• Hobo camps

  • Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England
Pertaining to all railroading subjects, past and present, in New England

Moderators: MEC407, NHN503

  by rhallock
In the old days, a prime spot for a hobo camp was any place where a train would have to stop or slow down such as a passing siding or signal, or a steep grade. Also leaving a freight yard as a train was just starting to pick up speed. People sometimes romanticise hobos but there have always been some who were hardened criminals or druggies. Some years ago I saw a program on cable TV about certain individuals, mostly out West, who styled themselves "Freight Train Riders of America". It sounds innocent enough, but they were really the worst sort of criminals. Supposedly to be accepted among them, one first had to kill someone else. One man in particular was a serial killer who, after commiting a murder, would calmly sit and read from his Bible. There were interviews with some railfans-turned-amateur-hobos who had had very scary experiences on the rails. That show should be required viewing for anyone thinking about hanging around freight yards.
  by theseaandalifesaver
I'm rolling my eyes hard at the above post.
  by Wayside
My dad rode trains out through the west when he was a teenager in the 1930s. There were a lot of people wandering around looking for work in those days.
  by Plate C
Paid a recent visit to a spot. Not going to call it a camp, at least in terms of what people traditionally think of. A spot on either side beneath a bridge, old mattress on one side, cardboard on the other with rocks built up in front so the crew can't see a person sleeping. Discarded toiletries as well as some new ones left for the next traveler. Obvious signs of younger/less experienced riders like beer cans and empty liquor bottles, a few discarded panhandling signs. Modern markings do not involve the old hobo symbols, but plenty of monikers and directions left on the walls and mattress.
  by Plate C
Have seen more signs along my travels, marking and items left behind. Was in one location where I have seen plenty of signs of people having been there, but never anyone there. This time there were a few people camped with small tents and packs. Looked like two were possibly staying and the other had his gear together so I assumed waiting for a night train.
  by JWilson
In Braintree, between the Kingston/Plymouth and Middleboro/Lakeville branches of the MBTA s' Old Colony service. I wouldn't get too close unless you're well armed.
  by Plate C
I did find a tent city that had sprung up outside a New England train yard the other day, ghostly when encountered but with obvious signs of activity. Appeared to be a mix of homeless and train riders. Location was obviously used by both in the past when I had been there. Area was overall clean and maintained which makes me typically think hobo over homeless. Broom swept, and some of the tents had brooms layed against their openings. There were a few homemade shelves and such. A bootlegged coffee table had two unopened beers on it along with a can of pork & beans. Found that last bit to be such the stereotypical picture that people expect to find, was kind of amused.