Photos Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision (1 Viewer)

Party Time

Newbie
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
13
Current Location
California
I never forgot my childhood in Louisiana, growing up hopping freight trains a handful of times, and have always wanted to do it again. I recently reached out to @Gulysses3 , expressing an interest in tagging along on a trip. At times, the nature of my work involves reaching out to strangers, oftentimes not receiving a reply, so I was mildly surprised when @Gulysses3 agreed to let me come along. This is no easy decision, considering all that's involved with this type of travel, and for that I'm truly grateful to have been able to participate. I met him in La Crosse Wisconsin, and we walked over to a Kwik Trip to pick up some last minute supplies, before heading to the catch out spot.

1-jpg.52526_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

We arrived at the catch out spot around sunset... Beautiful evening.


2-jpg.52527_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Within a couple of minutes, a Z train arrived (Z-CHCSSE). "Z" : BNSF train symbol for high priority Intermodal freight train. "CHCSSE" : CHiCago to South SEattle.


img_4507-jpg.52528_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Heading to our train... We walked down to the tracks and found a pig with wings. When I climbed up under the trailer rig on our freight car, I thought to myself "This might be the stupidest thing I've ever done" but all it took was riding along the Mississippi River a short time later, watching the moon reflect off of the water, and I quickly forgot any possibility of danger. I was hooked, and knew I'd be pursuing this from here on out.


3-jpg.52529_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Under the cover of darkness, we rolled in to the Minneapolis Northtown Yard with workers all around us, and sat for a bit. I looked out from our pig and could see a worker not more than 20' away, building a train on the track next to us.


4-jpg.52530_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

The next morning we sided out somewhere in North Dakota and moved further back down the train. It was a pretty brisk morning, but not too bad...


7-jpg.52531_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Somewhere in North Dakota... The car we moved to had a shallow well, and the next bunch of hours were spent ducking crossings and various locomotives. It was uncomfortable at times, but I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. The cheese grater showed no mercy on me...


5-jpg.52532_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Crossing the epic Gassman Coulee Trestle in Minot North Dakota.


8-jpg.52533_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Traveling through the flatlands of North Dakota... I learned some lessons about photographing a moving landscape while on a moving object.


9-jpg.52534_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Getting close to the Montana border, the day warmed up nicely.


img_2955-jpeg.52535_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Jumped off in Glasgow Montana to 90 degree heat. Climbed some hills and took a break...


23-jpg.52538_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Town sign at the train depot


17-jpg.52536_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Glasgow was founded in 1887 as a railroad town by James Hill, who was responsible for creating many communities along the Hi-Line. He and a local railroader named the town when they spun a globe and their finger landed on Glasgow, Scotland.


19-jpg.52539_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

CHS Farmers grain elevator, Glasgow Montana. I love old American railroad towns... Brings me back to my childhood growing up in a tiny oil refinery / railroad town in Louisiana.


18-jpg.52542_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Always remember...


22-jpg.52543_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Looking northwest from Glasgow train station


21-jpg.52549_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Crew change at Glasgow Station


11-jpg.52544_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

The next day, it was time to head Westbound through Havre on to Whitefish... We headed back to the spot we jumped off the day before, and waited for a train.


26-jpg.52545_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Hobo relics at the catchout...


25-jpg.52546_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Looking for a good ride with @Gulysses3


15-jpg.52547_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

We found the most comfortable ride of the trip, a quiet pig with wings that seemed to have brand new wheels (no flat spots) and bearings, a sharp contrast from the first pig with wings ( a big flat spot on a wheel) and our 2nd car with the shallow well that left us pretty exposed.


16-jpg.52548_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Headed west to the 1000 mile inspection at Havre... I really enjoyed the simple landscapes.


27-jpg.52550_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

We were blessed with beautiful weather across Montana. None of the trains we rode stopped for more than 5 minutes, at any given time. When they did stop, they used dynamic brakes, rather than air brakes, so the train didn't "air up" before taking off.


28-jpg.52551_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Westbound toward Malta, and a couple other Montana towns...


32-jpg.52552_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

70mph through the landscape... Hay bales in the distance with a beautiful, stormy purple sky...


34-jpg.52553_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Slowing down my shutter speed to get more of an impressionist type of picture of vintage burnt out cars in the central Montana landscape.... We would eventually roll through the Havre yard in the middle of the night. The bull had his truck lights set to bright and pointed directly at the train, but we had moved all of our stuff and ourselves behind the tires of our pig with wings... Made it through Havre!


30-jpg.52554_Wisconsin to Montana Freight Hop, Hi-Line Subdivision_Travel Stories_Squat the Planet_12:11 PM

Last pic of the day, as the light was getting too low to keep shooting. Somewhere around 2 or 3 a.m., a strong scent of pine filled the air, and I started to see evergreen covered mountains - We were heading into Glacier. I jumped off the train at 5 a.m. in Whitefish Montana, as I had to get back home for a job. @Gulysses3 and I said our goodbyes, as he stayed on the train and headed toward Seattle. I walked a mile or so down 2nd Street to Whitefish Depot, got a coffee then proceeded to head home. I learned a ton from @Gulysses3 , and 1400 miles of experience cannot be bought or learned on a computer. Thanks to StP for making the connection possible. Already planning my next trip...
 
Last edited:
Click here to buy the Anarchist's Guide to Travel!
Joined
Jul 20, 2018
Messages
430
Current Location
Milwaukee Wisconsin
Website
www.youtube.com
Thank you for sharing!!!! Gulysses3 & Party Time you were in La Crosse when I was there!

We'll have to meet up someday and catch out from MKE sometime! Maybe hit LSE and ride south along the Mississippi River!

And btw, very nice pictures!!! As I always say, why pay Amtrash? Hop a freight for free!!! lol
 
OP
Party Time

Party Time

Newbie
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
13
Current Location
California
Thank you for sharing!!!! Gulysses3 & Party Time you were in La Crosse when I was there!

We'll have to meet up someday and catch out from MKE sometime! Maybe hit LSE and ride south along the Mississippi River!

And btw, very nice pictures!!! As I always say, why pay Amtrash? Hop a freight for free!!! lol
Thanks, musta just missed ya 🙏 🙏
 
Last edited:
Joined
Jul 15, 2019
Messages
17
Current Location
Canada
I never forgot my childhood in Louisiana, growing up hopping freight trains a handful of times, and have always wanted to do it again. I recently reached out to @Gulysses3 , expressing an interest in tagging along on a trip. At times, the nature of my work involves reaching out to strangers, oftentimes not receiving a reply, so I was mildly surprised when @Gulysses3 agreed to let me come along. This is no easy decision, considering all that's involved with this type of travel, and for that I'm truly grateful to have been able to participate. I met him in La Crosse Wisconsin, and we walked over to a Kwik Trip to pick up some last minute supplies, before heading to the catch out spot.

View attachment 52526
We arrived at the catch out spot around sunset... Beautiful evening.


View attachment 52527
Within a couple of minutes, a Z train arrived (Z-CHCSSE). "Z" : BNSF train symbol for high priority Intermodal freight train. "CHCSSE" : CHiCago to South SEattle.


View attachment 52528
Heading to our train... We walked down to the tracks and found a pig with wings. When I climbed up under the trailer rig on our freight car, I thought to myself "This might be the stupidest thing I've ever done" but all it took was riding along the Mississippi River a short time later, watching the moon reflect off of the water, and I quickly forgot any possibility of danger. I was hooked, and knew I'd be pursuing this from here on out.


View attachment 52529
Under the cover of darkness, we rolled in to the Minneapolis Northtown Yard with workers all around us, and sat for a bit. I looked out from our pig and could see a worker not more than 20' away, building a train on the track next to us.


View attachment 52530
The next morning we sided out somewhere in North Dakota and moved further back down the train. It was a pretty brisk morning, but not too bad...


View attachment 52531
Somewhere in North Dakota... The car we moved to had a shallow well, and the next bunch of hours were spent ducking crossings and various locomotives. It was uncomfortable at times, but I wouldn't trade the experience for the world. The cheese grater showed no mercy on me...


View attachment 52532
Crossing the epic Gassman Coulee Trestle in Minot North Dakota.


View attachment 52533
Traveling through the flatlands of North Dakota... I learned some lessons about photographing a moving landscape while on a moving object.


View attachment 52534
Getting close to the Montana border, the day warmed up nicely.


View attachment 52535
Jumped off in Glasgow Montana to 90 degree heat. Climbed some hills and took a break...


View attachment 52538
Town sign at the train depot


View attachment 52536
Glasgow was founded in 1887 as a railroad town by James Hill, who was responsible for creating many communities along the Hi-Line. He and a local railroader named the town when they spun a globe and their finger landed on Glasgow, Scotland.


View attachment 52539
CHS Farmers grain elevator, Glasgow Montana. I love old American railroad towns... Brings me back to my childhood growing up in a tiny oil refinery / railroad town in Louisiana.


View attachment 52542
Always remember...


View attachment 52543
Looking northwest from Glasgow train station


View attachment 52549
Crew change at Glasgow Station


View attachment 52544
The next day, it was time to head Westbound through Havre on to Whitefish... We headed back to the spot we jumped off the day before, and waited for a train.


View attachment 52545
Hobo relics at the catchout...


View attachment 52546
Looking for a good ride with @Gulysses3


View attachment 52547
We found the most comfortable ride of the trip, a quiet pig with wings that seemed to have brand new wheels (no flat spots) and bearings, a sharp contrast from the first pig with wings ( a big flat spot on a wheel) and our 2nd car with the shallow well that left us pretty exposed.


View attachment 52548
Headed west to the 1000 mile inspection at Havre... I really enjoyed the simple landscapes.


View attachment 52550
We were blessed with beautiful weather across Montana. None of the trains we rode stopped for more than 5 minutes, at any given time. When they did stop, they used dynamic brakes, rather than air brakes, so the train didn't "air up" before taking off.


View attachment 52551
Westbound toward Malta, and a couple other Montana towns...


View attachment 52552
70mph through the landscape... Hay bales in the distance with a beautiful, stormy purple sky...


View attachment 52553
Slowing down my shutter speed to get more of an impressionist type of picture of vintage burnt out cars in the central Montana landscape.... We would eventually roll through the Havre yard in the middle of the night. The bull had his truck lights set to bright and pointed directly at the train, but we had moved all of our stuff and ourselves behind the tires of our pig with wings... Made it through Havre!


View attachment 52554
Last pic of the day, as the light was getting too low to keep shooting. Somewhere around 2 or 3 a.m., a strong scent of pine filled the air, and I started to see evergreen covered mountains - We were heading into Glacier. I jumped off the train at 5 a.m. in Whitefish Montana, as I had to get back home for a job. @Gulysses3 and I said our goodbyes, as he stayed on the train and headed toward Seattle. I walked a mile or so down 2nd Street to Whitefish Depot, got a coffee then proceeded to head home. I learned a ton from @Gulysses3 , and 1400 miles of experience cannot be bought or learned on a computer. Thanks to StP for making the connection possible. Already planning my next trip...
awesome duder
 

Gulysses3

Burrito fund contributor
StP Supporter
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
64
Current Location
Wisconsin
Website
www.jumpingoffthecliff.com
The scenery ranks right up at the top of the list if you ask me. Whether it's the beauty of the mountains and rivers of the hi-line or just watching the backyards and farm fields slide by on the plains.
 

Short

Newbie
Joined
Sep 1, 2018
Messages
49
Current Location
Philadelphia
I’m riding out of Minnie early Sept to stl. Did the bull walk the train during the inspection? This is the only part of the ride I’m worried about. I’d really prefer to not have to get off.
 
Last edited:
OP
Party Time

Party Time

Newbie
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
13
Current Location
California
I’m riding out of Minnie early Sept to stl. Did the bull walk the train during the inspection? This is the only part of the ride I’m worried about. I’d really prefer to not have to get off.
I made a joke about how I kinda wish they'd actually inspect the train, because no one did for the entirety of the trip. The only bull we saw was the one in Havre, as we rolled by behind the tires of our pig with wings.
 

Gulysses3

Burrito fund contributor
StP Supporter
Joined
Jun 17, 2019
Messages
64
Current Location
Wisconsin
Website
www.jumpingoffthecliff.com
If you’re riding out of Pig’s Eye on CP, they inspect the trains as they get ready for departure, but it’s just regular workers doing it as far as I know. There was no inspection on BNSF heading West at Midway or Northtown but it was about 2:00AM. Have fun.
 

starpurple

Lurker
Joined
Jan 26, 2019
Messages
12
Current Location
Utah
really enjoyed reading all of this and the pictures are great. u should make a zine out of this
 
OP
Party Time

Party Time

Newbie
Joined
Aug 14, 2019
Messages
13
Current Location
California
Thanks, maybe if I can get a few more in before it gets cold, I can put something together
 

Shane1031

Lurker
Joined
Apr 7, 2018
Messages
6
Current Location
Prague
Some great pictures. Someday you will be the train expert and I may be asking you for advice. Keep up the photography, you have a good eye.
 

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 1)

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
$70.00
Goal
$100.00

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
    $70.00 of $75.00
    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 his will help keep him from going insane after a long day of squishing website bugs.
  3. Feed Matt a Burrito
    $70.00 of $100.00
    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
    $70.00 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.

Latest Status Updates

Turns out, @Rhubarb Dwyer is even more handsome in person.
Watch out Australia! Tay is flying in on the 24th!
It only took three cities over three different time zones, but I finally got to meet up with @IVth. And, lemme tell ya, it was worth every mile. What a mensch!
dumpsternavel wrote on Erinn Oface's profile.
I wanna see more of your arrrrttttttt
I made it to dayton with time to spare, i went belen/kc(for supplies)/chicago(i got robbed)/indy/dayton. Besides getting robbed in chicago the trip has been great, quick trains good kickdowns and a nice 2 ride hitchhike to dayton.
io2286 wrote on coolusername123's profile.
.
Hobosexual- someone who has a relationship to get a place to stay
Happy friday the 13th!
Hmu or send something my way
Cheers!
It takes forever to do profiles via smartphone.. I'll fill this out on a laptop later.. me and my wife, Straps, recently moved from NC to central Ohio and are looking for like minded folks. Oldschool punk and metal etc is our tastes but not limited to. She does Vocals as well as I.. I also play bass. And am currently working on a demo. Think serial killer true crime punk.. not 'horror punk'.. true horror, yes.
*will update tonight
wheels are made for rollin/mules are made to pack/I never seen a sight that didnt look better lookin back

Members online