Sunday, December 7, 2008

Railfans Anonymous

Cheers to The Beast for the photo.

Have you ever had the realisation that you're half-arsedly obsessed with something but didn't really know it until you look back over the pattern of your life and there it is, over and over again, staring you in the face like a wall-mounted trout?

Having had occasion to visit a few train stations lately, I recently found myself calmly and reasonably (or more accurately: blurting excitedly) to all and sunder: "You-know-I-would-be-quite-happy-doing-this-all-day-get-myself-a-nice-little-clipboard-mark-the-trains-off-the-timetable-quite-satisfying-really-you-know-ticking-things-off-I'm-surprised-there-aren't-more-people-here-where-are-all-the-people?-don't-they-know-there-are-trains-they-could-be-watching-are-they-really-having-coffee/doing-the-laundry/asleep-when-there's-all-this-to-be-enjoying?"

So it appears I'm some kind of newly outed, non-practising nut-bar trainspotter. Who would have known?

I had fairly inauspicious beginnings in terms of trainspotting. My uncle was a rail enthusiast and spent his Sunday afternoons building a large and complicated model train system in his garage. I'm afraid I used to make fun of the poor chappy and throw silly jibes at him that included the words 'grown adult,' 'Thomas the Tank Engine' and 'toot toot!' just loud enough for him to hear over his 3:42 express.

Until my epiphany I would have (and did) make fun of all things rail-related. Until my epiphany I would have (and did) think the Wiki people were having a bit of a guffaw in the 'Railfan' article when they captioned a photo of two people watching a train go by with "Railfans practising their hobby at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin," and another of a hillside of camera-holding people above an empty train track with "Railfan photographers awaiting a special train in Belgium".

But now, post-epiphany, I can only hope someone is there to capture the moment when I see my first Westbound intermodal with blue leader.

I've also got this thing about the postal system, but that's for another confessional.


squib said...

I used to belong to our train network's specially selected customer service council and once a month we met to discuss trains and eat mini quiches. It was terribly exciting

The Dangerous Kettle said...

That does sound terribly exciting, Squib. I shall take along some cucumber sandwiches. My only question is do I need to be specially selected by the train people, or can I specially select myself?

I do hope selection is based on enthusiasm (high) (for both trains and mini quiches/cucumber sandwiches) as opposed to train knowledge (low).

squib said...

No you didn't need to know anything about trains. You just had to be a train user and represent a sector of the community. I represented the 'People Who Are Magnificent' sector

The Dangerous Kettle said...

Ooh! If you used to be a member but are no longer, perhaps the 'People Who Are Magnificent' sector has an opening. I shall get onto this post haste!