In the case of hoboes, the Great Depression served as the great catalyst. The interstate highway system was not yet developed, so the railways served that function of transporting the isolated and dislocated from one place to another. The primary vessel, and most comfortable, was the box car.
Jumping trains can be be dangerous, and the railroad companies have now attached stiff penalties to trespassers on these steel rail highways. Ribbons of concrete and asphalt replaced rairoads as the preferred method of travel, and drifters chose outstretched thumbs as the means to a lift from one place to another. People on society's fringes now seek out other pockets where they can keep warm, fed and sheltered. Here at Hobo Junction, we still have a hearth and a heart, hoping you will be warmed by it.
The image here is of a railroad yard in Connor's Point, Wisconsin. The box cars remind us of that former time where the downtrodden still had dreams, and a social net of their own to help them through.