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Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Letters about railways and terrorism (Part 1)

In the wake of the foiled plot to destroy the Maple Leaf, I am concerned that railfanning in Canada might become difficult, if not impossible, as it is clear that watching trains is now grounds for suspicion (or more so than it already was).  As such, I am writing a series of letters to various groups to highlight my concerns.

The first letter was submitted today, to the Toronto Star, Toronto Sun and Globe and Mail:
Railways and Terrorism
Trainspotter, train buff, foamer, railfan.  These are but a few of the terms used to describe the colourful mosaic of individuals who like trains.  Apart from their shared passion for railways, there is one thing that unites all of them: they are not terrorists.
I can speak for all enthusiasts when I say that I was shocked to hear about the foiled plot to destroy a Toronto-New York passenger train.  I was equally disturbed to hear many media outlets around the world latch onto one point from the RCMP’s press conference: the two suspects were suspicious because they “watched trains and railways in the greater Toronto area.”
Railfans watch trains all across Canada and provide extra security by observing their surroundings.  Both US and UK railways have recognized this benefit.  I believe it is time Canadian railways did the same.  Real railfans are an asset, not a threat.
I hope they publish it!

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