Trespassing RR Property is Dangerous and Illegal

Prior to my op-ed statement, an explanation and statements from myself and John Walsh, Assistant VP of Safety and Security for Genesee and Wyoming Railroads, Inc.

A local photographer encouraged and allowed her subjects to climb aboard parked rail cars a few days ago near Zanesville, OH.

Through the anonymous source; I communicated with G&W officials on the matter as well as alerted Stu Nicholson, Public Affairs with All Aboard Ohio.

These e-mail communications are as follows ;and for protection of the guilty party and the source of the information have been omitted.

Positive response relayed to G&W…The Ohio Railroader website and OVR are now allies in railroad safety.

“Mr. Kennedy

Good morning. Thank you for sharing this. It is truly concerning that people don’t realize how dangerous this is. I will be sending a letter to XXXXXX outlining the dangers and requesting xxx refrain from doing this again. I will also share with the National Operation Lifesaver office and Illinois Operation Lifesaver State Coordinator and ask them to do the same. I make OCRR management aware so they can be on the lookout as well. Thank you again.


John Walsh

AVP Safety & Security

Genesee & Wyoming Railroad Services, Inc.

13901 Sutton Park Drive South Suite 330

Jacksonville, FL 32224″

My response….


Omitting the person’s name, I have shared your response to our members on the FB page….later this week; I will do an overview article on the Ohio Railroader on railroad safety and rail-fanning responsibly.

99.9 percent of our Ohio Valley Rails Facebook members do stay off railroad property.

I do know a great number of our photogs have built friendships with employees who work many railroads. However as stated in our “Bill of RIghts”; no member should hinder or endanger a railroad worker from doing their work or endanger themselves.

We have built relationships with folks who work G&W/OC, NS, CSX and many of the scenic and historical outlets. We wish to retain that in a safe and non-threatening manner.

I appreciate your quick response and thank you for your time…

Giles Kennedy

Chief Editor/Founder The Ohio Railroader Website

As stated in the Ohio Railroader/Ohio Valley Rails “Bill of Rights”

“Amendment III

Unless under contract or with prior permission with any railroad; no member shall trespass onto railroad property. It is the law. We are law abiding folks here. As simply stated from Operation Lifesaver’s tagline “See Tracks, Think Trains”.

We do realize that some photographers, railroad contractors, etc have prior relationships and friendships with railroad employees. As long as we are not keeping them from doing their job safely, these friendships help them keep the rails safe. And it also builds us very great reparation for us as a law abiding group of railfans.”

Thus, being said. I do truly understand local crews, scenic and historic railroad workers have built up relationships with local photographers, railfans, etc.

But, no one other than railroad employees should be on railroad equipment, period. It jeopardizes one’s vocation and one’s safety.

And no local photographer with an empty track should take pictures on someone. Period. That is not their property.

Whether I am writing articles for Columbus Wired or this website, I never take a picture of close proximity without permission.

The same should apply to any railfan pictures. Yes, folks have zoom lens. yes, there are places to can stand to look like you are right in the action.

But, consider this……if your mother, father, brother, sister or friend needs a safe work environment; would you not consider the same for railroad photos?

99.9 of the members of Ohio Valley Rails (the sister FB page) and all whom have contributed to articles and media on the website do. How about you?

Image From Operation LifeSaver

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