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KaBar

Hobos, Tramps and Homeless Bums

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Video Security Cameras

 

The installation of closed-circuit video surveillance cameras is becoming very common in the bigger yards. You have to look very carefully all over the place to spot them. Oftentimes they will be mounted very high, up on a halogen light pole, up on the eaves of a roof, on telephone poles and places like that.

 

This is becoming quite a problem. As Stretch said in his email to me, they had to walk 14 miles in the rain because there was no way to get around the security cameras in the IC/CN yard. These cameras are turning up all over the place. One security employee at a bank of screens can monitor ten or fifteen locations. If they see anything suspicious, they displatch the bull.

 

A "deadman" is a short piece of 2x4 (maybe 26" or 28" long) that is used to block the door track of a revenue boxcar to keep it from sliding shut from slack action. I carry one in the tie-tie straps on my bindle. I can whip that baby into action in no time, LOL.

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damn that really sucks aobut the video cameras...technology is ruining everything.

kabar, even though i dont know you at all, i highly recomend the book Rolling Nowhere : Riding the Rails with America's Hoboes

by Ted Conover --amazon.com

iv read the first 70 pages, in two days. its a story about a regular college educated guy who decides he wants to learn about the tramp scene. his adventures are very interesting and he works the lingo into the book also. great for beginers to learn and good book (so far)

cop it if you can

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oh and do you know how to find out what the line is where we stay. people have threads in trainspotting, line # xx- the crimson jihad how does john freighthead find this out.

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Local Railroad Line Names

 

I'm not 100% sure of what you're asking about, so I'll use the scattergun approach and hope that I answer your question.

 

First of all, every city and larger towns usually have more than one railroad company operating within the city. If the city is big enough to need a city map, usually the name of the railroad or it's initials will appear alongside the map symbol for the rail line. Older maps may have outdated information (for instance, my city map of Houston lists the "AT&SF" (Atchinson, Topeka and Santa Fe) as the owner of several tracks in Houston. Burlington Northern bought up Santa Fe a number of years ago, and this line is now called the BNSF (Burlington Northern Santa Fe). The Santa Fe yard in South Park (New South Yards) is now a BNSF Yard.

 

So checking a city map is a place to start. In fact, get a new city map, a hi-liter and some clear vinyl packing tape. Hi-lite ALL the rail lines in your city. Make indications as to where stuff is (yards, lay-ups, major junctions, rail yards, etc.) and then tape all the folds carefully with the vinyl packing tape. I have a map I did this to that has lasted years and years.

 

Look up your local model railroad shop in the Yellow Pages and check them out to see what kind of information they might have. My local model railroad shop gave me one of the most valuable maps I own, for free. It has many of the local subdivisions named.

 

If you can find a signals switching shack or a switch marker post, or a siding marker near a main switch signal, there will be switch marker signs near the switch which usually has the name of the railroad on them somewhere. So do junction shacks.

 

If you've got the money, look up the stack ^^^for the address of DeskMap, and buy their "Professional Railroad Atlas." Volume I or II. Vol.II is better, but it costs about $75 compared to $24 for Volume I. They make actual railroad maps, too. These have different railroads marked in different colored inks.

 

Best of all would be to find a train crewman or MoW (maintenance of way) worker who can teach you all about it.

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hey u want to here some shit. one time i painted in this really wierd yard. I was visiting my uncle up in dokota. and I whent to this yard. I line my shit up and this lady with a lite finds me. she snuck up on me. any way she was a train yard work and before I knew it I was getting head and paintin at the same time. she said graffiti turned her on. then she drove me out of the yard and we did our thing in the truck. sounds bizarre cause I barley believe it every time I think about it but its true

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Originally posted by nesy

hey u want to here some shit. one time i painted in this really wierd yard. I was visiting my uncle up in dokota. and I whent to this yard. I line my shit up and this lady with a lite finds me. she snuck up on me. any way she was a train yard work and before I knew it I was getting head and paintin at the same time. she said graffiti turned her on. then she drove me out of the yard and we did our thing in the truck. sounds bizarre cause I barley believe it every time I think about it but its true

 

i dont no wheter to believe that :rolleyes: :rolleyes: ..........

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for kabar

 

Where i rake flicks, rural suburbs, there was a small camp with a tent and a tarp. But I walk the tracks recently and it appears the rail co came in and leveled it. It was behind some trees, but now is just trash scattered everywhere, like a bulldozer ran into the woods hunting for them. Anyways, my question is somewhat like lens's, I was wondering that if they were still there, and I wanted to meet them, could I offer them like a can of food or something, or would this seem rude? Right on the other side of them is a small river, they are in some thick woods, or were, and then tracks then backyards of houses.

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kabar-

 

i have read the bulk of your threads and it has been very informative..you gotta love the free flow of info on the internet..no where else would you be able to get that kind of info with out experince first hand. for all that i thank you.

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Kabar, could you mail me please? I was wondering if you'd like to publish your experiences as a book.

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for Kabar

 

Hi Kabar, been a wile since i've been on the site and just thought i'd check in. Let me know if your still thinking about grabing a train to britt cause i might be able to meet you halfway or something

later for now

stretch and burlington dog K_9

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Back

 

To those of you who tried to contact me---my apologies. My computer blew a power supply and I was "bucks down" for over a month. I am, however, back online.

 

Stretch---I heard from Queen Mama Jo in KCMO, she and Hobo Santa said it's cool if I park my truck at their place during Britt, so I can drive up there, leave the truck, and we could catch out from one of the yards along the river. EMAIL ME, I've never gone north out of KC before, only west.

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YOURE BACK!!! good to see it too.

iv been wondering where you went. you have any stories about being left high and dry anywhere?? or getting stuck in very bad tempitures?

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Dear Sas

 

Thanks for the welcome home. It's good to be back online, for certain. I missed being able to easily post on 12 oz.

 

As for stories about getting stuck someplace, I've been stuck a bunch of places, over the years. Up in sparsely populated areas where stores and civilized towns are few and far between, if you get sidetracked you better hope you brought enough food and water to keep you going until they come back to pick up the string.

 

In fact, it's a very good idea for a trainhopper to be thinking strategically all the time. What day is it? How does that affect the flow of rail traffic? Any holidays coming up? What does the labor relations situation look like? You definately don't want to be stranded by a strike, and if the railroad was crazy enough to try to operate with scabs, you definately don't want to cross a striker's picket line---you need those rail workers' good will. Pissing them off by hopping with a scab crew is DEFINATELY A BAD IDEA. Truth be told, though, I never heard of this occurring except way back in the day. Modern railroads work hand-in-glove with the railroad unions. Like the UAW and auto manufacturers, the Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers (BLE) and the United Transportation Union (UTU) are very enmeshed with the various railroads. The romantic class-struggle model of unionism is way outdated. Modern union members are often more conservative than their employers.

 

Getting stuck somewhere is just part of it. It's one of the main reasons so few homeguards can catch out. There's too big a risk of winding up 800 miles from home, sidetracked at 0200 on a Sunday morning. You'd need a very understanding boss in that instance.

 

One of the worst I ever experienced for getting set off happened when I first started hopping. It took us eleven days to beat our way from Chicago to Butte, MT. During that whole time we did not see a single other train to catch other than the string of empties we were shagging. It SUCKED. We got stuck in every cow-chip backwater. Luckily we had some money and could buy meals along the way, because we ran out of food. Back then, tramps would give each other food, tobacco, water, etc. Today, that is a lot less likely. Be like a Boy Scout: "Always Prepared."

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i go to the local trainyard daily and i notice a shit load of bums and homeless people, belive it or not their actually pretty chill and the last time i was their i chatted with one of them his name was landi. He told me he was into graffiti and he was tryin to be an artist if he could afford the paint, of course i asked what his name would be if he did, he plainly said, BUM. i then felt sorry for him gave him 2 cans of krylon, a german fat cap and a new york thin, let me tell you, i never seen any one so happy in my entire life. the funniest part about it was he said "the only thing that could make this better is a 40 of Old English." i never seen him since, but every day i go there with my camera in hopes of finding landi or should i say BUM.

 

:king: DAT DUDE :king:

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Bottomless Pit

 

The problem with most "homeless" people (as opposed to tramps or hobos) is that they have apparently endless unmet needs. You get into the habit of giving somebody money every day, or food every day, or especially alcohol or drugs every day, and they are going to very quickly become "entitled," as well as dependent.

 

People who live independently, and make their own way (one way or another) do not become dependent upon others. If you get in the habit of giving stuff to a particular homeless person, he's going to become dependent and he's probably going to blame you. You're getting something out of the deal, too-- you're getting to be "The Benefactor." That instantly becomes a power relationship (can't help but be--you got the stuff and he needs it.) I do give a buck or two to homeless guys flying a sign down on the big intersection at U.S. 59 and Bissonnet, but not unless the guy has a full set of gear---ruck, bindle, sleeping bag, water jug, tarp, something. I don't give streamliners anything. Most likely they are just ripping off the good will of the people that give them money and they've got a car parked around the corner, a nice house and a big, fat bank account.

 

In order to keep some shred of self respect, these guys think and act (among themselves) as if the people that give them money are suckers and the spanging is just a sort of carnie rip-off. They like to think of themselves as "getting over." It might be true, to a degree; but from my perspective, it lacks dignity and requires a co-dependent benefactor. But whatever. I hope the guy used the paint to bomb and didn't just huff it.

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Yeah i get what your saying. i mean like i said i go back there all the time lookin for him but he has bannished. and plus i know a guy that i gave like a buck or two down town, everytime i see him he doesn't say any thing but he implies that i did it once i have to do it again. shit i was just being nice, i straight asked the dude what he was gonna use it for, "a hooker, or beer" is what he said "what ever comes first"

 

other then that i mean i see them EVERYDAY maybe i should talk to them, hell a new friend wont hurt any one right?

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Grenwich London, 2001, walking tracks, just hear this fucking tramp wanking in the bush making grunting noises and shit, he scared us cos we thought we were alone, until we saw his grubby self... dodgy fucker!..

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Scored some great railroad maps on eBay

 

Not too long ago, before I went up to Britt for the National Hobo Convention, I started looking on eBay for "original equipment manufacturer" railroad maps. I bought five for $3.00 apiece. I got two Union Pacific maps, a Norfolk Southern, a Canadian National and a Conrail. I'm still looking, because I really could use a Kansas City Southern map, and a Burlington Northern Santa Fe and a few others.

 

Having a variety of maps, especially OEM railroad maps and aftermarket railroad atlases allows you to do what is called "map recconnaisance." You figure out where you are, where you want to be, and then try to figure out how to get there from here. As much as is practical, you want to be familiar with the terrain around where you need to catch out. You should know street names, local landmarks and so on. For this sort of thing, it's hard to beat the Crew Change Guide.

 

Many riders keep detailed journals and notes about where they've been, the lay of the land, important geographical features, street & place names, local businesses, what the scheduling of the particular railroad is like where they are trying to catch out. Lots of guys "on the inside" send this information to the tramp who complies the Crew Change Guide every year. Often times, if you are polite and careful, the railroad workers will tell you whatever you need to know.

 

Covering your maps with acetate or clear vinyl packing tape, or painting them with Map-pruf, or a combination of several techniques will make your maps last a lot longer. Carrying them in some sort of waterproof plastic map case will help a lot too. I know one guy who carries his maps rolled up inside a piece of 4" diameter, white, PVC water pipe with a PVC cap on both ends. Whatever you decide to do, keep in mind that maps can be VERY, VERY valuable gear. TREAT THEM ACCORDINGLY.

 

A compass can be absolutely invaluable as well. Buy a good compass, don't be cheap. A few places where a cheap, poorly made piece of gear is no bargain would be socks and boots, coat, sleeping bag and compass. Learn how to read a map and compass well. Lots of times you are going to find yourself in situations where there are no street signs, no way of easily determining where you are from the available information. On foot, in an unfamiliar rail yard or junction, with no street signs or readily identifiable landmarks.

 

Some of the younger railriders carry GPS units, but the older guys usually rely upon experience, verbal information and the occasional map or compass. Stretch has about twenty years of railriding experience behind him. Texas Mad Man has over thirty years. Between the two of them, there aren't too many places on the U.S. railroads they have not already been at least once.

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map & compass reading abilites are invaluable in a variety of situations.

 

good stuff kabar.

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quick question, i haven't seen anything about this mentioned here, or in littlejohn's book... what about reefers, i know on most of the old ones the refrigerator compartments are enclosed, but on alot of the refurbished ones (for example armn's) there's a litte hole next to the door on one side where you can get in and ride. it's completely enclosed on the other side by a grate type thing, so you can kinda see out. which would of course be a drawback cause you could only get out on one side. anyway...tell me what you think about it, and whether or not they're rideable. thanks

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