Did You Know Taking Photos on Railroad Tracks is Illegal?
As we head into warmer weather your high school juniors are starting to scout locations for their senior photos and couples are looking for the perfect spot to do locations engagement photos for their "Save the Dates." Unfortunately, it's illegal to shoot them at one of the most popular locations in Boise!
There's just something about the repeating lines and vintage feel of railroad tracks that make them an appealing backdrop for some of these important life events. The ease of sharing beautiful portraits via social media and Pinterest have increased the number of requests to shoot on rail road tracks over recent years.
A good photographer will immediately turn the request down. They know that it's illegal to shoot photos on all rail road tracks in all 50 states. You may assume that's because it's dangerous, which is partially true. Most trains are traveling faster than the speed of sound, so most of the noise that it makes is actually behind the train by the time it reaches you. Over the years, modern locomotives have become quieter than ever.
Operation Save a Life Idaho, an organization which aims to prevent railroad deaths at railway crossings and rights-of-way, also explains that there's no way for a train to stop quickly. By the time a train conductor sees pedestrians on the tracks, it would take the train about a mile to come to a complete stop even with emergency braking activated. It's pure physics.
Now, I know what you're going to say..."But the tracks at the Boise Depot are safe! There's no trains there anymore." That's mostly true, short of special anniversary celebrations for the Depot that bring trains back to the track. Amtrack and Union Pacific stopped using the depot in the late 90s, but in America all railroad tracks and trestles are privately owned. Your presence on them, even if they are seemingly abandoned, is considered trespassing and you're putting yourself at risk of a fine or criminal charges for being there. Criminal trespassing fines in Idaho range $500-$1000 and a potential of a 6-12 month jail sentence.
If you do find a photographer willing to risk it, remember your images are proof that you too were trespassing where you shouldn't have been making you subject to fines and jail time as well. In other words...just don't do it!
There's plenty of other gorgeous place in Boise that will give you that same repeating line/vintage feel you're looking for. The 8th Street Trestle Bridge on the Greenbelt is a great place to start. Once used by the Oregon Short Line Railroad, it's been converted into a pedestrian bridge.