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Watch What You Snap

By Hanna Aronovich in News on Aug 29, 2006 12:45PM

If you plan on taking any pictures from Metra station platforms, make sure they are only of interest to rail fans or tourists. Or, you might find yourself in some trouble. metra.jpg

Yesterday, the Sun-Times reported Union Pacific Railroad has recently banned photography of its trains from station platforms. The ban does not come from Metra, but from Union Pacific Railroad, the line operator.

Union Pacific spokesman Joe Arbonia said the ban is a response to “recent incidents around the world,” and is intended “to keep people safe.” However, many rail enthusiasts, such as the Railroad Club of Chicago, are upset. “UP is targeting those who are most likely to observe and report something out of the ordinary," Railroad Club President William Shapotkin said.

But, before anyone could get too up in arms over the ban, yesterday evening, Union Pacific clarified its statement. NBC reported the ban was amended to allow photos, but suspicious activity could lead to questioning the photographer.

The Metra allows photography, as long as there is no trespassing or endangerment. But, in the past, those taking pictures have been detained for questioning. It happened at the Metra platform in Morton Grove last year, as well as the Sears Tower in March.

Metra Police Chief James Sanford says the department reserves the right to question people "taking photos that we don't feel would be of interest to rail fans and tourists."

So there you have it. To avoid being questioned while taking photos, put on some white tennis shoes, strap on a fanny pack and snap away.