Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years

American travel photographer, Mike Brodie, hopped trains for 5 years from ages 17-22. While parts of this lifestyle seem really thrilling and interesting, these photos really hammer home why I would never, ever do it. He captured a lot of his journey in these photos below.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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1. Riders will go to a rail yard and find a spot to hide while they wait for the train they want to ride. 

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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2. It is by no means an easy life.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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3. Riders have to know which tracks go where.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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4. Here is a couple getting a little bit of rest in old sleeping bags.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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5. Most riders have to jump on the train while it is moving. This is known as “catching on the fly.”

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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6. They share resources.  

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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7. Riders occasionally will wait at “side outs”. These are places where there are two parallel tracks and the trains pull aside for others to pass.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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8. Bathing isn’t something they are able to do often. 

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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9. Here are some riders looking for places to go.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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10. This girl is making her way through a car filled with liquid.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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11. This is a bold move. Many have lost their lives doing this type of thing.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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12. Being able to wash their clothes is a luxury many do not have.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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13. Riders do get to see beautiful parts of America.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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14. This rider is scoping out trains. 

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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15. Increasing security has also presented a problem for train hoppers, though the establishment of legal protection for vagrants has led to a decline in the beating and maltreatment for which ‘bulls’ (railway security men) and brakemen became infamous.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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16. One rider giving a fellow rider a boost.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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17. This girl is leaving her mark. 

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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18. Trying to stay warm.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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19. Part of the reason riding is considered dangerous is due to the large percent of ex-cons that are riders. Violence is common among the transient riders.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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20. There are websites dedicated to helping people learn how to becomes riders with tips and tricks of the trade.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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21. Climbing to the top.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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22. Running to make the train.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years
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23. Riders exploring the places they go.

Teenage Photographer Travels 50,000 Miles By Hopping Trains For Years

24. There are even some books that have been published about train hopping. They are pretty interesting. 

In America, it was common for migrant workers to use this form of transportation. They later came to be known as hobos. The practice is far less common than it once was. These days there remains a small tight-knit community of homeless freight train riders.

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