Critics say their content is dangerous and irresponsible, but these influencers can’t get enough of the train-hopping life.
Dancer vividly remembers the first time he hopped a freight train.
It was a warm October day in 2020, and he’d stationed himself north of Longmont, Colorado, near the railway yard, where the train often rolls through town. He’d been standing next to a tree for hours, debating whether he was really going to go through with this dangerous act — and trying to ease the butterflies in his stomach.
He’d learned about train-hopping in 2017, after discovering the videos of James “Jim” Stobie, a prolific vlogger known online as Stobe the Hobo. Stobie died later that same year, after getting into an accident while hopping trains in Maryland. He was 33. Nevertheless, Dancer was inspired by the key message of Stobie’s videos: that viewers should see the often-unexplored areas of the U.S.