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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Discuss anything to do with property law - buying, selling property

Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby shadrach » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:01 pm

There are some really cool railroad tracks near my house that I'd like to explore, maybe take some pictures. I've been Googling this and all I get are people asking if it's legal to walk ON the railroad tracks. People keep saying stuff like "No, it's private property."
I want to know if you can walk NEAR them. Like, next to them, not on them. I would just be on the ballast stones. Walking next to them wouldn't be obstructing the right of way, so I would think it's okay. Can someone help me out on this one? Thanks in advance :)
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby crom » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:10 pm

Sorry Dude, RR has an easement, not that they 'own' the land necessarily, but they have the property rites above ground, The easement is I think like a 100, 120 or 150 feet (i don't remember exact at the moment) wide for a single track, the track however doesn't necessarily run down the center of that width, there are agreements of course that allow for 'crossings' but even these are controlled points over specific roads and pathways, where you are expected to 'cross' and get on about your way. That's the 'Law'. That said!...this is 'Real Life'!. I grew up around, and lived next to, tracks my whole life and never followed there rules, as a kid and adult both, I blew them off just because the place I wanted to go was on the other side, other times following them was a more direct route then a Street or sidewalk, (Id hitch them sometimes, But Don't Try This At Home.. HA!). I would say that I had been stopped, and or yelled at, by both police and RR personnel several dozens of times over the last 35 years, and never once was I arrested. This is one of those things that is disregarded so often, by so many, they don't have the time or jail space to bother with it, You get a 'warning' every time. So if I was you, Id just do my thing, (don't push it though, get off the ballast when a train approaches, there are suicidal types out there, and if you make a train apply its breaks, then that would elevate the situation to a serious legal charge) If ever confronted, just say "Sorry Man.. I didn't Know?...". Just play stupid and leave the area. Now... That Said... Tracks are way cool to walk on, like a park setting, You could get some cool pictures too.
I say "go for it!"
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby delron » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:17 pm

It depends on the exact location, but since you've already Googled this and the results say it's illegal, it probably is.

In urbanized areas, railroad right of ways are often delineated by fences. If you're within those fences, you are probably trespassing. Based on the Google replies, you would probably be trespassing if you are walking on ballast stones.

In any case, the authoritative answer would come from your local rail authority, not Yahoo Answers.

Good luck.
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby osbourne » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:18 pm

You already have your answer, all the property between the right of way fences is private property and you dont have permission ot be on it. That is trespassing and illegal.
However, railroads very seldom prosecute or evict people walking along the tracks in a safe respectful manner, we have rail fans all time taking pictures.
But it is still trespassing and there is a certain risk of being escorted fromt he property..
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby ruddy » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:20 pm

One day, i got the idea to put money on the train tracks. My kids and i went down to the local park where the tracks run fairly close to and taped coins to the track. After a while we went back to retrieve the money, and while we were there searching for the coins a cop pulled at the railroad crossing.
We thought that he would tell us to leave but he didn't seem to care that we were there at all. We found all of our coins (they are flat as pancakes) anyway, the point is, no cares if you are on the tracks.
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby muireach » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:27 pm

Walking on the right of way is still trespassing. But often goes unnoticed and is seldom prosecuted. So much depends on level of traffic and perceived security risk. There are some right of ways that are more watched then others and if you happen to wander into a high risk area, be prepared to at least answer questions and prove identification.
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby aldric13 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:30 pm

No it's is not illegal walking next to them and its most certainly not private property but walking on them is

Me and my friends were walking on tracks and a cop stopped and said we can walk near them or on them at a crossing but not on them.
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby sebastiano53 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:35 pm

Last time i knew it was legal. I would just do it and if someone told me I can't then I would say thank you for letting me know and leave.
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby wynn » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:42 pm

If someone saw you they could tell you to get off and you'd have to if that's what you mean.
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Is it legal to walk next to railroad tracks?

Postby leonie36 » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:44 pm

Like my underwear, depends
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