Have any of you ever hopped on a random freight train to go along for the ride? I'm working for a freight train company this summer and basically I can see which trains are at what stations, when they're leaving as well as where they're going. This just had me thinking I might have just discovered a way to travel around this beautiful country for free ahahaha
I feel like that would be so much fun. But how much trouble can you actually get in? Is it like facing jail time if you get caught? For some reason I feel like even if you did get caught, none of the workers would even really care. Maybe just tell you to get off and leave.
Ya I work with railroad companies all the time and they freak if anyone not working for them goes anywhere near the track. I was just wondering if it's like considered trespassing or what if you were to just hitch a ride. I suppose google can probably help me haha
I wouldnt suggest it. I have a few friends who use to ride the lines, and ask graffiti writers what even just the yards are like. Train yards are not somewhere you want to be, unless you work there.
I know in the past, train yards were considered private property and the companies had absolutely brutal security for night, because trains are a expensive thing to fuck with, especially with the cargo they carry.
I've heard stories ranging from peoples legs being broken with batons/bats by railroad workers, to hobos just shot for trespassing. It's EXTREMLY sketchy, and your going to be riding with people who have absolutely no identity, not traceable, not a part of society, so if they kill you, theres no way to find them. (Hobos)
I remember in Freeskier a long time ago, there was a article of some pro who used to rail hope across the country, maybe go search for that article.
ive done it a few times, so ill throw out some tips for you.
most train workers dont give a damn, some are jackasses and tell you to get off. the only one you really have to worry about is a yard boss, who will take pleasure in having you arrested. they only hang out in train yards, usually in an office somewhere.
as for actually riding trains, theres a lot of stuff to look for / look out for. first of all, dont get on a moving train, no matter how slow its going. its a really easy way to get yourself killed, especially if youre wearing a heavy pack.
box cars are usually the nicest ride you can find because they are completely sheltered. however, if the door of a boxcar shuts, there is no way to open it from the inside! ive heard stories of people getting trapped inside boxcars for weeks before anybody found them, so make sure to use a rock, stick, or shoe to keep the door from closing.
a lot of grain cars also have a little hollow spot in the back which makes a nice place to hang out and ride, and if its warm out a flat car is nice to feel the wind go by. ive heard of people getting rides up front in the engine if the engineer spots them, but ive never been willing to take the risk of getting seen.
which leads to my next tip: get on the train from the outside of a bend, that way the engineer cannot see you get on in his mirror.
bring lots of warm clothes to shelter you from wind / rain, and also to make something of a pillow, since there are very few soft things in trains. also get ready to miss a train, not see anyone else for the rest of the day, and have to sleep in a cow field. its never as bad as it sounds.
i could probably go on for a long time, but i dont feel like it, so PM me if you have any questions. besides skiing, i probably feel happiest when im hoping trains. theres something very relaxing about being entirely at the mercy of something you cant control.
my uncle used to hop trains from california into utah and colorado to go shred for an indefinite period of time. sketchiest thing he said ever happened was when he almost suffocated going through the tunnel in winter park.
ya to all you guys talking about hobos, youve seen too many movies... and ya i would never get close to a moving train, they made me watch way too many of those safety videos here for me to know the risks involved. as for the whole yard thing, one of our yeards is right by my house and its one of our really small yards. ive been in it a few times before and its not sketchy at all so i was thinking id probably try and get on there. im probably not even gonna do it, i just have a friend who did it and i was just thinking it might be cool
i usually got on a grain-filling station, plus they frequently stop before intersections and sharp curves.
but to be honest, i have hopped on a moving train before, but thats just because i trust myself and can jump pretty high. but i wouldnt recommend that to anyone else, it really is a dangerous thing to do.
I know some people who are into it. They hopped from Salt Lake to Vegas for Interbike last year. If you're in Salt Lake, you can hop from SLC to Vegas in 17 hours, and you can hop from SLC to the bay in 36 hours.
My dad used to hop trains to school until his principal saw him clinging onto the train going over a bridge as he was driving underneath on his way to school. That was the last time he did it and sadly where I live there isn't a train track in commission :(
Those aren't hobos, they're streamliners and homebums. Folks on the rails get real particular about that shit. The term hobo is hardly in use anymore except in jest. Tramps travel and work as needed, vagabonds travel and don't work, streamliners are scumbags that travel and steal, and homebums don't travel, they just sit around and drink, steal, and spange.
Yea i agree. this is funny, i was just recently thinking about train hopping about a month ago. my "dream" would consist of riding a great distance, like across the country or something crazy. this thread is starting to sound like a bunch of people who have never done it telling others not to do it, "broken legs" and "hobos" that shit is kind of expected.
broken legs: definitely a risk, especially hopping on a moving train. what happens is they are usually wearing a heavy pack, and they usually try to hop into a box car by throwing their upper body in first. theres nothing to grab onto once their upper body is in, and their feet are off the ground, so they suddenly dont have any control over their body. their pack starts to drag them back out of the car and to counteract that they instinctively swing their legs forward to try and balance. the pack weighs more than their legs, and all of a sudden they are lying down on the ground with their legs under the train.
hobos: like i said before, ive never encountered another person on a train. then again, ive only ridden trains in the northeast, so it may be more of a risk out west. however, train hopping's popularity has decreased a lot in the last 40 years, so its definitely not as bad as it used to be.