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Thread: SideTracked

  1. #1

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    Default SideTracked

    Hi there,

    I am new to this topic. I just got refused two out of three cache placement near a train station because they were on land owned by a Railway. In both cases, I was not aware to be on their land (but I knew I was close). I did read the policy and I do understand the rationale behind the decision, but that brings a few questions which I could not find an answer for in the forum.

    1 - The reviewer mentioned that permission is required to set the cache, if it is on the Railway property. I did not see any agreement or refusal in the GAGB database related to Railway land permission. Has someone tried to contact Railway companies? Is it approved on a case by case basis?

    2 - What tool does a reviewer use to find if a cache is located on private land, like Railway properties? Is it something I could also use to prevent me from repeating the same mistake? Can I ask a reviewer to detail their decision (I was given a generic reply, polite but not helpful) in order to have the necessary information to reset the cache outside the Railway property?

    3 - As Virtual Caches are now unavailable, can a Mystery or Multi Cache be used to provide access to the Railway station, without breaching the SideTracked policy? I would require the seeker to find numbers on a plaque located within the Railway property and do an offset or a puzzle, leading to a cache outside the area.

    Thanks for your help,

    Yannick (for the AngryBirds)

  2. #2

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    Exclamation

    This Topic explains why Groundspeak's UK Reviewers have put into place a requirement for Proof of Permission to Publish for Network Rail owned Properties.

    Groundspeak left the decision up to the then 3 UK Reviewers, and did not impose the decision on us.

    In each case it is a judgement call, but we have to take into account that Network Rail own more property than the Land inside the Security Fencing on which the rails run, and the Stations themselves. Network Rail are one of the Largest Landowners in the UK. The Train Operating Companies, Lease/rent the Stations off Network Rail.

    As a Example, I requested a cache owner supplied proof of permission for a cache as it was located on land designated as a SSSI. The container being located next to a Coastal Path which has just been upgraded by the Local County Councils Countryside Department. The path runs on the seaward side of the Rails, but is completely outside the Fenced off rail area. There being a pedestrian tunnel under the track. The County Council informed the cacher that the Land was owned by Network Rail down to the Low Water Line.

    On a request being made to Network Rail, they refused, even though the Land is open to the public. And there is no safety issues.

    The UK Reviewers have been unable to obtain actual details of Network Rail properties, they unlike certain other major Landowners. Will not even give us the data on a restricted usage licence. So each case is a judgement call. If in doubt the rest of the UK Reviewer Team is consulted about the location. And the person reviewing goes with the majority consensus. I've believed one thing and my colleagues have believed something else, and in such cases I've happily gone with their opinion.

    The requirement for Network Rail Permission to be provided, only applies to Physical Waypoints. That's anything the Cache Owner Places, be it a container or a tag with information on it. Information gathering will not result in a request for proof of permission.

    On a related note, we have had a cacher stopped and challenged about her activities whilst searching for a cache located at a Rail Station [one which was published pre the Requirement for Proof of Permission being brought in] The whole experience was a extremely unpleasant experience for her

    Deci
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  3. #3

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    Default

    It's a good question, though. Clearly, in this case the cache was outside the railway station boundary (so didn't fall into the "Network Rail owned Properties" rule). And yet it appears that the reviewer was able to ascertain that it was on railway land, even though the local cacher didn't have access to that information. It would have been better to have supplied the OP with the means to make the same check so that the boundaries become public knowledge.

    I'm not sure either, whether permission from Network Rail would be sufficient. You'd also need current permission from the stationmaster (if there is one), the security staff, and/or the train operating company. Otherwise, cachers could still be challenged at the site and they would be no better off (if the station staff are unaware of the cache or are unsympathetic). Waving a GPSr or phone at them with some text on it saying that Network Rail gave permission is unlikely to avoid embarrassment, even though it would get Groundspeak off the hook.

    In my opinion, the Mystery/Multi option would be a good one; but again, assuming that it's still fairly nearby, how would you know that the final cache isn't on railway land too? I suppose the answer is to be patient, and spend a few hours (or days/weeks/months/years depending on the situation) ascertaining the land ownership before submitting the cache. Or give up on the whole "railway" theme altogether and let someone else have the hassle.
    Last edited by Happy Humphrey; 26th June 2010 at 09:31 AM.

  4. #4

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    Exclamation

    It's a good question, though. Clearly, in this case the cache was outside the railway station boundary (so didn't fall into the "Network Rail owned Properties" rule). And yet it appears that the reviewer was able to ascertain that it was on railway land, even though the local cacher didn't have access to that information. It would have been better to have supplied the OP with the means to make the same check so that the boundaries become public knowledge.
    Sorry to be rude, but try actually reading my post which is the one before yours! Specifically

    The UK Reviewers have been unable to obtain actual details of Network Rail properties, they unlike certain other major Landowners. Will not even give us the data on a restricted usage licence. So each case is a judgement call. If in doubt the rest of the UK Reviewer Team is consulted about the location. And the person reviewing goes with the majority consensus. I've believed one thing and my colleagues have believed something else, and in such cases I've happily gone with their opinion.
    And also

    In each case it is a judgement call, but we have to take into account that Network Rail own more property than the Land inside the Security Fencing on which the rails run, and the Stations themselves. . The Train Operating Companies, Lease/rent the Stations off Network Rail.
    Network Rail are one of the Largest Landowners in the UK
    FYI Network Rail own Office Blocks, Shopping Centres & Industrial Estates. Amongst their Land Portfolio. We tend to concentrate on Railway Stations and Land around them. Where it is not clear who actually owns the Land. So a Judgement call is made.

    And further proof of the extent of Network Rail Land Portfolio, and since you are unable to access the caches in question. So are unable to comment on the actual cache locations

    It's a good question, though. Clearly, in this case the cache was outside the railway station boundary (so didn't fall into the "Network Rail owned Properties" rule).
    I also posted about a cache Permission issue, off Network Rail Station Property.

    As a Example, I requested a cache owner supplied proof of permission for a cache as it was located on land designated as a SSSI. The container being located next to a Coastal Path which has just been upgraded by the Local County Councils Countryside Department. The path runs on the seaward side of the Rails, but is completely outside the Fenced off rail area. There being a pedestrian tunnel under the track. The County Council informed the cacher that the Land was owned by Network Rail down to the Low Water Line.

    On a request being made to Network Rail, they refused, even though the Land is open to the public. And there is no safety issues.
    The CO is free to contact Network Rail and have them confirm/deny it is their Property. As has been shown they will reply to such queries.

    The UK Reviewers would be very happy if anyone can obtain details of Network Rail Property off them, specifically boundaries of Rail Stations. Even if this was on a restrictive usage licence. It would then stop arguments about judgement calls.

    FYI, I have reversed decisions about refusing caches near to Network Rail Properties. After engaging in discussions with the cache owner. So no judgement call, is set in stone. Where there is sufficient doubt, the decision will fall on the side of the Cache Owner. But there has to be sufficient doubt.

    Deceangi Volunteer UK Reviewer Geocaching.com
    [The Mancunian Account was created in the early History of the GAGB. When I became a Reviewer, the then Committee decided that there was no need to create a separate Reviewer Account. All posts made as a Reviewer are always signed Deci. (sub note, Mancunian was my original GC Account name, I later changed it after joining the GAGB to Mancunian Pyrocacher)]

    The above is for those not aware of this, Happy Humphrey, being well aware of who I am. if not why the Mancunian account is used.
    My post is my personal opinion and as such you do not have my permission to quote me outside of these forums!

    Dave
    Brenin Tegeingl
    Formerly known as Mancunian Pyrocacher on GC

  5. #5

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mancunian View Post
    Sorry to be rude, but try actually reading my post which is the one before yours!
    Yes, I read and understood the "judgement call" post, and thank you for clarifying. But it seems that such a call can be made be looking at the map; perhaps we need to see the exact location to be clear, but that made me think that the judgement was that the map showed the location as being very likely Network Rail property.

    If the OP had been aware of how that judgement was arrived at (close to the railway track? Looks like old sidings on Google Earth? Looks like the railway station car park?) it would have been a bit more helpful.
    Last edited by Happy Humphrey; 26th June 2010 at 04:31 PM.

  6. #6

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    Default

    Thanks for the information, it helped me understand the challenges you are facing as reviewers to allow or not a SideTracked cache.

    There is still some confusion in my understanding of the situation. I read a few more threads on the subject at Geocaching.com and could only find one refusal (no approval) from Network Rail, the same one mentioned by Deci in this post. There was another one from January 2010, but the thread ended without an agrement on the authenticity of the document. Deci, you mentionned that Network Rail replies to cachers, but the GAGB database does not show any results about those requests. It would be helpful for the community to know if it is even worth asking?

    The decision from the reviewers is almost 2 years old. From what I read so far, it did not produce useful data from the caching community about approvals or refusals from Network Rail. Since land owner permission is the only restriction imposed by the reviewers to allow a cache on Network Rail properties, it looks unlikely that we will see any improvement based on this criteria. For the sake of being consistant with ourselves, if security concerns is the base for the reviewers decision, this should be applied across all SideTracked caches, not just the new ones ... even if it means archiving some of the old ones that have been set before the ruling (note that this is not my personal preference).

    It seems my interest for SideTracked got me into something controvertial in the caching community. I believe personnaly that until there is clear proof that Network Rail does not want any caches on their properties, it might be time to review the decision taken two years ago. This set an unpleasant precedent for cachers who enjoy urban areas or frequently used locations challenges. Being questioned by the authorities is a risk that all cachers have to accept, even outside public transports. There will always be the possibility that an unfortunate cacher get a roasting from the authorities or that a container could cause a security alarm. The GAGB guidelines are there to help us avoid obvious mistakes, that should be sufficient.

    I am sure the St-Pancreas incident alarmed many reviewers and cachers, but imposing a virtual ban (unless I am wrong and permissions have been granted by NR) based on an isolated incident does not help geocaching. This makes the community vulnerable to many other types of restriction in the future. ** Removed comment about Metropolitan Police Agreement as I did not read it properly. I based this statement on caches I did in London, mentionning an exclusion zone around certain buildings **

    The vast majority of railway stations are outside large cities, many of them less frequented then some popular trails we have done as a family. For many years, the caching community enjoyed access to railway stations without major problems. There are maybe better ways like limiting the size of cache containers in zones that are sensitive. Geocaching.com could also add a warning to caches located in heavily populated areas.

    I love the activity and I hope it will prosper in many types of location around the world, including urban areas.
    Last edited by AngryBirds; 26th June 2010 at 10:35 PM.

  7. #7

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    Default

    Note: Topic was discussed further under Private vs Public Permissions.

  8. #8

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    Can anyone tell me who they use as contacts at Network Rail (and/or the British Rail Property Board)?

    I work for a FOC (Freight Operating Company) which has depots and yards at various locations around the Country, and I have worked (and still do) in the Railway industry since 1976.

    Maybe I could use my knowleade and position to negotiate a better way forward than for someone at NR not understanding geocaching, just finding that refusal of all caches is the easiest way to deal with our sport?

  9. #9

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    Hi Guys, My apologies for reviving a OLD thread, but I thought it was better to put this where an existing thread existed rather than creating a new one.

    I have recently taken over the day-to-day running of the SideTracked series, and I am pleased to announce that we have a brand new website, and updated statistics!

    Check us out at http://www.sidetrackedseries.info
    Last edited by Maple Leaf; 7th April 2013 at 07:48 PM. Reason: Verified URL

  10. #10

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    Default

    I like the new website and wish you well, are you able to separate finders and hiders like the Church Micro series?
    Failures are finger posts on the road to achievement.

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