May 21, 2017

Illegal to take Photographs of train tracks

Did you know that it's Illegal to take pictures on the train tracks?

This past week, I took a photo of the removed fence in Framingham and uploaded to Twitter.

A few minutes later I got this surprising response:

Was I really out of line. Turns out that I was.

Union Pacific Alert Photographers

In 2013, Union Pacific Railroad and Operation Lifesaver put out a press release encouraging photographers not to use train tracks as their settings. The press release contains lots of facts on why it's very dangerous to use train tracks for photo sessions.

It's Illegal to take Photos of Train Tracks

Why it's Illegal? Your trespassing on private property. In order for you to take the picture, you have to be trespassing. In Massachusetts, trespassing on train tracks might be fined $100 (Chapter 218, Section 218):
Whoever knowingly, without right is present, stands, walks, or rides a bicycle, snow vehicle, recreational or other vehicle on the right-of-way, bridge, or other property of, or used or controlled by any railroad corporation, except at a highway or other authorized grade crossing and except on rights-of-way formally abandoned pursuant to state or federal law and no longer owned by said railroad corporation or rights-of-way owned by said railroad corporation but which have been converted or leased specifically for use as a bicycle or walking path in accordance with state or federal laws, shall be fined $100 or shall be required to perform a total of 50 hours of community service which may include service in the operation lifesaver program, so-called. Any person violating this section may be arrested without a warrant by any police officer, including railroad police, and proceeded against according to law.

Operation Lifesaver

According to Operation Lifesaver, a group that educates the public about rail safety, 16 Americans have been killed and 5 injured in photography-related train track incidents.

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