It is currently Sun Nov 19, 2017 6:44 am

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]




Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 58 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next
Author Message
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 6:13 am 

Joined: Fri Apr 26, 2013 5:56 pm
Posts: 89
Location: Ontario, Canada.
The time spent writing and reading this thread could have been better spent servicing a lubricator or polishing a fitting or two!


Last edited by Great Western on Sun Jul 14, 2013 7:55 am, edited 1 time in total.

Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:38 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
I don’t understand why this thread got moved to the “railfan” forum. The whole point was how the subject is dealt with by non-railfans. I doubt than many self-avowed railfans are asking why railfan is a dirty word.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Sat Jul 13, 2013 11:07 pm 

Joined: Mon Aug 23, 2004 2:14 pm
Posts: 457
Location: Essex, Connecticut, USA
Greetings:
I was hoping that Aarne was going to chime in with a story, but he hasn't...

So, Pere Marquette No.1225 is taking water in Ohio on it's way to pull New River trips.
A reporter is interviewing Aarne and asks: "All these people are dressed alike with engineer's hats and such, how can you tell them apart?"
Aarne says: "Its' easy, just listen to what they are talking about. The guys who work for the railroad talk about sex and when they are going to get home. The railfans talk about cameras and trains. The guys from Project 1225 just talk about money!"

Be well,
J.David
PS: Aarne: I hope I got your story right! JDC


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 4:45 am 

Joined: Wed May 01, 2013 12:01 pm
Posts: 67
Location: Surrey UK
Did you know you all sound like, and are all behaving exactly like, the overblown windbag rail fans you seem to be denigrating in this thread?

Ironic really.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 8:09 am 

Joined: Sun Oct 24, 2004 10:29 am
Posts: 316
Location: Schuylkill County, PA
What I've taken away from just the first page of this discussion is this:

people in the preservation industry have taken away the impression given off by the worst of the people they interact with. This is sort of a normal thing, but it's not smart or healthy.

example: I work at a store. Every day, I deal with incredibly stupid, obnoxious, inconsiderate, loudmouth, clumsy annoying people. In truth they're probably a very very small percentage of the overall public I interact with, but it's easy for me to start thinking of EVERY CUSTOMER as just another one of those pains in the keister.

The attitude towards "foamers" is just a more specific variation of this fallacy.

This terrifies me.

I've never worked in preservation, probably because all of my adult life I've never lived within 2 hours of any active railroad preservation movement. (I wouldn't even date a girl who lived two hours away, I don't have the means to travel that far to volunteer my time, even for something I find very worthwhile.) However, I've always been interested in trains, I thoroughly enjoy historical research, and I appreciate the historical value of railroads and preservation. I also find steam locomotives fascinating. By many definitions, I'm someone who is detrimental to railroad preservation. (I don't have a hat full of pins, and I've never shoved anyone to get a picture. And while I do wish my favorite locomotive was still operating, I don't complain about it.) I'd like to get into preservation. I have a strong aptitude for building things and mechanical work, but I'm scared that if I admit that I actually *like* trains, no one will want me around their railroad.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Sun Jul 14, 2013 10:18 am 

Joined: Sun May 15, 2005 2:22 pm
Posts: 1214
Randy Hees wrote:
I pulled the following (From “Dave”) from the Baldwin 26 - B&M 3713 thread… It is too important a statement to be left and lost within that larger thread.

Quote:
I don't really want to turn them into railfans; railfans are the problem, not the solution. Until railfans start to measure by the yardstick of the general public instead of their own they aren't worth the trouble of pleasing.



It is amazing that a business would classify its most enthusiastic patrons as a “problem.”

So, Dave says that the problem is that railfans measure by their own yardstick instead of the yardstick of the general public.

Does that mean that railfans have some knowledge of railroading whereas the general public does not? Is that the yardstick he is talking about?

It sounds to me like an expert resenting patrons who have some knowledge or expertise of railroading; as opposed to patrons who show up as an empty vessel waiting to be filled with knowledge.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Wed Jul 17, 2013 4:00 pm 

Joined: Wed Apr 24, 2013 10:17 pm
Posts: 81
Let me put it like this:

I'm a railfan. Looking at how everyone views them, I'd say I'm in the good category in all this ruckus. Back in 2010-2011, I was annoying but I did what I loved. As I matured with age I realized what I was doing wrong, what I could be doing in the right. As a long time fan of the Wilmington and Western Tourist Railroad, I'd visit often, ride the train, buy from the gift shop, donate and sign the guest book. I never tried to get in the way of anyone when I was out and about, I respected the ROW when chasing and was always nice when talked to by someone else. It was mid 2012 that my interest turned to what the railroad was doing as an organization. This new interest kinda threw my railfanning off and I began asking more questions, getting to know the people and attending events they held. Once December rolled around, I began to give back to what they provided me for 15 years.

I still railfan on a regular basis, but it's usually with friends or fellow volunteers at the railroad. I donate on a weekly basis and end up working as a Trainman every Sunday. This changed me in a sense.

When it comes to other railfans, I have a hard time seeing the world in their eyes. They want to constantly do this and that but I try to keep myself relaxed and out of the way. This is why I go out alone anymore.

TL;DR I give back and appreciate the railroad more than I mooch off of it anymore.

_________________
W&WRR Train & Engine Crew

http://www.wwrr.com/default.aspx


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 1:57 am 

Joined: Thu Nov 22, 2007 5:46 am
Posts: 2447
Location: S.F. Bay Area
Customers come in the front door. Railfans come in the back door.

The front door has clean bathrooms, appealing ride, and Thomas models for sale.

The back door has railfan candy (if unrestored) and the well worn path to the archive and shop.

In a good museum, both experiences are AWESOME. But just keep this in mind -- railfans are not customers. They are two completely different groups. One of them does the work, and the other one brings the money. If you ever think one is more important than the other... you are sunk.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 05, 2013 3:54 pm 
User avatar

Joined: Fri Oct 01, 2004 2:46 pm
Posts: 1903
Location: Pac NW, via North Florida
Cjbdiesel wrote:
I'm a railfan. Looking at how everyone views them, I'd say I'm in the good category in all this ruckus. Back in 2010-2011, I was annoying but I did what I loved. As I matured with age I realized what I was doing wrong, what I could be doing in the right-

How exactly can you being interested in trains - in itself - be wrong?
I'm into military history and I see this mindset all the time as well. There's a perception that you can't just be a fan of tanks, warplanes or military weaponry. If you're just a fan, you run into people all the time who denegrate you for not being in the military itself. I get this all the time when I display stuff at WW2 events or bring my 1944 Jeep to a car show. When find out I have indeed served in the military, they always feel that justifies my interest, as it someone who never served has no right to have the same interest level as myself. Heck, I got my comission in the Army because of my hobby, not the other way around.
And we have the same thing with trains. Proplr who work for RRs look down on the fans, and hilariously, people who volunteer for museums and tourist operations also look down on the fans (when often, the pro railroader also looks down on the museum people, something that gets forgotten often).
I understand that bicycyle rides also look down on people who follow the Tour De France as well but don't ride bikes.
And most people know that pilots often sneer at the non-flying public who shows up for air shows (never mind the fact that such shows wouldn't exist without said fans).
Can someone explain to me where it became 'wrong' to have an interest in something but don't do it for a living or donate all your time and money to others who feel more 'entitled' to RR history as you are?
I like trains. I often will go take photos of them from public land as a cheap way to pass a Sunday afternoon. I claim no ownership over the hobby (or any other hobby, for that matter as I have several different interests) and laugh at those who do.

_________________
Lee Bishop


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 1:14 pm 

Joined: Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:20 am
Posts: 5
Spot on Mr. Bishop. Thank you for your comments.

After reading the condescending comments made here on this subject it just sort of drains away some of the enthusiasm for railroading. I am an "old guy" who cannot remember a time when I was not enamored by railroading and especially steam. How better to hinder the passing of the baton so to speak to a younger generation than to infer that anyone who has a passing interest in trains must pass muster with the elite few or risk being called a... gulp...railfan.... oh the shame of it.

Hopefully the term "railfan" has not wholly become synonymous with a person who is ill mannered, selfish and a general nuisance at large. We already have previously established names and labels for those individuals I believe.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Tue Aug 06, 2013 5:00 pm 

Joined: Sun Jan 06, 2013 5:07 am
Posts: 66
Location: Illinois
I would just have to ask where preservation would be, or where the groups operating steam today would be without the railfan?....Now that said I also don't agree with the unsafe behavior I have seen by some either. I personally donate to a couple and support them the best I can...I wish I could give/do more but I do what I can.

_________________
Chris


The Norfolk & Western...home of the A's,Y's,M's,K's and the Mighty J's....well done Roanoke....well done.


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 5:24 am 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:25 am
Posts: 1025
Railfans cover a wide spectrum, from the dedicated historians and photographers who record the saga of railroads and rail-based transit, to the "weirdo foamers" who prompt comments like "Some village is missing an idiot" or "Who left the door open at the mental hospital?" I may be somewhat of an anomaly, because my interest in railways, after being dormant for several years, was rekindled by joining the local trolley museum. I did work for a Class I railroad for a short period, and one of my supervisors warned me about "staying in the closet" regarding my railfan side. Then I went to work in an electronic plant, and became the recognized expert on all things rail related. I'd even get "blamed" if someone was late because a freight train blocked the grade crossing south of the plant. It got even more interesting when I started working at an electric utility. One of our area techs even called up to let me know when the circus train passed his work location. Colleagues would give me vacation photos--I didn't even know there was a railway in Jamaica, mon. I think the person who made the point that we tend to remember the "outliers" (like the guy who sneaked into the SP West Colton Yard and rode cars down the classification hump with a home-movie camera), or the foamers who come out of the woodwork when the steam engine is running, but are nowhere to be seen when there's work to be done, and not the folks who just love trains and do however much they can to keep them running hit the proverbial nail on the head. "Railfan" is not a dirty word, it's just that some people who fit the description give the rest of us fits.

_________________
Bob Davis
Southern California


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Thu Aug 08, 2013 8:20 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:42 am
Posts: 1676
Location: Seattle, WA - Land of Coffee
Bob Davis wrote:
Like the guy who sneaked into the SP West Colton Yard and rode cars down the classification hump with a home-movie camera. "Railfan" is not a dirty word, it's just that some people who fit the description give the rest of us fits.


Riding cars down the yard hump. Now I've heard of everything. That one goes in the "over the top" category (or is that "over the hump?" Ha-ha.)

Seriously, I completely agree that most of us railfans (or rail "enthusiasts," if you like), are completely normal people (define "normal") who happen to have a hobby (or "interest") that truly engages them on a level that non-railfan types reserve for their hobbies. It's all about what we find enjoyable; what brings us the most excitement and satisfaction at the end of the day. I don't think "railfan" is a dirty word at all. It's a defining characteristic of who we are. Learn to embrace it.

Definition of the word "railfan" (from the RyPN Dictionary of Stuff):

railfan (rāl'făn) n. 1. One who is interested in railroads; including their operations, history, locations, structures, equipment, etc. 2. a. One who follows or chases trains. b. One who takes photographs or video of trains. c. One who spends their weekends and/or afternoons next to a railroad track; a track that is usually active. d. One who listens to the transmissions of trains. e. One who presents slide shows of photographs of trains; usually on a weekly or monthly basis in a small group setting. 3. a. One who operates or restores historic railroad equipment; either as a career or as a hobby. b. One who works at or volunteers at a railroad museum. c. One who collects or preserves historic railroad artifacts, documents, memorabilia, pictures, film, or books. d. One who conducts research on railroads; usually as a historian; usually in affiliation with or in employment of, railroad museums or historical societies. 4. a. One who follows or chases steam locomotives. b. One who takes photographs or video of steam locomotives; not matter where they are. c. One who gets up before dawn to stake out a location from which to see a steam locomotive(s). d. One who patiently listens to railroad transmissions announcing the general location of the approaching steam locomotive(s). e. One who is enamored with steam locomotives; sometimes, but not always, to the annoyance of others. syns: *FOAMER, RIVET COUNTER, SPOTTER, ENTHUSIAST, PHOTOGRAPHER, VIDEOGRAPHER, MODELER, HOBBYIST, COLLECTOR, HISTORIAN, ARCHIVIST, PRESERVATIONIST, RESTORATIONIST, MEMBER, DOCENT, INTERPRETER, DONATOR, PRESENTER, CONTRIBUTOR, ENCYCLOPEDIA. *The syns. do not necessarily apply to all those who would fit the definition of railfan; one may have some of the syns. applied to them, but not all of the syns.

Quite a lengthy definition, don't you think?
Thanks to Olin Anderson, Bob Davis, and everyone else who has contributed (there's one of those synonyms again!) to this thread, for providing that long list of definitions and synonyms. Anything I've missed?

_________________
Ted Brumberg


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Sun Aug 11, 2013 11:23 pm 

Joined: Sat Aug 28, 2004 3:25 am
Posts: 1025
Many years ago I had a colleague who was somewhat interested in trains, but not to the extent that I am. Since we knew each other fairly well, he felt free to say, "I'm a user but you're an addict!"
It may have been at this same workplace that one of the guys said, "I've got a railroad you've never heard of. My uncle was a brakeman on the Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville." And I replied, "Shortline in upstate New York. Ran trolley cars until 1938 and sold them to a line in Salt Lake City. (at the time) Still in business with diesel locomotives. Any more questions?"

_________________
Bob Davis
Southern California


Offline
 Profile  
 
 Post subject: Re: Thoughts on Railfans (a dirty word)
PostPosted: Mon Aug 12, 2013 4:53 am 
User avatar

Joined: Mon Aug 05, 2013 2:42 am
Posts: 1676
Location: Seattle, WA - Land of Coffee
Great story, Bob!

Bob Davis wrote:
Many years ago I had a colleague who was somewhat interested in trains, but not to the extent that I am. Since we knew each other fairly well, he felt free to say, "I'm a user but you're an addict!"


The Railfan Survey

Question #1: on a scale of 1 to 100, rate your railfan intensity level.
1 being "oh look, a train"
100 being "I don't care how long I have to drive, I'm gonna see that steamer!"

Bob Davis wrote:
It may have been at this same workplace that one of the guys said, "I've got a railroad you've never heard of. My uncle was a brakeman on the Fonda Johnstown & Gloversville." And I replied, "Shortline in upstate New York. Ran trolley cars until 1938 and sold them to a line in Salt Lake City. (at the time) Still in business with diesel locomotives. Any more questions?"


Sounds like a railfan hybrid of "Stump the Band" from Johnny Carson and "Jeopardy!"

_________________
Ted Brumberg


Offline
 Profile  
 
Display posts from previous:  Sort by  
Post new topic Reply to topic  [ 58 posts ]  Go to page Previous  1, 2, 3, 4  Next

All times are UTC - 5 hours [ DST ]


 Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 3 guests


You cannot post new topics in this forum
You cannot reply to topics in this forum
You cannot edit your posts in this forum
You cannot delete your posts in this forum
You cannot post attachments in this forum

Search for:
Jump to: