion yes because in an appeal or court of anything you say when when arrested or in this case questioned will be used against you so him apologizing basically confirmed that he did what they accused him off so to turn around and say "I don't believe what I did was wrong although at the time I admitted it" is surely a contradiction.

    And honestly I wouldn't pay for an appeal because it would be a waste of time trawling through the system only to be shot down at the final hurdle so I would be more happy to help a fellow enthusiast because in this case I feel sympathy and after thoughts are what is needed in this situation not appeals and complaints.

    I'm done end of....................for my part :D
     
  20. yorkie

    yorkie Administrator Staff Member Administrator

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    If we accept guilt where there is none, then our rights are being eroded. We should not let that happen.

    He has 28 days to appeal, it's not a lost case - far from it.

    He is not guilty of the crime of trespassing on the railway line, therefore if he appeals he will be found not guilty, it will probably be thrown out very early in the process as it is so blindingly obvious.
     
  21. Teaboy1

    Teaboy1 Member

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    I find this just typical of modern day H&S Britain where 'civil servant' need to justify their existence and produce figures and silly facts to prove their worth and value. The fact that these civil servants need to generate an income is also evident today, civil servants dont produce anything towards the countries GDP and so need to be seen as necessary for the rest of us to go about our daily business. Fact is this only ever happens in the UK, never never never in Italy or France unless you are doing something totally dumb.
    I would say appeal and take it to court, there its you and a magistarte, he/she can see you are not a cable thief, vandal, nasty piece of work, etc. You can clearly say that the TOC / driver was simply over zealous and simply trying to generate favor with his/her manager.
    GSM-R is a wonderful thing.....provided its used as it was intended. Fight man...dont give in !!<(<(
     
  22. eos

    eos Member

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    I have had the chance to speak to 'those that know' this morning , you do not need to appeal, but write to the Chief Constable saying what I and Yorkie in this Forum have told you, anyone with sense knows that 'line' means 'running line' and not 'painted line'.
    Also speak to the local press, and contact The Railway Magazine ( pm me for an address or phone number to contact directly.
    If it could be established which station it took place at , then things would move apace as to getting the ticket cancelled ( subject to the facts being as stated). Was it Manchester Victoria or Manchester Piccadilly? If the latter it is becoming a trend on that station.

    Regards
     
    Last edited: 18 Jul 2009
  23. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

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    Just a small diversion off-topic, but...
    If anyone made a similarly sweeping statement about "rail enthusiasts", when they really meant a small subset such as "bellowers", then we would all be grumbling about unfair treatment. Vast numbers of "Civil Servants" do provide a necessary and useful service, without which our lives would become even less tolerable. Please be more precise in future.
    Back on-topic...
     
  24. nedchester

    nedchester Established Member

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    Agree totally. The BTP officer is out of order here not the OP.

    I am 100% sure that this fine will be dropped once the press etc are informed. The BTP officer should also be disciplined.
     
  25. GB

    GB Established Member

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    The officer was very harsh on issuing a ticket but I would not go as far to say he was out of order and the situation certainly doesnt warrant a discipline. He was acting in what he thought was correct and its already been pointed out many times above that the signs in question can be very ambiguous. Is it not feasable that the officer may have been confused just as much as the OP?

    In anycase, the Police do get things wrong but that is also what the appeal process is for.
     
    Last edited: 18 Jul 2009
  26. Teaboy1

    Teaboy1 Member

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    ...there you go...spoken like a CS.....QED!!:lol:

    ...back to thread........yes go for the above advice, don't give in without a fight....with you all the way mate.
     
  27. eos

    eos Member

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    Had it been street 'Plod' then I might have had a leaning to that line of thinking, but BTP are specifically trained in the legal situation on the railways.. So NO , BTP was entirely wrong to even do anything more than just 'view' the situation, then speak to the TOC personnel concerned about wasting Police time ....
     
  28. westcoaster

    westcoaster Established Member

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    At the end of the day you chose to move to a point no longer within a public area, which is then classed as tresspassing then expect the hand of the law to come down on you, play with fire you get burnt, the one thing that stands out is the fact a driver had also expressed concern to your position (this may have been your downfall, after all we do not want to see enthusiast injured/hurt).


    its good to see the BTP now know you can take photos/observe/scratch, obviously the campaigns in the railway journals are starting to work.

    Why would you appologise if you had done nothing wrong?

    let this be a lesson to everyone , that as long as you stay within the law you can enjoy your hobby without any problem. after all you would not see an aviation enthusiast entering a prohibited area and get away with it.

    also is there any more info as to which station this happened at?
     
  29. nedchester

    nedchester Established Member

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    RUBBISH!!! He was NOT trespassing he went past a sign that said DO NOT CROSS THE LINE. The only line there was was the RAILWAY LINE no other line. That's what the signs are there for. He was perfectly OK where he was.

    The BTP officer could have been coming up with a 'story' that a driver had expressed concern.

    As I said appeal, go to the press etc that'll make them change their minds. The OP is not guilty of trespass. End of!
     
  30. Oswyntail

    Oswyntail Established Member

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    So he was "a foot" t'other side of the sign, and is OK? Would 2 feet be? OK, what about 100 yards? Not yet crossed any "line". I believe the signs are put there to control safety. Is there any room for leeway in this, and who do we trust to make a judgement? Is anyone safe beyond safety limits, or just those who are knowledgeable about the environment? Would "It's OK, officer, I understand the risks" be an acceptable response? We all know a sign is (usually) there for a purpose, so why ignore it?
    Yes, the officer was somewhat heavy-handed, but that doesn't seem to be what the discussion here is about. We do not have a right to go wherever we like. "End of."
     
  31. nedchester

    nedchester Established Member

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    So what does 'Do not cross the Line' mean then? It means do not cross the RAILWAY LINE. If the sign had said 'Do not pass this sign' then it would be different. The OP was on the platform three or four foot from where the ramp starts - therefore NOT TRESPASSING. Is it really that difficult for you to understand?
     
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