The Semi-Retired Foamer has been a railfan since he was around 5 years old, a very young age when one really should avoid being involved with the gunzel community to any great extent.
After a few decades of train chasing, one decided to break with protocol and get married, thus leading to a severe cut in railfan activity.
Subsequent dealings with social misfits, lunatics, mental defectives and self-appointed experts lead to an even greater decrease in my hobby participation.
However things have changed thanks to our small group of trusted mate, interest has returned, and now I have become a bit more involved yet again. Having learned to laugh, with others, at all the more 'Moronic Foamers'.
.Oh the irony that lays behind that group name and the person who set it up..
We occasionally publish information on the locomotives, and rollingstock, from railways in Australia and the Philippines.
All are available for

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Thoughts On A Hobby Long Gone!

While attending Bruce's funeral the other day, I got to thinking about the hobby today and the hobby it once was.
Seeing so many familiar faces from my earliest days of being a foamer brought back so many memories of fun times chasing trains around the state. Everyone seemed to have fun - certainly most people got along.
In recent years many of the 'old' crowd have been very quiet, most totally dropping from the scene and perhaps only ever heard of as a reference in an article. Some of the guys that I would once catch up with quite regularly, now have not been seen for over a decade.
The 70s (so I am told), 80s and early 90s were a great period and one from which I retain many memories. Any railway trip resulted in meeting new friends, many of whom remained so for many years to come, even to this day. Most would help, while the need to be 'Lord Railfan' , while existing, wasn't half as prevalent as it is today.
Sure there was the odd arrogant tool who thought themselves god and would not share info, but they were in the minority and were not subjected to hundreds of new fans every day like the internet is able to do.

Indeed the famous 'Colonel Chunder' may be right in saying that "there was far more stuff of interest and that everyone could get something special to share with their mates". Whereas in todays boring railway scene, there is so very little, to be covered by so many newcomers to the hobby.
This obviously leading to an extreme competition to get the most before anyone else, regardless of what it takes.
Certainly there is far less of interest, especially if your not open to looking at railway overseas, but should this not be a reason to endeavor to make more from the hobby?


Ahhhh yes, she be a fine tool to be sure.
But the whinging and bickering that goes on as each person tries to out do another.
One need not look beyond Railpage (the owner of which puts a lot of effort into) to see examples of the hate and bitterness that surrounds the hobby nowdays. Working our way down, we come to the anus of the internet, aus.rail where every railfan in creation is accused of gay activity or being a retard.
If we are not attacking each other, its because we are attacking a museums efforts, a magazines content or some politicians gerbil fetish.
All this takes a lot of time and effort, effort that, if spent promoting the hobby, would have us all in a far better position today. Indeed the hobby as a whole could have only benefited greatly.
The internet has been a huge boon to the hobby, with research and information sharing never being so easy. However it has certainly come at a cost.


Who knows, but like most of the 'old crowd' we will thankfully not be around to see what is left if the current direction continues.
Sure it may be fun to get on the net, big note ones self, cause upset for the fellow dribblers, but eventually they, and you, will loose interest. The train hobby will become a chore and there will be BUGGAR ALL left for anyone in the future.
What a sad and selfish thing to do.
Oh, and while I am sitting her sipping on my fifth Bundy and thus have an excuse to say whatever the bollocks comes into my mind, IF YOU NEVER CONTRIBUTE ANYTHING TO THE HOBBY - PLEASE DON'T BE UNDER THE MISTAKEN IDEA THAT YOU HAVE A RIGHT TO COMMENT ABOUT THOSE WHO DO!
Go work at a museum, go write for a magazine, help out at an archive - then feel free to share an opinion and be less at risk of looking like an ungrateful puff!


To the railfans of old who made it an honour to be a part of this once great hobby and to those who have bothered to read this far into my rant without heading back to aus.rail to discuss doodle waving!


StuartL said...

I tend to agree with you Brad - that's why you never see me on Railpage.

I skim through the posts over there to keep up with the information but I never post ... I don't want to get dragged fights that are generated by keyboard warriors and legends in their own lunch box ... that was probably packed by mummy.


Frederick said...

Wooh. That is so true. I've always wondered anyone today could get into Train Spotting. That is so true, what is going to be around in the next 20 or 30 years?

That fact that the internet has help in finding sources, is good. But the fact that we have to here douchebags whing and mine over crap, and don't do anything themslef.....I don't know.

I mean, I'm in the wrong generation as a buff. How Sad is that.

Trent said...

Brad, especially after meeting you yesterday (and finding out that you're one of the few down to earth people who are as they are on the internet in real life), I couldn't agree with you more.

Sad fact of the matter is, we have to choose our gunzel-buddies these days, because the attitudes of the old guard are long gone, and buffs often won't talk to other buffs. The number of times around Cootamundra that other buffs arrived, looked at us as if we were impeding on their private turf, and then sniffing at us was laughable.

I'm with Fred - we got into the hobby in the wrong generation :P

Thanks for the read Brad, with you 110%.


alcogoodwin said...

Thanks for the comment guys, it is heartwarming to think I am not the only one with a concerned view of it.

Having met Maikha and yourself since posting this, I am so glad to find two guys with a genuine interest in railways, a passion for being line side that mirrors me so much, well at least all those years ago when I was your age. :-)

Hmmmmm well actually, old age ain't stopped the love of being lineside much at all! :-)