Photography near Tracks and Trains


PPA_OLI_Webinar_Oct2015_final - page 1
Operation Lifesaver webinar (PDF)
(click on the image to view)


Here are Operation Lifesaver’s six “must-know” facts for photographers considering a photo shoot near the tracks:

  1. Trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
  2. An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train’s distance from you – and its speed.
  3. The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet.
  4. Railroad tracks, trestles, yards, and rights-of-way are private property.
  5. No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.
  6. People mimic your behavior when they see your photos on the web and social media.


Operation Lifesaver urges all photographers to refrain from taking photos of high school seniors, wedding parties, and other subjects on train tracks or trestles.

Here are a few photos that should never have been taken.

Scariest railroad pictures on the Internet (Pinterest)


Think it can’t happen? Read these reports:

Selfie Tragedy Forever Impacts Those Left Behind
Union Pacific Railroad | December 8, 2016

“Taking photos on train tracks: ‘A mistake you can’t undo.’ ”
By Dan Morse | The Washington Post | October 2, 2015



Page last updated: July 12, 2019
Page last reviewed: August 29, 2016