read between the lines
A no-bull guide to freight-hoppers on 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
The Train Hopper's Cooperative Information Source
This is a top-notch site with a good deal of well-presented
information. This is the place for train hoppers to find information
on various cities throughout the Eastern US as it pertains to riding
the rails. Includes a very good section on what cars to ride.
Train Hoppers Space
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
North Bank Fred's Freighthopping Page
Stories by North Bank Fred and others, photographs, links,
and a bibliography. Well-organized and complete.
Freight-Hopping with Bill Mellman
Pictures, stories, and links, including photos of Tennessee Pass.
The site is a little disorganized, but offers exclusive pictures
of Bill's freight trips.
on the road
in the jungle
Hobo Jungles: A Documentary Film
Stories about railriding and filmmaking from the unique perspective of
independent filmmaker Sarah George.
Riding the Rails
The companion web site for the film by Michael Uys and Lexy Lovell,
Riding the Rails. The site also features train-hopping stories
and links. Also take a look at the
companion site about the
Hobo Times' Home
The Hobo Times, America's journal of wanderlust, is published by the
National Hobo Association. The NHA has thousands of members throughout
America devoted to train-hopping and hobo lore. Recently given a face lift.
The Train-Hoppers FAQ
Now, answers to all those nagging questions you have.
Everything except the obvious questions you'll need to answer
yourself: Should you hop a train?
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 page that "reveals the truth about
jumping trains." 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
Original version published in
the May 23-29, 1996 issue of Metro Santa Cruz
Copyright © 1996 Metro Publishing and
Virtual Valley, Inc. and Wes Modes
E-mail to: modes_at_thespoon.com