There's something about walking on train tracks that's inherently youthful... probably because almost every kid has done it.

Growing up here in Central New York, you're usually not far from some unused rail lines in a rural area, overgrown with weeds. I remember as a kid in Richfield Springs, there were some near my house, and it was fun to take long, aimless walks down those tracks. You knew a train was never going to come... or at least you thought it wouldn't.

Photo by Redd F on Unsplash
Photo by Redd F on Unsplash


Guess what? It's actually not. In fact, the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Railroad Commission reads you the riot act on their official webpage:

It is illegal to access private railroad property anywhere other than a designated pedestrian or roadway crossing. Trespassers are most often pedestrians who walk across or along railroad tracks as a shortcut to another destination. Some trespassers are loitering; engaged in recreational activities such as jogging, taking pictures, hunting, fishing, bicycling or operating recreational off-highway vehicles (ROVs).

I'll admit, this is a little disheartening. On a fundamental level, I understand that getting hit by a train is... not ideal. Doesn't seem like something you'll easily walk away from. But on the other hand, it seems extremely unlikely. Another way of putting it is that it seems very easy to not get hit by a train. Trains make a lot of noise, and you can see them coming from like a mile away. Plenty of time to get far away from the tracks before it obliterates you, one would think.

Who enforces such laws is unknown to me. I've never heard of a kid being ticketed for walking on tracks. Someone might tell you to "scram, kid!" but I can't see it going beyond that. This just seems like one of those laws that people break everyday and nobody bats an eye.

I do, however, think there should be laws against tying damsels in distress to train tracks. I'm fully in support of that one.


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See Inside the Mt. Vernon Home Rumored to be Part of the Underground Railroad

Located at 917 Mill Street in Mt. Vernon, less than a mile north of the Ohio River, there are a few different rumors of how the Robin Hill home was involved in helping slaves escape to the North. One rumor suggested there was a tunnel underneath the home slaves would use to pass through after getting off a boat on the river. That rumor has been debunked, but there once was a creek that ran near the home which was so overgrown with plants it looked like a tunnel. It is believed slaves used the creek as a pathway as they headed north. The home's current owner, Brian Alldredge, says he heard someone who lived or worked at the home during that time period would hang a colored blanket over the balcony to let those assisting the slaves know whether or not it was safe to pass with one particular color providing a green light, so to speak, and another warning there were people in the area looking for runaway slaves (some people in the North were known to capture slaves and send them back to the South).

The home went through a $700,000 remodel from 2001-2008 which included a new foundation and main support walls, all new floor joist and floors, new roof, new windows, and new drywall. It's currently for sale on Zillow with an asking price of $412,500

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