In March of 2019, the Tumblr user zepeli posted a photo of a train on Tumblr. The photo was captioned “Poughkeepsie, 3/9/2019.” Shot from an overlook and from a great distance, the train doesn’t appear all that strange, save for the one white car among a chain of red and brown ones. Can you spot the odd detail?
Let’s zoom in…
Interesting! I am fairly certain that this is not guerilla marketing for any Sega thing so it’s a bit mysterious. Why would someone graffiti Sonic and “SLUTS” in the Sega font onto a train passing through Poughkeepsie? The obvious reason is that it’s funny.
I thought that this was where the story would end, but then two days later, another Tumblr user, kyra-writes, reblogged the Sonic Sluts car with an additional image.
What I learned from this is that the Sonic Sluts train car is traveling the country, baffling countless observers as it delivers important cargo across the nation. I opened up an incognito window in my web browser and googled “sonic sluts train” and found other images, like Reddit posts from November 2018 (“Spotted outside Houston. Don’t think it’s official.”) and February 2019. The Houston shot was particularly clear, and right across Sonic’s legs, I was able to make out some markings.
BKTY 151 909
This string of characters is completely useless to me on its own, but it is unique enough that I suspect that plugging it into Google will yield… something. So let’s do that!
The top result leads me to the supremely useful RRPicturesArchive.net, which is, as we all know, an online archive of pictures of individual train cars cataloged by type and ID number. Here are the stats for the Sonic Sluts car, which belongs to the Union Pacific Railroad Company.
That’s 57 feet and 3 inches of pure power. Incredible. Along with these stats, RR Pictures Archive also has five photos of BKTY 151909 submitted by diligent railcar enthusiasts. On December 8, 2018, Aaron Van Amburg got a shot of the Sonic Sluts train in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. In February of 2019, David Grothe managed to catch the car in Denver, CO. Sonic is truly rolling around at the speed of standard shipping channels.
It’s clear that Sluts train gets around, but why does it exist? Great question. The practice is known as train bombing, and while I’d love to believe whoever pulled this off was some sort of jilted Amy Rose, that are likely just repping the SLUTS Crew, whose work can be seen all over. (SLUTS may also be an acronym for “Stop Livin’ Up To Society.”) You can find plenty of their work on photo-sharing sites like Flickr and on the r/Bombing subreddit.
There’s all sorts of trainspotting happening online. On Flickr I stumbled across a particularly incredible SLUTS work:
The photo brought Alabamans and Canadians together. I couldn’t find any other pics of it in the RR Pictures Archive.
Anyway, I don’t really have a thesis here. Just wanted to let you know that a funny piece of graffiti (graffito?) sent my down an obsessive rabbit hole and I guess every train car in America is being photographed and cataloged. I didn’t know that before but now I do. Thanks Sonic!
I was also going to look for the car on RailcarPhotos.com but my registration needs to be approved by a mod and I think it’s one guy so he might not have gotten to it yet. Anyway, if I discover anything, I’ll let you know.
The Pokémon Company bought a promoted hashtag/trending topic for Pokémon Masters EX
funny how the group photos in every Times story I’ve read about young people moving into houses together and posting about it online, whether for TikTok or for college, only show cohorts that are almost entirely white. huh! weird!