Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Not A Train-Hopper, Just An Idiot

There was a story early this week about a fellow in Wetaskiwin (near Edmonton, Alberta) who caught a ride on a freight train last Friday morning. He was drunk and had intended to only ride a few blocks and then get off, but the train sped up and he couldn't get off safely. He called the police with his cellphone and eventually CN and CP both stopped southbound trains in different towns for the police to search. He was tracked by the sound of the train horn through his cellphone. He ended up travelling 100 km from Wetaskiwin. He was treated for hypothermia, and has been charged by Canadian Pacific Railway for trespassing.

I didn't intend to comment on this, not wanting to encourage this kind of activity, but now there's another story about this. Some guy named Shawn Kazda talked to the CBC about the hobby of "train hopping", aka the modern hobo. Mr. Kazda said that the fellow was obviously not a train hopper, because a real train hopper would do the research and know where the train was going before climbing on. The article says "Kazda said he knows the rail companies are keeping an eye on him. But he doesn't intend to stop."

One of the CBC commenters on the latter story said it best. "Near-frozen man 'not a train-hopper'. Right, he's not, he's an idiot."

Maybe I'm being too strong here, but I think you would have to be an idiot to consider using a freight train for transit. Never mind that December in Canada is pretty darn cold, it is extremely risky and highly illegal behaviour and I wouldn't consider it for a moment. I also think Mr. Kazda is a fool for talking about it with the media. But that's just my opinion.

PS: you can read about Mr. Kazda here, here (talking to the media again), here, and his Facebook profile here.


Unknown said...

Hey man, good articles however: I have been riding freight trains for over 11 years now and I have yet to receive a scratch.
I have also taken part in sky diving, been to places like Haiti and done many "legal" activities that are far more dangerous than train hopping.
It is a simple mind that thinks just because there told not to do something that makes it such high risk...its really not that dangerous. People die every single day doing things that are completely safe.
As for the media I have no problems talking about something I love, but unfortunately for who ever wants to bust my ass they need a lot more than that to do anything to me. Even if they catch me red handed there isn't much they will get.
Train hopping is not as illegal as one may think, nor is it as dangerous; and I'm well aware of my legal situation.
Rail fanning is like porn and train hopping is sex. Sure I like to watch train go by, but riding them is where it's at.

Keep up the good work


P.S. I was riding freights this weekend in the snow and did just fine..the vid's on you tube if you want more to complain about

Steve Boyko said...

Hi, thanks for reading and commenting. I think we are going to have to agree to disagree. I enjoy railfanning but the only way I will ride a freight train is in the cab, with permission. Maybe I don't know what I'm missing, but I'm fine with that.

Best regards and enjoy the holidays.