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Photographer Struck And Killed By Train During Photo Shoot

By Tanya Goodall Smith on June 19th 2014

A photographer was struck and killed by an Amtrak train Saturday in Missouri. According to, photographer Jonathan D. Eade was taking pictures at 12:51 p.m. on the Union Pacific U.S. Highway 50 overpass. A train approached around a “blind” corner and was unable to stop in time to prevent the accident.

Amtrak officials say the conductor followed proper safety procedures and several “No Trespassing” signs were prominently posted on the premises.

“From what we have been told by Amtrak, the engineer did everything he could,” Sedalia Police Sgt. Josh Howell said. “He sounded all the warnings devices on the train. He put the train into full emergency, which is basically the fastest way they know how to stop a train, but there was just not enough room.”

As a photography community, of course, we are saddened by the preventable loss of another life. The tragedy not only affect the family and loved ones of those killed, but the conductor and crew on the train, as well as the subject he was photographing, are also traumatized. The best way to avoid these is to stay off the tracks. For more information about official regulations and policies for photographing railroad tracks in the United States, read our other articles:




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Tanya Goodall Smith is the owner, brand strategist and commercial photographer at WorkStory Corporate Photography in Spokane, Washington. WorkStory creates visual communications that make your brand irresistible to your target market. Join the stock photo rebellion at

Q&A Discussions

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  1. Steve Liguori

    I see a lot of comments about train tracks being overused and cliche. To a group of experienced photographers such as we have here, that’s no doubt true, but that’s not always the case with clients. I’ve had requests for those kinds of shots.

    I’m not going to stop shooting around tracks because an isolated photographer didn’t take the necessary precautions anymore than I’m going to stop shooting around water because of an isolated drowning.

    Some common sense goes a long way and there are relatively safe ways to get shots in a crazy world without actually banning specific practices.

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  2. James Polk

    Just another reason to stay the hell away from doing train track portraits (beside the obvious that they are WAY overused).

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  3. Mancave Heywood

    Yes this is very sad, but how many people would be wanting to ban something if this was done with a firearm. So many people die each day from doing stupid stuff, this person was trespassing and paid the ultimate price!

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  4. Greg Faulkner

    Sad, what a shame

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  5. Kim Crisanto

    Need to be extra careful next time

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  6. Brian Stalter

    It’s private property and needs to be treated as such.

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  7. Servando Miramontes

    Tragic… It is so easy to get tunnel vision while shooting… Having someone coming with you, when you can, helps…

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    • Eric Mazzone

      Or better yet, just stay the heck off of private property and don’t get killed or arrested for trespassing. We have no rights to be on the tracks to photograph, not even near the tracks.

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  8. Hanssie

    So sad and unnecessary.

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  9. Drew Pluta

    You only need one reason:
    1. It’s a stupid cliche and holds zero artistic value. Shooting photos on train tracks is such an overdone hack scenario that we obviously need to shame people into letting it go extinct.
    Seriously all appeals to common sense and safety have gone without notice. We need to hit people where it hurts, the ego…

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  10. Anthony Thurston

    Sad to see this. People really need to stay away from tracks…

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