Criminal Railroad Photographers (C . R . P .)

Case No. 238-6597446

I was workin 3 different jobs. Full time for the local transit authority, part time for 2 different local short lines. A good friend of mine from one of the short lines hired on with Conrail. (This will all come together I promise) I have had a scanner in a vehicle since 1993! My schedule was pretty non-existant as I would work my full time job M-F, and "as needed" for the shortlines. SO I was pretty much awake and out and about at some really odd hours. I liked to stop by Old Broadway at Frontier Yard around 11 or so and watch the trains being made up as they either recrewed or doubled up out the West End of the yard. I had a "Tonka" Toyota 4x4 pickup with big 35 inch mudders on it, so it was fairly noticeable. I hear someone sayin on the scanner... Bill? Gimme a highball! So I flashed my highbeams and my bud who was the new hire tooted the horn on the train he was making up.. Some CR ML that went south on the Buffalo Line to Keating Summit, PA and continued to Renovo, PA. I got close enuff where he could tell me he was heading out in a few and would call signals all the way so I could chase him south. They did their air test and got a highball from the car knockers and off they went. If I had to do it again I could but now the "city" details escape me as far as what route he took. I would jam ahead and play a bit of leap frog with him... Catch the head end and then off to the next place. I boogie out the 90 west and then the 400 south which parallells (sp) the Buffalo Line going south, I knew the first grade crossing he would come to would be Pound Road, so I get off at Transit Road, to Bullis and then to Pound. I was way ahead of him as he got a mild stabbage coming off the Ebenezer Secondary, so I was there ahead of him by about 10 to 15 mins. Of course this was in pre cell phone days or I would have given him a call. Pound Road is in Elma, NY which is fairly rural. I get to the crossing and made the usual slow drive across the crossing looking both ways. Nothing to be seen. So I turn around and I park facing the way I came because I wanted to get back on the 400 south so I could catch him again at Curriers Road in Chaffee, NY and then continue on home to Springville, NY. SO I am sitting there and have the truck off watching north and listening to the scanner. Car pulls up alongside me and a woman says, "What are you doing here" I said I was waiting for a train to come thru. She says "Why here" I said because it was the only grade crossing where I could catch it. She tells me "You cant stay here" and I said umm why? She responds with I am from Howbill's Auto Parts (a junkyard located about 200 yds behind me) and they have had problems with people getting in there and stealing stuff. Told her, sorry to hear that but I am waiting til my buddy comes thru and then I will be on my way. She sat right there the whole time. He came thru and I jetted to get ahead of him yet again. Caught him at Curriers Road and got out (as I had planned to do at Pound Road) and gave him the HIGHBALL with my RR lantern. He wished me a good night on the radio. I headed home to bed. Couple of days later I am at work and I get a call from the owner of Howbill's Auto, why were you on Pound Road on so and so date at such and such time. Told him the story AGAIN! Said they cross referenced my vehicle description and KNEW I had been in there just a couple of weeks before to get some part my truck needed. Told him the reasons why I was out there yet AGAIN! Told him to call the RR and verify that my bud had been on that train and every bit of detail, train number, destination etc etc. He then said that if I was seen there again I would be arrested. I told him yet again that he could call and verify and he started to get plicky with me, so I told him well you will never see me in your place of business ever again and I am going to tell everyone I knew what a bunch of aholes they were and hung up!

Case No. 256-6551076

Eagle Pass, TX, last year. {I} was poised at a road crossing next to the old depot, with a huge empty lawn in front, shooting a stacker coming in from Mexico, running underneath the border patrol platform. Trying to get a different sight line, I *crossed* the lawn cutting across to the street running parallel to the track. A minute later a RR cop pulls up, wants ID and the whole nine yards. I said I did not expect the lawn to be railroad property since there were absolutely no signs, fences, etc. Says he: "Well, 50 feet either way of the track is RR property, posted or not. That's common knowledge here in Texas." Learn something new every day...At least he was nice enough not to confiscate the film and show us a "safe" spot to railfan from.

Case No. 089-1256497

Romulus MI cops were called in on me by a concerned citizen. I knew they were looking for me with their spotlight, so I flashed my torch in their direction to get their attention. They came over and quickly realized that I wasn't an evildoer. I even fed them some local radio freqs to plug into their pole-lese scanner. A very friendly encounter. On another occasion in 1993, me and a pal were along the single main on the New Castle SD by Johnson Chemical. A Peace officer happened by and stopped, ran a make on the car and the whole nine yards. We were enroute to see a certain West Coast Rock-n-Roll band playing that night at the Richfield Coliseum, so naturally I was, um, holding. I also had had a standing warrant for my arrest in Ohio due to an unpaid ticket for hitch hiking in 1981. All of this going through my mind with the able assistance of Dr. Albert Hoffman's Love Potion #25 as we patiently sat in the back of the cruiser...he let us go. "Let's get out of here" said Charlie.

Case No. 822-238186

I got rousted for about an hour late one night just sitting behind a drive-thru carwash next to the F.E.C. tracks. I saw a cop car drive back and forth on the nearby road several times, but it was raining. Once it stopped he decided to investigate me. He was bound and determined to make it pay off for a quick stat, but I guess my innocent face just was too much for him and he finally let me go, but not before calling F.E.C. property protection. A carefully dropped name of another property protection officer whom I know probably made the difference. I wasn't even taking pictures, just sitting in my car listening to a ball game and the scanner. Then there was the night under the Davie Blvd overpass next to CSX, but that was only a few months after Sept. 11 so that almost can be understood. They were put on extra-special, terrorist-behind-every-rock, high alert that evening.

Case No. 126-5716187

The last time I got in the dark with any type of authority was back in 96ish when headed to GETS in Erie,Pa on a Sunday to try and get some photos of new units. We went what we call the porcupine as it was a older Buick with lots of ham antennas on the trunk. We pulled up to the guard house and the guard was reading the Sunday paper and just waved us through...No shit! We fiddled around within the GE complex trying to find the ready track....and when we finally did the white Jeep security vehicle swooped down upon us asking us for our film and and escorted us back to the main gate. I bet the security dood got a earful but we had our film intact of brand new CN -9 locos and a first hand tour of GE Erie :) couple that with the street running at the time with NS it was a good trip!

Case No. 726-5548270

My initiation to the CRP fraternity was back around 1975 in Buffalo at what is known as CP I. It's the wye where the Niagara Branch (QDN) joins the Belt Line Branch, but it was PC back then. There was a good sized shed with a siding inside the wye which had some track equipment in it and I was looking in the windows trying to get a better look at what all was in there when a PC cop showed up all of a sudden. He read me the riot act (neighborhood kids caused a lot of trouble for the RR there), but bought my honest story that I was just interested in trains as I was 14 or 15, on my bicycle with my first SLR and wearing decent clothes and very polite. I don't think his heart was really in it by then. Since then I have had countless run-ins with RR, city, county and state cops while trackside, but never recieved anything worse than a tongue lashing. Most have just thought I was a wierdo for being interested in trains. Some have gotten history lessons because they were totally ignorant about area RRs and were probably glad to finally get away from me.