Sunday, January 15, 2017

Effing Graffiti

I want to rant a bit about graffiti. I saw two posts this weekend of vandalism that just made me mad: VIA Rail's Canadian and the Toys for Tots train.

VIA's Canadian

It's common to see freight cars with graffiti on them. I should say it's uncommon to see cars without graffiti. However, it's a lot rarer to see passenger cars get vandalized.

Jeff Keddy posted this photo of VIA Rail's Chateau Lasalle with graffiti on one side. (thanks to Jeff for permission to post)
Chateau Lasalle with graffiti. Photo by Jeff Keddy.
Apparently the car was parked at Union Station (in Winnipeg, I believe) and someone hopped the fence and sprayed it, then did some damage to the interior as well.

That made me mad. But this one made me furious:

Toys For Tots Train

Railway Express car with graffiti. Photo by Taras Terlecky.
This train is owned by the United Railroad Historical Society of NJ and was used for a "Toys for Tots" drive.

Toys for Tots train, vandalized. Photo by Taras Terlecky
It was vandalized this weekend and several cars were "decorated" by some jackass or jackasses. A police report has been filed.

I don't know if you can see from the photo at right but one of the coaches also has some graffiti "scrawls" on it.

Imagine how many scarce volunteer hours have gone into maintaining and repainting this equipment... and now it will have to be done again.

Thanks to Taras Terlecky for permission to post the photos.

What the Heck?

It's bad enough to vandalize freight cars with paint. You shouldn't do this.

But to "tag" passenger cars? And museum cars?

Well, this is a family blog so I won't use the language I really want to use, but what kind of #*$&@#$ jerk does that?

I see a lot of posts about "benching" on Instagram (#benching), which is about watching and photographing graffiti on trains. Here's a big blog post on it. I'm sure it's interesting to watch for known "tags" and some of the graffiti is quite artistic.. for example:

There is definitely some real talent out there.

Most graffiti is just scribbles, vandalism with no art at all.

Regardless of its artistic value, it's wrong. It's not OK to deface someone else's property. I don't understand it at all.

I've written in the past about how I'm conflicted about graffiti on trains - the art of it versus the vandalism. No more.

Just.. Stop

Just stop doing graffiti. And stop glorifying it.

For my part, I'm not going to post any more graffiti. I mean, it'll be on trains that I photograph - hard to avoid that - but I won't post any photos where the photo prominently features graffiti.

I'm going to unfollow anyone on Instagram who primarily posts graffiti. I might lose some followers, but I don't want them.

I'm sick to my stomach from seeing these passenger cars vandalized, and I'm sick of graffiti.



Carolina Caboose Captain said...

A very sad commentary on the culture of today, respect for others and their property is learned and if it is not taught the results are obvious!

AJ said...

You're so right on this!
I too am sick of graffiti and the defacement of public/private property and I hope we're not the only ones who are bothered about this.

bmillier said...

Well said Steve, thank you. It would also be nice if the rail police concentrated on catching and ticketing these guys instead of innocent people walking along an access road with their dog. Have a great week.

Shane said...

I'm with you 100% Steve. Vandalism is not art. It also makes me angry when people claim some of these vandals are respectable because they avoid covering reporting marks. They are ALL criminals.

I will not give them publicity on my web site.


Eric said...

Nobody is going to disagree with you, Steve - prediction!

It is a fine line between publicizing/publishing and glorifying, when as you note, most equipment carries graffiti.

Seen the 'Call to Action' ads in the railfan press? Tiny and ineffectual.


Canadian Train Geek said...

Thank you, CCC, AJ, Bill, Shane and Eric. I'm glad you agree.

Nobody's disagreeing with me publicly, Eric. :)

I haven't seen the "Call to Action" ads. What action are they calling for?

Anonymous said...

Good on you Steve - graffiti has always offended me on railroad empty.. I know that there are even decals for modellers of graffiti - I model the era before it - the occasional "Kilroy was here", the only graffiti seen.

Karl A. said...

This is a tough one. As frustrating as these hack tags are, they aren't going to stop. I was at a railroad trade show a few years back in Minneapolis. Taggers evaded the security guards and tagged a brand new demo locomotive. Ouch.

Railfans, keep an eye out and report suspicious activity.

shnorth123 said...

I notice some model train manufactures offer freight cars with factory applied graffiti on them. Isn't this giving more publicity to the problem? Too bad as it ruins a nice model which I refuse to buy. If you want graffiti on a model buy some decals! I hate the look of graffiti on modern era freight cars, even if it's an old beat up boxcar or hopper on it's last legs. I mainly model the modern era but you won't see any graffiti on my rolling stock.

Craig said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Craig said...

Ya I realise tagged cars ar ethe norm now BUT....passenger cars!!??!! Come on. My model freight may be weathered bigtime but I draw the line at graffiti. Guess I'm sacrificing realism for my aesthetics.

Michael said...

I agree. I recognize people have talent, but I fail to see how this should be the venue for their talent. Other than the obvious legal issues, skulking around trains is incredibly dangerous. I have also tried in my blog not to focus on graffiti. I can't believe how prominent it has become even since I was a teenager when most trains were clean.