Amazing how many rail professionals are on this forum

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BalmyZephyr

Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
57
Location
Rhode Island
(Delete or move this if it's in the wrong topic area, can't figure out where to put it.) So, I joined recently and a robot put "Train Attendant" on my profile. I went in and changed it, since I just ride 'em. But I'm amazed, it seems like 90% of the people posting here have railroad jobs listed on their profile. With so much badmouthing of Amtrak management going on, haha, makes me wonder if some of those Profiles were automated like mine, and/or if most people are retired from Amtrak and feel no fear. It's GREAT, don't get me wrong. So much insider information, really helpful. I guess I don't really have a question, just a comment that if you were assigned a Profile and it's wrong, you might want to change it. Happy Thanksgiving to all.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,193
Location
Socal
The little names that say "train attendant", "conductor," "engineer," and so on are not actual employees for Amtrak (well at least the majority of us). Those are just different titles you get when you get to a certain amount of messages sent, and since we're a rail-forum that is named for Amtrak, we decided to use Amtrak job titles (which is a fun little thing imo). However, there are a handful of current and former Amtrak employees, along with people who have worked in the transportation industry and people who have become very knowledgeable about Amtrak (and railways) over the years.
 

JoshP

Service Attendant
Joined
Oct 13, 2021
Messages
133
Location
Buffalo, NY
It's funny, Virtual Railfan forbids it's use, saying it's offensive, but it's not a problem around here.
Even worse, on VRF chatrooms, it's like we are in Christian chat room, almost every word is offensive and not allowed to say. I think they take it way too seriously. Even if you wanna talk about assumptions whatever you see on live video w/ chat, they'll get pissed. They even will kick or ban you.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,193
Location
Socal
It's funny, Virtual Railfan forbids it's use, saying it's offensive, but it's not a problem around here.
Some rail fans do use it offensively, although most really don’t care and everyone here is pretty casual about it.
 

BalmyZephyr

Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
57
Location
Rhode Island
Is there a special name for people who chase trains to photograph them from the outside? Chasers? Recently we took the Reading Blue Mountain & Northern steam train from Reading to Jim Thorpe, absolutely great in the Super Dome. Our favorite thing was watching all the chasers and "local foamers" on Sunday morning. Half the people had tripods so they were serious. It made us realize that our locomotive must be stunning. We couldn't see it in our stations because we were 15 cars back!
 
Joined
Dec 26, 2014
Messages
3,143
Is there a special name for people who chase trains to photograph them from the outside?
The name I’ve heard the most for this in the United States is “railfan” (all one word).

I believe “trainspotter” (also all one word) is the most common in Britain, although our British AU friends can correct me if I’m wrong.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,193
Location
Socal
The name I’ve heard the most for this in the United States is “railfan” (all one word).

I believe “trainspotter” (also all one word) is the most common in Britain, although our British AU friends can correct me if I’m wrong.
Ditto. I used to railfan quite a lot, but have stopped doing so over the past year and a half. I've met Railfans as young as 6 or 7 before, filming and enjoying the trains.
 

BalmyZephyr

Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
57
Location
Rhode Island
Ditto. I used to railfan quite a lot, but have stopped doing so over the past year and a half. I've met Railfans as young as 6 or 7 before, filming and enjoying the trains.
Seems like railfan applies to fans in and out of trains, no? And trainspotters park themselves in one spot/station and count....? I'm interested in the ones who are literally chasing (and getting ahead of) a train in a car so as to photograph it multiple times. That's what we saw in PA last month, and what was done in the Vermonter video last summer. Train Chasers seem appropriate for them.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,193
Location
Socal
Seems like railfan applies to fans in and out of trains, no?
Yep, I'd call practically everyone on this forum a railfan, and anybody who spots too.

And trainspotters park themselves in one spot/station and count....?
Basically, many/most also film trains (see
)

I'm interested in the ones who are literally chasing (and getting ahead of) a train in a car so as to photograph it multiple times. That's what we saw in PA last month, and what was done in the Vermonter video last summer. Train Chasers seem appropriate for them.
I personally classify those as railfans too, same basic thing, it's just that they also chase the train too.
 

PeeweeTM

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
May 9, 2011
Messages
118
I believe “trainspotter” (also all one word) is the most common in Britain, although our British AU friends can correct me if I’m wrong.
As an engineer (in the Netherlands) I'm always trying to spot the spotter (and wave or honk depending circumstances).
Maybe I should start a website "spotthespotter.com" to post pictures of them... ;)
 

Danib62

Service Attendant
Joined
May 11, 2021
Messages
185
Location
Washington, DC
Even worse, on VRF chatrooms, it's like we are in Christian chat room, almost every word is offensive and not allowed to say. I think they take it way too seriously. Even if you wanna talk about assumptions whatever you see on live video w/ chat, they'll get pissed. They even will kick or ban you.
Raise your hand if you've been banned from VRF chat 🙋‍♂️
 

BalmyZephyr

Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
57
Location
Rhode Island
Yep, I'd call practically everyone on this forum a railfan, and anybody who spots too.


Basically, many/most also film trains (see
)


I personally classify those as railfans too, same basic thing, it's just that they also chase the train too.
Oh definitely. I am seeking a subset designation. So, everybody is a railfan. Some of those (not all) are trainspotters. Some (not all) trainspotters are chasers? Some railfans are chasers but not spotters? Or are all chasers considered spotters?
 

BalmyZephyr

Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 7, 2021
Messages
57
Location
Rhode Island
As an engineer (in the Netherlands) I'm always trying to spot the spotter (and wave or honk depending circumstances).
Maybe I should start a website "spotthespotter.com" to post pictures of them... ;)
YES this is my goal the next time I take that steam train in PA. One problem with the Super Dome on the Reading Blue Mountain (fall foliage excursion) is the glass doesn't go down very low. I had to sit up straight and crane my neck over to the window to see all the train chasers/spotters down below. I spent most of the trip standing actually. By the time I realized how many people were waving at and photographing our train, I wasn't prepared to photograph them. That reminds me, I meant to search YouTube, maybe there are videos of us.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
3,193
Location
Socal
Oh definitely. I am seeking a subset designation. So, everybody is a railfan. Some of those (not all) are trainspotters. Some (not all) trainspotters are chasers? Some railfans are chasers but not spotters? Or are all chasers considered spotters?
Chasers are spotters. 🙂
Raise your hand if you've been banned from VRF chat 🙋‍♂️
Not yet, but I’ve definitely disagreed with the mods on there sometimes.
 

Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,321
Location
Denver
There are various subcategories and as with 'foamer' one sort of needs the context to know whether it's a putdown or an affectionate bit of humor (or humour in Canada and the UK).

My father was (and at 98 is) a juice fan. When his club was founded in the 1940's there were hundreds of miles of Class I, II and interurban electric railways in the Pacific Northwest and there were serious attempts at electrifying "steam" railways.

Railway enthusiast is a term I've seen used in news media that didn't permit sneers about people who like trains (as compared to real men who like autos, planes, boats).

My favorite that makes a joke about even trying to label was ferroquinologist. I hope I spelled that right.

The Germans have eisenbahnfreund in common usage. As usual, the French sounds better: ami du rail.

I might be wrong but have the impression that European railways are more likely than here to be willing to hire young railfans.

And though I learned to say "the train is always late" in high school Russian, they must have a term for railfans. Out in Siberia in 2010, my train rolled out of the generic forest around a curve into a clearing and there was a 16-year-old or so kid with a camera. He must have hiked a fair way from his village to get that perfect shot of the sleeping car train, the Tomych. Someday we'll read a Trains magazine article on "trains of Siberia" and we'll see his photo credit.

The young guys in the first 1971 photo tipped me off to where employee timetables were disposed of and knew some good spots for photos. The second photo shows the tour group I was permitted to join up with on the Hamburg U-Bahn -- they spoke German at exactly my level!

1971 03 Hamburg.jpg
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Streetcar Motorman
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
161
Location
Lubec, ME
I was under the impression that in the UK "trainspotter" was originally someone that kept track of the numbers of the locos they saw, hoping to see every number in a class or seeing something exotic. I imagine this became less appealing as steam was replaced by diesels and DMU/EMUs.

As for the LSL I had always heard it referred to as the Late For Sure Limited. Oddly enough in our recent trip to the southwest from Mass the 2 LSL segments were the only ones that were on time 🤔
 

cassie225

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
May 30, 2012
Messages
338
Location
Louisiana
So I looked up former and railfan.still confused but who would get upset over those terms, just asking!!!
 

denmarks

Train Travel Enthusiast
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
626
Location
Chico, CA
What do you call someone who gets excited about train terminals and travel? I watch YouTube videos about trains and terminals around the world but I could not tell you the models of engines and cars.
 

basketmaker

Lead Service Attendant
Joined
Apr 19, 2018
Messages
253
Location
Brighton, CO (DEN but FMG-Preferred)
I've always just considered myself as a railfan or Amtrak supporter. As my rail interests are focused on Amtrak and not too much the freight side of railroading. Some freights are interesting such as military equipment, wind power generating blades or Boeing 737-Max bare fuselage movements. Also, some graffiti is spectacular. I think the word foamer makes people envision someone sick or inflicted with rabies and foaming at the mouth.
 
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