Train safety reminders for photographers

Recently on the Operation Lifesaver Canada Facebook page a member of our online community posted a description of an extremely alarming situation involving a photographer shooting wedding photos on the tracks. Throughout history, trains and railway tracks have been romanticized in the media and they can be a very tempting setting for photographs. In reality, there's nothing romantic about them - taking part in any activity around the tracks is illegal and deadly. Professional and amateur photographers alike, if you choose to take photos around the tracks, you run the very real risk of capturing a horrific death on film. Our partners at Operation Lifesaver in the U.S. recently participated in a webinar with Professional Photographers of America to educate photographers and others about the importance of safety around tracks and trains. Here's a list from that presentation of the things photographers should remember about the dangers of taking photos near the tracks:

6 must-know things about photographing near tracks and trains

  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 in your community mimic your behavior.
Remember, trains have the power to turn a wedding or graduation celebration into a funeral in an instant. If you're going to take photos commemorating these special events, please do so away from the tracks.