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DOT: Tracks Are For Trains, Not Photoshoots

Railroad tracks are popular scenes for prom pictures, senior portraits, and engagement photo, but state transportation officials are reminding people that posing on railroad property is illegal and dangerous. “Railroad property and tracks are for trains and are not for walking, jogging or any form of trespassing,” said Jason Orthner, director for the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Rail Division. “This time of year, students are also taking senior and prom pictures. We strongly urge photographers to not trespass on railroad property.” Railroad right of way laws vary by state. The influx of new residents to North Carolina from other areas has led to an increase in walking, hiking and biking along railroad rights of way. While such activities are legal in some states, North Carolina prohibits anything but trains on railroad tracks.

Decommissioned tracks, like those in Whiteville, are considered public, and may be used for other activities.

Active crossings have blue signs with location information and emergency numbers. (DOT photo)

The division’s BeRailSafe program provides important rail safety information to the public, schools, law enforcement and first responders.

NCDOT’s Rail Division also urges people to follow these tips:

  • Pedestrians should always cross the railroad at safe, legal crossings such as bridges, underpasses, and railroad crossings with signage.

  • Never walk or jog on railroad property or along a railroad track. Railroads are private property and are not walking paths.

  • Never stop your vehicle on railroad tracks at a crossing; make sure you have room for your vehicle before proceeding across.

  • If there is an emergency on a railroad track, call the number on the blue sign at the crossing. This is the fastest way to alert railroad officials.

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