Attempting to hitch a ride on a freight train

Trip Start Feb 09, 2008
Trip End Dec 26, 2008

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Flag of Mexico  , San Luis Potosí,
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

After waking up to another gorgeous day in Real, I finally decided to pack my bags and leave this truly wonderfully set town / village. I was heading for Vanegas which is a small dusty village just a few Kilometres from the turn off for Real de Catorce, back towards the San Tiburcio junction, which is on the road between Zacatecas and Saltillo. I came here to try and catch a ride on the back of a freight train to Saltillo, capital of the state of Coahuila, from where I would travel 90 minute's west to my final destination, Parras.
The day began well when I decided to hitch at the entrance to the Ogarrio tunnel in Real. There were always cars waiting to enter the 2.5 km tunnel, and I was fortunate to catch a ride in the back of a pickup with Jose and Joaquin. It's a 25 kilometre drive from here to the T junction at the bottom of the valley but unfortunately these guys were heading east towards Matehuala. From here I hitched again with Fransico and Leanardo in the back of another red pickup for the short 7 kilometre ride to Vanegas. But on approaching the turn off for Vanegas there was a freight train approaching us, so I decided to jump out here and try my luck at catching a ride with this train. Having had no joy in getting a ride I decided to hitch in to the centre of Vanegas and hadn't been waiting long when a couple of locals in a nice 4x4 offered me the short ride in to the village.

Vanegas was a small and dusty town well off the tourist trail; with wide unpaved streets, one story homes - many of which were abandoned, and looked to rely heavily upon the freight trains that pass through. The guys who worked on the lines informed me that the next train would be along in an hour, but this ended up being a little over two. The waiting time soon passed though, just wondering the dusty streets, playing footy and chatting to the locals - who looked liked they had never witnessed a tourist in their village. When the 92 carriage freight train did finally arrive, I was disappointed to discover that the conductor wouldn't allow me on, even with the tempting offer of a few pesos. It was now too late in the day to get to Parras as it was around a 5 hour journey so I decided to hitch back to Real de Catorce as I had a good place to stay. But this soon changed when Salvador and Jose pulled over to offer me a lift. They were going all the way to Matehuala so I decided to go with them and spend the night there instead, as this would save me a lot of time in the morning.
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