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what is a foamer?

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what is a foamer?
Posted by rs2mike on Thursday, June 25, 2009 6:24 PM

 And what is it in respect to?  Is it slang for an old railroad term.

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Posted by ns3010 on Thursday, June 25, 2009 6:32 PM

"Foamer" is used to describe someone who is obsessed with trains. Not just a railfan, but beyond that. Some people think that all railfans are foamers, but I think there is a distinct difference.

A railfan is a normal person who shows an intrest in trains and railroading.
A foamer is more along the lines of: "OMGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A TRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TRAINS ARE TOTALLY AWESOME AND COOL!!!!!!!!! I LOVE TRAINS!.!.!.! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

See the difference?

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Posted by CAZEPHYR on Thursday, June 25, 2009 6:35 PM

 

 The web site below is interesting, but I don't think the name is related to an old railroad term.

Steam locomotives used to pull water sometimes out the exhaust when the water was foaming, but this was a bad thing and could cause a lot of problems.  Maybe it is related!!!!!!!!!!!!

http://foamer.railfan.net/index.html

 

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Posted by selector on Thursday, June 25, 2009 6:39 PM

I did a search using the term and the first item listed on the results page is the following.  There must be several others over the past four years.

http://cs.trains.com/trccs/forums/p/76297/914168.aspx#914168

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Posted by mudchicken on Thursday, June 25, 2009 6:39 PM

FOMITE, shortened to Foamer

Fraternal Order of Mindless Incessant Train Enthusiasts

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Thursday, June 25, 2009 6:58 PM

ns3010

A railfan is a normal person who shows an intrest in trains and railroading.
A foamer is more along the lines of: "OMGGGG!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! A TRAIN!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! TRAINS ARE TOTALLY AWESOME AND COOL!!!!!!!!! I LOVE TRAINS!.!.!.! WOOOOOOOOO!!!!!

See the difference?

One difference being normal railfan isn't likely to go and get into tresspass issues with RRP's whereas foamer likely to get into having issues with RRP------Smile,Wink, & Grin

Any argument carried far enough will end up in Semantics--Hartz's law of rhetoric Emerald. Leemer and Southern The route of the Sceptre Express Barry

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Posted by ns3010 on Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:03 PM

blownout cylinder
One difference being normal railfan isn't likely to go and get into tresspass issues with RRP's whereas foamer likely to get into having issues with RRP------Smile,Wink, & Grin

True that. Although once in a while, you get that unfriendly employee who will report anyone within a mile of the tracks.Black Eye

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Posted by Phoebe Vet on Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:26 PM

Now I understand.

My 6 and 11 year old grandaughters are rail fans.  They like trains and love to ride on them or operate the layout.

My 20 month old grandson is a foamer.  He jumps up and down points at it while screaming as loud as he can, over and over, "Train, train, papa train, train" and then he makes that Woooooo Wooooo sound.  It makes no difference if we are looking at a train, our light rail, a model, a TV show with a train in it, or a photograph of a train.

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Posted by henry6 on Thursday, June 25, 2009 7:36 PM

"We have met the enemy and he is us!"

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Posted by jeaton on Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:23 PM

henry6

"We have met the enemy and he is us!"

Careful.  I had to pay big bucks for the right to use. Cool

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Posted by tree68 on Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:31 PM

This is simple - a foamer is simply someone who is more enthusiastic about trains than you are, level headed rail fan that you are.

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Posted by bubbajustin on Thursday, June 25, 2009 8:35 PM

This may sound goofy, but here we go,

I never classafied myself as either. 1. I don't like freek out when a train goes by. I will look at it and see if it has anything "cool" onboard. Normally not. I will then not pay attention untill we get to the loco's. Then I will identafy the loco's. 2. I do like to here a a big diesiel engeine (especially an SD70M) Idle or go past me at speed. 3. When trackside and the train thunders past I knid of I don't know... tremble. For 2 reasons, 1., I have great respect for these machiene's and I know you can kill youre self if too close. 2. I feel honered to be standing next to something that I have an intrest in.

I will have to stop being a rail enthuseist if I want to work for the RR. I will get made fun of. Besides I will spend all of my time with them too, so...

Do you guy's think I'm a foamer? I hope not.

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Posted by RRKen on Thursday, June 25, 2009 9:34 PM

Phoamer, one who becomes very excited over the sight of a train or locomotive.   To foam at the mouth.   See FRN.

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Posted by Boyd on Friday, June 26, 2009 1:17 AM

 Maybe we all have the non-leathal form of rabies that makes us all go nuts upon the site of giant machines with flanged wheels that ride on rails.

Once when I was watching a train a cop stopped and asked what I was doing. I said I was a train fan. He was completely unaware of this phenomenon. I explained that I like trains like other people like cars. 

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Posted by cpbloom on Friday, June 26, 2009 5:35 AM

Phoebe Vet

Now I understand.

My 6 and 11 year old grandaughters are rail fans.  They like trains and love to ride on them or operate the layout.

My 20 month old grandson is a foamer.  He jumps up and down points at it while screaming as loud as he can, over and over, "Train, train, papa train, train" and then he makes that Woooooo Wooooo sound.  It makes no difference if we are looking at a train, our light rail, a model, a TV show with a train in it, or a photograph of a train.

 

 

But he is only a foamer because he does not know better. Tongue

Anyone that is pre-adolescent should get a pass.

 

Myself on the other hand, sometimes I am borderline foamer (excluding trespassing or course). Clown

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Posted by Goober on Friday, June 26, 2009 8:55 AM

An art director from Kalmbach Publishing was talking with me about printing and trains  and made comments about "foamers".  When I told them that I enjoyed watching trains, etc. I was told that "foamers" are the model RR's, and I was just a "train wienie".

 LaughLaughSmile,Wink, & Grin   I thought that was a good classification for me.   Cool

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Posted by rs2mike on Friday, June 26, 2009 9:10 AM

Thanks it is good to know that I am not a foamer.  I like trains and all but I don't foam at the mouth at the sight or sound of them coming.

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Friday, June 26, 2009 9:33 AM

RRKen

Phoamer, one who becomes very excited over the sight of a train or locomotive.   To foam at the mouth.   See FRN.

OK--now the question is why did they spell it with the PH?Smile,Wink, & Grin----is there some sort of acid/base issue here?Mischief

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Posted by CNW 6000 on Friday, June 26, 2009 9:38 AM

Boyd
Once when I was watching a train a cop stopped and asked what I was doing. I said I was a train fan. He was completely unaware of this phenomenon. I explained that I like trains like other people like cars. 

There's a County Deputy in Winnebago County, WI that is a railfan.  He found me once when I was trackside.  I saw a car approaching from behind me, lights went on (red/blue).  He stopped, got out and walked to my truck.  "Stealing my railfanning spot?" he asked me.  Even CNs crews know of him.  They call him "Joe Friday" on their radios.

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Posted by blownout cylinder on Friday, June 26, 2009 10:00 AM

CNW 6000
There's a County Deputy in Winnebago County, WI that is a railfan.  He found me once when I was trackside.  I saw a car approaching from behind me, lights went on (red/blue).  He stopped, got out and walked to my truck.  "Stealing my railfanning spot?" he asked me. 

You mean, he didn't want to share----?ShockWhistling

If he was not an officer of the law I might've asked whether he had a deed to the property----Whistling----just out of curiousity, mind.MischiefWhistling

 

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Posted by Anonymous on Friday, June 26, 2009 10:31 AM

CNW 6000
There's a County Deputy in Winnebago County, WI that is a railfan.  He found me once when I was trackside.  I saw a car approaching from behind me, lights went on (red/blue).  He stopped, got out and walked to my truck.  "Stealing my railfanning spot?" he asked me.

 

Well, that's one less cop to harass you about taking photos of trains... Smile,Wink, & Grin

I used to be a safe foamer. I wouldn't trespass or be at all unsafe, but I'd go for the camera every time I saw a train.

Now I'm just a railfan. I still photograph trains, and carry a camera everywhere just in case, but if there's a choice between taking a lousy grab shot that doesn't even show the whole train and is unusable anywhere of a boring train (example) or just watching it pass, I'll leave the camera in its bag...

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Posted by kolechovski on Friday, June 26, 2009 11:00 AM

As I understand it, railfan=fan of the railroad.  But other guys think it's rail fanatic.  Oh well.  And to the guy whose 20-month old gets excited about the trains, it's hard to find a kid that young NOT get that excited.  You gotta wait at least several years to find out what his true colors are.

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Posted by tree68 on Friday, June 26, 2009 9:32 PM

kolechovski
But other guys think it's rail fanatic.

Goes  back to my previous statement - a rail fanatic is someone who is more enthusiastic about trains than you are.  And we all know that we aren't rail fanatics - we just have an interest in trains.....

I suspect all of us have something that takes us over the line from simply interested in trains to raging lunatic.  Might be steam, might be cabooses, might be ALCOs, etc and so on.

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Posted by ButchKnouse on Sunday, June 28, 2009 11:12 AM

I have to walk for exercise, so my daily route includes the street all the way up and back parellell to the tracks. I live 100 yards from the tracks (on purpose) and when I hear a train I put the TV on mute until I can't heard it anymore. If I'm driving on the highway next to the tracks and see a train, I kill the radio, turn off the AC and open the electric windows so I can hear and smell the train.

Am I a railfan or a foamer?

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Posted by zugmann on Sunday, June 28, 2009 2:00 PM
ButchKnouse

I have to walk for exercise, so my daily route includes the street all the way up and back parellell to the tracks. I live 100 yards from the tracks (on purpose) and when I hear a train I put the TV on mute until I can't heard it anymore. If I'm driving on the highway next to the tracks and see a train, I kill the radio, turn off the AC and open the electric windows so I can hear and smell the train.

Am I a railfan or a foamer?

Foamer extremus.

  

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Posted by Mookie on Sunday, June 28, 2009 2:25 PM

And a female is a "foamette"?

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Posted by bubbajustin on Sunday, June 28, 2009 2:50 PM

Mookie

And a female is a "foamette"?

No, a feline foamette!Approve

Just kidding.

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Posted by wjstix on Sunday, June 28, 2009 5:51 PM

kolechovski

As I understand it, railfan=fan of the railroad.  But other guys think it's rail fanatic. 

Well "fan" is a shortened form of "fanatic" so it works either way for "Railfans".

As far as "Foamer" the most logical explanation is it refers to a railfan so obsessed he is "foaming at the mouth" about trains. I first heard the term on a UK / BBC show about railways maybe 20 years ago. In that show, one of the railwaymen they talked to said he thought it was derived from "foamite", a fire extinguisher product all engines carried.  In the UK railfans are sometimes called "anoraks" due to the type of (IIRC) raincoats they wore.

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Posted by henry6 on Monday, June 29, 2009 8:47 AM

The first time I heard the term "foamer" applied to us was back in the 70's from an engineer friend who is also a big railfan.  He said that was how the supposedly non-fan railroaders referred to us in general. 

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Posted by geomodelrailroader on Saturday, April 15, 2017 4:42 AM

Foamer is now considered an insult to railfans and is used as an acronym a bad acronym that some of the American railroaders don't like and according to Wikipedia is very pejorative. F is an expletive we cannot say, O is Overreacted, A is Arrogant, M is Mentally Retarded, E is Eccentric, and R is Railfan. Originally it applied to railfans who do dangerous things or armchair railfans nowadays Canadian,Eastern US, and European railfans and Engineers use it to apply to all of us and it has become nasty name-calling has gone on and we have called the engineers and police of the railroads old hobo terms and even called them murderers. Shack and Bull have been used grudgenly against train crews and police often leading to the railfans being kicked out of the community or worse arrested under the false charge a battery on a police officer and insulting rail crews and officers when in reality these European,Canadian, and Eastern US, crews have been insulting us. Please do not use the word foamer to refer to railfans or use the acronym for foamer to refer to us directly and railfans do not use the word Shack or Bull to refer to train crews or police it will get you arrested and you will be charged. 

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