posted on Dec, 13 2007 @ 05:05 PM
For those of you who do not know what I mean when I say that I take pics/videos of trains for a hobby. I am a railfan. I have been at this for about
five years, give or take. To be a railfan means that you spend, but you don't really have to, hours sitting at a particular spot waiting on trains to
come by. For example, you can spend not even two hours in some places and come away with five or six trains that have went by. As most of you have
probably seen by my photos. Some photos can take place in interesting spots. For example, you would be surprised how many shots you can get up under
highway bridges or through a thick morning fog. Sometimes, I get pictures that I would have never though of. Like just the other day, I spotted two
brand new General Electric ES44ACs leading an eastbound coal train through the area.
You would also be surprised by what can go by a location on any given day. Like with my location, I get everything from coal, to grain, to freight,
and special moves. Also, you would be surprised as to what is leading those trains everyday. For example, you could see an SD60M leading an eastbound
loaded grain train and the next train could be a loaded coal train with two G.E. AC4400s leading it. Where I live at here in the states, I have two
seperate railroads and two seperate raillines, plus mine railroads that run trains to and from the coal mines.
You would also think that since we take pictures of the railroads that we would be running into problems with the police. This is due to the post 9/11
paranoia because we can be viewed as suspicious sometimes. I have heard stories of people being reported to the police by the railroads. This may have
been because of the people taking the pictures while on railroad property or of the railroad's infrastructure itself. I myself have never had a
problem with the cops, nor have they had problems with me taking pictures of trains. That is because I always stay on public property, yes that does
also mean train stations, so that I won't have the police making a visit to my location.
Now for the explanation part.
A railfan is a person, like me, who is typically and strongly interested, as an amateur, in railroads. Railfans can be found the world over and
probably next to the nearest set of tracks near close to you. There are nicknames that us railfans go by. One of the nicknames that we go by is
"foamers." The term especially fits by railworkers over here in the States. This is in reference to a joking notion that we foam at the mouth wt our
excitement in train movements. I do not foam at the mouth most of the times. That only happens to me when either a special move is coming or some
other railroads units have been spotted on the line. There is one term, however, that I am not going to post so I do not violate the T&C's of ATS.
I'll just give the abbreveiation so that don't happen. (F.R.N.)
Not only does being a railfan mean taking pics of locomotives or the cars. It can also mean studying railroad history or other railroad related items.
Most people take pictures of railroads so that they can repduce them to scale on a model train layout. Now the modelling portion of railfanning I have
yet to delve deep into. Sometimes, other railfans take the hobby as far as to studying the signalling aspects of a particular road. That is another
part of the hobby that I have yet to delve into. There are other railfans that have went on to be very successful photographers in their own right.
Many of us railfans are familiar with the works of Harold A. Reid, Otto Perry, and O. Winston Link. Harold Reid is perhaps the most renowned
photographer Class 1 rairoads here and of the Virginian Railway. O. Winston Link is well know around the railfan world for his nighttime photos of the
Norfolk & Western in the 1940s and 1950s here in West Virginia and West Virginia.
We do respond to notion that the railroads are under constant threat from terrorism. I beleive that is why we do what we do anytime we can. We do feel
that we can, and have made the railroads in the United States and around the world safer since we know what is normal behavior and what is abnormal
behavior. We also feel that we are the first line of defense when it comes to keeping the railroads secure during these times. We do, on occasion,
spot someone who is upto no good or something that appears to be strange. One railroad company here in the United States, Burlington Northern Santa
Fe, at the beginning of the year started upa a civilian version of their employee program. This program, Citizens For Rail Security, is good over the
entire the United States no matter where you live in the United States of America. Some of my fellow railfans around my area are a part of the
Citizens For Rail Security network.
Even your's truly is a part of this group.
Railfanning can be fun if you do it in a very safe, a secure, and very fun matter. We have fun at our get togethers and most of the times we talk
about things other than the railroads. That depends on if it is not a busy day or not. A busy day around here usually means anywhere on the
neighborhood of ten to twenty trains in a twenty four hour period. I admit, railfanning can be fun and fast paced some days. Then there are some days
that are really, and I mean really slow days. Those days seem like you are having a really bad itching spell.
[edit on 13-12-2007 by gimmefootball400]