Sunday, September 2, 2012

Hopping Freight Train



Today's picture shows a Hobo hopping a freight train. The picture was taken in 1935, which would have been at the depth of the Great Depression. Many men would hop freights hoping to get somewhere that they could find work. So often times "Hobo" was not synonymous with "Tramp". Often Hobos were displaced workers traveling trying to find some type of work.

8 comments:

  1. We use to live right next to the railroad tracks when I was about 3 to 8 years old, and about 4 miles from the river. I had 4 older brothers who were a bad influnce on me. I don't remember much about the first years, but I do remember at about age 6, I would hop on the moving frieght cars to catch a ride down to and back from the river to go swimming. They didn't move very fast when they were in town, but if I knew then what I know now, there would be no way I would have hopped on them.
    But you know kids, never think of the danger of falling off.
    If any of my kids had done what I did as a kid, and I found out about it, I think my hair would have been gray many, many years ago.

    You know parents, Do as I say not as I did.

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    1. When I was in my early teens I had a job at a locality that was right across from the railroad in a mixed industrial, residential, neighborhood. Suffice it to say, it was not a nice neighborhood, but as a person barely out of childhood, I became friendly with quite a few kids who lived in that neighborhood. I can still recall watching in horror as they jumped freight cars for entertainment one day. A truly dangerous activity. That this was extremely dangerous was easy for me to recall as an older man downtown lacked an arm from doing that very thing when in his teens, the result of having slipped in that endeavor.

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    2. Same thing happened to a classmate of mine in jr. high. Tried to hop on the train, didn't quite make it. Lost his arm above the elbow.
      John

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  2. They traveled the country roads, and would stop at a farm house to ask to do odd jobs for a meal. They were more trust worthy than today. You see people standing on street corners with signs saying "Will work for food". You may give them a few dollars, but you don't take them home with you.

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    1. I never give them money, I have taken them to a eatery and bought them a meal, but never give them money, so they can't use it to buy booze or drugs.

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    2. I NYC if you give them food instead of money, some of them will get quite testy. Donate to legit charity nothing to panhandlers.
      John

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  3. Like DADD, my husband says he and his brother used to hop on the trains as they slowed down for the curves as they came though town. Swimming, going to the movies, and if they timed it right, they could catch a ride home. Of course, they also walked along the tracks OVER THE BRIDGE if they couldn't catch a ride. Cut three miles off the walk - and who know how many years off their lives! My father-in-law used to say it was a wonder any boy lived to be twenty-one.

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  4. my dad and his friend rode freight trains to get around. They didn't have the money for a car or even to ride the bus so they hopped trains. Dad and his friend Ike rode the trains from southern Iowa to the Chicago Worlds Fair. and home again. What an adventure for a teenage boy in the 1930s.

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