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Guest The Texas Madman

Mainly I have [at the present days] waited until the train is stopped before I get off, this is due to self-inflicted injuries I've received over the past 40+ years of Hoboing, 2 artificial Hips, and 1 artificial knee! And it's the knee that more often gives me fits, but this also means that I may [more often] have to get off in the Receiving Yard and sneak out. Sometimes this is fun to do, but if I'm on a time schedule, or in a yard that is particularly hot then I use all the caution in the world, in the past if I was caught I'd stick out both of my hands and say "Feed Me, and I have to be deloused too, and I've got teeth that need to be pulled, and I've got a bad heart,............etc". But with the time and charges most place will give a person for train-riding now [including the Attempted Terroristic Activity charge] after 9-11-01 I avoid any contact with Police, Railroad or Otherwise when I can.

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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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Almost all the questions you guys may have are already covered in previous posts. This thread has been running since October of 2001, and a lot of the questions are the same question asked different ways. Not that I mind answering questions, because I don't, but you might find the answer in one of the previous discussions.

 

I used to catch on the fly, years ago, when I was a lot younger, a lot stronger, a lot braver and a whole lot dumber.

 

It really should not be necessary to detrain while the car is still rolling. Yes, I've done it, even in the last few years, but I don't like it. It's dangerous and can be avoided with a little care and planning. Tex is 100% correct about tossing your gear. Once you pitch your gear, you are committed, so make darn sure you actually want to get off. The same thing is true the other way around. Once you decide to get off, make sure you pitch everything. I lost a good water jug a few year ago when I forgot to pitch it in a sort of "emergency get-off" with Stretch, Burl and Graincar George. George was last man off, so he should have thrown everything left, but he missed two water jugs in his haste. My own fault.

 

I NEVER CATCH ON THE FLY NOWADAYS. Catching on the fly is for saps. It's dangerous and completely unnecessary. I've seen people make these incredibly dangerous catches, running and jumping over switches, throwing their gear up into a gondola and then barely catching the ladder, only to have the train roll to a complete stop another fifty yards down the tracks. Heroic, but STUPID. That guy should have used his brain instead of electing to risk his life. It would have to be an extremely unusual situation to get me to hit a train rolling.

 

There are only a few kinds of cars today that really provide a reasonable "ladder catch". Years ago, almost all train cars had ladders that went all the way up to the "deck" (the top of the car) and catwalks down the middle of the deck. This was a sort of leftover design from the days when brakemen ran from car-to-car down the walkways. "Refrigerated" cars were "refrigerated" with 50 lb. or 100 lb. blocks of ice, which were put into "ice bunkers" through bunker hatches on the tops of the reefers. Every produce shipping plant had an ice plant right next to the tracks, and as the train was loaded with produce, like crates of vegetables, lettuce, tomatoes, fresh fruit, etc. the icing crews "iced the bunkers" from above the train, immediately after the cars were sealed up. (The bunkers were galvanized steel chambers on the ends of an insulated reefer car that had holes about 2" in diameter punched out of the steel plate, so the cold air could reach the vegetables down below.) In the summer, the insulated reefer cars protected the vegetables from spoiling. IN THE WINTER, the reefer cars were not loaded with ice, and the insulation kept the vegetables (and the tramps) from freezing. The cars had hatches on the decks, on both ends of the reefers.

 

Tramps loved riding in ice bunkers--the empty reefers were cool in the summer (and loaded cars provided ice chips for cooling off) and warm and cozy in the winter. Since the cars were sealed when they were loaded, the tramps couldn't get to the cargo, but the bunker hatches were not often locked, and one could climb right in. People would take something like a piece of thick rope, tie it to the bunker hatch latch, and then bring it inside with them, to prevent the hatch from closing all the way. To get out, you just pushed the hatch open (upwards).

 

It made perfect sense to catch on the fly back then. The trains were slow to start the pull(the power was steam locomotives) and they ran slowly through switches, sidings, around curves, etc. If you could snag a ladder, you could climb to the decks and tie yourself to the catwalk, or, if you could find an empty reefer, you could climb in and ride in relative comfort out of the wind, especially if you had a blanket or two. The maximun speed of most freights back then was around 45 or 50 mph. Today, they run much faster.

 

IT IS NOT SAFE TO RIDE ON TOP OF A RAILROAD CAR TODAY.

 

Do people do it? Well, I've seen pictures, but none of the tramps I know would do so. I might do it in an extreme emergency, like to escape a coming hurricane or a forest fire or something like that, but otherwise? No way.

 

One of the main reasons not to do it is that you will get immediately spotted and arrested. HIDE. DO NOT SHOW YOURSELF TO ANYBODY, NOT PASSERS-BY, NOT COPS, NOT BULLS, NOT RAILROAD WORKERS---NOBODY.

 

You might find a friendly railroad worker or two who will help you or look the other way, but never put a railroad worker in the position of having to deny he helped you. NEVER. Protect the railies, even if it means going to jail. He is out there working, trying to feed his family. We are out there sneaking rides from the railroad. There is no comparison. If the bull catches you on a train and says "Did this car knocker tell you that you could get on this train?" your answer is ALWAYS "No sir. Nobody saw me." Never, ever rat out a railroad employee who helped you----Never! They protect us and we protect them.

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Guest The Texas Madman

It seems like Rapid-T is at it again, he has scanned the 2006 Crew Change Guide and posted it as a File Torrent on Pirate Bay, so now all who know how much this document means to the Hobo-Tramp community needs to help in getting it removed from PirateBay, uTorrent, Azureus, and other File Torrent Sites!

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that movie you mentioned is actually called listerine on sundays...and apparently the dude who made it is a real douche bag. my friends in new orleans had some things to say about him and his movie...id watch it just to see whos in it but i wouldnt pay for it...

catching out is decent. a kid in houston let me borrow it then he just said i could keep it which was awesome. i like who is bozo texino a lot...went to one of the screenings in houston and bill daniels was getting bombarded by train nerds. im sure me and my buddy were the only ones in the room who had ever hopped a train. we were kinda dirty and had some secret whiskey... it was awesome. have any of you ever seen long gone?

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You've got to remember that the guy who wrote Rolling Nowhere wasn't a tramp, he was some college kid out to "experience the life of a hobo." (Gee whiz, it was hard and dirty and everybody drank too much!)

The guy was kind of a poseur asshole. I read the book, and I enjoyed it up to a point, but I felt like the guy deliberately picked the biggest streamliner losers on the railroad with whom to ride, and then bitched about how they were losers. Dumb ass.

 

One quote that I liked was his comment about Britt: "It was fun, but it wasn't real." This comment really shows up the problem. The people who come to the National Hobo Convention are certainly hobos as genuine as the guy that wrote Rolling Nowhere, although I must concede that there are a lot of "hobos-at-heart" that just show up to see old friends and have a good time socializing. Despite that, there are plenty of genuine rail riders who frequent Britt.

 

You do not have to be some kind of alcohol-addicted psychopath to be a tramp. Are there people who are fucked up out riding freight trains? Of course. There are some criminals, some drunks, some junkies, some nut cases. But there are also plenty of good people, people who just choose the hobo lifestyle because they prefer it. These are the people that Rolling Nowhere SHOULD have been written about.

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Guest The Texas Madman

The book you ought to get to read is called GOOD COMPANY, it is mainly a lot of photographs of Hobos during the 1980's in jungles, on trains, in Dead Yards, etc. But it also has a long text conversation at the end of the book from 2 Hobos around a campfire that was recorded by the author, these 2 Hobos were talking to each other for over 2 hours, Quite Interesting!

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Madman- It sounds very interesting... i will look around for it!

 

Kabar- You've basically stated a lot of my impressions of Rolling Nowhere.

I really enjoyed the first 2/3rds of the book, but there is this moment of absolute contradiction/identity-crisis for the author, that really bothered me.

In the matter of only a few pages, the author goes from elatedly "fitting in" with the tramps, referencing Black Like Me, and the kid is practically giddy about it. He's proud of his long hair, he's dirty, he's comfortable, etc. He feels like he fits in. And honestly, within 3 pages, he's totally contradicting himself! He has a minor freak-out, he cleans himself up, think it will put distance between himself and the hobos, and in his mind he is feverishly renouncing the "hobo identity." He wants to be surrounded by "normal" college kids, and be with people who know who he "really is." I found that part quite disgusting, actually.

To his credit, the book is very well written and he includes tons of detail throughout, but like Kabar said, he feels like a poseur. Oh! AND he does seem to travel with the most immature, steamlining assholes. If you were only familiar with this book, you would think that the only people out there are mooching assholes, and bickering babies.

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Guest The Texas Madman
In the matter of only a few pages, the author goes from elatedly "fitting in" with the tramps, referencing Black Like Me, and the kid is practically giddy about it. He's proud of his long hair, he's dirty, he's comfortable, etc. He feels like he fits in.

 

True, sort of like..................ooooooooooo, Yeah, I've infiltrated the secret society............

 

To his credit, the book is very well written and he includes tons of detail throughout, but like Kabar said, he feels like a poseur.

 

Once again he makes me mad at the point where he intentionally gets himself arrested in Denver, trying to cross a Highway Bridge, just so he can see what it feels like to get arrested. Aint NO-ONE onails wants to get arrested in Denver!

 

Oh! AND he does seem to travel with the most immature, steamlining assholes. If you were only familiar with this book, you would think that the only people out there are mooching assholes, and bickering babies.

 

Problem is there these errant folks we all run into on the rails when changing trains in different towns, back in the early 90's there was a fool we all nicknamed "Whiner" because he constantly Whined about road conditions he had to live thru that the rest of us took as "Par-For-The-Course"! He also was a Streamlining Son-Of-A-B*&ch who [whenever he got cold] would try to bum you for a blanket or coat when previously he was in a town that had a good "Sally" or "St. Vinnies".

 

Mainly this guy hung around skid rows thinking [foolishly] that that is where you find Hobos, this form of though has been indoctrinated into people constantly by society trying to convieniently Label, Catagorize, and corral anyone who dosen't fit into THEIR idea of normalcy.

 

A great quote came from an F.T.R.A. member who lives in Portland "..............all us Hobos want is to be left alone........."

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I was down at the jungle today, checking things out, looking to see if anybody was fucking with the hooch. Somebody cleaned us out for food (I was expecting that) as we had a 5-gallon bucket full of canned food and a bucket with some rice and packages of Ramen stashed at the jungle. The idea, of course, was that whoever dropped by would use whatever food they needed and then leave the rest. That didn't happen. The first self-centered greedy asshole that found the hooch cleaned us out and probably thought he was "getting over." I hate streamliners, especially streamliners who rob tramps.

 

They destroy whatever humanity and human kindness is left in the world with their fucked-up, me-first attitude. Cock suckers. They think the entire world revolves around them personally--- never a thought for anyone but themselves. Sorry motherfuckers. It makes me want to hurt some mother fuckers.

 

Whoever did this also stole the only warm cover in the hooch, a furniture blanket that Stretch scrounged from a dumpster and we washed. We left two blankets on the bed along with a couple of pillows we found. The ratty blanket is still there, folded up. The furniture blanket is gone.

 

I suspect that whoever did this is not even a tramp or a homeless person. It's probably some local neighborhood kid---too young to understand that he is not the most important person on earth and that his sense of entitlement to do whatever he wants to do (like rip off a bucket of canned goods intended for tramps) is entirely inappropriate.

 

Liberals would say to themselves, in this situation, "Oh, I'm sure whoever took it needed it pretty badly." They make excuses for thieves. I KNOW BETTER. The person that did this is a self-centered little asshole who needs a serious beating to wake up his stupid, selfish ass.

 

NO RESPECT.

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It seems like you go out of your way to stock and maintain the jungle, knowing it's a target for virtually any idiot or streamliner to ransack and destroy. I appreciate your frustration - it would be nice to live in a world where a good jungle could quietly serve decent people - but realistically, you're setting yourself up for these disappointments. There are plenty of "liberals" smart enough to know not to leave valuables lying around unattended.

I've done plenty of guerilla landscaping and improvements at otherwise abandoned sites, mostly to open up wall space for graffiti painting, but I never leave any valuables unless they're well hidden. And if my work has been undone by idiots when I return, I just shrug and redo whatever is worth redoing.

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It seems like you go out of your way to stock and maintain the jungle, knowing it's a target for virtually any idiot or streamliner to ransack and destroy. I appreciate your frustration - it would be nice to live in a world where a good jungle could quietly serve decent people - but realistically, you're setting yourself up for these disappointments. There are plenty of "liberals" smart enough to know not to leave valuables lying around unattended.

I've done plenty of guerilla landscaping and improvements at otherwise abandoned sites, mostly to open up wall space for graffiti painting, but I never leave any valuables unless they're well hidden. And if my work has been undone by idiots when I return, I just shrug and redo whatever is worth redoing.

 

Well said.

In my time in the AK Yard(Aotearoa), I've never seen any hobos/tramps etc - not that you expect any - just a little info to give back to the thread.

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