Using The Railroads

Discussion in 'Zombie Apocalypse' started by TheaterNinja, Jun 18, 2019.

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  1. TheaterNinja

    TheaterNinja Member
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    I’ve been dwelling on this a lot lately. While I understand the limitations in terms of versatility and options for navigation, how viable do you think using existing railways for survival and transportation is?

    I was dwelling on modifying an electric tug (or even just harvesting the motor) and attaching a boxcar that will serve as storage and living quarters. On top of the car can be attached a few solar panels for powering said motor and a few convenient creature comforts.

    There are tugs that can pull about 50 tons and boxcars (according to google) avg about 20-ish tons empty. So if it’s only ONE car and isn’t filled to the brim, the weight seems to work.

    This is mainly a thinking out loud and satisfying my curiosity of feasibility. Thanks to anyone who humors my curiosity
     
  2. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    the problem with railroads is you would be on a fixed travel route with no chance of deviation in times of trouble and no way of escape if attacked.
     
  3. TheaterNinja

    TheaterNinja Member
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    agreed, and I’ve considered ways of getting around some of that, but it seems like there’s a lot of track that is in rural areas, so possible sidings or areas with little/no people could be useful
     
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  4. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    if you could use an out of the way siding in a rural area that would make a useful BOL, but for using the railroad to travel i'd say no, the stations and any urban areas it goes through would be danger areas.
     
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  5. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    I thought of using railroad tracks myself, not to use the tracks but just as a navigation aid but we only have one of two tracks in my county and they wouldn't go in the right direction.
     
  6. Morgan101

    Morgan101 Master Survivalist
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    I think it is an idea that has merit. My first question would be how accurate are the maps of the rail system? Would you be able to navigate safely, and avoid towns? I would be very concerned that I wasn't the only person using the rails. Without the safety precautions that are in place now meeting someone coming the other direction could be catastrophic.

    I would agree with Lonewolf. If you could find a siding that took you to a remote BOL living in a boxcar would have a lot of advantages.
     
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  7. JimLE

    JimLE Expert Member
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    I've thought of railways as well.and the best way I've come up with when it comes to using them.is one of the railroad work truck that has the track wheels that come down.especially if a person can add a camper to it.that way everything needed can be taken.and there's choices to where you can go.be it tracks and roads alike.
     
  8. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Theater Ninja,

    If I understand what you are contemplating; use of rail road lines for your tug w/ car, ...

    Most all railroads are - critical infrastructure - like the inland waterways, the air corridors and certain highways. In a push-shove-hades-SHTF situation, TSA will augment the security of the transport networks. POTUS could go further and "nationalize" the rail system.

    If push-shove-hades-SHTF interferes and overwhelms TSA and the available military, would you not expect to experience the same catastrophes overwhelming TSA eg diseased corpses, barbarians, ...

    Consider sheltering in place.
     
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  9. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
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    I suspect that during severe or prolonged SHTF events, the railroads could be even more dangerous than the roadways.

    Those traveling on or near railroads have a dangerously narrow field of vision and are vulnerable to attack from close quarters. You can bet that two-legged predators will be hidden and waiting on the sidelines to overwhelm you from both sides.

    If you MUST move out, then following some waterways may be a better option at the beginning of a SHTF event, but as time goes on, they may become as problematic as roadways and railroads...

    I am thinking that a topo map may prove handy to seek the most difficult paths to your destination because that is the least likely place you will find humans. Humans naturally and instinctively seek the easiest way out. In this case, you can use that fact to your advantage.



    .
     
  10. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good afternoon Grizzleyette,

    Most definitely topo maps - even if sheltering in place. ... All evacuations aren't planned, well-rehearsed events ...

    It's a great point to plot out the difficult routes. The "easy", well-worn routes are where barbarians congregate, downing their flat plastic bottles of rot gut vodka and beer and are on the lookout for that nice multi-tool on someone 's belt - and et cetra.
     
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  11. Snyper

    Snyper Expert Member
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    Download your own aerial maps.

    I don't see it as being a realistic plan though.
    Railroads run through cities, and are easy to block.
    You might as well just drive along an interstate and pretend there are no exits.
     
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  12. Morgan101

    Morgan101 Master Survivalist
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    Here you go Theaterninja. It would definitely be an adventure, but there are people out there doing it.

     
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  13. JimLE

    JimLE Expert Member
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    thought about the possibility of railroads being traps.but i figure that might be within 2 to 5 miles of a town.the topa maps is a good idea.especially if it shows the back roads as well as the rail's and towns. leave the rails 6 to 10 miles before towns n cities. circle around untill another rail or road and continue on..water ways is good if it'll get you close enough to where your going.or maybe transportation.
     
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  14. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    Personally I would feel very vulnerable in a boxcar unless it was bullet proof. Even then you could be smoked or burnt out. Rail is a good way of getting around, but again, as Grizz said, you are open to attack. Three areas you need to be wary of when travelling or just hiding out; creeks & rivers (waterways), roads, & railway lines. These are areas used by other people for travel! Follow them by all means, but at a distance.
    Keith.
     
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  15. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    In Texas a lot of places the tracks are the easiest way to travel and the least obvious. Roads run right through the middle of every city and town while the tracks run outside of town. I've thought about something like this for moving between cities. You are mostly out in th farmlands and ranching country with very few people around. Riding on the roads you go past a lot of places. Riding a bicycle cross country would be nearly impossible. Something like this might be nice to have.

    c7f68a6599dec02ca36ef16fd7c9c7bd.jpeg
     
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  16. GrizzlyetteAdams

    GrizzlyetteAdams Crap Creek Survivor
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    The bike rider would be soooo easy for someone to rob and take all that nice gear. Look at all the good hiding places the perp would have. Also, someone ahead of you would have to move out of your way to let you pass, and could decide to let you pass and take you out from the back for your stuff.

    When folks are in a world of hurt, some of the have-nots will take from those who have more than they do. Especially if they are parents of hungry or sick children.


    .
     
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  17. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    When I first got interested in prepping, this was one mode of transportation I researched. For the reasons many have already mentioned and for a few additional reasons I decided to pass on rail travel. In concept it seems plausible but for me the risks far out way the benefits. I used to hunt groundhogs following railroad tracks, wide open shots. Groundhogs would stand up on the rails to look around. Humans make much bigger targets.

    Any kind of rail travel would be extremely slow, as opsec would require stopping and scouting ahead every few minutes. The traveler on the rails is exposed for a very long distance in many locations. So as I see it, rail travel is slow, limited carry capacity of equipment and provides too many ambush sites.
     
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  18. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    Same with power line s I would think. Nice straight runs across the country but right out in the open for sure.
     
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  19. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    I am not sure about the power lines for navigation and travel. To be honest, since I did an assessment on my persona capabilities and the wife's, bugging in is our only realistic option. With out medical conditions, we are not going anywhere.

    I tend to think they may be a reasonable option, as they will be more over grown and not normally used for travel. They do tend to cross some very inhospitable country side, at least in my area. Not sure how you would or could find the access road to get to them. Maybe some more knowledgeable members will join in and provide some info.
     
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  20. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    I had some power line trails scouted and access points marked when I lived in suburbia. One was an avenue that I considered in the event of a power failure while I was at work to use to walk home. a few others were considered for our family to use if we had to walk to our BOL at that time which was a 2 hour drive away. We thought we could use them but only walking at night in night vision equipment in that case.
     
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  21. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    A bit of refinement....some polishing is required here - unless I'm missing the scenario.....

    At the start of a regional emergency, the authorities activate Plan A. Transportation infrastructure has major sections deemed "critical infrastructure" JimLE: applicable to certain waterways also.

    Do not anticipate a private citizen getting on rail tracks or selected waterways as a matter of routine. Even if successful, headaches arise and could include change of residence.

    AFTER the start of a regional emergency.......At the beginning of a NATIONAL EMERGENCY, more matters get developed. The "more matters involved critical infrastructure highways. What's the formal name of the Interstate Highway System?

    Consider sheltering in place unless well-established and tested plans have been prepared with much lead-time. Otherwise, that 5 hour trip could be 24 - 30 hours with no gasoline stations selling anything.
     
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  22. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    Still wondering if following major power lines would be viable. They wound not be considered a normal route of travel, so government would not have restricted movement on them. Any suggestion folks? This would be more of a get from point A to point B, in a desperate time.
     
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  23. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning TMT Tactical,

    Re: "any suggestion..";

    It's really not pertinent if major power lines are a normal route of travel. They are not. Major power lines are "critical



    infrastructure" and thus part of the "hardening" or protection program. I've never worked the power distribution field (less pipelines) but do know the "hardening" is a major theme today.

    Major power lines and railroad tracks are mirror images to the good-old anchor chair; they are as strong as it's weakest link. Thus, the entire route...as per being part of designated infrastructure aspect...will be protected.

    Plus, if a prepper/survivalist has access to the easement path of the major power line, so do others. These "others" have a list of their "wants":

    - your multitool
    - your Bobcat ATV
    - your food
    I'm running out of cyber-space..........

    Avoid evacuation plans around critical infrastructure. Thus, no survival spearfishing around LOOP, Louisiana Offshore Oil Port, no homesteading at key public airport parking ramps,

    ......

    A key ingredient to determine a successful evac is the amount of lead time. Lord Fairfax's colony and the Gadsden Purchase are really the same scenario: the population centers are fleeing the peril and the basic infrastructure like the Interstate highways and roads are inadequate to support the numbers.
     
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  24. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    in a country like Britain where the power lines criss cross the countryside using them to navigate is a viable option, not walking alongside but some distance off.
     
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  25. Morgan101

    Morgan101 Master Survivalist
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    IMHO as you said " in a desperate time " power lines would be a viable route. They would be relatively clear. Not great, but better than walking through the woods. I would expect there would not be much traffic. They are open, so you may be susceptible to attack. If you could get from Point A to Point B if would be better than a highway or main thoroughfare. Walking that terrain may not be easy. I think we are in similar circumstances physically.
     
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  26. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    My thoughts for the use of power lines was only to get home right after the beginning of a grid down scenario. There is a margin of time that is chaos at the beginning of any regional or national emergency where no security is in place, no help has been sent out no law and order is structured yet. If we were to use these power line clearings to get from our home to the BOL we had planned to use in the past it would have been only movement at night and only along the edges with a lot of scouting ahead in the hopes of not being seen. These clear areas would be used to skirt cities and towns to avoid other people if possible.

    I have seen in the past that authorities use rail cars to block road crossings , truck and trailers to block gates or entrances so keep in mind that normal avenues may not be accessible in a shtf scenario.

    I was in Gulfport Mississippi 3 days after Katrina hit. The National Guard was then only beginning to get there. Local police were only driving around every once in awhile and not really doing anything at that point. By the 5th day outside law enforcement was beginning to show up with a plan and asking who we were and why we were where we were at.


    DAY 3
    day3.jpg

    DAY 5 day5.jpg
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2019
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  27. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    Once the government actually gets it's butt in gear, then all travel routes and critical infrastructures (as they designate it) will be extremely restricted and very dangerous. I think the power lines would be a reasonable route during the very first phase of it hitting the fan. An emergency get back home or for family to travel route to the group BOL and avoid the roads. If the government completely collapses, then this route maybe viable later on but would still be risky , like any form of travel. Once society breaks down, then no matter what, folks will need to watch their six.
     
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  28. Radar

    Radar Expert Member
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    How much has the railroad system changed the lay of the tracks since the 1860s? According to wiki pedia, it hasn't. The rail bed has stayed mostly the same. It would be easy enough to access a general layout of the tracks coast to coast. All kinds of books online to buy, because nobody wants them anymore.
    Hobos, there will be new hobos. They're like pirates. And don't forget pirates. I don't think the intracoastal waterway would be safe either.
    I think traveling by rail or using the rail as a guide after SHTF scenario would not be a good idea. It probably isn't even a good idea right now.

    I like watching movies like Close Encounters of the Third Kind showing how people get loaded up on trains when there is a "needed evacuation due to a chemical accident," and everybody gets shipped out. The cattle have been killed to convince the sheeple it "really" happened.
    Or War of the Worlds (even though I don't care for TC) where the train has been set on fire and goes blasting through.

    You've all heard the saying, "train wreck." Well. There ya go. It will work for one person or one group of organized crazy people. The rest of us are screwed.
     
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  29. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    If I had to travel in a violent world I would do it totally in the dark. That is when the rails would be nice. Very few people, at least in Texas are going to be watching the rails and letting the roads go unwatched. On an average day in a lot of Texas, you could sit and watch the tracks and only see a few trains and NO people. The rails don't run beside the roads and most of the time you will be pretty isolated. Speaking as someone that lives relatively near the tracks (about a half mile) I am glad that they are running mostly in the woods. A train is a noisy critter and not a good neighbor!!!

    Roads have houses on them often on both sides. If you HAVE to travel you are at less risk if you avoid the roads. Trying to walk cross country where I live wouldn't work. too many fences, rivers, creeks, lakes, and just plain thick underbrush. the tracks at night allow you to walk or ride over and past most of there problems and the tracks will run in nice straight lines.

    I expect that road bridges will become dangerous places. I have seen them used as places to block traffic more than once. Once to limit travel into an area and twice for searches and checks.
     
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  30. Pragmatist

    Pragmatist Master Survivalist
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    Good morning Radar,

    Ref Intercoastal Waterways, you are correct. I once worked the inland waterways - larger infrastructure than the Intercoastal - and major portions can be deemed "critical infrastructure". Critical infrastructure allows for enhanced protection and restricted access. Both the public sector agencies and contractors will be involved. A few weeks ago, I mentioned the Virginia Marine Police LEOs are deputized Federal LEOs for enforcement of the Admiralty laws (Federal [ with some maritime labor exceptions]).

    There are well-tested plans and actual use ... much not in the public domain ... and these programs have been enhanced.

    Sadly, I must mention that the Intercoastal Waterway is in decay - like much else of our national infrastructure. Still, in an emergency, even a 6 foot draft boat can do wonders. Only months ago, the S Army, Ft Eustis, Virginia announced their new landing boat that needs only 5 (five) feet of water !

    Balancing the sadness, we now have a relatively new inland waterway, the Tennessee - Tombigbee ("Tenn-Tom") Waterway. It connects the Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico via Mobile, Alabama.

    An admitted failure: We lost on the Cross-Florida Barge Canal. It's now a scenic bicycle path.

    Waterways are part of the national protoplasm and they get protection.
     
  31. Radar

    Radar Expert Member
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    I would be interested in traversing the intracoastal waterway during peaceful times but i'm not seaworthy. I suppose I could learn. I did not know that about the Ohio Valley to the Gulf of Mexico by way of Tombigbee Waterway.

    And good morning to you, @Pragmatist
     
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  32. TexDanm

    TexDanm Shadow Dancer
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    At one time rivers were the lifeblood of places. Almost every big city is on some sort of waterway. I live in a small town on a river. the train bridge here is a turn bridge from the early part of the last century when they used the river to get from Dallas to Houston. Now there are several dams so that isn't possible anymore. This is the story of so many of the rivers in America.

    After any major longterm disaster if you live anywhere below one of these dams you might need to consider moving!! Without people to operate the locks and dams they are not going to last forever and when they go the flood will be of biblical proportions.

    Look at the flooding that is happening right now in the midwest and understand that this is flooding of a partially controlled water system. A river is a lot like a caged mountain lion. They are nice and pretty but you don't want to be around if they break out. Rivers right now are sort of tame tigers but the day that man isn't there to watch over them that wildness will return.
     
  33. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    if I have to travel post SHTF(I probably wont) around dawn and dusk is my preferred times, at dead of night is too risky, I might trip and break a leg or fall into a hole, and a flashlight would give away my location.
     
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  34. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    Own the night Gen III
    http://nvdevices.com/product-category/night-vision/
     
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  35. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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  36. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    It is just like a battle rifle and ammo or storing food. Save a little bit at a time and before you know it you have what you need.
     
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  37. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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  38. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    its a bit like walkie talkie's and a few other gizmo's, it'll get thrown in a drawer until SHTF+day 1. money better spent on something else. my plans may be (just!) a bit different to yours.:D
    and they are still too expensive.
     
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  39. LastOutlaw

    LastOutlaw Master Survivalist
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    They can be used regularly if you hunt hogs or predators. Also look at FLIR. It has gotten much more affordable than it used to be. I also use my radios when I'm in the mountains at my cabin to contact other land owners across the valley who also prep and own land in the area.
     
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  40. lonewolf

    lonewolf Moderator Staff Member
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    I have never heard of FLIR, you have to realise I am not American and don't live in the US.
    hunting here is heavily regulated and publically frowned upon.
    I've got a couple of binoculars which are supposed to be night vision but I haven't tried them in pitch darkness yet, I usually fast asleep by then!!!
     
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  41. TMT Tactical

    TMT Tactical The Great Lizard !
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    I plan on the FLIR monocular and the ATN 4K pro. The price is not anywhere near the price of the full thermal rig and if you you spot the target with the FLIR, then you can hit it with the night Vision scope.
     
  42. Keith H.

    Keith H. Moderator Staff Member
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    No railroad lines going where I would need to go IF I had to leave my home in the forest.
    Keith.
     
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  43. CountryGuy

    CountryGuy Expert Member
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    Well I think people should think about this beyond just Railroads. There are also gas and electric line right of ways, old logging and fire roads, lots of off the beaten path options. Check old maps to find old roads that may no longer even show on current maps. When you're out driving around your bug out routes note any of these things that might not show. Start figuring out where and what roads or other avenues they cross and mark them in.

    Don't forget to see if there are hiking trail systems around you to mark out as well. I'm working on hiking a few of the ones near me that are in my plans and I'm making notes. Also helping on trying to get back in shape. A few weeks back I walked about a 3 mile section of one trail. It wasn't in the greatest shape due to infrequent use but still blazed and easy enough to follow. I did clear a few trees on it and cleared a few thick areas with my machete to help open it up. As I was going I marked down any interesting things like an old dear box someone had built (looked to be old and on what I believe is likely private ground. I also found a small spring/ seep that wasn't listed so I marked it. On the drive back out I took a different route and marked all the camps I saw along with if they look to be used recently or if it looks like its been 20 years since someone was there. I need to get myself a GPS to mark these things but just never know what one to buy, they either seem to simple or more complex than the space shuttle.
     
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