Your Jan. 24 article "It's a Jungle Out There" refers to the well-heeled Los Angeles "Hobo Club" members who like to hop trains. Your report omitted the other side of the story.
While these yuppie hobos coming from well-heeled backgrounds may be lucky enough to experience what you describe as a "genuinely American form of folklore" without getting hurt, not everyone can say the same.
In 1988, for example, 444 people were killed while trespassing on railroad property. More than 1,000 others were injured--with many suffering the loss of a foot or a hand or ending up in a wheelchair as a paraplegic.
In the article, reporter Bob Pool described "the danger of jumping aboard a moving train, the joy of watching the scenery slide past an open boxcar door and the thrill of outsmarting railroad police."
I hope he never has to interview a survivor of such fun gone awry.
Director Special Projects-
Systems Public Relations
Union Pacific Railroad