"Hobos" Good or Bad or Dont Care

Discussion in 'The Real Thing- North America' started by who_dat73, Sep 21, 2005.


Are the Hobos a part of the RR life history or should they be run out of every city o

  1. I think hobos are ok and just part of RR life

  2. I think hobos are bums thieves and good for nothings

  3. I think hobos are part of RR life but are a danger to the RR community

  4. I think hobos are good for the RR to help spot trouble in the yards and trains

    0 vote(s)
  1. I voted the first as they made thier legend in the past and it can't be changed. Is there still a large HOBO comunity? I remember reading in MR once about an author's experience with a hobo when he was a kid. He and his friends used to get grease from the journal boxes of rail cars to start cooking fires much like the hobos did. They met a hobo doing the same one day and he told them not to take all their grease from one car. the reason being one day he might be on that car and he would not want it to be in trobule and cause him injury.
  2. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    Is there still a large hobo community

    If you look under http://www.worldpath.net/~minstrel/Hobolink.htm or http://www.northbankfred.com/britt_84.html you will get a better understanding of the Hobo community and what they do I have been to Britt myself to see if everything that I have read was right and they are Good people if some are a lil on the differant side.
    I would have no problem letting my kids sit and talk to them to learn of the RR and what a hard life a Bo lives.
    Also you talked about the Bo telling the kids not to take to much grease because it might cause problems not only for him but the RR itself sounds like they watch for trouble to me. [​IMG]
    But that is just me a hobo fan. LOL
  3. Relic

    Relic Member

    Did that hobo close that valve or did he save some lax breakmans job?
  4. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

    been pondering this thread for some time just let me say that the bo's of old are long gone what i've seen riding the rails through the town i live in look mostly to be runaways. illegal aliens and those running from the law.
  5. Iron Goat

    Iron Goat Member

    The thing that needs to be remembered, is that the "Bo's" were mostly a product of the years between the end of WW I, and throughout the Depression era... when the soldiers returned to find jobs were taken by those who "stayed home", and when the depression hit that is when the large numbers of homeless men took to the rails.

    I, like the rest of you, love railroading... but a story my Mother once told me about her growing up during the Depression always stuck with me, as another side of the RR's.
    She and her little brother used to walk the tracks to find coal that had fallen off trains (in order to heat their home), and she said that many times they were chased off by RR Police yelling "No coal picking" on RR property. Sure, it was their property, but those years were brutal for most families.

    I am not totally defending the hobo's... like all groups of people, I believe that there were both good and bad in their ranks, but they were a product of some of the most severe times in our history.

  6. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    "jim currie" just let me say that the bo's of old are long gone

    Actully Jim some of the Bo's of old are still around but for the most part they gave up the rail life out of old age but some of todays Bo's learned from what was passed down hand to hand from the likes of Steam Train Maury and the like that is where Britt comes into play just like any oral history bos go to Britt and pass on the leasons of old to the next generation and just have fun like and other other group.

    As far as what you might see coming through town now today that is true also there are a lot of Ilegals that stow away on the freight to cross the border and some that use it to run from the law there are also those nowadays that are just punk kids looking at it as a way to rebel aginst socity

    But thanks for your comments[​IMG]
  7. wjstix

    wjstix Member

    My concern is that from what I've seen/heard, like on TV programs, books etc. about trains, hoboes etc., is that in recent years hobo's have become much more violent and destructive. Their 1930's counterparts were often just unemployed men looking for work, often as migrant workers in agriculture. (In fact some believe the term "hobo" comes from "hoe boy", since someone showing up for work on a farm carrying his own hoe had a better chance of getting hired...and of course the hoe could be used to carry his bindle.) Today many of them are apparently mentally ill, violent, or drug abusers who do crimes far worse than trespassing.
  8. Relic

    Relic Member

    An old ,now long dead friend of mine made a number of trips from here (NS) to Alberta " "ridin the rods" (Putting boards across the truss rods to lay on) He was the finest old fella you,d ever want to meet and was just trying to feed his family. I,m not sayin, that they were all knights of the high iron but I miss ol," Dinty"
  9. Hoghead

    Hoghead Member

    Nothing will scare the crap out of an engineer more than getting on a train at night and walking through a consist knocking off handbrakes and checking the inspection cards and stumbling across a rider sitting on the 3rd or 4th engine. :eek:
  10. brakie

    brakie Active Member

    Reminds of a story I heard while working on the Chessie about a engineer that found a 'bo hiding in the toilet area of the lead unit..I am told the 'bo ask the engineer if he needed to use the facities.. :eek:
  11. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    I thank you all for all comments and memories.

    I do have another comment after reading more posts. Most modern Bo's arn't the travel to work types anymore most do have a nine to five job and take time off to go on vacation " Go out hoboing for awhile just to sooth the wanderlust" But in the the same breath there are a few that this is they'r life just riding the rails enjoying the country from a box car door.

    I am a person that has always had the wanderlust to go explore the country but at the same time I relize that I have a family here at home to tend to and they come first and there is alot of danger lurking on the rails in the form of punk kids that would role you the first time you fall asleep those running from the law and and a few That call themselfs hobos that would stab you just to get somthing you have to eat but a true train loving Hobo is just the same as you and me somone that loves trains and just wants to kick back and let the world melt away for a while with the sound of the rails rocking them to sleep.

    I guss the point I am trying to make is having been to Britt to the convention and met the mostly good people there is dont think of all Hobo's as a worthless bum that dont want to work or somthing of that nature try to relize that they are a lot like us in that they love trains and need vacation time and this is how they relaxe.
    But keep the comments coming I love to here all that everyone has to say
  12. Pitchwife

    Pitchwife Dreamer

    I think that it's been that way most of the time, at least since the depression when about the only way to get to someplace where there was work was by riding the rails.
  13. Ralph

    Ralph Remember...it's for fun!

    I also get the feeling that Depression era hobos were mostly good folks down on their luck, needing the rails to get from place to place while today's rail riders ar either thrill seekers, folks in trouble with the law, runaway kids, people with untreated mental disorders, and in some cases, dangerous criminals. I once read a disturbing novel called "The Drift" about a man whose illness and bad decisions led him to be homeless and riding the rails. He wrote about the distinction between Hobos, tramps, and bums. He also mentioned a dangerous group called the Freight Train Riders of America (FTRA), racist crazies who run drug operations and apparently take great joy in abusing other train hoppers. Any one heard of them?
  14. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    Thank you Ralph, finally somone that sees my point of view:thumb:
    and I am gonna have to do some resurch on that group.
    Thanks for the comments
    Wow ralph after reading this article on them I dont plan on riding anywhere anytime soon:eek: http://www.citypages.com/databank/18/887/article3839.asp
    Thanks for the heads up gives me somthing to investagete
  15. brakie

    brakie Active Member

  16. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    Actully Braikie look in the link I posted one up and they are all over the US I live about 100 miles from Minnapolis St. Paul area they talk about.

    Kinda gives me the hebe jebe's about rail faning in the wrong place or the wrong time :eek: if I havn't got somone along you never know what or who you might find laying in wait or just laying.
  17. jim currie

    jim currie Active Member

  18. Dave Flinn

    Dave Flinn Member

    Hmm. Taking pot shots must be the latest rage. Heard a tale the other evening from a Hump Conductor who works in Allentown, PA that he spent the evening dodging bullets a few days ago.
  19. hemi_harvester

    hemi_harvester New Member

    I don't like HOBOS at all. Put your self in a train crew position. How would you like to pick up a train that has been sitting and inspect the engine or take the brakes off only to find a HOBO. IT scares the HELL out of you! Thats what. I was inspecting some engines one day and came face to face with a HOBO. You don't know if these people are crazy or not and I'm not going to take the time to find out! On the NS we turn them in and the RR Police take them away. The RR dicks do a good job of keeping them off the trains. I have personal only had 3 in 10 years.
  20. who_dat73

    who_dat73 Member

    That is one very valid point you never know what the person is thinking or what he might have be it a club or gun and will do you harm because of being caught!!

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