Iowa DOT warns photographers about pictures on railroads


KIMT News 3 – You’ve probably seen many senior pictures taken on railroads.

“They are artistic, you see a lot of seniors take them, some engagement couples, they are just pretty,” says LC Photography owner Laurie Cook of Clear Lake.

What you may not know is it is illegal. The railroads are private property and shooting photos on them is considered trespassing.

“It’s over a $10,000 fine if you get caught and everyone who is with you on the tracks can be arrested,” says Cook. “It’s super dangerous as well. If you see a train coming, you don’t know how fast it’s coming at you and they also overhang the railroad by about 3 feet.”

Now the Iowa Department of Transportation is warning all photographers.

“With the advances they made on technology and the type of rails that they use for the tracks, the trains are a lot quieter than they used to be,” says Iowa Department of Transportation Service Manager Pete Hjelmstad. “They can come up on you pretty quick without you realizing it but the main thing is it is very dangerous and it’s illegal.”

Because a picture is worth a thousand words, but it’s not worth risking your life.

“If you’re posting those photos, other hobbiests think it’s OK, so you’re basically promoting that it’s alright to be out there and it’s not,” says Cook.

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