Catching on the fly for the first time ft dead bird and a million workers (1 Viewer)

croc

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Yesterday afternoon I hopped outta Waycross after a night of being housed up with some of the most hospitable people I've ever met.
They had a little 4 year old that took a special interest in cow (my rat), helped me feed her, and even gifted her a stuffed animal. Supposedly she doesn't take to new people but she sure was excited to spend time with me n cow.
After being given a place to sleep, a kitchen to cook in, being left alone in their house when everyone went to work the next day. "Honey, I ain't worried about it. What are you gonna steal in your backpack? A frying pan? We leave our things unlocked so come n go as you please. And if anyone takes anything then they must need it." While I've always admired that mentality (it must be a more peaceful existence), I can't say I've ever felt that way about getting my shit stolen.
There's a bunch of rain all over AL and TN for the next couple days, so I bought a tarp from Walmart, a gallon of water, and headed to the hop out.
The way I've entered this wooded area before currently had CSX work trucks all around it. Hoping they didn't see my clearly-not-a-homebum sized pack, I made my way to the other side. Once I found my coast to be as clear as it was gonna get, I got low and ran into the woods. My pack and ukulele neck pulled all kinds of vines n branches with me but I made it in and waited for my train to Nashville to arrive.
A couple hours and many nervous pees later (I really think I must have peed about 6 times in there), my train rolls up. Now, where I'm hiding n trying to get on is only about the length of 5 or so train cars long. And naturally, the ones that stopped infront of me were empty wells and viking ships! The kicker is that juuust where people on the road below can see, there's a 53 well with a container n I can see from under the front that it isn't suicide! So I'm weighing my options "do I just run for it and get on? What if it's full of brakes? Should I just catch the train tomorrow? Can I hop this on the fly?" ... So, I went with waiting for the train to start rolling. *Tssssssssssssss* As soon as I heard the brakes, I put my pack back on and stood up, ready to catch on the fly for the first time.
*crrreeeeeeeeeeeek* And it started rolling, I waited until the end of my car was about 10 feet past the opening people on the road could see, scaled some reasonably steep ballast, grabbed on and pulled my 50 lb pack, my gallon, cow in her carrier, and myself onto the train. I hopped in, shoved my pack as far as I could under the grate, and assumed the fetal position bc that's the only amount of room I had among all the brake parts.
We rolled around the curve of the junction... And then stopped. I'd heard of someone recently getting pulled off in Waycross and that the bull ain't friendly so I laid there in the least comfortable position man has ever known, shins pressed into steel beams, the corner of my right shoe just short of penetrating my ass, head wrapped under my hood.
Minutes later I hear cars, or at least one, approaching on the next track over. It was those little vehicles workers drive when doing construction on the rails. One passed, his glass door being the only barrier between us. Then another. And another. And another. And fuck dude another, another, another. All of them going slow as molasses. One stops right next to my car and I'm positive I'm getting pulled off. How can he not see my knees sticking up, my pack sticking out, and cow's bright blue carrier? We sit there for a few minutes where each second felt like a year. Then he rolls away... A few minutes later we roll away too.
So I crawl out from the grate and try to get more comfortable. I smell an odor that specifically made me think "smells like a pet store". I peeked into the cubby hole at the end of my well to find a dead bird. Two of my favorite hobbies, trains and dead things, came together in that smelly moment. But then I realized as beautiful as this little red bird was that I did not wanna smell that for the next ~28 hours.
Very very shortly after that we sided out again, woods on each side of the double tracks. Now was my chance to find a better ride. I hopped off and started running the train as far as I felt comfortable going from my gear/cow. The only good ride was the well behind mine, a jb hunt 53. So I grabbed my shit and rehomed in a much less invasive well, set up my tarp to be ready for rain, n got snuggled in.
At other sidings n crossings I've seen more workers building tracks so be careful if you're coming thru Waycross any time soon.
Hopping in the fly was wild and I heavily discourage anyone who doesn't consider themself strong to try it. Pulling myself up with my pack on wasn't easy and I can lift my pack over my head, so I'm deceitfully strong for my size. The train picked up speed fairly quickly and had I hesitated even a couple seconds longer, idk if I would've been able to do it.
Be safe folks.
 
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quad8

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Did you catch yours during the day or in the dark?! Because it was easy but gutsy the night I got a Cadillac grainer on the fly. Too bad it stopped short of downtown Jesup 37 miles north of Waycross. Then in Jesup, there was no activity but I still didn't feel like chancing it further, so I got off.
 
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croc

croc

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Did you catch yours during the day or in the dark?! Because it was easy but gutsy the night I got a Cadillac grainer on the fly. Too bad it stopped short of downtown Jesup 37 miles north of Waycross. Then in Jesup, there was no activity but I still didn't feel like chancing it further, so I got off.
We started rolling at about 345? So definitely in the daylight.
Were u trynna head into Waycross?
 

quad8

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I wanted to try to pull a 90-mile run from Waycross to Savannah, but the grainer I had rolled on its own restricted speed and never even reached 50 mph. Finally, not only I started feeling tired, but I also felt it was more appropriate to get off in a safer spot rather than roll directly into the Southover yard in Savannah; that is where you find a handful of CSX bulls and MP officers from its nearby Hunter air base.

We started rolling at about 345? So definitely in the daylight.
Were u trynna head into Waycross?
 

Coywolf

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Damn! This reminds me of my last like 3 hops. I've started catching trains on the fly more and more as I've gained experience. Mainly because I KNOW they are going to leave that way.

Hauling my 55 lb pack up gondola ladders and over the edge was NOT easy. I had to make sure the side of the tracks were clear for a few hundred feet so I wouldnt get blindsided by a signal or a sign or something on the side of the track.

But shit. That feeling when you match your running speed with the train while holding the ladder, and then make that first hop up! *SUCCESS* not a feeling like it in the world.
 

Coywolf

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I did make a serious mistake that I never will again outside Belen, though.

I was hopping OFF, which is always more decieving. I decided to get off, and when my feet hit ballast, i was able to run for a bit with the train (with my pack on like an idiot), but I was forced to push off away from the train and send myself rolling down the embankment. Thank god for my winter clothing. Or else I woulda been fucked up!
 
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croc

croc

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I did make a serious mistake that I never will again outside Belen, though.

I was hopping OFF, which is always more decieving. I decided to get off, and when my feet hit ballast, i was able to run for a bit with the train (with my pack on like an idiot), but I was forced to push off away from the train and send myself rolling down the embankment. Thank god for my winter clothing. Or else I woulda been fucked up!
Shit dude, that sounds awful. Why the hell did u get off with ur pack on??
 

Koala

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Hell yea Croc! Beautifully written <3

So proud of you catching that train! Freakin killin it.

My only time catching on the fly was in a yard at a cc and I spotted what I thought was a good ride, and the train had just started moving so was going pretty slow. I grabbed it, but it ended up being a shit cheesegrater-floor well so I ended up having to bail a few seconds later. That sucked. It all happened so fast, but I quickly took my pack off and dropped it off the train while up on the grate platform, then threw my water jug, then bailed.

Shit dude, that sounds awful. Why the hell did u get off with ur pack on??
All I could think of when I read this was a certain other time when a certain someone got off a train in a certain shall I say, not-forward-facing way....heheh. Maybe I'll write that story up soon.
 
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croc

croc

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All I could think of when I read this was a certain other time when a certain someone got off a train in a certain shall I say, not-forward-facing way....heheh. Maybe I'll write that story up soon.
OKAY WELL

Because I broke one of the cardinal rules of riding:

"Ride sober"

Of which i was not.
I wanna dislike that but don't wanna affect your overall rating :p
Lesson learned hopefully. Not that I don't smoke weed while riding...
 

train in vain

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I did make a serious mistake that I never will again outside Belen, though.

I was hopping OFF, which is always more decieving. I decided to get off, and when my feet hit ballast, i was able to run for a bit with the train (with my pack on like an idiot), but I was forced to push off away from the train and send myself rolling down the embankment. Thank god for my winter clothing. Or else I woulda been fucked up!
Lost a guitar and almost lost a foot getting off waaaay too fast on the fly because of a dumbass i was with jumped off and had directions and a number for the place we were going to stay. Scariest train moment for sure.
 

Juan Derlust

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croc - as a premier stp'er (& I don't wanna encourage foolhardy behavior), you got guts. Bravo for pulling off yer risky shit.
 

Engineer J Lupo

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I don't mean to be all captain safety about it but just figured maybe it's worth discussing again in case anyone doesn't know; If you're getting on the fly, please have both hands free at all times. Pet carriers tethered to your pack if need be, you must have both hands or you might just lose one for good.

I would highly advise only getting cars with ladders on the fly. Boxcars on the fly is in my opinion more dangerous than riding suicide. You sit still and hold on, you're in control of suicide. You ain't in control of shit trying to sling yourself up into a boxcar at 13mph.

The end of the car is also very important. It's way more dangerous to get on the trailing end of a car, if shit goes wrong you have the wheel of the next car to contend with immediately. You get on the leading end of a car, the cars body keeps you from going in between cars if you happen to scrub. If somehow you manage to fall with limbs on the rail, at least you have about 40 feet of room before the next set of wheels reaches you.

So, both hands free. Only ladders on the fly. The leading end of a car is extremely safer than the trailing end. Last thing which is also very important; Which hands and which feet first.

Getting on, you first grab with leading hand, then trailing foot. The car will basically pull you up onto itself from there, next plant your trailing hand to create 3 points of contact and obviously the leading foot next. It's always leading hand then trailing foot. This locks your body in by diagonal limbs.

Getting off on the fly is an art form. It's trailing foot first and you gotta kinda stick it way out in front of the leading foot. You remove the trailing foot and angle your body where you're like head at 10 o'clock, trailing foot is being dangled out ahead of the other foot and pointing towards 4 o'clock. This angle is important, as is your footing.

The way you come off the car doing it this way, the trailing foot naturally sends you away from the train rather than into it. The angle of your body mitigates the speed. If you're straight up and down you have only face first into the rocks to go. You're only 90 degrees away from it. With head/torso at 10 o'clock and trailing foot at 4 o'clock you're more like 135 degrees away from a faceplant.

The speed will naturally bring you right up to noon and 6 o'clock once your foot is planted but that's all bonus recovery time to get yourself into a running form. Lastly, what is trailing and leading? The locomotives lead the train, the hand or foot nearest that end is leading. The rear of the train trails behind, the foot and hand nearest the rear of the train are trailing. Same goes for the ends of the cars.

Be safe y'all.
 
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croc

croc

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croc - as a premier stp'er (& I don't wanna encourage foolhardy behavior), you got guts. Bravo for pulling off yer risky shit.
It honestly wasn't going that fast since I caught it nearly as soon as it started rolling. Don't wanna sound like I'm some kinda bad ass.

Also wanna mention that my old roommate insisted I practice my grip strength n had me use his hand-squeezy-exercise thing for a while which helped tremendously with catching this train.
 

Detour

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My first hop out on the fly was a disaster. I tossed my gear and water off. Water jug busted up. I got low on the ladder and turned probably 60 degrees away from the car and jumped while trying to keep my legs in motion for my landing. When I hit I hit ballast rocks and bit shit with a face plate but came away unscathed. Next time I will definitely be waiting for the ride to stop or damn near be stopped. Definitely be careful and cautious
 

Oddman

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I waited for a train from Eugene to Portland for many hours one night with a friend, behind what I guess was the old Tazo Tea factory. It got to where I would just climb on and off the slow passing trains to relieve the boredom a little. But when we finally did find a train with something rideable, it was a Cadillac grainer... and shortly after we got on, two other riders we'd never seen got on the same car. Little fast for any of us to get off by then, so we just rolled with it... but it's because of hopping on the fly that I learned four people can stay pretty nicely hidden in a Cadillac even from a bunch of those little tool-around jobbies that @croc talked about, while we were stopped in the yard shortly after that. (It was night though which helped.)

I was super nervous my first time getting off on the fly. Don't know why, but I was convinced if I threw my pack it would explode or something. I was coming into Seattle on the High Line, and it kept going at a nice steady speed that was juuust too fast for me to be comfortable. I climbed way down low on the ladder a bunch of times and then kept chickening out. Some guy taking photos of the train behind a yuppie neighborhood got a cooler photo than he expected. Finally I saw a tunnel entrance coming up and realized I had to get off now or I was fucked. And... it went fine. But still I think I'll throw my pack next time.
 
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croc

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I waited for a train from Eugene to Portland for many hours one night with a friend, behind what I guess was the old Tazo Tea factory. It got to where I would just climb on and off the slow passing trains to relieve the boredom a little. But when we finally did find a train with something rideable, it was a Cadillac grainer... and shortly after we got on, two other riders we'd never seen got on the same car. Little fast for any of us to get off by then, so we just rolled with it... but it's because of hopping on the fly that I learned four people can stay pretty nicely hidden even from a bunch of those little tool-around jobbies that @croc talked about, while we were stopped in the yard shortly after that. (It was night though which helped.)

I was super nervous my first time getting off on the fly. Don't know why, but I was convinced if I threw my pack it would explode or something. I was coming into Seattle on the High Line, and it kept going at a nice steady speed that was juuust too fast for me to be comfortable. I climbed way down low on the ladder a bunch of times and then kept chickening out. Some guy taking photos of the train behind a yuppie neighborhood got a cooler photo than he expected. Finally I saw a tunnel entrance coming up and realized I had to get off now or I was fucked. And... it went fine. But still I think I'll throw my pack next time.
Whoa, u got off on the fly with your pack on?? Sounds like an awful idea bc of the risk of it getting caught/u getting dragged
 

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