Most railroad laws apply everywhere, not just in Texas, and you may not be aware of a few of them.

You probably know that busses have to stop at railroad crossings whether the signals are going or not. That law stems from a tragic accident in which 24 people were killed.

Not all the laws regarding railroads have such a dark origin but they're still meant to prevent serious harm or injury and they're very much illegal.

The school bus story dates back to 1938. During a heavy blizzard, a school bus driver could only see a few feet in either direction. The snow prevented him from seeing a train coming that slammed into the bus, killing 23 kids and the bus driver.

That law makes sense but there are others against doing things that don't seem to carry as much of a threat. They can be dangerous though and they're also illegal.

It Is Illegal To Walk On Train Tracks

The tracks are private property so you would be trespassing. Railroads usually also own several feet of land left and right of them. To be safe ... literally, figuratively and legally ... I'd stay about 20 feet or so away from them unless on a designated crossing.

It Is Illegal To Take Rocks From Under Railroad Track Beds

While you're breaking that law by being on the tracks in the first place, don't break a second one by grabbing any of the rocks underneath them. They're called ballast and, among other things, they keep grass and stuff from growing and getting caught on trains, drain water and stabilize the tracks.

It Is Illegal To Put Pennies (Or Anything Else) On The Tracks

That's a biggie with kids. A penny probably won't actually derail a train but anything placed on the tracks can become a projectile when the train hits it and could injure or kill anyone nearby. Plus, you're not supposed to be on the tracks in the first place. 'Member?

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It Is Illegal To Take Photos On The Tracks

We're basically back to rule #1 on this one too. Photos and filming on tracks can be done with proper permission from the railroad. Otherwise, it's a hard no.

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Basically, the railroad owns anything and everything on or near the tracks and they don't want anybody messing with their stuff. Fair enough, I'd say.

The railroads would pretty much love it if you would treat their tracks the way most people treat snakes ... by keeping a good, safe distance away.

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