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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sage Advice from a savvy, veteran Trainhopper
When I first hopped freight trains, in 1970, there were no books to explain it or to allow one to learn the safe way to do it. Littlejohn is an entertaining writer, but most of all, his information is accurate, and his advice is sound. He approaches the subject from the viewpoint of a "sportsman," and he does gloss over some of the negatives, but the book is...
Published on October 8, 2001

versus
3.0 out of 5 stars not quite what ya expect
its a sort of how to book with not much in it being of use. i have hopped freights before and was looking for more information about locations, times, crew changes, and more, but nothing really. i mean most of the stuff in the book you can find out online like north bank fred's.
Published on August 16, 2008 by D. Anderson


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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sage Advice from a savvy, veteran Trainhopper, October 8, 2001
By A Customer
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
When I first hopped freight trains, in 1970, there were no books to explain it or to allow one to learn the safe way to do it. Littlejohn is an entertaining writer, but most of all, his information is accurate, and his advice is sound. He approaches the subject from the viewpoint of a "sportsman," and he does gloss over some of the negatives, but the book is informative and intelligently written. I know of only one other book about trainhopping, and of the two, I find Littlejohn's book to be the more timely and superior of the two. In a way, the people that most need to read Littlejohn's book are those least likely to do so, but I would have benefitted enormously if it had been available when I was a neophyte tramp. Youngsters reading this book may get the idea that trainhopping is just one big lark. This isn't true, but at least if they follow Littlejohn's rules they will avoid getting hurt long enough to figure it out. I have ridden trains for years, and I learned a lot I didn't know. If you intend to trainhop, READ IT WITH AN EYE TO SURVIVAL. Just the list of rules in the front is worth the price of the book, if you follow them.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very practical and entertaining guide to freight hopping, June 10, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
This is a fabulous book for anybody wanting practical knowledge and a how-to guide to freight- train hopping. I bought the book for that reason, to hone my own skills. But I also got a fascinating history of the railway in North America and a lot of entertaining ancedotes. This is a great book for anyone interested in hopping trains and for students of American history.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A Perfect Book for the Adventurer/Railroad Buff, September 23, 1998
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This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
For many years I have looked at freight trains and wished I could just jump on board and travel to where ever they were going. This book is a "how to" manual on just that. This is an amusing and historical book on how to get where you want to go by somewhat "illegal" means. A perfect manual for the weekend hobo. It includes everything you need to know to have a safe adventure aboard america's rail system. It even includes a bit of operational backround that is informative and just plain interesting. Duffy's written a great book and it should have its place on any rail road buffs or arm chair adventurers bookshelf. I give it four out of five stars. Nice job Duffy and Thank you!!!!!!
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good guide to riding - and a good history, December 6, 1999
By A Customer
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
This book tells everything you need to know about hopping freights. And I liked the author's background history and personal tales.
You need to know what you're doing if you want to hop freights. This book tells all.
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10 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Invaluable for the Freight Hopper, August 29, 2004
By 
Henry Clayton (New Orleans, La. USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
Littlejohn's book is an ideal gateway into the world of freight hopping. It is well written. The author's personality & outlook as they come through in the book are encouraging. It is full of advice, both with respect to general things such as the broad makeup & functioning of the railroad system & particular things such as what time of the week you are more likely to find a train & what air brakes sound like (you'll find out why knowing this sound is important). It incorporates personal anecdote without relying too heavily upon it.

I have a few reservations, however. While I wouldn't call it outdated, it does show a few signs of age. It mentions the possibility of riding on automobile carriers, for instance. It would be inadvisable to do this even were it feasible, but with the new designs of car carrier, it is next to impossible to ride one. There are other instances of Littlejohn's writing bearing the stamp of age, but fortunately, not very many of them concern vital things. In other words, most of what is dated is either relatively unimportant to the actual practice of freight hopping or still viable with the application of some common sense (which you'll need a lot of to ride the rails successfully anyway).

In addition, the book skimps on some aspects of modern freight hopping, such as radio frequency scanning, but this is no big deal. In my opinion, Littlejohn is wise to concentrate on the more fundamental aspects of hopping freights.

This book will start preparing you for hopping freights. If you take the advice in this book, start small, supplement it with information from the Web (for instance, the freight hoppers e-mail list at train-hoppers@nw.com ), & practice, you should be well on your way. Moreover, once you have caught out a few times, you can return to the book often to hone your skills.

A valuable book, highly recommended.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Top-notch advice, very thorough! A must-read for future hoppers!, June 12, 2013
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
I am a veteran hobo that has hopped hundreds of trains through-out the United States. I bought this book for some very specific advice regarding light signals, and I ended up reading the entire book instead! This book is, by far, the most comprehensive study guide for hopping the rails that exists. There are tips in here that most hobo's don't discover until they've been hopping for several years (myself included!).

If I would have had a book like this before I started hopping, I would have saved myself TONS of trouble. Getting arrested, breaking bones, getting lost, just to name a few, and I sure hope it can save some of you folks from going down the same school of hard knocks that I had to go through.

I can assure you that every bit of information in this book is still the exact same advice that is currently used for hopping trains today. Aside from corporate buyouts, very little about life on the rails has changed since this book was published. The security bulls are still the same enemies and use the same lazy tactics, and the railroad workers are still the same friendly allies that give us directions or bottled water if we ask respectfully. The train cars are still the same, and the rules about how to ride those cars safely are still the same. This book covers every single one of those things. I was even skeptical at first, and specifically tried to find any bad or wrong advice in this book. The results? NOTHING. This book is totally legit. If you've never hopped a train, and you want to learn how to ride the rails from a guy that knows what he is talking about, this is certainly the book for you.

It's a well-organized book as well. Although it goes into a vast amount of detail and history about a wide array of topics, it's easy to scan through quickly and pick-up on a topic that is particularly interesting to you. In my case, I started by studying one particular section about reading light signals in the yards. Even for a veteran hobo, the light signals can be extremely confusing to translate, but this book lay's it out in a perfectly explainable format! In your case, you may want to automatically go to "which cars are safe to hop?" or "how can I tell where my train is going?"....its a nice layout whether you want to read the entire book, or sections that pertain to you in particular. I highly, highly suggest if you have never hopped a train, read the ENTIRE BOOK. Trust me, even if a particular part is boring to you, whether you know it or not, that tiny bit of information you possibly skipped could be the one bit of information that keeps you from getting killed or arrested. Take it from as fellow hobo, folks, don't skip a single chapter in this book, because this guy isn't wasting time tell you things you don't need to know. You need to study this book like it's a bible before you even think about hopping.

For the buyers convenience, I will point out three things that are out of date:

1) We hobo's, particularly the younger ones, have started adopting the internet as a great resource for planning our hops. Even veterans like myself have stubbornly figured out that Google maps is a GREAT tool for determining track layout, direction, etc. There are also online discussion boards where hobo's give advice to other hobo's that are trying to figure out how to catch out of a particular town. Also, there are some, not many, but some hobo's that are even using GPS devices. It's amazing what one of these new smartphones can do for us hobo's! This modern invention isn't covered in the book, for obvious reasons, but I feel it's becoming an important topic that new hobo's should use to their advantage.

2) Although most yards still have the same loose security they had when this book was written, I feel it's important to stress that it has gotten a little bit trickier since 9/11. Some of the bigger yards, such as the one in Mobile Alabama, is now patrolled by Homeland Security, and they take their job much more serious than your typical security guards in other yards. They have no problem arresting you, and even threatening you with attempted terrorism. Now, I've honestly never heard of any hobo getting charged with that, and it's mostly just a threat to make sure you don't come back, but you do NOT want to be caught by these guys. If you are, do NOT run. They WILL call the police on you, and there WILL be a massive manhunt for you, and 90% of the time, they will find you. And when they do, it's going to be alot worse than if you had decided not to run, and just talk it out with the guards, and get your little slap on the wrist. Remember, before you ever go into a yard, stop and talk to some locals and find out if it's under the control of port authority or federal security.

3) The appendix of junctions/stops is a bit out of date, but then again, the author warns future readers about this, and this is just a fact of life when it comes to hopping rails. These locations change almost on a yearly basis, and sadly, this is even more true today. With so many factories being moved overseas, trains just don't have as many reasons to stop at many of the small towns anymore. But, in the books defense, 75% of that appendix is still quite accurate.

On top of that, the Appendix in this book is one of the most organized compilations of stopping-points I've ever seen. We hobo's have found a few resources similar to this appendix, but nothing this well organized. If you're a serious hobo, the appendix of this book is worth just as much money as the entire book itself. If you get this book, I suggest you scan and print the entire appendix. I personally laminated mine, and put them into a small binder that holds my Ladd's Railroad Atlas. I will not hop a train without them! If you have the appendix of this book, along with a good railroad atlas, then you are already 10 steps ahead of most hobo's out there, I assure you.

I personally do not know the author of this book, and I am also usually lazy when it comes to leaving reviews or feedback. But this book is one of the most informative books I've ever purchased, and I can't stress how valuable it is for anyone that wants to ride the rails.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent, Practical, Interesting, February 12, 2009
By 
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
As far as I know (or can find) this book is the ONLY book that explains train hopping from the perspective of the participant in an almost manual, or instruction-like fashion. If you want to get a practical explanation of the sport of train hopping, then this is the right book to purchase.

Personally, I would feel comfortable attempting such an adventure now - I understand the dangers, history, and method. In the book's 353 pages, he covers safe practices, the mechanics of the the rail yard (Both literal mechanics and the interactions and jobs of workers) as well as lists of rail yards in America and whether it is best to attempt there at day or night (about 10 pages). He also includes a list of railroad terminology used by railroad employees and hobos (around 40 pages).

At times some of the wording is a bit awkward, but that's my only (slight) problem with this book.
Oh yeah, and the book makes good use of some black and white pictures to clarify abstract instructions.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars helpful book, living proof, March 8, 2004
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
the book was very informative. gives a good idea of what train hopping and the respect it deserves is all about. would recomend this book to any person who is interested in the safety of cargo travel. I even used the knowledge I gained from this book to travel by freight in mexico.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing book, extremely informative, very good read!!!, April 19, 2010
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
This book is very informative and resourceful. Though info is somewhat outdated, it still helps. The book gives a good history on trains and the industry and though it gets boring to read it all, you can just skip ahead.
The author knows what he's talking about and some secrets are revealed but the sport is not lost and obsolete.
Read this book but pay no more than $25 total. The people selling it for more than that are robbing you. I bought it here from the author and it was very reasonable.
Just wait till it's cheap, buy it, and enjoy!!
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5.0 out of 5 stars The definitive A-Z guide to trainhopping, April 20, 2009
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Hopping Freight Trains in America (Paperback)
Have owned this book for many years and just bought the updated version. Littlejohn covers every topic imaginable. Written in an accessible and humorous style, this is a must have for anyone wishing to catch out. A good portion of the book is dedicated to safety and rightfully so. If you have read this book before catching out, you should feel pretty confident about what you are doing. Even if you never plan on being a hobo, fauxbo, or tramp anyone interested in railroads and railroad history will certainly enjoy this book.
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Hopping Freight Trains in America
Hopping Freight Trains in America by Duffy Littlejohn (Paperback - July 1993)
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