read between the lines
A no-bull guide to freight-hoppers on and
off the Web
By Wes Modes
Information sources for hobos are few and far between. Hobo
lore and legend is largely an oral tradition. There are a
few sites on the Internet you can check out for information
on train-hopping. There are also several good publications with
how-to and numerous publications featuring vintage and modern
North Bank Fred's Freighthopping Page
Stories by North Bank Fred and others, fabulous photographs, links,
and a bibliography. Well-organized and complete. Updated
Hopping Freight Trains in America
Newly revised edition of Duffy Littlejohn's trainhopping
how-to book. Very complete. Largely accurate info.
Pleasantly full of bravado and swagger.
The Train Hopper's Cooperative Information Source
While this site is now closed, it still has some good info.
This was a top-notch site with a good deal of well-presented
information. This was the on-line source for train hoppers
to find information on various cities throughout the Eastern
US as it pertains to riding the rails. Included a very good
section on what cars to ride.
Train Hoppers Space
These pages have not been significantly updated since 1996.
Vintage Web. These pages are a collection of stuff that is
of interest to freight train hoppers--information sources,
how-to, stories, maps and links to other sites. The site has an
extensive bibliography of freight-hopping publications.
on the road
in the jungle
American Railroad Frequencies
A list of all of the frequencies used by North American railroads.
This is useful for those yuppie hobos who invested in a scanner.
Map Service Browser
This service is provided courtesy of the U.S. Bureau of the Census.
It shows you a map of any location in the United States. You can display
railway lines and even zoom in for a close up view of freight yards.
Do You Really Want to Hop Trains?
This'll tell you in great detail how you will be crushed and squished
beyond recognition if you ride freight trains. It's provided as counterpoint.
A typically hysterical response from rail fans, who tend to hate scummy
hobos. It dissapeared from the web for a while, but I found this now
notorious article from a rec.railroad newsgroup at another site.
Dead Train Bums
An even more shrilly hysterical site that alternately reveres and
reviles the hobo. It begins obstensively with the kind-hearted
notion of keeping people from getting hurt on the rails.
However, it reveals a certain glee at the thought of scummy,
free-loading, criminal train-riding bums getting everything
they have coming to them. Whatever.
Original version published in
the May 23-29, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz
Copyright © 1996, 2002 Wes Modes
E-mail to: modes_at_thespoon.com