Oct 25, 2016; Sonora, Mexcio; A Honduran migrant jumps aboard a moving freight train in Mexico headed toward the U.S. border south of Caborca, Sonora. There are many cases of migrants who have lost legs after falling off the freight trains, known as La Be

La Bestia aka "The Beast" (Photo credit: Nick Oza/The Republic via USA Today Network)

Caravan of Dreams: Climb Aboard La Bestia aka "The Beast"

Stories of the migrants journey and their hopes for new life in America: Part 3

Matt Bigler
May 15, 2018 - 9:35 pm
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(KCBS Radio) - Imagine riding BART to work, not inside the cars but on top of them. That's just one of the risks members of the migrant caravan had to take to arrive at the U.S./Mexico border.  In part three our our series "Caravan of Dreams" - KCBS Radio reporter Matt Bigler tells us about what could have been the most perilous part of a journey already fraught with dangers.

Oct 25, 2016; Sonora, Mexcio; Hondurans and Central Americans take a freight train, known by migrants as La Bestia, the beast, to come to the border town of Mexico to cross US-Mexico border. Mandatory credit: Nick Oza/The Republic via USA TODAY NETWORK
Migrants on La Bestia, or "The Beast" (Photo credit: Nick Oza/The Republic via USA Today Network)

There was no single hard part of the journey to the U.S. Quena Avila from Honduras says it was all hard. Traveling mostly on foot with children, over nearly a thousand miles. But there was one leg in Mexico that everyone remembers. La Bestia, that's Spanish for 'The Beast'. A freight train that migrants ride on top of or in-between train cars.

Oct 25, 2016; Sonora, Mexcio; A Honduran women traveling on a freight train, known by migrants as La Bestia, the beast, rests inside a train car south of Caborca, Sonora, about four hours from the border with Arizona. There has been a sharp rise in the nu
Migrants on La Bestia, or "The Beast" (Photo credit: Nick Oza/The Republic via USA Today Network)

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It's also called the 'Death Train' because of the many people who fall asleep and fall off. Roelle from El Salvador was one of the migrants who braved 'The Beast'. He had mixed feelings about the experience. "For my part it was something beautiful, but something risky too. Because many people lose their lives. Everyone in the caravan had to make their own decision whether to ride the train or travel by bus. But not everyone could afford the bus."

Fortunately, aid worker Wendy Batterson says no members of the caravan were injured on 'The Beast'. "They held on for 12 hours in the cold on top of the train and if you fall off, you die with the train flying."

Oct 25, 2016; Sonora, Mexcio; A Honduran women traveling on a freight train, known by migrants as La Bestia, the beast, rests inside a train car south of Caborca, Sonora, about four hours from the border with Arizona.There has been a sharp rise in the num
Migrants on La Bestia, or "The Beast" (Photo credit: Nick Oza/The Republic via USA Today Network)

Of course, we haven't even mentioned the gangs, thieves, smugglers and other human hazards that often befall migrants. 

As our series continues, the many good Samaritans who help the migrants on their journey.