Railroad legality

Is it legal to open carry on railroad property?
Yes, I understand that this is a bit out of the normal questions you receive, but here we are.
I drive for a living. I find myself as far as 600 miles from home on a regular basis. I run a fueling concept that almost always guaranties that I have enough fuel so I can make a U-Turn and drive home without needing to stop in the event of a major situation . BUT, there is a less likely, but still possible situation where the truck is disabled along with most other vehicles and I would be tasked with the unpleasant mission of hiking 600 miles to get home. This is no small task and thus I have done extensive planning as well as physical conditioning with my gear. My plan involves using rail ways and high-power transmission line routes so as to keep off the most populated paths. I would have a 9mm pistol as well as my 16” 5.56 on me. While it is unlikely that I would be on anyones radar in that extreme situation , I would still like to know the laws just incase. I can find no info on firearms laws on railroad property. I understand it to be private property of the state, but I can talk through that with an officer. The states I am dealing with are Iowa, N. Dakota, S. Dakota, and possibly Minnesota. I am licensed in Iowa and Minnesota. Minnesota could be cut out of the equation if I must, though it would add 4 more days to the journey. I need to finalize my plan so I can give copies to those who need it so I thank you if you can help with this final piece of information.


Good luck on your endeavor. I never heard of any law about carrying guns on private state property. As long as you are permitted to carry in those states and obeying the laws. I’ve heard it was illegal to carry in some state buildings.


@Jeremy3 Welcome to our community, we are glad to have you. :slightly_smiling_face:
I could find nothing on a search. I would think if you were walking home in the scenario
you described trespassing would be the least of your troubles.
I think the only laws you would run afoul of would be trespassing at the rail yards and bridges that have no trespassing signs on them.


I think in a situation where society had broken down enough that you had to hike 600 miles to get home that the laws regarding carry on a given property would be the least of your concerns.

Having said that I suspect that the legality would vary by State and the actual property the tracks are on. Large portions of the tracks would likely be on right of ways through various public and private lands and I think would more likely be subject to the state and local laws as well as postings of the individual landowners than to railroad regulations.

I work out of town as well and am prepared for a similar trek home though I would likely be following gas and power line right of ways since I am more familiar with those and perhaps less people might think to follow them. Though if you live in an area with a lot of rivers railroads would provide easier crossings.


IMHO, in such an event, federal laws on railroad property are the least of your concerns.


@Jeremy3 P,S. We have a lot of preppers here. :+1:


Most railroad tracks are privately owned.

I think transmission lines are similar but the land under them may be privately owned and leased or there might be an easement.




I can answer the Power Lines easement as far as the South goes. Power Line easements are considered Public Property. So short of a ban on CC at a state level. Travel while CC should be fine on the power line easement.


We hunt along the Pole Line Roads all of the time, never had a problem yet.


Yeah. I had figured that. In the way back time machine I was a Workman’s Comp investigator for a couple of years. I used to use Power Company Easements all of the time during video documenting.


Hello and welcome @Jeremy3


Welcome to the family brother @Jeremy3 and it is great having you here.

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Welcome Jeremy3. Interesting scenario. Great post. Lots of subtopics to glean from.

Per USCCA’s site, all four states allow open carry, but I wouldn’t know if that includes rifles.

Good for you, multi licenses, planning ahead, letting family know your itinerary.

My health or condition might not always allow for too long a walks at times. Last year, when on the road, my vehicle stopped working twice. I purchased a service similar to AAA, which bailed me out.

Not unlike you with the gas, I try to keep my phone charged, so I can find a cab, Uber, or gps to the nearest café or hotel.

I imagine if I carried a rifle, I might get too much unwanted attention. I might prefer its weight in water, compass, paper road maps.

Might be interesting to ask a Rail Road Co., in case that qualifies as private property. I’ve walked RR tracks before on some hiking trips, but found it too difficult, risky to fall or sprain an ankle on that terrain, full of loose rock, and wooden planks to avoid tripping over, always “having to look down – takes my eyes away from watching my surroundings”; less fun.

Any how, now I wanna go camping. Safe travels.


That’s a very good point. I lived in a place back East where I had to walk along the tracks to get to a local swimming hole. Takes a fair amount of extra effort to walk on the tracks compared to walking on a road or trail. In the forested areas in New England most of the tracks didn’t have roads running along them. But here in the Southwest many of the tracks outside of developed areas have dirt access roads running parallel though sometimes the roads branch away or dead end.

Probably not an option for the original poster to carry in their work vehicle but I have seen bikes modified with arms and guide wheels so they can be peddled on RR tracks. That would be a quick way to get somewhere.


A lightweight foldable rifle option that can be easily tucked inside a backpack:

Takes AR mags and the B model only weighs 4.5 pounds. Not the fanciest, sturdiest thing around and you don’t want to mag dump several hundred rounds all at once out of the very thin barrel. But it works and several of the models are even legal in many of the anti self defense areas like CA. At least until they get around to eventually banning all semi automatic rifles.


I was hoping you would add that—and you did! Thanks.