Graffiti on the LRW

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by LoudMusic, Oct 2, 2006.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Lets start with the legal stuff.

    A) Yes I was tresspassing. No I'm not concerned. Please do not lecture me.

    B) No I do not condone spray painting other people's belongings. Yes I do think it's interesting and artistic.

    On to the graffiti!

    Quite some time ago (over two years ago, according to my notes) I was out driving the country side and took these pictures of 'railroad graffiti' on the Little Rock and Western. The LRW runs from the Union Pacific North Little Rock engine maintenance facility out west about 78 miles to Danville. Their headquarters is in Perry, about the midpoint of the line. I recently read they use two Alco C-420s and two GP9s and make one run from the HQ each direction five days a week hauling various raw goods including pulp, grain, limestone, and paper.

    These photographs are from a small siding / yard about half way between Perry and Little Rock. According to Google Maps the area is "Moonie Springs", though I've never heard that name before.

    I have no idea what this says, but I'm sure it's frustrating that it covers up the car's identification.

    What in God's name is that?

    This is a strange looking fish, and the coloring almost makes it look as if they were trying to cover something else up.

    I can't tell what this one says either, but it's pretty elaborate. I wonder if they avoided the "01 16" or if that was repainted by the RR.

    Again, no idea what it says.

    "OPiATe*" ??? Simple. Doesn't appear to be too intrusive, though it does cover all the car's dimensions.

    I don't think this is trying to say anything at all, in words. And I'd almost go so far as to say they were trying to not cover up any RR informations. Weird though. Very 'sci-fi'.

    Classic graffiti bubble letters. I like the blue, and the interior shadowing.

    I think this person was spazming with a spray paint can in each hand. Clearly the RR remarked the car before and after this graffiti was done.

    Nice ... skull ...

    This artist plays lots of Mario Brothers, me thinks. "Daytime GTV!", yay! What does that mean!?

    Rather elaborate marblized lettering. Simple initials. I like the signature in the upper left. I also find "lies" on the bottom funny. Lies? What lies? Everything is a lie? Or just this box car?

    More. This one has lots of names on it. I don't think I'd put my name on graffiti.

    This person's skill is "big". Quality is not in their ability :)

    Does this say 'SALE' ? Whatever it says, it's really damn elaborate.

    And for some reason two years ago when I took these pictures I decided to make a closeup of this. If you see something worth looking at, let me know. Perhaps it's just the detail.

    This I actually like quite a lot. It's simple, non-intrusive, and mildly artistic. It had also been there 8 years when I took the picture, 10 if it's still there now.

    I liked the way this person flaired the lines upward. And it's also non-intrusive.

    I'm going to make a seperate post of the other things I took pictures of that day.
  2. TruckLover

    TruckLover Mack CH613 & 53' Trailer

    WOW Very Interesting stuff there LM. I enjoyed and liked it!!:thumb: :D
  3. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member


    Nice long shot. Nearly every car was someone's canvas.

    Trucks. But not like those on the highway.

    More trucks.


    Wheels, again.
  4. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I would say that the graffiti adds "personality" to the cars, as long as they don't interfere with the vital information. :thumb: :thumb:
  5. Chessie6459

    Chessie6459 Gauge Oldtimer

    Great Pictures. Thanks for sharing them with us.:thumb: :thumb: :thumb:
  6. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Well, it got me thinking. We spend a lot of time weathering our eqiupment, but we don't vandalize it. To really make it look real it kind of needs to be painted up. At least the old brown box cars anyway. I'm sure containers survive the rogue artists of the world much better than stationary rolling stock.

    The other thing I've been thinking about is, when I have a large layout (30' x 30'? yummy ...) I'd definitely want a guest book. But I'd want it to be a fun guest book. My thought was to have a large (O scale?) train running around the ceiling and have guests graffiti their name onto a car. It'd be a rolling guest book. Kind of appropriate, don't you think?
  7. TrainNut

    TrainNut Ditat Deus

    Lecture you??? Funny, funny, funny. What in the world makes you think somebody on this site would do such a thing? Of all the nerve.....:D
    Interesting pictures, don't like graffiti, don't think it's artistic... BUT, that's only my opinion and it should not mean diddly squat to you! If they are so darn proud of their work, why don't they display it on their own cars and houses? ...hmmm, not that proud of it I guess. Sorry, I'll stop ranting before I even get started.
    Thanks for sharing the photographs and taking the time to describe each one. I must admit, I was intrigued by a few.
    P.S. I think you should make a good will donation to the railroad for stealing all those fine photographs from them without their permission!:D :D :D
    All in good humor....
  8. Ralph

    Ralph's for fun!

    Interesting shots, some may serve as good models for grafitti that some of us might wish to add to our own equipment.

    You get the lecture anyway, however: trespassing creates hostility between fans and employees and will likely make it harder for those of us who ask to get permission to photograph on the grounds.

  9. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    As far as trespassing you will find most short lines are more lenient then the bigger railroads just as long as you are not endangering yourself and you just taking pictures.
    I have visited several short lines over the years and I am yet to get arrested or ask to leave.BTW..I have had several cab rides on short lines including some throttle time on one..Of course the engineer was by my side just in case I started to get in trouble.
  10. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    If you don't lecture me, who will? Don't answer that!

    Very true, very true. I will take this into consideration the next time I go to the LRW grounds - which hopefully will be soon!

    You know, I could see this happening with this particular company. I've watched the guys work in the past and they just seem like "folks doin` their job". Pretty laid back. Doin' what they're doin'. They might like to have someone new to talk to about their job.

    Like I said, I hope to get back to see some LRW in action - and hopefully I'll have a new set of pictures for you guys.
  11. KATY

    KATY Member

    Don't know if this is a lecture or not, but as one who has to load grain hoppers in my business, there is really nothing positive about this crap from my view. I have to know the car number, the empty weight, the load limit, and the cubic feet of each car. There are many instances when some or all of this info has been painted over. Then I have to call the supplying rail line and try to get the info from them, which is sometimes impossible or at the least very time consuming. In the end I usually just guesstimate from experience with the possibility of overloading the car.

    If they went on a dealer's new car lot and did this stuff I seriously doubt anyone would consider it "art".
  12. Herc Driver

    Herc Driver Active Member

    Interesting point Katy...and it begs a it the canvass or the act of grafitti itself that is more important and therefore garners the concern. I know that if anything and I mean anything happens to an airplane (civilian) the plane is grounded while the authorities figure out how and who vandalized the aircraft. It is always assumed that more damage was done to an aircraft until it is inspected and proven safe. If it was a military plane, don't even want to go there...the act of vandalism itself could prove fatal. I'm guessing that your job requires particular information that affects the safety of the hopper, train (crew/railroad personnel), and how that car/train is operated along its entire journey near other trains as well as anyone who's near it. That is just as critical as any other mode of public or private transportation since others are potentially affected by the grafitti obscuring important information.

    It would be impossible to watch every single car everywhere in the country...but is no one watching? Do car sit idle for long periods on sidings with no one around? It seems to me that it would take a long time for some of this grafitti (which can be really artistic) to be placed...does that mean the car sat idle for hours or days with no one around while this went on, probably in daylight - since I would guess it would be hard to make these creations at night? I don't have any answers here...just more questions. And all this is academic until someone gets killed or hurt and the cause is determined to start with grafitti. Maybe, as with airplanes, procedures will be changed when they are "written in blood" as the saying goes.
  13. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    From my first post, "I have no idea what this says, but I'm sure it's frustrating that it covers up the car's identification." So I guess it really is a pain in the rear, now that we've heard from someone having to see this everyday.

    I've often wondered about graffiti and the reaction of the person / people who own the object being vandalized. I'm sure it's a rare occation that anyone is pleased with the result. But it also got me thinking about how to combat situations like you're talking about.

    Obviously the RR puts the information in a location on the car that can be easily read by employees. But in that area it can be easily manipulated or covered up as well. Has anyone thought about moving the info boxes to a much higher level on the cars? Effectively making the lower 8' or so available to be painted up? Somehow I think that would work and I can't think of too many issues it would cause. It would make it harder to see the info, but at least it wouldn't be covered up by some else's graffiti job.

    The particular cars I photographed seem to be there everytime I drive by. And I've been driving by for seven years. I'm sure they get used periodically, but keeping in mind that their loads are seasonal, grain, etc, I'd bet they go unused most of the year. And you'd probably be surprised how quickly someone can slap on a "tag", as I've heard it called. Even some of the larger ones in my photos wouldn't have taken too long.
  14. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    As a railroader, let me tell you, I get FURIOUS when I see it. Again, it is just *my* opinion and shouldn;t sway yours, but I don't like it one bit. If you do, that's cool, that's your right and I won't try to sway you otherwise, but here's how *I* handled it one night when I caught some little graffitti pukes tagging my train:

    I used to work for a shortline here in town and went on duty at 4pm and usually tied up between 2-4am. One foggy October night, I kept smelling fresh Krylon while making a pickup and set out at a spot. The spot was between 2 warehouses curving off the main line. Then, we had to run around our cars down the siding. When the engine was way down at the end of the spot doing work, or at the other end of the siding, you couldn't hear it due to the distance. It was around 2am and you know how smells are amplified in the fog? I usually just rode on the outside of the engine on the ends so I could smoke, and our engineer liked to fart in the cab just to annoy my helper and I. Doing so in an enclosed switcher cab is not only nasty, it's just plain cruel. sign1 I kept smelling paint while going by these cars we left in the siding while drilling these industries, so I told Mark to do the run around, I was going to bail and see if I could catch me a tagger.

    I turned my lantern off, lit a smoke and waited. Didn't take long and I found the first little pierced, saggy pant, Raider wearing maggot in an oversized Raiders football parka. You know, the nylon REALLY flammable kind.


    Game. On.

    While pondering my next move, (he was alone *at that time*, but I'm sure he had "homies" nearby; gangbangers never fight one on one), his cronies showed up from the bushes. I figured, 4 of them and one of me, I was outnumbered, so I figured I'd startle them by lighting a fussee (I was less than 20 feet away at the end of the car they were tagging) in a shadow by the team track switch. I figured they'd just run off and that'd be that. Don't ask me why though (Insert evil grin here), but as soon as I lit that fusee, I ran about 5 or 10 feet back away from the car but towards them and thre that lit fussee as hard as I could RIGHT BETWEEN THEM, and against the side of the boxcar like a Major League pitcher and of course it exploded, raining hot fussee leavin's ALL OVER THEM. One was patting out his beanie, and Mr. Raider Parka (doing the actual painting) had the arm of his expensive Starter Brand Raiders coat (he probably shoplifted it from the mall, and I hate football anyway), the arm of that coat went up like a Roman candle as him and the other little punks ran like cockroaches into the night. The engine was coming back up the main, and stopped on the other side of the cut of cars while I laughed histerically. Mark asked me what the ---- just happened, he had *thought* he had seen someone running where I was dropped off at with his clothes on fire. I said "That's right", tossed my cigarette and climbed back in the cab to get warm. The guys laughed all the way back to the yard. I'm not saying go vigilante, but hey: he came into MY workspace and violated it, so the way I see it, he put himself in that position. Besides, it was only the arm of his jacket. Funny thing was, this was the second night, same crew (same markings), UPRR PD had stopped our train (on our track, across town from UP, kinda wierd I thought) and asked if I had seen taggers at our interchange yard with the UP a few minutes prior (we were on our way from there). He had been trying to nail these guys for a while. They were leaving distinctive marks and he had photos of the graffitti that he showed our crew. Later that night, I saw it fresh and brand new on a couple of hoppers I left in the South Pass that wasn't that way when we left them. I know, because they were old ATSF cars with the big round black logo that I like, so I took a good look at them. He gave each of us his card and asked to call his cell phone if we see ever see anything suspicious around the interchange yard with the UP. I made sure to call him that afternoon when I woke up and told him what happened and that the kid would be easy to spot, "He'd be the cold one shivering, without his jacket" :D . He kind of laughed and told me "I didn't hear that" and thanks for the heads up. They're especially tired of it.

    Sure, call me vigilante, sick, call me criminal, call me what you want, but *to me* that's a simple case of cause and effect: Vandalize someone elses property, accept the consequences. :thumb:

    MOPAC car he tagged too, really P'd me off....
  15. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

    Four punk kids versus a railroad employee? With the exception that they probably had cheap (but effective) weapons, I bet you could have taken them with no problem ;)

    If I were juror on that trial I would have voted in favor of you. Like I said in the first post I don't agree with where they're doing graffiti, I just think it's interesting to look at. And unfortunately "box car" is their canvas of choice.

    A friend of mine recently told me about the UPRR PD - apparently they dispatched large SWAT crews into New Orleans yards immediately following the hurricane. Big scary looking dudes with big scary looking weapons. Supposedly no customer merchandice was stolen. All losses were due to weather damage.
  16. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

    I tell you what kind of grafftti I *do* like, that's the chalk graffitti usually done by railroad employees. Like Bozo Texino, The Rambler, etc. Some of it is cute, some of it is hillarious. THAT is harmless (done in chalk and is usually small and doesn't cover up anything important anyway, and eventually washes off.

    If you see any with a dude in a cowboy hat and says Stockton underneath it, that was me. :wave:
  17. CCT70

    CCT70 Member

  18. LoudMusic

    LoudMusic Member

  19. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    Some of these remind me of a saying I learned from my parents as a small boy, regarding graffiti "Fools names and fools faces often appear in public places."
  20. DaorLiar

    DaorLiar New Member

    I'm glad to be an American, where you and I can both have opinions and express them
    more openly than in other countries. Although opinions vary, I think we can all agree that- like it or not, graffiti is a part of the freight train culture. Hopefully I can shed some light on the appeal of hitting freights: [br] Sure I can paint my house or my car, it would look nice, but I don't think it would be very inconspicuous. (imagine me next to my graffiti'd car saying, "really officer, it wasn't me") Part of the appeal lies in the exposure. Freights are gigantic rusty beautiful canvases that roll through cities and farmtowns, across the country and through Canada. Farmers on their porches ask, "What the hell was that, Earl?" " I don't reckon I know, Jeb" In addition to that, we share the same romance as all train lovers. A hike through the snow to a secret spot, to bond with the giants. I understand why a lot of people hate graffiti- most of it pretty much sucks, as evident in the above photos. (Two or three were very good.) Some of it is absolutely mindblowing. "Steel" from LA painted 5 wholecars, a letter covering each car. As soon as I figure out how to post photos, I'll post a few of that. As this is my first post, I just wanna say that all these weathered trains are the greatest thing since sliced television,
    I paint real trains, as well as HO and O on rainy days, but in the future would LOVE to paint some weathered beauties like I've seen on this site.
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page