Joined: Jul 13, 2013
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April 21st, 2014 at 9:43:21 AM permalink
Quote: Dalex64

I'm not sure if you were were referring to a specific locomotives when you said "those locomotives," but some locomotives have toilets.

Maybe they do by now. I haven't ridden in 18 years. Sometimes instead of jumping into a 48 I would jump into the last locomotive. I never seen one with a toilet.
"Quit trying your luck and start trying your skill." Mickey Crimm
Joined: Jan 20, 2010
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April 21st, 2014 at 9:52:19 AM permalink
Quote: mickeycrimm

I laugh when I see movies where they are in a boxcar and carrying on a conversation. It is so loud in an empty boxcar that there is no way you can carry on a conversation with anyone. As a matter of fact it is so loud you could scream at the top of your lungs and not hear yourself.

Interesting. This makes perfect sense, though it's never really occurred to me.

Here's Robert DeNiro having a quiet conversation in a boxcar.
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
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April 21st, 2014 at 10:24:09 AM permalink
People still hop a freight and "Catching Out" areas are actually increasing.
The violence is a bit higher. FTRA tatoos are things to be very wary of.
Oddly enough, females do ride trains these days.

WATER is the most important thing to have, keep your mouth closed or you are likely to learn what "bite your tongue" really means. If you are already aboard a car when a train is making up, be wary of its being humped because that jolt will jar your bones and possibly knock you unconscious.

You can usualy visit a trackside jungle and get good info on where a Catching Out area is and what trains are making up for which directions. Don't ever ride a train containing automobiles, they are top priority for the Railroad Bulls.

Just as approaching a craps or blackjack table there are certain rules of ettiquette. Don't be visible, it insults others who are riding the same train and can bring the attention of the police down on everyone aboard. Practice running and jumping, if you are uncoordinated you can get sucked under and thats usually good for an amputation.

Trespass is really hard to prove. They have to prove sign posting where you got on. If you do get busted be sure to mention the holes in the fences the large number of people you followed, the RR employee who helped you, etc. ... this means the trespass charge will likely fail and you can force the DA to subpoena the employee and produce photos from some site miles and miles outside of the court's jurisdiction.

Box cars are indeed bad particularly if someone shuts the door but its a fun way to travel and often you won't get any cinders or dust that way. You may meet some nice girls but keep your distance.
Joined: Oct 19, 2009
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April 21st, 2014 at 10:39:44 AM permalink
>1) What percentage of these folks do you believe are mentally ill?
Far less than in the average jail. More than in the average detox center.

>2) What is the point of riding the rails, i.e. is it to find seasonal work, to scratch an itch, or something else?
Up until about 1910 or 1920, it was mainly Germans, Irish and Portugese who rode the rails in search of seasonal work.
After the depression it became more Spanish speaking.

Most crop pickers travel by bus or Mexican Limousine Service (old V8s with lots of space operated as taxis).

Scratch an itch? Some people want to "see the country" others are likely to "anarchists"... in urban areas they squat, if they travel they go by rail. Or they set sail in rickety boats.

My favorite train rider holds a USCG Captain's ticket, has done short handed yacht deliveries in all oceans. He has also testified before the US Congress on computer security matters.
Joined: May 15, 2012
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April 21st, 2014 at 10:44:13 AM permalink
It's a cool bucket list item, fun to do.

I don't have nearly the experience in this regard that MickeyCrimm does, but growing up near a steel mill and railroad tracks, we would often, "Train-hop," from town-to-town in the local area. I think the farthest I ever hopped a single train was about ten miles, so this, by no means, was a cross-country thing for me.

When we train-hopped, since the distance was so short, you basically looked for a slow-moving train and jumped up and grabbed the ladder (as high up as possible) and then pulled your legs up to the bottom rung. At the few railroad crossings between yourself and the destination town, you'd basically just look for police on the side of the train to which you were holding and then very carefully try to go across the middle and to the ladder on the other side if you saw cops.

It was pretty dangerous, so we didn't exactly make a habit of it. Besides that, your parents would always tell you stories of some kid who just got his legs ripped off, 'last week,' even though you failed to ever meet such a kid or hear about the story anywhere else. A broken leg or arm every now and then, sure, we knew kids who broke a leg or arm on the dismount, (you basically just jumped and hoped for the best, almost never a clean landing) but the only stories about kids getting their arms ripped off came from my parents.

It was fun, but again, we were smart enough to know we were rolling the dice on a broken leg or arm every time, even though the trains probably only went about twice as fast as you could take yourself on a bicycle, so we didn't do it often.
Vultures can't be choosers.
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April 21st, 2014 at 10:49:49 AM permalink
Quote: mickeycrimm

The cabooses have gone by the wayside.

Yep, gone. Used to be required. One guy named Fred does it all now.

the next time Dame Fortune toys with your heart, your soul and your wallet, raise your glass and praise her thus: “Thanks for nothing, you cold-hearted, evil, damnable, nefarious, low-life, malicious monster from Hell!” She is, after all, stone deaf. ... Arnold Snyder
Joined: Nov 1, 2009
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April 21st, 2014 at 10:50:45 AM permalink
I remember when the Everett Knowles event happened.
Joined: Feb 13, 2010
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April 21st, 2014 at 11:50:05 AM permalink
Quote: mickeycrimm

Read the article below the picture. It's about as comprehensive of a report as I have read about what was going on on the rails in the 1990's.



"What, me worry?"
Joined: Oct 14, 2009
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April 23rd, 2014 at 8:59:54 AM permalink
Great report Mickey; thank you very much. After reading that and the replies, I'd say hopping a freight train has moved way down on my bucket list.
It's not whether you win or lose; it's whether or not you had a good bet.
Joined: Feb 18, 2014
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April 23rd, 2014 at 10:10:08 AM permalink
Quote: Wizard

Great report Mickey; thank you very much. After reading that and the replies, I'd say hopping a freight train has moved way down on my bucket list.

No kidding. Sounds like a last resort method of travel.

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