Friday, 6 May 2011

A Regular Trainspotter

Rail fan, rail buff, foamer, railway enthusiast, railway buff, train enthusiasts, trainspotters--whatever you choose to call them, they participate in ferroequinology, literally the "study of iron horses." Their hobby, like any hobby, comes with its own memorabilia (known as railrodiana like time tables, locomotive number cards, tickets, and dining car porcelain) and jargon (a metrophile is a train enthusiast with a particular interest in the metro/subway/underground).

 Traveling on the Highland Railway Line

Trainspotters are interested not only in trains (though locomotives have a magnetic drawing power all by themselves), but also enjoy different aspects of the railway system such as its history, economics, commerce, and infrastructure, bridges, tunnels, stations, art, and architecture, and perhaps most importantly, the preservation and restoration of trains and railroads to modern society.

I myself am not an aficionado, but I like trains, whatever form they take. I visited the Railway Museum in York, and though I have no pictures of my own to show you, the following are provided by my friend William Overbeeke.


 Tickets, please.

I have traveled by MRT in Singapore; subway in New York; and train in Japan, Sweden, England, and Scotland, the most memorable being the Highland Railway Line running between Inverness and Kyle of Lochalsh, which is the terminus for traveling on to the Isle of Skye which smells like pie. Really. This particular route was in decline and the Friends of the Kyle Line stepped in "initially to save this historic railway from closure" and to "protect and ensure a future for Scotland's most scenic railway." An admirable goal, wouldn't you say?

The meaning of 'trainspotter' has broadened over the years to encompass someone involved with a hobby or obsession with trivial pursuit which seems, to the outsider, pointless or boring. But I tend to think that they are people who have narrowed and refined their passions to focus on an area in which they can move with grace, which seems, in the end, only as idiosyncratic as the Mad Hatter.

Madly Yours,
  The Closet Trainspotter

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