No photo is worth your life

There’s no question about it, Canadians love to take photos. Today’s smartphones mean we can capture the “perfect” picture anytime, and anywhere. And finding the right backdrop is key. But tracks, railway bridges, tunnels and other railway property aren’t the way to go. Not only are these locations private property, but taking photos on or near railway tracks could get you seriously injured, or even killed.
“People often assume that trains are loud—an assumption that can end in tragedy,” explains Sarah Mayes, National Director of Operation Lifesaver Canada. “Today’s locomotives can be remarkably quiet and fast, so you won’t always hear one approaching or have time to get out of its way.”
Cameras and trains are a dangerous combination
Taking photos on railway tracks isn’t a new trend, but it has become more common with the popularity of social media platforms like Instagram. But through Operation Lifesaver’s #STOPTrackTragedies campaign, we’ve tried to show Canadians the devasting consequences of this dangerous trend. Two of the campaign videos feature the tragic stories of young people who lost their lives taking photos on tracks.
In July 2017, 16-year-old Tristan Morrissette-Perkins was struck and killed by a passenger train near Cornwall, Ontario. He didn’t hear the train approaching as he was taking pictures on the tracks with his cousin and a friend. The other two boys were able to get off the tracks in time, but Tristan was not.
In September 2015, 16-year-old John DeReggi Jr. and his girlfriend were posing on the tracks in Boyds, Maryland. When a train came along, his girlfriend and her sister, the photographer, were out of harm’s way, but John (or John John, as he was known) was still on the tracks and didn’t hear the train coming. He was hit and died instantly.
Don’t make the same mistake as Tristan and John John. Find a safe place to take your next photo—away from railway property—and live to take another picture.