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Railroad Semantics: Better Living Through Graffiti & Train Hopping

Aaron DactylAUD $38.00

320 pages
178mm x 140mm
Box set contains four zines

ISBN: 9781621063568

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SKU: 9781621063568 Categories: , , , Tags: ,


Devoted to train-hopping, graffiti, and railroad culture, Aaron Dactyl’s Railroad Semantics zines describe the sights, sounds, successes, and defeats of exploring the western U.S. by freight train.

The first four Railroad Semantics zines were made into books, and are all together in this box set. You’ll find epic, hidden works of art, read up on rail lore and riding tips, meet rail workers and fellow adventurers, and experience the perils and glories of life in rail yards, train cars, small towns, and encampments.

Read an interview with the author here.

Box set contains four zines:
-Railroad Semantics #1: Eugene, Portland, Pocatello, and Back!
-Railroad Semantics #2: Southern Oregon, Northern California
-Railroad Semantics #3: Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, California, Wyoming, Eugene, Portland, Cheyenne, Roseville, Dunsmuir, Denver
-Railroad Semantics #4: Train Hopping Across Montana, Wyoming, Utah, Nevada, California, and Oregon

Box set published September 13, 2016 by Microcosm Publishing

About Railroad Semantics #1:
64 pages – first published December 1, 2011

Devoted to trainhopping and railroad culture, Aaron Dactyl’s first Railroad Semantics zine describes the sights, sounds, successes, and defeats of riding around the U.S. inside of (and sometimes on top of!) freight trains. This first issue, re-published here in book form, explores a round-trip, early-spring train ride from Portland to Pocatello and back, as well as a long, winter ride to Eugene. Both informative and entertaining, issue one also features a wide array of articles on railroads and rail-related activity, letters, postcards, and is full of absolutely gorgeous photographs of landscapes and hobo graffiti–a poetic sense of adventure captured in words, pictures, and scenic vistas!

About Railroad Semantics #2:
96 pages – first published November 1, 2012

From train-hopping to hobo graffiti, maps to camps, Aaron gives the goods in a well-written style that’s both informative and poetic. In issue two, Aaron describes his summer riding freight trains between Portland and Northern California. Between the exhausting waits in sparse canyons and breezy sunny rides into Eugene, Aaron manages to make riding trains sound like a grand adventure. This volume also includes interesting local articles about the railroads: shipping trash to landfills by train, Junction City’s lawsuit against the rail company, and a landslide. Plus absolutely beautiful photography of pictures of hobo graffiti, scenic vistas, trains, and crusty punks!

About Railroad Semantics #3:
64 pages – first published January 15, 2014

Railroad Semantics’ third issue combines personal accounts of train hopping with a slew of diverse railroad-themed articles, and pictures of rail-yard graffiti. Aaron hops to Oregon, Idaho, Colorado, California, and Wyoming, and collects newspaper clippings along the way. Subjects include railway murders, track replacement efforts, the Dunsmuir Railroad Museum, the sale of Burlington Northern, and multiple train derailments. Railroad Semantics has so much content, it’s a perfect read to while away the hours while doing some traveling of your own.

About Railroad Semantics #4:
96 pages – first published June 14, 2016

In the fourth issue of Railroad Semantics, seasoned train-hopper Aaron takes you along on an epic train journey through desolate stretches of Wyoming, Colorado, and Utah. He identifies the groups of fellow travelers that are poseurs, drinks under overpasses, and suffers a major injury alone in the desert. There are plenty of photos of sweeping vistas, and railroad graffiti, and a selection of rail-related articles. This issue is thick as usual, and packed with information about tramp life.


We ship daily from Brisbane, Australia

Prices are AUD (Australian dollars) and are inclusive of GST.

Additional information

Weight 424 g
Dimensions 180 × 14 × 25 mm

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