One of my passions and hobby is photography, in particular train photography. I go out of my way at times to follow along railroad tracks, hoping to catch a passing train. This something I am not alone in. There is a good sized cadre of train photographers around the world. And like me, they like to get up close and personal with trains.
Often, this means traveling, walking on private property, usually the railroad right of way. Shortly after 9/11, trains became a watched target of opportunity by various agencies. What had once been a no hassle past time became a look over the shoulder.
Some railfans/photographers were hassled by police and security people, including me. Even a few were arrested and had their cameras confiscated, including phones. In some parts of the country it became gruesome. Yet an uproar was made by various raifans and things kind of eased up.
But as Homeland Security and TSA grew, the hassling grew again. Cameras confiscated, fans jailed and others chased off and told not to take pictures. Some rail photographers were labeled as a terrorist threat. A justification for the government bureaucrats to hassle people.
Then that is not to say that some people use the guise of railfan/photographer to check things out for stealing. Ther other thing is how many photographers use railroad tracks as a back drop for their pictures. I have seen pictures of a couples having their wedding pictures taken while standing in the middle of the railroad tracks. And various other poses on the railroad ROW.
No matter though, armed with my cameras, I sally forth to capture pixels.
The other part of railfanning is taking a train ride. Sit in the car, few munchies and beverage, watch the scenery pass by, listen to the clatter of the car and wheels, a nice easy ride.