"You're not allowed to take photos here"

Discussion in 'Photography Advice & Discussion' started by alex397, 16 Jan 2018.

  1. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    So I recently had an explore of the mysterious 'Northern City Line' in London. As I'm sure many of you know, travelling on this line is like being taken back in time. Its stations seemingly have had no renovations since the 1980s, and the line has an overall 'creepy' atmosphere. It seems a world away from the sleek, clean, clinical, modern London which can be seen on the surface.

    It also seems to have different laws from the rest of the UK.... I took a few photos at some of the stations there, when suddenly approached by a worried station staff member (which surprised me, as they are rarely seen). "You're not allowed to take photos here!" . I then politely explained how wrong he was. He's only response was to say I will be reported to the authorities, which is rather concerning.

    I'm well aware of Company TOCs and Railway Byelaws, but is there a special rule for the 'Northern City Line'? Or maybe having to work deep underground in a damp time-warp has made Great Northern's staff a little grumpy.

    I regularly take photographs across the UK rail network (and in Europe), and have never had any problems taking photographs. Except on the Northern City Line on three separate occasions (the two others a few years ago)

    Usually if i'm taking a large amount of photos on the rail network, I tell a station supervisor. But i've never seen one on the Northern City Line to ask - they just appear out of the darkness only when I take a photo.
     
    Last edited: 16 Jan 2018
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  3. rg177

    rg177 Established Member

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    I'm aware that Moorgate has been rather hostile to enthusiasts for a number of years as this has cropped up from time to time.

    I was once told that photography was illegal at Liverpool Central and that it counted as suspicious terrorist activity, although in that instance I literally took a picture of the unit I was about to board, then boarded, and a staff member followed me on and gave me the third degree. I politely nodded along and eventually said staff member alighted. I can understand maybe querying if you're hanging around a station, but I couldn't understand her attitude when I arrived at the station, waited for a train, took a picture of the back of it, and got on.
     
  4. bramling

    bramling Established Member

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    Not aware of any special rules. Moorgate, Old Street and Highbury come under LU rules, and their rules are quite clear that photography is allowed subject to the usual provisos regarding flash and tripods.

    Essex Road is managed by GTR who also permit photography, subject to the national rail guidelines.

    Where did you have the problem?
     
  5. infobleep

    infobleep Established Member

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    A train was once delayed because a staff member had to board and tell me not to take photos through the window of the station, as I didn't have permission I can't remember if the train made up its lost minute or so of the delay.

    The guard wasnt aware of any such rule and nor was I aware. I late found out no such rule existed.
     
  6. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Jobsworths are taking over the world.
     
  7. farleigh

    farleigh Member

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    Bit sad really.
    Staff member must have thought they were doing something worthwhile??
    In fact they are powerless to stop you.
     
  8. Mathew S

    Mathew S Established Member

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    Utter rubbish. You can take a photo anywhere you want, of anything you want, as long as:
    - you're not invading anyone's right to a private and family life, and
    - the photos are for personal use only (ie. non-commercial)

    If you're on private property (which I suppose includes the railway) you can be asked to leave, and end up in trouble if you don't, but not to stop taking photos for personal use.

    (That said, obviously avoid taking photos of anything security related; don't photograph any 'prohibited areas' such as military bases; and obey any safety instructions. But that's just common sense.)
     
  9. Up_Tilt_390

    Up_Tilt_390 Member

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    Kind of have a similar story myself. I recently went to London Euston for a session of filming trains, and I did the usual thing of collecting my platform pass to prove that the station knew I was there and what I was doing. At one point a staff member for Virgin Trains seemed to do their usual routine, and as I stopped filming one train, she asked if I had a ticket. I showed her my platform pass, and she told me that it was expired and that I wasn't actually allowed on the station. I simply corrected her by saying the expiry date wasn't until the next day, and nothing further really went about it.

    I'm not sure if there was a genuine mistake, because she didn't seem to apologise for the mistake, which is something a lot of people usually do out of courtesy given that a little bit of my time was wasted unnecessarily, but at the same time she just walked away and I got nothing from anybody else. I'm not quite sure what to make of the situation personally, but what do you all think? Was it just a genuine mistake on behalf of the staff member, or could it have been an attempt to stop me filming that failed? I mean surely there are some staff who just hate train enthusiasts filming trains right?

    I might be thinking too deeply about the situation really given that I'm not use to being in situations like that, but it just felt strange given how I was suddenly told I wasn't allowed on the station but then I corrected them in a mistake they made and they just left abruptly without an apology. I am not so much annoyed at the lack of a policy, in fact I wouldn't really ask for one, it's just what I'd expect people to do really out of custom. Bear in mind, I am on the ASD spectrum, so I can easily misunderstand things.
     
  10. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    The behavior of some staff can be truly strange. It would be interesting to see what sort of training these people get.

    I can certainly understand station staff asking what photographers are doing, and I wouldn't mind that at all, but the aggressive attitude from some staff is completely unnecessary, and I find it quite bizarre.

    I wasn't aware those 3 stations were under LU rules, thanks for that (makes sense as LU are the dominant operator at those stations). But are some staff Great Northern? As this one appeared to be. Not 100% sure as was concentrating on saying the right things!

    This was at Old Street by the way. Previously problems I had in the past were at Moorgate.

    I doubt they get to do much during their shift on that line, so I gave a bit of variety to his day I guess.

    I was aware they are powerless to stop me - this isn't a fully Orwellian society yet - which is why I just politely left him.

    Exactly! It all comes down to common sense. Perhaps this should be involved in the staff training :p

    When at stations, I always make sure I take photos discreetly, making sure i'm obstructing no one, making sure staff are not in the photo, and being fully sure my flash is off.

    (To Mods - apologies for posting in wrong area)
     
  11. Bletchleyite

    Bletchleyite Veteran Member

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    Not even really a jobsworth, as a jobsworth is usually someone who sticks to the letter of the rules to the exclusion of common sense (but who is within their rights to do so if they wish, because by doing so they are doing their job correctly[1]), rather than someone who is making their own rules up due to either poor training or a dislike for a particular activity.

    [1] It comes from the saying "it's more than my job's worth", which suggests they fear they may be disciplined for making the exception the customer wants.
     
  12. westv

    westv Established Member

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    Hehe! Yes I know where jobsworth comes from. :lol:
     
  13. Gostav

    Gostav Member

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    Use a camera with waist-level finder will more easy to take photo in some “sensitive area”.
    Just last week l taken a picture of Bolton station, a lady politely asked me why she was photographed even l have never found her in my viewfinder.
     
  14. Charles B

    Charles B Member

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  15. Down The Track

    Down The Track New Member

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    I filmed this video a while ago () about the Northern City line, I was pretty nervous about being in there in the first place (off-peak and totally empty!) and at either Old Street or Moorgate I was approached by a large Russian-sounding man (who worked for GTR) who told me that filming was not permitted, albeit in a rather hostile way! I had only recently started making films on the railways, and was not aware of the rules, so I kindly obliged and put my camera away.

    I got home and checked both Great Northern (GTR) and LU rules, and both allow enthusiast filming at photography at their stations.

    It seems staff on the Northern City line don't take kindly to photographers, but hey, I don't think they have much to do down on those platforms anyway!
     
  16. alex397

    alex397 Member

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    ^ working in those damp dingy tunnels must get to them!
     
  17. The_Train

    The_Train Established Member

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    As I get out and about more I'm sure I will find the odd hostile member of station staff. Surely the best thing to do is have a copy of Network Rails guidelines for spotting and photography handy so you can put it under said member of staffs nose?
     

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