Riding the Rails: A glimpse into Shawn’s boxcar world

On 24/09/2018 by admin

WATCH ABOVE: 16×9’s “Riding the Rails”

For most people, a train is a means of transportation – taking them from point A to B. To Shawn, trains are more than just a ride – it’s a lifestyle – a way of being – seeing the world from a boxcar window seat.

Shawn is a train hopper. He spends much of his free time jumping on and off freight trains in the most remote places on earth.

“I think there’s like a wanderlust that comes with the railroad,” he explains.

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“There’s kind of a mystery with the train tracks – where they go – always wanting to go further and explore.”

Shawn’s fascination with locomotives came at a young age. When he was around five years old, Shawn’s father would take him camping at the local train yard in Ottawa, Ontario.

“He had told me one day that we were actually going to go train hopping.” But they never ended up going.

Shawn would have to wait a decade to take his first leap. At 19, while in New Brunswick, Shawn seized the chance to steal a ride.

“It was nine in the morning and I just went down to the train yard to see if I could catch a train,” he recalls. “I didn’t know anything about it, and took a chance and it just kind of happened.”

WATCH BELOW: A preview of 16×9’s “Riding the Rails”

Since then, Shawn has secretly hopped on dozens – if not hundreds – of freight trains. Don’t ask him how many – he says he doesn’t keep count.

“I ride whenever I can, and I’m happy with that. For me it’s not a game of numbers.”

When Shawn isn’t train hopping, he is working as a grip in the film industry, to save up money to go jumping overseas.

In 2011, Shawn saved up enough cash to visit India. With a population of over a billion people, it was hard for him to sneak on a freight train discretely.

“In India people don’t just hang out and watch trains really. So a foreigner being by the train tracks everybody would constantly come up to us and ask us what we’re doing and wanna talk to us, drove me absolutely insane,” Shawn said.

Shawn watches the sun rise over the desert in India during one of his adventures

16×9

Shawn spends much of his free time jumping on and off freight trains in the most remote places on earth.

16×9

To Shawn, train-hopping is a lifestyle – a way of being – seeing the world from a boxcar window seat.

16×9

Shawn did manage to get aboard and watch the sun rise over the desert during his travels.

“It was breathtaking. The desert was kinda pink and just seeing the desert, seeing nomadic tribes kinda walking there, it was actually one of my best moments training.”

Shawn has had many great train hopping moments over the years, but he says, nothing is as special as surviving the ride.

“It’s a very intimate thing,” Shawn explains. “You’re with this beast and you’re putting up with all the elements and after six or seven hours of going through something like that, even as you watch the train going away you feel like you’re attached to it.”

Don’t miss 16X9 this Saturday at 7pm.

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