"Railroad Slums" - Josiah Flynt - The Independent

"Railroad Slums" - Josiah Flynt - The Independent

by: Josiah Flynt | publication date: June 15, 1899 | Publication: The Independent | pages: 1604-1607

There are slums in the United States, however, which are distinctly American in origin and arrangement, and which no other country in the world is troubled with. I refer to the tramp "hang-outs" and camps situated on almost all of the trunk railroad lines in this country, and to the vagrant and criminal rabble which infest them. All countries are plagued with wandering bands of beggars and thieves, but ours is the only one whose railroads are overrun by professional out-of-work gangs of "hold-up-men," and a constantly increasing army of hobos. In Europe, it would be utterly impossible for such a state of affairs to exist, and European railroad men as well as European vagrants find nothing in our railroad life more surprising than the fact that it exists in the United States.

Flynt writes about the "railroad life" led by tramps and robbers. He points out that this is a uniquely American phenomenon, and nowhere in Europe has he witnessed such a close relationship between vagrancy and railroads.

Public domain.