Green’s Dictionary of Slang

blind n.2

[SE blind, i.e. it has no windows]

1. an order to leave a town (presumably on the railroad).

[US]J. London ‘The Road’ in Hendricks & Shepherd Jack London Reports (1970) 311–21: Attempt to translate this : – De bull snared me; got a t’ree hour blin’ [...] he (fly) (bull) (policeman) arrested me and the judge gave me three hours in which to leave town.

2. (US tramp, also blind baggage, blind car) a baggage car that has no door at the end leading to the inside; thus it cannot be accessed while the train is in motion; thus blind baggage tourist, one who travels on such cars; blind, jump the blind baggage, to ride in such a car.

[UK]M. Roberts Western Avernus (1924) 184: Some men travel on [...] the baggage car at the end where there is no door – the ‘blind baggage’ as it is called.
[UK]C. Roberts Adrift in America 54: As to methods there are two chief ones, the first the ‘Universal Ticket,’ and the other ‘Jumping the Blind Baggage’.
[US]J. London Tramp Diary in Jack London On the Road (1979) 35: I [...] told him to come along the decks to the blind but he said it was too risky.
[US]S. Crane in N.Y. Press 20 May in Stallman (1966) 52: When the night express [...] pulled out Billie ‘made a great sneak’ behind some freight cars and climbed onto the ‘blind’ end of the baggage car.
[US]C.L. Cullen Tales of the Ex-Tanks 164: They watch the freight yards pretty closely there, and the man who gets out of that town on a blind baggage is a four-ply baby and a wonder.
[US]J. London Road 29: I may as well explain here what a blind baggage is. Some mail-cars are built without doors in the ends; hence, such a car is ‘blind.’ [...] Suppose, after the train has started, that a tramp gets on to the platform of one of these blind cars. There is no door, or the door is locked. No conductor or brakeman can get to him to collect fare or throw him off. It is clear that the tramp is safe until the next time the train stops.
[US]Van Loan ‘Out of His Class’ in Taking the Count 175: A ‘blind-baggage tourist,’ a traveller contributing nothing to the upkeep of the right of way.
[US]‘A-No. 1’ Mother of the Hoboes 7: ‘Tramp A. No. 1’ — yours humbly, the author — was seen to board the ‘blind baggage’ of the Atlantic Express.
[US]P. & T. Casey Gay-cat 61: I’ve bin wandering here and there, on the rods and blinds and in John O’Briens. [Ibid.] 301: Blind-baggage — baggage-car behind engine, the front end of which has no door.
[US]S. Lewis Arrowsmith 109: He wandered by freight trains, on blind baggages, on foot.
[US]C. Samolar ‘Argot of the Vagabond’ in AS II:9 388: Words, relating to the railroads, are plentiful. Blinds, bumpers, rods and side-door Pullman are rather well-known.
[US]N. Algren ‘So Help Me’ in Texas Stories (1995) 19: What do you think that rookie done when it pull up and I was shovin’ him into the blind, suitcase and all?
[US]W.A. Gape Half a Million Tramps 307: I’m going to Monkton to-night in the ‘blind baggage’ [...] The ‘Blind’ facing the back end of the engine is unused, and so provides a small space.
J. Marshall Santa Fe 320: Thousands of hoboes rode free, clinging to the rods, huddling in the ‘blind baggage’ and on the roofs of cars [DA].
[US]Mezzrow & Wolfe Really the Blues 17: It almost seems as if I had to graduate from The School to stop riding rods, tops, blinds and boxcars.
[US]Goldin et al. DAUL 29/2: Blind baggage. The baggage car behind the engine.
[US]Ragen & Finston World’s Toughest Prison 791: blind – Front end of a baggage or mail car on a passenger train.
M. Williams Jazz Masters 54: [Jelly Roll] Morton fell onto very hard times [...] He rode out of Denver, Colorado, ‘blind baggage,’ as they say.
[Can](con. 1920s) O.D. Brooks Legs 119: I’ve rode this train before. It always has four or five mail coaches, and it’s warmer riding in the space between them, called a blind.
D.H. Edwards The World Don’t Owe Me Nothing 154: I went on back down south, blinded a passenger [train] from Chicago to St. Louis.

In phrases

blind it (v.) (also beat the blind, blind baggage it)

(US tramp) to ride a blind baggage car.

[US]Sun (NY) 21 May 28/1: In hobo language ‘beating the blind’ means to steal a ride on the mail car next to the engine.
[US]Day Book (Chicago) 17 Aug. 19/1: It’s one hundred and fifty miles to your home, say say. [...] If you tried to blind baggage it, you’d only be thrown off the train at every other station.
E. Bell ‘Mean Conductor Blues’ 🎵 I just wanna blind it, far as town.