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Life in the "hobo corner"

My daughter likes to tell stories about life in what she calls the "hobo corner" (with apologies to the PC crowd out there). That's the end of the car opposite the driver's cubicle, that provides some modicum of privacy.

Too much privacy, it seems.

First, it usually smells in there, with abandoned food items and other human waste, including vomit and urine.

Various friends, relatives and myself have witnessed people in the "hobo car":

** Smoking, both pot and cigarettes.

** Making out ferociously.

** Having sex, often not too discretely.

** Talking to themselves animatedly.

** Generally having a good time, by crowding five or six friends in that area for rollicking fun.

What have you seen there? Click "Comments" below to share.


** Smoking, both pot and cigarettes.
Once in March 2003, on the Orange Line heading toward Midway, the occupant of the "hobo-car" was smoking crack.

I ride the Redline from the Southside to Chicago Ave and Back and I onece saw a guy bathing. He took off most of his clothes, took out a wash cloth and started to clean himself...everywere. Then got dressed like nothing.
Funny thing is, is that he didnt look homeless at all. Just looked like your average commuter.

Add crack to the smoking list. Oh, already there. Anyway, Green Line, Loop bound.

While I'll admit to having made out in the "hobo car," I've got to say I'd never remove any of my clothing on the El. That scene in Risky Business where Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay have sex on the El makes me feel thoroughly unclean.

While I'll admit to having made out in the "hobo car," I've got to say I'd never remove any of my clothing on the El. That scene in Risky Business where Tom Cruise and Rebecca De Mornay have sex on the El makes me feel thoroughly unclean.

I didn't know it was called the "hobo" car! Anyway, I NEVER sit there anymore ever since I got locked in by two drunk Mongolians. They seemed nice at first, dressed in business suits. Then I smelled the liquor on their breath...they asked me to guess their ethicity in some game..said they were Mongolian and the VERY drunk one sitting next to me had just gotten out of jail! So he was drunk and happy and the one standing was his attorney! The jailbird started touching my leg and laughing. He said he hadn't been near a woman in a long time. AGH! I had the worst time getting away from them and of course no one helped me.
If you decide to sit back there and are a small woman, PLEASE only sit on the outer edge so you can flee!

About a year ago on a Saturday, I attended a Hawaiian-themed party in the South Loop. At around 11:00 PM, I started back home, boarding the northbound Red Line at the Roosevelt stop.

I was feeling self-conscious because I was wearing a Hawaiian shirt and two floral leis on a Saturday night in the middle of winter. The car was full and smelled like a brewery. I entered the car of the train and headed for an empty seat near the end of the car because I did not want to stand with strings of orchids around my neck, staring down a car full of inebriated revelers. I pulled out a book and started reading.

A few stops north, two people walked past me and through the emergency doors to the next car. A few minutes later, the two crossed back into the car where I was sitting. In my experience, a lot of back-and-forth between cars is usually a symptom of someone who's up to no good.

This time was no different. One of the two people sat down next to me. His companion crouched down next to him and started to unfold a piece of newspaper. When the seated person saw that the paper had nothing in it, he asked the crouching person where his f*in money was.

This was turning unpleasant quickly. Here I was, in the "hobo corner", blocked by two chuckleheads who appeared to be on the verge of some kind of deal gone wrong. I got up and started for the aisle. The two men let me pass without incident. I found a seat near the middle of the car and resumed reading.

Somewhere between Fullerton and Belmont, I heard a ruckus coming from the back of the car. I turned to see one of the two men from the hobo corner pounding the other man on the back of the head. Someone in the crowd of onlookers alerted the driver, but the two men fled the car at Belmont before the police could arrive.

If I had stayed in my original seat, I would probably have had to fight my way out.

Things that I learned that evening:
1. Don't ride in the hobo corner on Saturday night. Better yet--don't ride in it ever.
2. Trust your instincts.
3. If you don't have the money, you should probably just say so up front and avoid delaying tactics like using a folded piece of newspaper.
4. Floral leis can be itchy.

Got on the Red Line heading south from Grand this afternoon and noticed a homeless person laying across both seats in the Hobo Corner. The smell coming from that corner of the car may have been the most foul, nasty, repugnant scent I've ever experienced. Just to make sure I wasn't dreaming, I looked around and everyone else was holding their nose. Got off at Lake and decided to wait for the next one.

Freaks in the hobo car:
I was on my way home and noticed movement. I turned and there was a Latino staring right at me with his penis out and totally going at it. I gave him a cold look and he turned away.

I have never seen anything like that in the hobo corner...no wait, yes I have. One Sunday afternoon, Red Line, northbound at 87th st, two guys get on and start smoking weed in the hobo corner. Then one of the guys comes out, stands by the exit door and begins to relieve himself. Then goes back to smoke some more.

Welcome to the Red Line, folks.

I call that area of the train "first class" - on the rare occasions when it's clean and unsullied by filth. Because it is closed off a bit, but yeah - lately on the trains, this little "room" is shockingly dirty.

I once saw a perfectly formed steaming heap of human feces placed perfectly on several napkins, sitting there in the corner, stinking up the whole car.

If the window is unlocked, which on the red is very likely as the drivers never lock them and jam something into the lock in hobo corner. I usually am whiteness to quite a few people relieving them self's out the window.

Lately on the red I have noticed hobo corner as well as the entire car in general more dirtier then ever. Does the CTA own a mop or employ any one knows how to clean properly?

With apologies to those with a taste for the lurid, it doesn't usually smell in the hobo corner. And I've never seen vomit or urine there.

Sorry if I'm blowing a big secret and encouraging people to take what is often the last free space.

it ALWAYS smells in that corner. i don't know that i've ever seen anything particularly out-of-the-ordinary in that area, but it is definitely smellier and dirtier than the rest of the train. at least on the redline.

of course, i'm extremely lazy and will sit there if all other seats are taken.

Since many CTA trains don't turn around, the drivers just switch to the other end of the train...maybe the urine is from drivers that just couldn't hold it anymore...lol

One time I saw a guy get out a bunch of cigarrete butts and started rolling them into his rolling papers to make a bootleg cig. then he gets out a lighter and lights it! he starts smoking on the train and the bootleg cig started on fire. it smelled really bad on that train and he was screaming at all the passengers. he got off before the motorperson could get to him. but i did switch cars at the next stop.

another time there were some Securitas rentacops with the "bombsniffer" german shepards in the corner. the two dogs, although muzzled became agitated and started barking at each other, yelling, growling, and jumping at each other, pawing at each other. i watched the rentacops barely able to regain control of the 'bomb sniffing' dogs.

hey guys i ride the red line every morning and i love the hobo car I smoke weed there often and have even puked my guts out there as its a convent and out of the way place to do so

Hello Everyone

If you've ever wanted to be surveyed about what you think about the redline, here's your chance. I'm conducting a survey for my masters project about customer service on the redline. I would appreciate it if everyone who rides would participate. Once I'm done I will not only be able to graduate, but the customer service department at the CTA knows about the survey and study and is expecting to get it. So, please log in to:


I once got on the Red Line with a friend and we were immediately assaulted by the most foul, rank odor I've ever smelled in my life. Everyone on the train had their shirts over their noses and looked like they were going to be sick. We tried to move to the other side of the the train but the smell was just as strong.

At the next stop (Grand, I believe), the doors opened and a couple of cops entered our car, carrying a body bag. They walked straight to the Hobo Corner and left a few minutes later, having filled the bag.

Later that night, while watching the news, I discovered that a hobo had died in the Hobo Corner. It was a little disturbing and very ironic.

I don't live around, ride or have even heard about redline.

I stumbled upon this from google.
Can anyone tell me where abouts (geographicaly) it is?

I'm from Egland and have certainly experienced a fair few places that sound very similar to the 'hobo corner'.

I have to be honest though, it does sound like the sort of place that I would find myself ending up. You know smoke some, drink some, meet interesting new people. Haha.

Smoking Hobo


I've witnessed a few disturbing things on the CTA, but the best would have to have been when I was riding home on the Brown Line (towards the Loop.)

There were only a few of us on the train, I was the only female. For what seemed like minutes there was a hacking noise coming from the "Hobo Corner" and a man sitting on the other side had finally spoken for all of us by telling the cougher to quiet down.

It was then the hacking ceased and a very large dirty man stood up, the strong odor of alcohol blowing towards us.

Instead of hacking he just informed us to "suck his balls."

i love the hobo corner! i snag it whenever i can. i call it the VIP room.

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Okay, we all know how much I love the CTA Tattler, daily required reading, although usually daily ends up being weekly, playing catch-up due to scheduling snafus. But this entry threw me for a loop. Wasn't sure whether or not to laugh, cry, or vo [Read More]

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