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Just checking in.  Looks like this thread is pretty dead--not much traffic.   I am thinking about heading to Salt Lake City.  Anybody live out there?

Some crazy rando on the side of the tracks playing with his nipple piercings in 35 degree weather. 

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True true...

To keep it topical; Today i found one of the DeKalb,Il. jungles.

This one is near the coaling tower, been going over there for years now and i never stumbled upon it till today.

Its pretty big, pretty messy and seems kids have probobly hung out there more than anyone.

I think im gonna go all Kbar on its ass and clean it up just for the fun of it over the next few weeks... Maybe throw myself a little birthday party there if i can get it cleaned up in time...

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Once in a while I go down and check my jungles to see how things are doing. Sometimes some fucking idiot has trashed the place, but also sometimes people have brought in wood or refilled water jugs. One guy did a splendid job of cleaning up and reroofing the Eureka Hilton with black railroad plastic.

 

I don't do it because I expect it to stay squared away. I know that a lot of tramps and hobos have a fucked-up, low-self-esteem attitude, and will either wreck or steal anything good that is placed in the jungle. We even had some fucking streamliner burn the jungle table for firewood. What an asshole!

 

I do it because I enjoy it. When it's not fun anymore, I guess I'll quit doing it.

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Great thread, I've been riding for around 4 years now myself. I've only gone through about 4 pages thus far, but I've enjoyed it. I have settled down a little bit as of late, accidentally getting my shit together here in New Orleans. I've become a part time rider now, which stresses me out a lot to be honest. Living outdoors with no bills, minimal stress and the company of my dog. Now I have bills, a house, truck, carpentry/custom millwork job... It's quite a change from coming into New Orleans in October with my pack, dog, and two empty water jugs. I've become a little worn out as of late, getting lymes disease while riding through Wisconsin a few years ago from a deer tick (who would have known that such a small bug would pack such a wallop!) But anywhoo, I thought I'd put a little addition to this topic. Say, KaBar, next time you speak to Stretch, tell him that Maxx (washtub fella) with Guthrie dog says hello. We met in Iowa at a truck stop when I was rubber-tramping with a friend last year right before Britt and also at Britt (where I had a great time, regardless of what a lot of the younger kids say about it).

 

When I have more time I'm going to run through the rest of this thread.

-cheers

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Flatswitch---

I talked to Stretch just a couple of days ago. He's back up in Cleveland, Ohio, working a warehouse/ fibreglas packing job. He operates a forklift, and serves as just an all-around jack-of-all-trades.

 

I'll tell him you said hello next time I talk to him.

 

I've always enjoyed Britt too. I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with something Ted Conover said in "Rolling Nowhere" about Britt.

 

"It's not real, but it is a lot of fun." There are a lot of people who have never been on a freight train in their lives who go to Britt and "dress up like hobos." When you think about it, this is sort of like people who have never been on a horse who love country-and-western dancing, wearing cowboy hats and attending the rodeo. They aren't real cowboys, but they are real rodeo fans! I guess a similar analogy might be football fans that love tailgating and who buy season's tickets to their favorite team's games, but who have never played football personally.

 

Eventually the law enforcement community is going to successfully make trainhopping nearly impossible. Too bad, but that seems to be the way things are headed.

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Flatswitch---

I talked to Stretch just a couple of days ago. He's back up in Cleveland, Ohio, working a warehouse/ fibreglas packing job. He operates a forklift, and serves as just an all-around jack-of-all-trades.

 

I'll tell him you said hello next time I talk to him.

 

I've always enjoyed Britt too. I find myself agreeing wholeheartedly with something Ted Conover said in "Rolling Nowhere" about Britt.

 

"It's not real, but it is a lot of fun." There are a lot of people who have never been on a freight train in their lives who go to Britt and "dress up like hobos." When you think about it, this is sort of like people who have never been on a horse who love country-and-western dancing, wearing cowboy hats and attending the rodeo. They aren't real cowboys, but they are real rodeo fans! I guess a similar analogy might be football fans that love tailgating and who buy season's tickets to their favorite team's games, but who have never played football personally.

 

Eventually the law enforcement community is going to successfully make trainhopping nearly impossible. Too bad, but that seems to be the way things are headed.

 

yeah it seems that my intrest in train hopping might be at the worst time because security is so tight these days with the threat of terrorist attacks and everything

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i live in a normally large city where lines roll through roughly every 20-30 minutes or so on a good day. yesterday i was taking my girlfriend home and before i left i heard the usual whistle, but when we got down to her house i swear on my life we went right by two train hoppers. they looked younger, and i spend a lot of time up on the tracks. is there any good way to talk to these guys? i'm dead serious when i say i could probably talk to them for hours.

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Well, finding those exact same trainhoppers would be pretty difficult, but I'm sure you could find a few with whom to converse.

 

I scout out jungles by doing map reconnaisance and figuring out where a jungle is most likely to be. I correctly identified the jungle I use the most at present by looking at a map of Houston, following the rail lines and realizing that there just about had to be a jungle there. I searched around in some woods and eventually found the site of an old jungle. I dug up chunks of concrete arranged in a circle and a fire grate, buried under leaves and a couple of inches of loam. Judging by the number of streaks left on the hooch, I'd say our jungle is fairly popular. Somebody keeps burning up all our firewood, so I figure we get visitors from time to time.

 

If all you want is to talk to some tramps, try a few missions near a railyard. When I was a kid, we used to sneak around the old jungle west of the T & NO Junction (behind the present-day Fiesta store on Mykawa Road at I-10 in Houston) and spy on the tramps. We were kind of scared of them, but my friend Dusty would actually go up and talk to them and bring them cans of food filched from his mother's pantry. We were about ten or eleven. Dusty was a chronic runaway, and he would sometimes camp out near the jungle, to get away from his alcoholic mother.

 

One of the best ways to get to talk to tramps is to attend the National Hobo Convention held in Britt, Iowa every August. Like everything else, the National Hobo Convention has a website. www.hobo.com

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hey kabar... I'm looking for a railroad map... if not north america then the east coast... im looking at going from Virginia to new york or alabama... I can't find any maps that are good and cheap... also I was wondering if you had been to either the manassas or springfield yard...

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The least expensive railroad maps I own, and quite possibly the most useful, are railroad maps I bought on eBay. They are not available all the time, but I have purchased maps published by five or six different railroads over the years. I usually wind up paying five or six dollars for one. Some I've gotten as cheaply as $3.00, and some for as much as $10. Genuine railroad maps are not readily available, so when I find one, I buy it. I have maps from Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, CSX and others.

 

For local traffic (in and around Houston) I make my own railroad maps from NEW street maps, by high-lighting all the rail lines, and then taping the creases with clear vinyl packing tape so the maps will not easily tear.

 

The other option is buying a (rather expensive) copy of the "Professional Railroad Atlas of North America" from DeskMap Systems, Inc., 3701 Executive Center Drive, Suite 101, Austin, Texas 78731. Phone: 512-346-9330. For pete's sake don't tell them you are interested in hopping trains. Tell them you are a rail fan and photographer.

www.deskmap.com

 

I think the Atlas is now in its Third Edition, and fairly expensive (I paid about $75 for the last one I bought, but they dropped the price to $25 after the Second Edition was published.). They are 8-1/2 x 11" paperbound books. The first edition had 80 pages. I would recommend PHOTOCOPYING the pages you think you will need and leaving the original at home. That way, if you get arrested, the cops cannot confiscate your maps and atlas.

 

More valuable than maps even is the Crew Change Guide. I covered this book in earlier posts, just search for Crew Change Guide. DO NOT CARRY YOUR ORIGINAL CCG WITH YOU, ONLY PHOTOCOPIES.

 

I've never been to the Mannassas Yard, but here's what the 2003 Crew Change Guide said about it:

 

"Mannassas (Norfolk Southern*) You can get a VRE commuter train here from Washington D.C. weekdays. Go S (south) from DT on Stonewall to INT of Stonewall & Wellington. The low brick buoilding at NE corner of that INT is YD office. This c-c for trains headed NBD to Hagerstown or SBD to Lynchburg, some GM work here too. Trains to/from Alexandria run through. If you see freight cars sitting on the siding just to the E side off the mainline, you can ask at the YD office where any of them may be going (Note: I doubt this is a good idea now, post 9/11) they are almost certainly waiting to be piucked up (duh--isn't EVERY sitting train car waiting to be picked up? The question is WHEN.) The c-c location here may change (it did), sometime in late 2002 or 2003, from right DT to suburban Bristow. "Exact c-c will be at Wellington RD, or "the Airport" or "Brickyard" depending on length." (Statements like this in quotes are direct quotes from a friendly yard worker or train crewman.)

 

Which Springfield are you referring to? What is it close to?

 

KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU ARE VERY CLOSE TO BOTH WASHINGTON, D.C. AND QUANTICO, VA., WHERE THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE C.I.A. IS LOCATED. IF YOU GET CAUGHT ON A TRAIN, EXPECT SERIOUS LEGAL CONSEQUENCES.

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Found another old photo from 2005. This is the first dry day we had at the Convention that year. It had rained for several days previously and everybody had wet boots. I had trench foot (immersion foot) from walking around in wet boots for a week. My feet hurt like hell, and I finally had to buy some flip-flop shower shoes. This was a shot taken while we were in the Boxcar at Britt. The Boxcar at Britt is an early model plug-door boxcar. NOTE THE DOOR IS ON AN EXTERIOR DOOR TRACK.

 

KarbarinBoxcar2005.jpg

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I have read the majority of this thread and it is what got from being interested in hopping to actually doing it. so far i lit out from nashville in a coal car and wound up having to jump off 35 miles from chatanooga and walking up the line to a small town somewhere. got hassled by the local cops that knew we had just fallen off a train. we were pretty drunk but had left the bottle under the bridge so we just got told that if we were seen again that night, we would go to jail. they circled us all night and as soon as the sun came up we walked about 8 miles up the track to where a train was stopped at a switch and we climbed up into a car hauling lava rocks. that took us through atlanta on down to jacksonville, fla. we lucked out because that was our destination. we thought we were about 5 miles out of town but in fact we were 18 miles out. we hitched on in and stayed for 5 weeks. we couldn't figure out where to catch a westbound out of there despite all our scouting, research, etc. we got drunk and i wound up on an empty coal car headed north and i have no idea where my buddy went. obviously i was very under prepared for this hop so i wound up climbing out of the car at manchester, ga to get some food, water, etc. they had a rail map on the wall overlooking a small yard ther and despite my best figuring, i wound up not in atlanta but montgomery, alabama. i think i have it figured out how to get to mobile from here but i have thought that before. my question is, how do you know where a line is going and if it will switch. i haven't worked up the nerve to ask the yard workers. i got yelled at when i jumped off the train here in montgomery. it was vital that i got off for need of provisions. in the preparadness, i know where i went wrong but i thought i had done all the figuring right as far as destination. by the way, if anyone asks, montgomery sucks. there is little work here and i also refuse to steal or panhandle so pass the word.

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The least expensive railroad maps I own, and quite possibly the most useful, are railroad maps I bought on eBay. They are not available all the time, but I have purchased maps published by five or six different railroads over the years. I usually wind up paying five or six dollars for one. Some I've gotten as cheaply as $3.00, and some for as much as $10. Genuine railroad maps are not readily available, so when I find one, I buy it. I have maps from Union Pacific, Norfolk Southern, Canadian National, CSX and others.

 

For local traffic (in and around Houston) I make my own railroad maps from NEW street maps, by high-lighting all the rail lines, and then taping the creases with clear vinyl packing tape so the maps will not easily tear.

 

The other option is buying a (rather expensive) copy of the "Professional Railroad Atlas of North America" from DeskMap Systems, Inc., 3701 Executive Center Drive, Suite 101, Austin, Texas 78731. Phone: 512-346-9330. For pete's sake don't tell them you are interested in hopping trains. Tell them you are a rail fan and photographer.

www.deskmap.com

 

I think the Atlas is now in its Third Edition, and fairly expensive (I paid about $75 for the last one I bought, but they dropped the price to $25 after the Second Edition was published.). They are 8-1/2 x 11" paperbound books. The first edition had 80 pages. I would recommend PHOTOCOPYING the pages you think you will need and leaving the original at home. That way, if you get arrested, the cops cannot confiscate your maps and atlas.

 

More valuable than maps even is the Crew Change Guide. I covered this book in earlier posts, just search for Crew Change Guide. DO NOT CARRY YOUR ORIGINAL CCG WITH YOU, ONLY PHOTOCOPIES.

 

I've never been to the Mannassas Yard, but here's what the 2003 Crew Change Guide said about it:

 

"Mannassas (Norfolk Southern*) You can get a VRE commuter train here from Washington D.C. weekdays. Go S (south) from DT on Stonewall to INT of Stonewall & Wellington. The low brick buoilding at NE corner of that INT is YD office. This c-c for trains headed NBD to Hagerstown or SBD to Lynchburg, some GM work here too. Trains to/from Alexandria run through. If you see freight cars sitting on the siding just to the E side off the mainline, you can ask at the YD office where any of them may be going (Note: I doubt this is a good idea now, post 9/11) they are almost certainly waiting to be piucked up (duh--isn't EVERY sitting train car waiting to be picked up? The question is WHEN.) The c-c location here may change (it did), sometime in late 2002 or 2003, from right DT to suburban Bristow. "Exact c-c will be at Wellington RD, or "the Airport" or "Brickyard" depending on length." (Statements like this in quotes are direct quotes from a friendly yard worker or train crewman.)

 

Which Springfield are you referring to? What is it close to?

 

KEEP IN MIND THAT YOU ARE VERY CLOSE TO BOTH WASHINGTON, D.C. AND QUANTICO, VA., WHERE THE HEADQUARTERS OF THE C.I.A. IS LOCATED. IF YOU GET CAUGHT ON A TRAIN, EXPECT SERIOUS LEGAL CONSEQUENCES.

 

 

 

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=111528634918172995629.00000112129eb7f895c09&ll=38.796641,-77.121277&spn=0.096194,0.160847&z=13&om=1

 

thats the springfield yard... I've never been but id be interested in going... I think im going to catch out of lorton next to I-95 to go south to richmond maybe...

 

here's where:

 

http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=111528634918172995629.00000112129eb7f895c09&om=1&ll=38.729983,-77.196293&spn=0.096284,0.160847&z=13

 

my ultimate goal is troy alabama though...

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Xen---

 

Sounds like you've had quite the adventure. I would highly recommend that:

 

a.) You do not drink alcohol while hopping, period. Most trainhoppers that get hurt or killed have been drinking or drugging. Save the booze for the post-hopping "afterglow".

 

b.) Get some gear. You need a bindle---a sleeping bag or a couple of blankets, maybe a 5x8 camouflage tarp, maybe a Wal-Mart sleeping mat. Cardboard works pretty good if you have nothing else between you and the ground. ALWAYS TAKE A COAT, A HAT, GLOVES AND WORK BOOTS.

 

c.) Do NOT get on a train without FOOD AND WATER. Shit, are you fucking suicidal or what? For god's sake at least take a couple of gallons of water.

 

d.) You learn where the trains go by experience, or because you have a map, or a Crew Change Guide or all three. Best of all, get an experienced hopper to show you the ropes. Getting on a train of which you do not know the destination is pretty dangerous. Once in a while it turns out to be a disaster, not simply inconvenient or unpleasant.

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well i was offered the position in train service with union pacific and very reluctantly i had to

turn it down. basically after training they put you wherever they want and you can and will be

transferred multiple times to places in the middle of nowhere all according to seniority and

thoughs that want to live where you are living. i was basically told that most train service people

live out of trailors and must go from place to place as duty calls. the money is great

but i just didnt want to sign over my soul to satan.

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oh yeah and the man i met with said that his daughter is 36 and he is lucky if he saw her 10 years of her life.

i have a definite respect for people in the railroad but thats ridiculous that

you have to give up your family and set place to live for the rest of your life.

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