Photography near Tracks and Trains

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Operation Lifesaver webinar (PDF)

Must know facts for photographers

Here are Operation Lifesaver’s six “must-know” facts for photographers shooting photos near railroad tracks:

  • Trains can’t stop quickly to avoid people or vehicles on the tracks.
  • An optical illusion makes it hard to determine a train’s distance from you – and its speed.
  • The average train overhangs the track by at least three feet.
  • Railroad tracks, trestles, yards, and rights-of-way are private property.
  • No tracks should be assumed to be abandoned or inactive.
  • eople 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.

Think it can’t happen? Read these news reports.

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

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

“Man fatally struck by train while taking photos in Oneida County has been identified”
CNYCentral | July 29, 2023

Page last updated: July 30, 2023
Page last reviewed: August 29, 2016