Definition of a Railfan

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Definition of a Railfan

  • How do you define "railfan?" Of course, the dictionary does not reckongize this term, but what is one, and at what point does a person who appreciates trains become a "railfan?" Please keep in mind that humor is more than welcome here.

    Possibly a railfan,
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  • To paraphrase my dear late aunt, a railfan is a person who never quite outgrew trains.
    The daily commute is part of everyday life but I get two rides a day out of it. Paul
  • When your pulse and blood pressure go up just a bit every time you hear a train horn in the distance or come within a mile or so of a grade crossing or suddenly a paralell stretch of mainline track appear as you are driving somewhere you have never been before....THEN YOU'RE A RAILFAN
    Eolafan (a.k.a. Jim)
  • Railfan= someone addicted to standing by traintracks, regaurdless of weather, just to take pictures of trains that pass through. the sounds and smells of a Train generally make said person foam at the mouth, sweat profusilouly, and make odd sounds. after the train goes by, said person goes into a short estatic state, followed by severe depresion that can only be dispersed by another train coming by.

    Luckily, I'm a Railroad Modeler, a better quality person not addicted to watching powered boxcars roll by. [:p]

  • Railfan= Some who like rails. Jay i love watching powered boxcars roll by me[:p]
  • Here's my definition:

    rail`fan r#257;l`F#258;N n. 1. a slightly eccentric person who can tell one what an eccentric crank is 2. a person who enjoys watching, photographing, recording, and/or identifying trains, as well as telling uninterested others about their last time watching, photographing, recording, and/or identifying trains 3. a person who enjoys reading and memorizing technological and historical information on trains and railroads to the point of obsession
    v. 4. to go to railroad locations and watch, photograph, record, and/or identify trains 5. to exhibit the oddly obsessed and eccentric tendencies of a railfan
  • I think you have your railfans and your foamers.

    A railfan has an appreciation for railway operations and rolling stock, and you would often find them trackside watching their favorite right-of-way.

    A foamer is a person who has to have a picture of every single boxcar that has run on a certain stretch of track and anyone who spends the night trackside just to see a freight train roll by.

    I like my trains, but I ain't gonna sleep in some tent just to see a freight train --- steam on the other hand.... [:)]
  • Railfan - a person who likes most aspects of railroads/railroading, especially the trains, and one who does not hold any animosity towards one or more railroads for foolish reasons such as: paint schemes, merging out of existence ones favorite railroad and not being able to trespass without railroad police "hassles".
  • He doesn't mind loud train whistles, even at 3 am. In fact he kinda likes to hear them them late at night.

    He's not afraid to ask his more "savvy" train buddies dumb questions. We all had to start somewhere. And if he's a "savvy" train buddy, he loves sharing what he knows.

    His train buddies are all ages and walks of life, and they treat each other equally and with respect. They have fun together whatever they're doing. They'll help each other with anything, even if it has nothing to do with trains. If you forgot your ice chest, that's OK, what's mine is yours.

    He waves at engineers, and learns their voices on scanner. Dispatchers too.

    He likes trains for the a total sensory event. Smells, sounds, feel (the ground shaking), and sights. In particular, the sensory overload you get when a particularly loud, fast groundpounding rock train comes by.

    Even though he's too old or doesn't have the training and probably never will, he still wishes he could get a shot at railroading.

    Nuff said...


  • A railfan is someone who, when they're out driving and come to a railroad crossing and has to stop for a train thinks it's great that they have a front row view of the train.
  • Someone who, when asked "what do you do for fun?', doesn't hesitate to explain traveling many miles just to see, hear, feal, film and photograph any kind of train while recieving (usually) a complete blank stare from the asker which often turns into a slow shaking of the head from side-to-side in utter bewilderment and sometimes incoherent mumbling.
    Also someone (like me) who would pay good $$ to own a house directly on a mainline RR and would hope to lose sleep from Leslie and Nathan horns at all times of day and night!
  • I became a railfan when I started going places just to look at trains run by, and following the rails across the state from Chicago to Ft. Madison, or to Burlington, or
    to Clinton. When I drive to Mendota just to watch the evening Amtrak stop or run by, and watch trains for hours just to see the cars and loads of todays traffic, I became a railfan.

    It includes the places served, formerly served, industries, the entire thing, can't model
    what you don't know.

    There is nothing like standing crossing gate back from the track when a Amtrak P42 set with Superliners comes through a small midwestern town at 70+mph.

    After that one Sunday evening, she knew the allure, the thrill, she said "Holy Sh!!" and
    had a huge grin... The trainmaster's daughter became a railfan.
  • A railfan is someone wuo spends his spare time by the tracks to watch the trains go by, or riding trains,or buying books,magazines,and videos about trains.
    Anyone who reads this forum on a regular basis[:)].
    Ride Amtrak. Cats Rule, Dogs Drool.
  • A railfan is alos known as a trainjunkie by my terms. This is a person who goes out in all kinds of weather to look at trains. This person might also be a model railroader as well. This person doesen't mind seeing any knid of train anywere. This person also most likely is a railroader or knows many railroaders. Lastly, this person will do anything to catch a train.
    LORD HELP US ALL TO BE ORIGINAL AND NOT CRISPY!!! please? Sarah J.M. Warner conductor CSX
  • I see myself as a railfan for the sole reason that I'm out on my bike, its 40 degrees out, my destination ISN'T the tracks, yet I go half a mile out of my way at full speed just to see it. I dont think you can say i'm not a railfan after that.