Rail safety for photographers

by Lori Peterson

If I walked into your garden and just started taking pictures, you would call the police or would you just ignore it?

If you have a studio and I waltzed with my camera and models and started shooting my latest and greatest session, you would have me removed immediately?

The chances are that after the initial shock wore off you would call the police and ask them to get me out of your studio or off of your property.

It could be an extreme example, but realistically this is what happens when a photographer brings their client, props, and their camera on railway track to shoot.

Railroad tracks are private property. They are not public property. It is illegal to shoot on railroad tracks. You can see what your particular State says about the fact that even on the tracks by going here.

You could say “well, these tracks have been abandoned”. Unused numbers are not abandoned. They are still owned by the railroad company and you are still off limits.

Ignorance of the law will only get you so far when you are facing a police officer or a tragedy because you are not following the law. It is virtually impossible for the railway companies to cover every inch of track with signs that warn them that they are trespassing.

railway photography safety

You could say “We can hear the trains.” Not all trains will sound their horns. Trains cannot stop as fast as a car. It takes about a mile for a train to come to a halt. Trains travel between 79-125 mph, although it doesn’t look can if they go so fast.

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