My Second Catch Out (NJ/NY) (1 Viewer)


Apr 19, 2019
My pack

Technically, I've done smaller, more local short line runs before this, but in essence I've only had two "major" rides - Newark - Allentown, and now this one, North NJ to wherever. I could have gone as far west as Chicago, as far south as Florida, or nowhere at all if I was really unlucky.

Sunset at the catchout

I arrived at the catchout around 3:30pm, but it didn't seem like anything was happening. One train did end up going south, but I decided not to hop on in the rain onto an empty that would've been in full view of the next yard.

The c/o

The stove I had for my propane tank didn't fit, so I couldn't heat my food. (The next day, I would end up ditching my propane to drop the extra weight). Luckily, I had a lighter and a good couple of matches with me and I heated up some rice. But as the flames built, my pots started getting black! Luckily I had some soapy steel wool to clean off everything.

A few IMs rolled past but my pack was too heavy and I wasn't going to risk my life for it. The shitty thing is, two locomotives were parked at either end of my hiding spot that night, so there was no subtle way to get on. I had to try to sleep, and I could hear trains running in and out next to me all night, but after carrying a heavy pack for about two miles, I was tired. As I looked down the tracks, I saw a coyote running down the line in the light of the full moon, and a skunk quickly ran the other way on the other end of the track.



Riding North

I got a few hours of sleep and stuck around the catchout to see what was happening. My friend the coyote was still on the tracks, and no other riders had come around, despite this being a fairly built up jungle. Taking that into account, I ditched my pack into the overgrowth and went out for Chinese food and a gallon of water. By the time I got back, I started another fire to make some tea and try to get rid of my water load.


As my tea was getting done, a train pulled in and parked for a while, and like an answered prayer, a grain hopper was three cars away from me. I decided to wait for it to move to ensure that it was going North like I wanted, and after a long enough while for me to pack up all my stuff, it started to move. I put my plastic bag around my arm and climbed up and into the hole. Now we were rolling. I knew another yard was coming up so I stayed hidden. Right before we entered the yard, the train stalled for maybe around an hour and a half. I wasn't sure what was happening but I guessed we were stuck before crossing a river and waiting for clearance. Finally, the train got moving and I stayed low while we passed through the yard. After a little while, we were rolling through people's backyards, and I knew in about half an hour, I could pop out and see what was happening as we passed the Hudson.

Finally, we were there and it was glorious. I've ridden by the river several times with MNR and Amtrak, but this ride along the west side of the river was a unique perspective. I saw bridges spanning the mighty Hudson, factories with deer running through, people fishing by the water who might have caught a flash of my glasses before I disappeared, and the cliffsides of New York State.





I put my legs out to stretch them, as they had been so cramped before while I was hiding. When I poked my head out, I realized it was raining a bit. I checked my location constantly to make sure I could hop off before we reached Selkirk yard, a notoriously large and complicated spot.

I threw my pack off and it rolled a bit, meaning the train was going too fast, but as I saw the lights of the yard shine closer, my adrenaline kicked in and I jumped down. The train was going too fast because I was knocked backwards onto my hands. Luckily, I was wearing cutproof gloves that absorbed most of the impact, and surprisingly, I wasn't hurt. Now I understood what I had read about how it was better to sneak out of a yard than to jump off a moving train. An onion rolled out of my bag, and I decided it was a lost cause. My ear plugs had also been knocked out of my ears, and the bungee cord tying my sleeping pad together was somewhere by the rocks, and I had to search for it. I had to get out of the yard area before a worker vehicle or other train saw me. It was raining and dark, and I was in industrial nowhere. I got a cab out to Stewart's, open 24 hours, on the north side of the yard, and decided to refuel there. Unfortunately, it was in the high 40s and this store had its AC blasting. The combination of sleep deprivation and shivering made me feel like I was tweaking. My socks were wet from the rain, and even though I had plenty of extra socks, it was miserable. I made myself some tea and walked out to the woods, where I set up my tent and put my headphones in to get some proper sleep.

Sneak through Selkirk
I woke up, stretched (I had been stretching in the mornings because every new day, I was sore from something), and tried to walk the tracks but had to ditch that idea when I saw a worker vehicle up ahead. I jumped into a wet ditch to try escaping, but they weren't chasing me, so it was for nothing. I decided I would walk to the west bound catchout. It was an hour walk with a heavy pack through industrial buildings, but luckily nobody stopped me. Toward the end of the road, there was an abandoned building by the woods, and I figured this would be the place to wait. Now, in most places, there is graffiti, garbage, and other clear indicators that someone has come around. Here, there was just faded trash that I assumed belonged to train hoppers of past decades (I picked up a yogurt cup and the date read 2012), so it didn't seem like there was a clear spot to hide out in this yard. I hiked through the woods for about an hour, bush whacking through the forest until I reached the edge of a small local airport. This was a very suspicious place to be - train tracks full of auto racks on one side, airport on the other. I stuck to the middle path of the woods, once again getting my feet wet while trying to cross a brook. I picked up a few stones and started a little fire to try heating up my soup and potatoes. Unfortunately, the matches I had were cheap restaurant style ones that didn't light well, and I was out of butane in my lighter. Luckily, I found some decent matches in my bag and warmed up my potatoes and soup. My oil was lost somewhere in the road so I decided I'd cook my potatoes in chicken stock from my soup. The soup warmed up nicely, but because I didn't put a lid on my potatoes, they were all ashy and thus inedible. Cardboard burns easily but the byproduct is messy. Then, as it started getting dark, I put on another layer of pants and gloves and turned into a bushwhacking machine, clearing a path to the edge of the yard. I should have walked along the road though, because a bunch of bemused workers drove by and definitely noticed me anyway. I dropped my pack in the woods and started sneaking around the super bright yard, dodging the frequent worker vehicles that drove past. This spot was no good because the outermost tracks were covered with two strings of autoracks - impossible to climb over - and farther south was the yard tower while farther north was the worker headquarters. I couldn't do anything and was already getting tired and low on food, so I decided it was time for bed. I set up my tent and slept for 9 hours.


I woke up by Selkirk yard and decided there was no way I was whacking through the forest again, so I took the main road and didn't care about any worker vehicles that passed me. I called a cab to take me farther south to another store where I knew I could sit and charge my phone. After refueling, I was ready to take the tracks down to the Southbound exit to get home. Unfortunately, there was a worker parked right by the tracks I wanted to reach (the same tracks I had passed two days ago), so I'd have to walk 3 miles down the road to reach my destination.

For my last mile, a woman pulled up to me in her car and offered me a ride. I was honest with her about catching a train out, and she dropped me off by the tracks. I took this time to sit and write and wait for my train back home

(That train blew past me and I ended up taking the hound. Not as much hopping as I expected for a few days out, but still a nice little adventure)
Click here to buy the Anarchist's Guide to Travel!

Deleted member 24782

I closed my account
Sick! I’ve caught SBD out of N. Bergen CSX. Had a run in with actual container thieves. Also ridden into NJ Norfolk Southern via Syracuse, along the Hudson really interesting ride, caught in a blizzard woke up covered in now in a 48.


The Slack Action Hero
Sep 13, 2006
Florida - FEC milepost 105.1
Awesome pictures and story. The "sunset at the Catchout" picture is especially bad ass. That ride up the Hudson is definitely one of the prettiest river runs on the east coast.

My first time rolling into Selkirk had us pulled way up into receiving. Walked a few miles towards Steward's and the Bull (no vehicle, tall guy with glasses) steps out from seemingly nowhere .. with a huge smile .. Throws his hands in the air, sporting a huge smile goes " WELCOME TO SELKIRK!! The jewel of the Hudson!! " We couldnt help busting out laughing. He was pretty cool. We shot the shit with him..he regalled us with tales of NJ container theives and then he gave us a few bucks and gave us directions to the store.


Apr 19, 2019
Awesome pictures and story. The "sunset at the Catchout" picture is especially bad ass. That ride up the Hudson is definitely one of the prettiest river runs on the east coast.

Thanks man! I brought an actual DSLR to photo the trip (thus the nice pictures) but I might honestly never do that again because of the extra weight! Phone/GoPro is the way to go
Last edited:

Users who are viewing this thread

About us

  • Squat the Planet is the world's largest social network for misfit travelers. Join our community of do-it-yourself nomads and learn how to explore the world by any means necessary.

    More Info

Support StP!

Donations go towards paying our monthly server fees, adding new features to the website, and occasionally putting a burrito in Matt's mouth.

Total amount

Monthly Goals

  1. Paying the Bills
    $50.00 of $50.00 - reached!
    The first $50 in donations go towards paying our monthly server fees and adding new features to the website. Once this goal is reached, we'll see about feeding Matt that burrito.
  2. Buy Matt a Beer
    $75.00 of $75.00 - reached!
    Now that we have the bills paid for this month, let's give Matt a hearty thank you by buying him a drink for all the hard work he's done for StP. Hopefully this will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $100.00 of $100.00 - reached!
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt has a beer in his hand, how about showing him your love by rewarding all his hard work with a big fat burrito to put in his mouth. This will keep him alive while programming new features for the website.
  4. Finance the Shopping Cart
    $105.00 of $200.00
    Now that the bills are paid and Matt is fed, perhaps it's time to start planning for those twilight years under the bridge... if only he had that golden shopping cart all the oogles are bragging about these days.