Tuesday, 22 May 2007

Train spotting

An article form the Wall Street Journal shows that good things happen to places that make the best of what they have got.

So many places are being shut off to people who just like to watch - and photograph - trains. Surely one of the most innocent of hobbies. The composer Dvorak was a keen train spotter. Security has become the most frequent excuse. "You might be a terrorist" I was told at Liverpool Street Station in London. "You are not supposed to be here" said a railway employee: I was on a platform at a station! "You are getting in the way." I was standing on the shoulder of a public highway.

The real issue facing the railways is vandalism, and casual trespassers. The presence of law abiding citizens with cameras and a dislike for the sort of people who enjoy damaging or endangering the railway and themselves can only help. Many published photos and videos on the internet show that it is the idiots who run crossings, or walk across or on the tracks, who are the problem. But in most places ugly fences are the universal response.

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