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The dangers of train track photography

Tracks are on private property so it's illegal
Posted: 10:32 PM, May 01, 2017
Updated: 2017-05-02 08:01:31-04

INDIANAPOLIS -- Railroad tracks seem to be a popular place to take graduation pictures and wedding pictures.  It's not only dangerous, but it's also illegal.

First of all, you're on private property. 

Indiana Operation Lifesaver travels the state to raise awareness about the danger on the rails.

"If I see it on social media, or someone brings it to my attention, we reach out to them with a letter first or contact them to let them know that 'Hey, I don't know if you know this but this is illegal, we don't want people to see what you're doing or emulate that behavior.' If we don't get anywhere with them, then we turn them over to local law enforcement and let them handle it," said Jessica Feder, Indiana Operation Lifesaver.

Feder says they even discourage pictures on abandoned railroad tracks because it could encourage others.

Last month in Texas, an aspiring model was killed as she was taking pictures on the train tracks. 

Police say 19-year-old Fredzania Thompson was on a photo shoot in between two sets of tracks when a freight train approached. She cleared the path of that train but stepped into the path of another.

"If I'm the photographer in charge of the shoot, then I'm going to be the one responsible if they get killed, hurt, or even if the train can't stop in time, derails or something... it's a plethora of things that can go wrong," said Joe Defabis, Defabis Photography.

The photographer and subjects in a photo could be slapped with trespassing charges, jail time or a $1,000 fine for taking a picture on railroad tracks.

In 2015, eleven people in Indiana were killed because they were trespassing on railroad tracks.

Last year, there were seven deaths.