trainspotters

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MidnightFlyer

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I don't really think you can compare being interested in trains with being gay, they're two very different issues :| I don't let people know I like railways because it's just something I prefer people not to know...
 

Beveridges

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Trainspotting is the number 1 thing people are ashamed to admit above anything else. It's because the average response you'd get from most people is horrendous.

However if I wasnt into trains I probably wouldnt have this job now that pays £30k basic or £50k with overtime, and had this just 2 years into my working career. I'd probably be sat in an office on close to minimum wage.
 
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telstarbox

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I don't really think you can compare being interested in trains with being gay, they're two very different issues :| I don't let people know I like railways because it's just something I prefer people not to know...

Having said that, there seems to be a correlation between the two, as discussed here before.

It's also the most male-biased pursuit I've ever come across, more than football, rugby league or even army/RAF cadets!
 

BestWestern

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It always puzzles me why 'Spotting' became such a punchbag for society. Just a few decades ago it was taken for granted that young lads would go out looking at trains in their spare time, sneeking into sheds for off the record tours and suchlike, it was seen as a perfectly normal, healthy interest. And then all of a sudden it seems to have stopped being socially acceptable and become the butt of everyone's jokes, how strange?! I don't spot myself, but I must admit that I am aware that many people of my own age would doubtless find it 'sad' that I have an interest in the railways, although working within the industry perhaps allows me some leeway as an 'excuse'!

There are other perfectly 'acceptable' hobbies and activities which to my mind are no more exciting, but which manage to remain trendy to most. Fishing would be a good example, I cannot grasp the appeal of sitting on a damp bank dangling string into a murky river for hours on end, yet nobody would take the p*ss if I said I was going to spend next weekend doing it. If I said I was going to spend it standing on the end of a platform however, that would be very different!

For the record though it isn't just trains, there are quite a number of aviation enthusiasts (or plane spotters) around our place and they get ribbed just the same :|
 

asylumxl

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I wouldn't say I'm a spotter, I don't write down numbers or anything of that ilk, but if that's what someone enjoys I will not criticise them.

It seems that nowadays, if you have an interest in something that's everyday and routine, such as trains, you will get flack for it. Personally I enjoy the travel most of all and even have many local journeys I enjoy.

When some people have tried to make fun of me anyway I have just said "I can go to any station and enjoy my hobby, how much do you travel and spend to enjoy yours?". That always seems to shut them up. Tends to be the idiots who pay stupid money for a season ticket to watch their rubbish team be defeated over and over... :lol:
 

Robinson

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I wouldn't really say I was a "spotter" myself; I prefer to spend my time travelling by train than sitting on the platform and just watching the trains go by. But each to their own I say; and I will often look out for what's coming through while waiting for my train when I do travel...
 

trentside

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For me - railway enthusiasm is about riding on trains and lines, as well as seeing new places. I log my journeys and the trains I travel on, but I don't consider myself to be a 'spotter', as I don't really have an interest in standing on the end of a platform and writing down unit and loco numbers. That wouldn't be fun for me, but I'm sure many people really enjoy that activity and probably wouldn't be so keen to spend long days out travelling round the country.

As for being 'open' about being an enthusiast, it depends on the person. I'm open about my enthusiasm with my mum and grandma, but less so with my dad as he tends to 'leg pull' (though he likes getting fares advice!). As for my friends - I don't really discuss my interest, we have many other things to talk about and I like having something that is 'mine'. I have always told my girlfriends about it though, I've done it gently and not used the word 'enthusiast' and gone for 'keen traveller', which is largely true. :lol:
 

Johnuk123

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I was a spotter at school but morphed into an "enthusiast" around 16.

I don't look down on anybody of any age who enjoys collecting numbers.

I don't think Roy Cropper has done the hobby any favours.
 

Darandio

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I don't think Roy Cropper has done the hobby any favours.

:lol: I don't think it is a fictional soap character that you should worry about!

The people who don't do it any favours are those that believe they are above the rules. Although we could be somewhat morphing those who take numbers or take photographs, the likes of those that trespass in order to get a good shot are the ones that don't do the hobby any favours.

Although these two elements of the hobby are different, the wider public see them as one and the same.
 

TrainBoy98

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I may only be 13 but im a spotter, enthusiast and im Bi. I aggree, i do get a lot, and i mean a lot of stick from practically everyone i know, even my friends. But the my friend said hes a car spotter and that hes going to spend his holiday looking for certain types of cars (he even goes walking round car parks to try to find them) and no one say a word, but as soon as i say im going to do the tube challenge everyone laughs and trys to take the p*ss.
 

starrymarkb

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I think hobbies these days are generally frowned upon regardless of the subject. I've become far happier (and apparently cool) since I've embraced my inner geek.

Amongst my local friends there are the following interests (amongst others)
  • Aviation
  • Model Railways
  • Vehicles
  • Gaming
  • Magic the Gathering
  • Polar Explorers
  • Hacking (the engineering kind rather then criminal)
  • Knitting
  • Music
  • Folk Mythology
  • Drag Queens
  • Comics
  • Fanfiction
  • Burlesque
  • Birdwatching
  • Cosplay

We love getting together and discussing our interests in the pub over some good beer.
 
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6Gman

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I trainspot.

I bus spot.

I've also been a school governor, councillor, chaired significant council committees, etc etc

Standing on a platform end/ street corner writing down numbers is how I switch off from rather weightier matters.

If anybody's got a problem with that, that's their problem.

:)
 

TrainBoy98

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I trainspot.

I bus spot.

I've also been a school governor, councillor, chaired significant council committees, etc etc

Standing on a platform end/ street corner writing down numbers is how I switch off from rather weightier matters.

If anybody's got a problem with that, that's their problem.

:)

Aggreed!
 

YorkshireBear

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Yeah i agree with 6Gman, and i have discussed it with sprinterguy before, if anyone has a problem with me liking what i do they are not worth the effort, it is their problem not mine.

All my family and friends know i like trains, none of them care because they are actually my friends so to them its just part of me.
Even my girlfriend who has no interest at all, and finds it boring, says ultimately without railways i wouldn't be who i am so why should she care.
And without admitting it to people i wouldnt be where i am at the KWVR today!
 

317666

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I don't take down the numbers of trains I see (unless it's a class that's being withdrawn, as I like to keep track of how many are left), although I do take down the numbers of those which I travel on.
 
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I used to spot as a kid, along with a lot of my mates. Is Locoshed still going? We used to travel the country trying to mark off all those numbers. And as this was the 70's, there were plenty of Loco's about!
 

telstarbox

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People may take the mick out of these hobbies but you have to remember that on a fundamental level, they probably don't actually care. Each to their own and so on.
 

ng1980

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He he.

I'm not a trainspotter any more but I am a rail enthusiast (but not out). Also gay (and am out).

When I was a child, my dad took me trainspotting and we travelled to open days, etc. I continued spotting in my teenage years independently. However, I gave it up in the end.

Although I spent quite a few years with little to do with the railways, I did come back a little in the early 2000s, but it is an interest rather than spotting.

My friends all know that I am a geek and I know various things about various geeky topics, so it doesn't really surprise them when I know geeky stuff about the railways. But they don't know that I have occasionally bought certain taboo magazines (Rail, Modern Railways, etc.) or am a member of railforums.co.uk.

When my friends knew back in my teenage years it was referred to all the time. Not a problem, but it was boring and repetetive rather than anything else. I just don't share my interest in railways as it doesn't really define who I am.

In contrast, if I was not out (as gay) then that would mean I would be denouncing my partner of over five years, lying about who I live with, lying when people ask simple questions like about my holidays, etc. Of course, being gay is something that people don't take the **** out of or continually mention anyway, and will either accept as you or will cut off all links.

Maybe on the member profile of this website there should be a field for "out"? ;)
 

Monty

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I'm not a train spotter by any stretch of the imagination, however I like to think I have a healthy interest in the railways which is one of my chosen hobbies. I'm quite open about it at work and 9 times out of 10 you can catch me in the mess room reading something in relation to the railways. If people have a issue with it, well sod them. :D

The ladies arn't a problem either, infact while my fiancée does not quite understand my hobby. She appreciates the fact my interests are relatively innocent and knows I'm not going to blow a months wages crap like on booze and gambling (Unless it's the weekend Warely is on, then she is Sh*t out of luck <D). She even affectionately calls me a train geek. :D

My point being is, never hide who you are. If you are secretive or reclusive about yourself, people are more likely to treat you as a werido. My advice is be yourself and embrace your innerself. Be proud of it! And screw the haters! :D
 
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LE Greys

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I think a lot of people here, myself included, started as spotters and have now moved on to something else. In my case, I tried to start Valenta-bashing when HSTs had their engines changed, but that short period ended and I simply couldn't afford it. I still record what I travel behind, but mostly for timing purposes (while not a member of the Railway Performance Society, I still time a lot of trains). However, I switched to track bashing, and there;s a copy of S.K. Baker's rail map on a bookshelf that's covered in highlighter pen. Still a few bits to go, but first priority in a new area is to cover all the routes, it's amazing what you discover if you do. Still, I'm more interested in the technical side (how everything works) and on just generally being aboard trains and travelling about these days. It helps get a feel for a place, so you see what it's like from ground level. Today, I'm really a travel enthusiast, I like going to different places and seeing different things. If I can do that by rail, then that's me happy.

BTW, on the link with sexuality, I started taking numbers before I knew what sex was, and have absolutely no interest in my own gender (just to make that clear). However, I can be a bit obsessive about things, and there's probably a much more confirmed link between spotting and obsessiveness.
 

Yew

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I'm not going to blow a months wages crap like on booze and gambling ! :D

Why gamble when you can have an ALR! :p


A few friends know im into trains, but all my bashing trips are into trips to cities, so it covers it up. I just say I find busses and planes unplesant. Either due to security or slowness.

They generally seem quite pleased If i can get them cheap tickets though :)
 

LE Greys

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Why gamble when you can have an ALR! :p


A few friends know im into trains, but all my bashing trips are into trips to cities, so it covers it up. I just say I find busses and planes unplesant. Either due to security or slowness.

They generally seem quite pleased If i can get them cheap tickets though :)

If I give them advice or say things about the way things work (to explain a delay for instance - which is more about stopping other passengers from getting annoyed) a lot of people ask me if I work for the railways. I have to say, 'no, but I do know people who do'. I suppose hearing from them on a web forum sort-of counts as knowing them, although a former Uni flatmate went to work for Scotrail. Most of the best tips come from here.
 

wigwamman

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I joined the railways at 16 having absoloutly no intrest in trains,I still don't have a intrest in things such as a certain class of engine or unit,but over my career I have developed a appreciation of the industry that has so far provided me with a decent living and has allowed me to make a lot of freinds and meet many good people.
These days I love nothing more that travelling through europe by rail another perk of the job I am gratefull for.
I think that if you are a spotter/enthusiast or whatever you are doing no one any harm at all and if your doing something you enjoy while bothering no one else at the same time then good luck to you.
 

sevenhills

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I think a lot of people here, myself included, started as spotters and have now moved on to something else.

BTW, on the link with sexuality, I started taking numbers before I knew what sex was, and have absolutely no interest in my own gender (just to make that clear). However, I can be a bit obsessive about things, and there's probably a much more confirmed link between spotting and obsessiveness.

As a child I used to collect stamps, but I lost interest, or grew out of it. I sometimes think a male hobby would be a good way of making friends, since I am not into football.
I like photography, taking pictures of trains is good. I started the station adoption to do something for my local town, but I am surprised how many people are 'interested' in trains.
 

David Goddard

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I used to spot for about eight years, from when I gave up as I didnt really have the time. I would openly say that I was interested in railways, but rarely that I took numbers. Nonetheless, I was branded "a trainspotter" with all of the stereotypical assumptions that came with it.

I was able to turn the tables on people when as part of conversation I have been able to give rail advice (I used to know the full timetables for most routes in the Ely/Cambridge area), as I could use the response "so you have just taken the mickey out of my hobby, yet I have been able to help you with train times". This normally worked until they didnt need any help and went back to before.

I have recently started taking numbers again when on railtrips (such as our recent ALR) but dont bother for a return trip to London. I have to admit that I quite enjoy it, and on the ALR my wife was even looking for and calling out numbers for me, which she did quite unprompted.

On returning from holiday, we enjoyed telling our friends and colleagues about our travels, yet still suffered stupid comments like "did you enjoy your trip - did they let you blow the whistle?", which was blatently a p***take on our hobby. I will remember that the next time she asks us for train times!
 

12CSVT

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I first became interested in trains and railways at a very young age (about three or four), and started spotting when I was about eight. By my late teens my interest in railways had extended photography and haulage bashing. I gave up spotting about 20 years ago (at the time I had seen all locomotives active on British Rail, bar a few newly delivered class 60s). To this day I am still an active railway enthusiast, although most of my photography and bashing is done at preserved railways.
 

RichmondCommu

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The point is there is a huge difference between taking an active interest in something and being over obsessive. I have two highly treasured railway photos in my in my office which often surprise people if they haven't met me before. However the people who work for me just pass it off as a quirky hobby. As do my wife and kids. I would certainly class myself as a rail enthusiast but nowdays have no desire to spend a Saturday morning at Clapham Junction jotting down numbers.

As far as I'm conncerned, having an over obsessive interest in something will always attract adverse attention. And in all honesty some of the posters on here do seem to have an over obsession with railways. Collecting numbers is one thing but the desire to travel on every platform at a particular station is bordering on pathological.

When I was a teenager in the late 70's / early 80's trainspotting attracted a lot less stigma than it does now. Now some of this may be down to a few jokes from eary 80's comedians but micro bashing platforms and writing down wagon numbers does not help the situation. However, if it makes people happy then why should anyone stand in their way?
 
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