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View Full Version : Railfanning is........


Aaron
08-05-2004, 07:58 PM
What does railfanning mean to you? How do you railfan, do you sit in a lawn chair by the tracks, or chase them down at a 100MPH on the highway? What do you bring with you when railfanning? Simply asked, "RAILFANNING IS...(you fill in the blank)

oltmannd
08-06-2004, 07:15 PM
It's going a bit out of my way on errands to see if the signal at Gloster has been cleared. (and then hanging around for a while to watch the train go by)

Aaron
08-07-2004, 12:01 AM
Today I was out at CN Newtonville and railfanning was quite relaxing. Grabbed the scanner the camera the lawnchair and sat on the double wood bridge (CP & CN run beside each other in newtonville and on nichols rd there is a double bridge, one for each railraod). Railfanning was just a quite time outside. Then a group of railfans came and railfanning was a social event for them, I'd have to say it was a good time with these new found rail friends.

cmherndon
08-07-2004, 04:31 AM
To a few central Kentucky railfans, including myself, railfanning is a....

Deathmarch - An expedition which sometimes exceeds 24 hours, with no sleep and little food, all in the pursuit of early morning and late night photos that the GERF's, buffs and WGRF's are too lame to get, and usually leads to the phrase "This is stupid" more than once during a trip.

Aaron
08-07-2004, 04:46 AM
Hey Caleb,

Watch what you say, I think I fall under the WGRF catagory! :lol:

Ween
08-07-2004, 06:45 AM
RAILFANNING IS...

Relaxing.

It's nice to get trackside and just enjoy being outside. The quiet is nice, but too much quiet is bad (read: no trains going by). I usually have a bottle of water, yellow foam hearing protection, and a set of extra batteries. If it's super hot, I'll stay in my car and listen to talk radio. Or AC/DC. Either way, it's all good!

Warren
08-07-2004, 09:25 PM
I love the smell of creosote in the morning, it smells like victory! :D
It really is a nice relaxing hobby. During my endeavors to get a shot I get to see all kinds of wildlife and and enjoy plenty of quiet R&R. I like the chair and ear protection idea! erm what did you say? :lol:

iheartfreights
08-07-2004, 10:17 PM
...................

cmherndon
08-08-2004, 04:43 AM
Hey Caleb,

Watch what you say, I think I fall under the WGRF catagory! :lol:


Well, I don't know you so I can't be the judge of that. We did run into a few WGRF's today. Guys who shot into the sun (no joke) and then whined about their photos being rejected off of here. Go figure. I'd say as long as you don't act like a know-it-all type person, you wouldn't fall under that category.

Aaron
08-08-2004, 09:40 AM
Caleb,

Well I fall under the WGRF to an extent. I will take a shot into the sun depending on the power. If I see a "bluebird" on CP I am going to be taking that photo, and I am not too worried about how it turns out. My little rule of thumb is to take pictures for myself, and screw what other people think. If a picture is good then I am going to send it to RP. I always take roster shots, since I am into getting photos of all the units. So my pictures are for me, and if they turn out nice then send them away for RP. Some rejections I have been disapointed about but you know what, who cares ( a hard lesson learnt ) but honestly, I am taking the photos for my own purposes. I am a WGRF and damn proud of it! Also just like to mention, I love night shots. I personally think that they are the best photos (except for scenic shots during the fall and winter months)

E.M. Bell
08-08-2004, 03:48 PM
Railfanning is...

Spending the day on the CNO&TP with so many trains you dont have time to stop for 5 hours, bagging lots of EMD's, then lunch and a hot fudge sunday at a local dairy pimp....followed by a nap in the truck under a shade tree while waiting for the next round to start.....

E.M. Bell
08-08-2004, 03:59 PM
oh yea..i almost forget...

"and spending the rest of the day trapped in the truck with Caleb AFTER said Double bacon cheesburger fries and hot fudge sunday lunch...somehting your sinus will never forget"

:roll:

cmherndon
08-08-2004, 05:32 PM
oh yea..i almost forget...

"and spending the rest of the day trapped in the truck with Caleb AFTER said Double bacon cheesburger fries and hot fudge sunday lunch...somehting your sinus will never forget"

:roll:

Or being trapped in the truck with you after lunch at the Krystal in Danville. That's a little worse than the local Dairy Pimp. :lol:

Aaron
08-08-2004, 10:20 PM
railfanning is sitting out watching CP and getting this...
http://www.viatrain.net/1019.jpg
You dont often see these on CP and I know this picture is not RP quality (hence why it got rejected) but I still say it is pretty cool!

cmherndon
08-10-2004, 06:04 AM
A new one...

Railfanning is going out early in the morning to shoot an officer's special, only to find out that it's not running that day, so four hours are spent watching MoW replace ties (A very interesting operation though).

StL-rail
08-10-2004, 09:14 AM
Railfanning is . . .

Relaxing, and exciting. I love to go out and find new spots to shoot from, I am always meeting new people, and having loads of fun. I just have to remember to be home in time for dinner. :(

Aaron
08-10-2004, 04:50 PM
Or at least bring dinner with you!

canadianrailfan
08-15-2005, 10:13 AM
All I can say is, if I didn't have Railfanning, I would go completely Insane. :D

4kV
08-15-2005, 12:32 PM
Railfanning is............... expensive as hell nowadays with gas being so high.

ssw9662
08-15-2005, 02:25 PM
For me railfanning is going out to my local railfan spot with a camera, scanner, tripod, and film, and letting the trains come to me (Though sometimes I will chase trains). :)

trainmonster
08-16-2005, 10:43 PM
Railfanning is... (because I like to drive about as much as having a case of dysentary and it SUCKS in Pa.) ...trying to control the urge to jump out of the car and choke the living shit out of some asshole that desperately needs it. Not to mention that the towns must be in a conspiracy with the local front-end shop.

The rewards come after I see the pics on the computer. But, no, the physical act of getting those pics... not really fun.

Rich

mtrails
08-17-2005, 01:54 AM
Railfanning is... (because I like to drive about as much as having a case of dysentary and it SUCKS in Pa.) ...trying to control the urge to jump out of the car and choke the daylights out of some jerk that desperately needs it. Not to mention that the towns must be in a conspiracy with the local front-end shop.

The rewards come after I see the pics on the computer. But, no, the physical act of getting those pics... not really fun.

Rich
See corrected words in above quote. Remember, there are teens on this site.

BNSF_SD40-2B
08-17-2005, 02:04 AM
See corrected words in above quote. Remember, there are teens on this site.

So you're saying "we teens" can't handle the language....... :wink:

Pat Lorenz
08-17-2005, 04:05 AM
Too me its just getting out and enjoying the elements that make the area i live in wonderful. Great desert landscapes, open land, great sunsets and a rail line that is full of potental. I love going out early in the morning with my camera stuff, triopd and scanner and making a trip where ever i feel going. Getting there and just letting the trains come to me, if its good, sure i will chase it to the next good spot. Railfanning is just relaxing time.

John J. Poshepny
08-18-2005, 05:41 AM
Railfanning is relaxing, Getting out of the house.

Slopes09
08-18-2005, 05:44 AM
Railfanning is........

Well, at any rate, it means a hell of a lot more when you're stuck at home on crutches and can't get the hell out of your house to go do it. If these weren't the circumstances though, it would be.......
..waking up early(9 AM) to get on my bike and bike the 2-3 miles to Lemont, down a mile long steep hill that I know I will somehow have to climb up after a several mile long bike ride. Then its riding along my favorite trail and jumping off my bike and shooting through the 100 feet of brush between me and my train, risking poison ivy and ticks just to get a picture of that Dash 9 still wearing Santa Fe paint. And lately, its been sitting for an hour in the weeds sneezing your head off while you wait for the next train to come. Its while waiting for a train, seeing a coyote pop onto the tracks 100 feet ahead of you and watching it chase down a bird it just found, and stopping and watching that snake you just realized is in front of your bike. Its a hell of a lot of work, but worth it for the pictures, and just to get out of the house for once on my own.

mtrails
10-07-2005, 01:51 AM
Railfanning is:

Walking in 4" of snow in sneakers, with three pairs of socks on, and wrapped in cling wrap, in -16 degree temps to get a snow shot.
[photoid=91208]
Standing in a wet and windy snowstorm.
[photoid=121126]
Bathing in Insect Repellant, before hiking up a steep, slippery hill, to get a shot, hoping the swarms of insects buzzing around your head don't get in the way!
[photoid=79937]
Sweating in the heat, water bottles on ice in the car, waiting for 4 hours to catch one southbound, after 3 westbounds have smiled and waved past you.
[photoid=114634]
Deliberately setting the alarm for 0430 to make a drive to catch a choice meet.
[photoid=115991]
Standing on a bridge, with no shoulder, while traffic is passing (and honking sometimes), to get a shot.
[photoid=91405]
Walking a 1/4 mile, through a field of foxtail weeds, then end up on private property (no fencing or signs), to get a backdrop for a photo, hoping the farmer doesn't drive up with his shotgun hanging out his window!
[photoid=84893]
Trespassing.
[photoid=80225]
Just being outdoors, enjoying the serenity.
[photoid=112671]

To say the least, it's challenging. I love it.

SD70MACMAN
10-07-2005, 02:20 AM
Railfanning is:

Walking in 4" of snow in sneakers, with three pairs of socks on, and wrapped in cling wrap, in -16 degree temps to get a snow shot.


HERE HERE mtrails! Cept im wearing socks and sandals and bags over my feet to keep them from getting wet.

Crusing down the highway at 90mph [my car maxes out at 90] listening to music, drinking a coke, and relaxing. It means spending a day not worrying about anything else. No homework, school, job, NOTHING.

NicTrain35
10-07-2005, 02:33 AM
Railfanning is........doing what you enjoy doing the most.....enjoying the fresh air watching trains roll by.....hitting that shutter button on your camera photographing a train.

Andrew Blaszczyk (2)
10-07-2005, 02:38 AM
Railfanning is....

Shielding the camera from miniscule ice crystals that are hitting you in the face at over 40mph while you wait (outside of the car) for an eastbound for a "bad weather" shot.

[photoid=42830]

Spending two and half days on both the east-west and north-south KCS lines...only to shoot a BNSF Powder River coal train in sweet light.

[photoid=112763]

Traveling thousands of miles to the BNSF transcon. in Missouri to hopefully get an ES44AC with a new symbol and in reality end up getting a UP SD70M and a CSX SD50 that you can go 30 miles to see.

[photoid=116278]

HISTORIC:

[photoid=102561]
Engine retired in April 2005.

[photoid=113708]
One of the three last streamliners in NA.

[photoid=113525]
Almost 100 year old rail still sits in the old MEC yard in Machias.

PERSONAL:

[photoid=81310]
[photoid=81313]
[photoid=120154]

The entire family taking pictures of a rusty MEC boxcar next to the old MEC freight house in Machias, ME.This being on the drive up to Canada after stopping at SUbway fro lunch, of course. (See attached)

But, finally, railfanning is the best hobby ever. You get to travel around the country or other countries, seeing beautiful scenery, meeting great people, and taking photos of truely remarkable machines that built this country.

[photoid=112934]

bnsf sammy
10-07-2005, 02:50 AM
railfanning is great time with friends, not worrying about homework, getting to see a train loop itself at the Tehachapi Loop, feeling like your going to get blown away as a 85mph amtrak passes you, speeding through the forest roads in the Cajon Pass to catch a train. Most of all, railfanning is fun! :)

brunswickrailfan
10-07-2005, 04:10 AM
...a total experience. Artistically and physically.

[photoid=107069]

Nothing like getting soaking wet for a timeless image...

Slopes09
10-07-2005, 05:10 AM
Railfanning is:

Walking in 4" of snow in sneakers, with three pairs of socks on, and wrapped in cling wrap, in -16 degree temps to get a snow shot.
[photoid=91208]

Sweating in the heat, water bottles on ice in the car, waiting for 4 hours to catch one southbound, after 3 westbounds have smiled and waved past you.
[photoid=114634]

Standing on a bridge, with no shoulder, while traffic is passing (and honking sometimes), to get a shot.
[photoid=91405]

To say the least, it's challenging. I love it.

Well said, though try standing on that bridge in the middle of Chicago rush hour. My photography teacher thought I was crazy after I showed her the prints I had developed. My parents still don't know about that little stunt, though thank god my dad wasn't in that line of traffic. :grin:

dodi4200
10-07-2005, 07:03 PM
railfaning is ------> (spending my time with trains)

hoydie17
10-09-2005, 07:10 AM
...... An adventure, I'm always getting into some sort of mischief near the tracks, nothing overly dangerous mind you. But almost always drawing a pointing finger, and a hearty laugh from a train crew for my antics.

It's sitting trackside with my scanner/radio, camera and accessories, a cold drink portable DVD player or magazine and watching my laptop and wireless ATCS display to see what the dispatcher is lining up.

Then when that foreign power (I'm usually on CSX territory) comes bounding through, I'm off on a chase to the next stop signal and contemplating different shots the whole time. .. "Should I stop here and shoot, or continue down to the trestle, maybe the tunnel?"

It's a good time with good people B-S'n on a Saturday Night watching the busy B&O pass through Riverdale Park, MD.

Save The Wave
10-09-2005, 06:40 PM
Railfanning is........

Always an adventure.

cactus65
10-09-2005, 09:40 PM
... unfortunately not done enough for me. Being the father of 3,and the Cubmaster of the local CubScout pack, their are alot of other demands for my time. Only get maybe a dozen chances a year to actually get out and do so. Just try and make the most of the time that I do have to do it. Have several good hot spots within 100 miles of here so can usually catch quite a few trains when I am out. Fortunately, I can always take the "scenic" route to go see my daughter at college, that is US Rt. 45 thru central Ill. which BTW happens to parallel the CN/IC mainline and takes you thru such "hot spots" as Tolono(CN-NS interchange) and Tuscola (CN-UP interchange). All of you "young-un's", enjoy the time you have now to go and do as much as you can now

CG_F45
10-15-2005, 09:28 PM
Railfanning is...

Chasing the same UP SD70MAC for 2 hours to get a better shot of it, even though you know that there will be another one on the next train :-D

chauncey87
10-23-2005, 08:45 AM
Railfanning is...

...riding as well as photographing. In fact, for me it was about riding originally. The photography part came by accident. I'm a passenger rail fan (freight doesn't do it for me as much - one, you can't ride a freight train; two, there's very little freight action in the NYC area (especially Brookyln, I was a block away from a line yet I'd only see a train on average 3 or 4 times a month!), and three, I find passenger rail operations more interesting. I would just hop on the subway and go wherever, riding my favorite equipment, or going to areas I've never been to before, or riding high speed stretches. Nothing beats riding at the front window barreling down the East River tunnels at 60 MPH. My computer science class made us do a web page, and all I could think of was trains, so I borrowed my mom's crappy HP Photosmart 318 and went out, in the evening. Of course, the shots were all garbage. But it was fun, and it gave me an excuse to get out on the train more often. I've come a long way since then but I'm not up there yet.

It's always been easy for me, since the train was right there, and I could walk 2 blocks and take photos, or get on the train and be anywhere in the system in under 2 hours. The challenge was just trying to get rare equipment, a rare angle, or rare scenery. Even when I was living in Reading, PA for a short spell, I had a line running under my house, a wye around the corner and a yard a block away. Wherever I go there must always be trains, and public transit. Driving sucks. I'd go crazy if I had to drive just to get to the nearest rail line to take photos.

It figures now that I'm in Philly and I have freaking 30th Street Station (Amtrak, CSX, NJ Transit, SEPTA) out of my dorm window and just 4 blocks away, and convenient access to the subway and trolleys, that I dont have time to do it anymore! College has eaten up a lot of my time (and money!), and I haven't gone out once since I've been here. Hopefully I'll get in a good blitz during Thanksgiving break - although I'm so busy I don't even know if I'll have time to plan it!

CDTX_2051
10-24-2005, 03:41 AM
Railfanning is:

Listening to the sound of a train whistle wail mournfully at night and seeing the headlights appear in the distance...

Filming long movies from the front window of an Amtrak cab car...

Enjoying the weather (or complaining about it, depending on the season)...

Hearing a dispatcher read off a track bulletin and knowing you will soon see that train...

jweber33
10-27-2005, 03:06 AM
Railfanning is done either on the way to work or on the day off.

[photoid=118409]

[photoid=114795]

mtrails
10-27-2005, 05:07 AM
This is such a great topic. I sometimes feel i'm "out there" when I am railfanning, thinking to myself, what is the crew of the train commenting about me, either personaly, or otherwise. My roommate thinks I'm nuts, and jokes that everytime a train horn sounds through the living room, I should be jumping into my car to go chase it. Look, I like to railfan, but I'm not insane! It's really nice to hear how everyone percieves, and commits to railfanning. It's a hobby, and much more, especially when you are driving home from work, and the engineer of a train your passing along the the road, spots your car and blasts the horn and throws a hand out to you, though you've never met one another.

Enrique
10-27-2005, 11:48 PM
Hi everybody

This is my first post in this forum.

For me to be a railfan means to enjoy watching, listening, riding or reading about trains... Also means to be thankful with my wife when in our holydays I ask for free time for training (taking pictures, using public train transport -metro or tramway- or visiting any railway museum).

Railfanning is to be sad when in Mexico there is no passenger trains but some touristics...

Uf... railfanning means a lot of things for me.

:wink:

makintrax
12-28-2005, 02:33 PM
Hi Enrique,

I'm new here too. I guess I'm blessed to live in Canada and be able to take an rail adventure or two occasionally. Thankfully I too have an understanding wife who encourages me to follow my interests.

For me railfanning is learning of railways current and past and being able to take photos when I can. It's also traveling to museums and as said above using the train as a vehicle for adventure.

Hope you enjoy your time here.

Kevin

signmasters
12-28-2005, 06:34 PM
Welcome new members this is a great place if you need help there's a lot of knowledge and cool railfans here that's railfanning have fun and and stay safe.

makintrax
12-28-2005, 06:39 PM
Thanks for the welcome signmaster. There are so many things I'd love to learn about railroads and how best to photograph trains.

firegator
12-29-2005, 06:49 AM
I'm afraid I have to go with the guys who call railfanning an adventure-- Regardless of all of your planning, you never know what the heck is going to happen-- Trains in the hole, meets, problems (pulled drawbars, broken knuckles, ripped-off air lines, animals on the tracks), or what the power consist is-- These days, the power looks like a rainbow from a distance--Also, one can't forget the FBI, CIA, local and do-dah cops, and whoever else wants to mind your business-- The most common question I get asked is: "Why would someone want to take pictures of trains?"-- Really, it is quite relaxing; My dog Molly is usually with me, along with food, drinks, extra clothing, and Pepto-Bismol, in case I eat at one of the places others have mentioned-- Regards, da Gator

Christopher Muller
12-29-2005, 02:08 PM
"RAILFANNING IS...


an out. It is nice to be able to be trackside, and care about nothing but the trains.

At times, railfanning can be dangerous. Frostbite can kill in minutes when the windchill is -60F.

[photoid=90027]
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=90027

Railfanning is peaceful. Sometimes you have to be adventurous to get a photo when there aren't any movements.

[photoid=104579]
http://www.railpictures.net/viewphoto.php?id=104579

cblaz
12-31-2005, 05:57 AM
A little late to the party, I know, but here is what railfanning is to me.

Railfanning is....

...driving halfway across the country to see something historic, unique, scenic, etc. and getting plenty of shots to make it all worthwhile.
[photoid=90139]

...driving halfway across the country and getting skunked, but coming away with one or two shots that make it all worth it.
[photoid=73498]
[photoid=116358]

....living your whole life 10 minutes from a rail line, and finally, after 20+ years, catching a train at a spot you've past hundreds of times.
[photoid=128145]

...halfheartedly taking a photo and having it turn out to be one of your most favorite, unique, or best shot.
[photoid=91562]
[photoid=91649]

...lastly, railfanning is being at your favorite location, and no matter how many times you've been there before, you always get excited about being there and you always seem to see something new, whether it be a new angle or different power. It's times like that that make you keep going back out, whether it's sunny or snowing or dark, 90 degrees or 30 degrees below. That's what railfanning is to me.
[photoid=121732]
[photoid=122015]

JBCagle7073
12-31-2005, 05:50 PM
Railfanning is my answer to golf.

I once thought I wanted to golf, but I began to realize that Mark Twain was right when he said golf is a good walk spoiled. I got tired of chasing down balls in out of the way places.

Instead of spending money on greens fees, clubs, balls, and all the other extras that golf requires I deceded to start spending it on cameras and the toys that go along with them.

At least when I get done railfanning I have a product that I can enjoy later, and memories of fun times with friends going to and during shooting.

norfolksouthern
06-29-2009, 06:55 PM
Railfanning is be positives!:D

- David

TrainFanNZ
07-01-2009, 05:03 AM
Railfanning is . . . . . in my DNA!

Its about enjoying what Trains have to offer, the sound, the cargo, the technology that keeps it moving. Enjoying some peaceful time by yourself or with a group of fellow friends.

Oh, and of course, the thrill of capturing "that" special shot.