"We commandeered it," said the homeless advocate, Dennis Payne, 50, of the old rail yard.
"It's out of the way of the city. It's out of the way of the community. It's isolated.
"There's no way for anybody to complain about the homeless."
Payne, who founded Homeless American Volunteers Organization Coalition (HAVOC), says he was homeless for 30 years, from age 15 until five years ago.
Now he shares a home in Kensington, has done odd construction jobs and collects Social Security disability benefits as a polio survivor. He isn't part of Occupy Philly, but wanted to help the homeless who were to be evicted.
Late yesterday afternoon, as he gave the Daily News a tour of the new campsite - which one enters by climbing over knee-high concrete barriers - neighborhood residents whirred past on motorbikes and cars zoomed nearby on the I-95 overpass.
At first, one just sees two tents; a young man in one called himself "the security." To get to most of the other tents, one walks up a dirt trail to an area shrouded by bare trees, their yellow leaves having fallen.
A little farther back is a so-called medic tent, and far off in the distance, "the security" fellow said, were three more tents.
Dexter Kinard, 34, one of the homeless staying where most of the others are camped, shares a tent with a homeless woman whom he befriended Sunday at the Occupy Philly encampment at City Hall.
His new friend, Brittney, 36, who did not want to give her last name, had been sleeping in one of the City Hall tents. She said Payne told her Sunday: "I'm going to make sure you get a safe place to go tonight. I don't know about tomorrow, but you will get a safe place for tonight."
So she went to Port Richmond with the help of another person who was taking people to the site. Kinard, who had been living in the subway concourse near City Hall, followed her with her permission. "I didn't want to be by myself," Brittney said. "I was scared. [Kinard is] a nice person."
Conrail spokesman John Enright said yesterday that the old rail yard is still Conrail property. "Nobody involved in the Occupy movement has permission from us to set up tents or otherwise enter our property," he said. "Like any property owner, we don't allow trespassing."
Mark McDonald, spokesman for Mayor Nutter, said late yesterday afternoon that he had no comment on the situation.
Thomas Papineau, 47, another homeless person staying at the site, munched yesterday on a peanut-butter-and-jelly sandwich there. Occupy Philly people had dropped off sandwiches, apples, oranges and water bottles Sunday night. Payne has been in touch with them to see if they could drop off more food.
Papineau, who said he's been homeless for 10 years, said he's not worried about food running out. If need be, he has a debit card and can access his Social Security disability benefits and get food at a nearby Thriftway supermarket, he said.
He had been sleeping on the City Hall benches before Occupy Philly, then joined the group.
He likes the new camp better.
"It's more peaceful, more quiet," he said. "I ain't worrying about nothing out here."