What type of member are you?

Help Support Amtrak Unlimited Discussion Forum:

Do you consider yourself a "Train Travel Enthusiast", a "Railroad Enthusiast", or both?


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Willbridge

50+ Year Amtrak Rider
AU Supporter
Joined
Mar 30, 2019
Messages
1,173
Location
Denver
I started out as a kid who was what was called a 'juice fan' -- electric railroading. For work reasons I spent a lot of time waiting for newspaper shipments in stations and airports, observing. It turned into a career.
 

Saddleshoes

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 12, 2015
Messages
78
1---I am old enough to remember a few old steam locomotives that ran by our house. That started my interest in trains in general.
2---I contend that travel should take place on the surface of the earth. One needs to be aware of the changes in the earth with travel. Flying over the earth makes that awareness impossible.
3---Travel is tedious if I have to do the driving.
4---Front yards are pretentious. Back yards revival how we really live.
5---I tend to have "Blue Collar" sensibilities.
6---I like the middle of the USA best.
Therefore: Travel by train is the best possible combination.


(Sorry for the ramble. I got started and it just had to come out.)
 

Eric in East County

Lead Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Jan 20, 2016
Messages
301
Location
East San Diego County
I’ve been a fan of trains and train travel for as long as I can remember. Having been born in 1946, in the first wave of baby boomers, I am old enough to remember seeing steam locomotives in operation in my hometown of Cleveland, Ohio.

While growing up, my favorite books and stories were ones about trains. Later, my favorite movies were ones that featured steam locomotives: Union Pacific, The Great Locomotive Chase, Night Passage and (when I was older and in high school) North by Northwest. I still have my 78-rpm record album of The Little Engine That Could and sometimes play it for my two little granddaughters (who have never seen a steam locomotive in operation.)

All through high school and junior high school I rode the Cleveland Rapid Transit heavy-rail system to downtown Cleveland at least once a week to shop and attend rehearsals.

In 1960, I made my first long distance train trip with a Scout group that traveled from Ohio to Colorado to attend the National Boy Scout Jamboree held in Colorado Springs that year. (I credit that experience as the beginning of my life-long interest in long distance train travel.)

I arrived on the scene too late to have photographed working steam locomotives while they could be seen in everyday operation on the nation’s railroads. Instead, and inspired by the railfan photos in books such as America’s Colorful Railroads by Don Ball, Jr., I stage and photograph O-gauge toy trains in diorama settings, trying to make them look as much like their full size counterparts as possible. (Every so often, I’ll have a photo published in Classic Toy Trains magazine, so perhaps you’ve seen one of them.)

Pat and I try to make at least one long distance train trip every year, and we’re already looking forward to the trip we have planned for 2022.
 
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Devil's Advocate

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Joined
May 24, 2010
Messages
12,715
Location
EOTL
It might help if you explain what you mean by "Tran Travel Enthusiast" and "Railroad Enthusiast" ... what are the differences? Some of us may answer based on what we "think" you mean and may not really be on point for what you are actually asking.
Agreed.

For instance, I support train travel for passengers and freight, and find many railroad topics interesting, but I'm not enthusiastic about railroads in the sense of supporting Union Pacific or Norfolk Southern.
 

Sidney

OBS Chief
Joined
Jul 12, 2020
Messages
620
I guess I would be considered a train travel enthusiast. My first long distance train ride was in 1986 in Coach from Florida to New York and I was hooked. My next was on the Southwest Chief four years later and I marveled at the Sightseer Car. My first decade was only Coach and I began riding just to ride every year. I have been on every long distance route multiple times and it never gets old.

I'm 72 now and the thrill of seeing my train arriving at my stop is still there. These days I normally go by sleeper but I grabbed that $299 railpass deal and spent almost a month riding overnight for one night and visiting different areas.

Only downside for me is finding low buckets to continue my passion of riding. They are getting harder and harder to find.
 
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jphjaxfl

Conductor
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 24, 2005
Messages
1,241
Location
Jacksonville, FL
I was born in 1948 . My Dad worked for the New York Central in Illinois. I started out traveling by train when I was less than a year old. We traveled to visit my Grandmother in Council Bluffs, Iowa which was a big Railroad town back then. There were 4 railroad depots lined up next to each other in the south part of town and 2 more on the north part of town. Back then when we traveled, it was always by train with the option of different railroads and trains. In the early years, It was mostly Rock Island, Burlington, Illinois Terminal and Louisville and Nashville. I am happy Amtrak started in 1971 as I do not believe passenger trains would exist were it not for Amtrak.
 

caravanman

Engineer
Joined
Mar 22, 2004
Messages
4,307
Location
Nottingham, England.
I enjoy the travel aspects, although I do admire some rail architecture and rolling stock.
I guess a train travel fan mainly enjoys the ride, a railroad enthusiast either supports the principle, or is very knowlegable about the mechanics of the trains and infrastructures. Some both of course!
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,907
Location
Oregon Coast
If railroading is in your blood... than one can say they like all things railroad. Back in the 60's I remember riding the North Shore trolly line down to Chicago... that was a thrill! But earliest memories are of taking the NYC from Schenectady to the Big Apple. I spent many years in the basement constructing elaborate HO gauge railroad sets. I love all things railroad!

The Old North Shore Line.png
 

Trollopian

Service Attendant
AU Supporter
Joined
Sep 19, 2014
Messages
172
Location
Washington, DC and Pittsburgh, PA
Both. (Though far less knowledgeable than many, many others on this site.) A fan of train travel, of railroads, railroad history, historic train stations, trains in literature and film, and much else. I'm an economist by profession and now that I'm nearing retirement I toy with the idea of going back to grad school to get a Ph. D. in economic history. Dissertation topic would be how trains knit together the English economy and society, as depicted in the Victorian novel. (I'm thinking Eliot's Middlemarch, Trollope's Rachel Ray, Gaskell's Cranford, and many others.) How's that for interdisciplinary? Nah, I'd probably never complete it.
 

PaTrainFan

OBS Chief
Joined
May 1, 2017
Messages
524
Location
Pittsburgh, Pa.
Both. (Though far less knowledgeable than many, many others on this site.) A fan of train travel, of railroads, railroad history, historic train stations, trains in literature and film, and much else. I'm an economist by profession and now that I'm nearing retirement I toy with the idea of going back to grad school to get a Ph. D. in economic history. Dissertation topic would be how trains knit together the English economy and society, as depicted in the Victorian novel. (I'm thinking Eliot's Middlemarch, Trollope's Rachel Ray, Gaskell's Cranford, and many others.) How's that for interdisciplinary? Nah, I'd probably never complete it.
Even if you don't complete it you would find the research compelling, gain a great amount of knowledge and be enriched from it. You may still find outlets to publish your work.
 

denmarks

Train Travel Enthusiast
Joined
Sep 21, 2003
Messages
599
Location
Chico, CA
Train Travel Enthusiast - person who goes on a train for the excitement of travel and the views.
Railroad Enthusiast - person who can name every type of engine and car on a train and their histories.
I know it is a little vague.
 

dwebarts

Train Attendant
Joined
Aug 27, 2021
Messages
62
Location
Bethesda MD
My first trains of any type would have been the subways and streetcars of Toronto in the '60s as a kid. Detroit was pretty car-focused at the time.

My first non-local train would've been between Munich and Innsbrook in 1973, on a "school" trip in eighth grade.

Of course, I neglected to answer the question. I'm a little of both, though the past few decades have skewed in favor of being a Train Travel Enthusiast.

My first job was in a hobby store. I started the day before the National Model Railroad Association's convention started in the Hotel attached by people-mover to the mall. I quickly learned any lingo of the hobbyist aspect that I didn't know already.
 
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dlagrua

Engineer
AU Supporter
Joined
Nov 24, 2009
Messages
3,285
Location
Hillsborough, NJ
When growing up in the 1950's my family never had the money to travel so I never left Brooklyn, NY until I was in my early 20's. Then around the early 70's, now out of college and working, I started traveling the East Coast from Maine to Florida but exclusively by automobile. I then found employment as a regional manager and began flying every other week. I disliked the experience and never felt comfortable. Then my wife and myself began sporadic airline trips until the late 90's and she too disliked the experience.
Around the year 2000 we decided to start traveling by passenger rail and we both enjoyed it. That started a 20 year love affair with Amtrak until 2021 when the sleeper prices rose to be not affordable. We tried flying again this year first class and it was terrible. Three hours to get to Newark airport, park the car, bus to the airport, then 2 hours in the security line only to make the plane by 5 minutes. Then we arrived in Phoenix. It took about an hour to get the luggage, another hour to bus to the car rental area and finally we were on the road for another 2 1/2 hours to get to Flagstaff. It was exhausting. We still greatly prefer the comfort and relaxed atmosphere of the train and hopefully can afford another LD train trip soon.
 

Cal

Foamer
Joined
Jan 23, 2021
Messages
2,913
Location
Socal
I enjoy the travel aspects, although I do admire some rail architecture and rolling stock.
I guess a train travel fan mainly enjoys the ride, a railroad enthusiast either supports the principle, or is very knowlegable about the mechanics of the trains and infrastructures. Some both of course!
I'd say I'm both, although I'm not that knowledgeable about the mechanics!

And on a different note, subways and light rail has never done it for me.
 

20th Century Rider

Conductor
Joined
Jan 26, 2020
Messages
1,907
Location
Oregon Coast
I enjoy the travel aspects, although I do admire some rail architecture and rolling stock.
I guess a train travel fan mainly enjoys the ride, a railroad enthusiast either supports the principle, or is very knowlegable about the mechanics of the trains and infrastructures. Some both of course!
I enjoy the scenic esthetics, design, technology, as well as the sentimental values that rail travel brings... around the world... but am also aware of the history human abuses in construction of rail lines. We live in a very imperfect world and seldom are we able to get it right.

bigimage_large.jpg

 

DonNewcomb

Train Attendant
Joined
Jun 11, 2019
Messages
86
"Neither" should be an choice. I'm an interested observer because of the long-standing suspension of service along the northern Gulf Coast. I enjoy travel by train. I enjoy travel by ship. I even enjoy travel by plane, provided it's business class or better. I like to have options.
 

neroden

Engineer
Joined
Feb 23, 2014
Messages
8,781
Location
Ithaca, NY
I mean, I'm in it for the travel, but not for the excitement or the views, for the predictability. The first trains I was a fan of were the Boston T. I like being able to travel without walking, biking, or driving; I like the reliability of the map. I like the reliability of timetable or headway operations. (Amtrak, not so great on that.)

I also do like studying the history and technical details to some extent; passenger car design and station design is fascinating, one of those fields where competing utilitarian purposes are paramount but there's still room for aesthetics, like architecture in general. I still love clerestory cars, and it's a pity they never solved their structural weaknesses; it's a fascinating lighting solution for the period before cheap electric lighting. Signalling is very interesting. I have pretty close to no interest in locomotives, however -- dull.
 

AmtrakMaineiac

Train Attendant
Joined
Sep 2, 2021
Messages
67
Location
Lubec, ME
Both. I find train travel the most relaxing way to see the country. But there is also a bit of railfan in me going back to the days growing up in England alongside the London Tilbury and Southend that was still 100% steam at the time. Also being a volunteer motorman / conductor at a trolley museum has given me a taste of what working on a railroad is like, not that our 1 and 1/2 mile line is anything like a real RR but we do have rulebooks and have to be qualified, deal with the public, etc.
 
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