Since the Lehigh Valley has many active railroad lines (both revenue freight and tourist) we figured we would post some safety about being near the railroad tracks. There is a population that will sit trackside and watch trains, this is called a railfan and normally they are just waiting for the next train to pass and are not any threat to public safety. They are normally seen with a camera and/or a tripod. They normally are away from the tracks and monitoring the train as it passes looking for any issues and would call into the railroad.
If anyone wants to watch trains and be a railfan, there are a couple of spots where the public can safely watch trains. Macungie park, Allentown Canal Park, parking lots by Steel Stacks. Stay back at least 25 feet from the tracks and you most likely will have no issues.
Some tips & facts for being around railroad tracks.
**** SEE TRACKS – THINK TRAINS ****
#1 Trespassing on railroad property is a felony. Local, state and railroad police can give you a citation or arrest you on the spot for trespassing.
#2 Trains over hang the outside of the rail by about 3 feet on a straight section of track. On curves, this will increase.
#3 ONLY cross railroad tracks at designated road-grade crossings and pedestrian crossings.
#4 It is illegal to go around lowered gates
#5 Stay at least 15 feet away from the railroad tracks. Railroad property is 50 feet wide on single track. This means 25 feet from the center of the track on each side.
#6 At double tracks or more, wait for the train to pass and look both ways before crossing all tracks. There could be another train coming the other way that may be blocked from the first train.
#7 Always expect a train! Trains do not have set schedules. If you have to go across a crossing, make sure you can clear the crossing on the other side. This is especially important with crossings near stop lights and other areas where traffic may back up. If you can’t fit, don’t commit!
#8 Trains are moving faster than you think and are also closer than they appear.
#9 Trestles and bridges are private property, never walk, bungee jump, hunt or fish from them.
#10 Red flashing lights indicate a train is coming in either direction. Wait for the train, it can take up to a mile for a train to stop.
#11 If you are on a bicycle, walk your bike across the tracks and cross at a 90 degree angle to avoid getting the wheels stuck between the tracks and the pavement.
#12 Turn off music and pull earphones out before crossing at a railroad crossing.
#13 NO tracks should be considered abandoned or inactive.
#14 NO professional photography is allowed on any railroad tracks at anytime without the written consent of the railroad. You are trespassing and subject to fine or imprisonment.
We hope you have learned some safety for railroad crossing and being around railroad tracks. We here at What’s Going On In The Lehigh Valley want to make sure everyone is safe while around railroad tracks. Even the tourist railroads.
There are a few sources of information out there for you and we have them listed below:
Operation Lifesaver: https://oli.org/
PA Operation Lifesaver: http://www.oliofpa.org/
Tracks are for Trains: http://tracksarefortrains.com/