• How do young people get "into trains" these days?

  • A forum for teen railroad enthusiasts
A forum for teen railroad enthusiasts

Moderator: TAMR213

  by PhillyBoy890
I'm 17 and i'm from Philly (Still live here). I grew up in southwest philly, and southwest philly is known for the trolley lines. The trolley's was and is the way everyone in and around Southwest get in to downtown (On A Direct Note) Other options too. The trolleys have their own tunnel then they share it with the "EL". But when i was maybe around 3...i was just fascinated with them. I wld ride them and all i know is that it was this big o machine that looked interesting. I wld sit at the back and look out the window and watch the stick up on the wire. I used to go over our cousin house also in SW, and W. Philly and they lived on the street where the trolleys ran , i wld just sit outside for hours and watch them go by and not get bored. I think they are fun to ride, watch, know how they work. Whenever i see lil kidss now so interested in trains,and trolleys (either in the subway, or outside) it just brings a smile to my face and reminds me of how i was when i was their age.

  by drumz0rz
I've always been an RR fan since I was very young. My grandparents took me to the RR museum in Lancaster, PA when I was like 6. I love all kinds of trains. Where I go to college there's a major freight line about a mile away (and within view from my dorm window), at home a local commuter rail passes immediately behind my house, and when ever I'm in the city (NYC) I insist on riding the subways, just for the fun of it.


  by Amtrak7
When I was little, I heard the train horn at least 16 times daily (depending on how early I woke up) The horns came from 2 grade crossings ~1.5 miles away. At night, they are loud and clear. During the day, unfortunately road noise drowns it out. As I understand more, I seem to be hearing more of them today. Supposedly, a Saturday or Sunday should have 384 horn soundings, but I never get them all. Over the years, I have seen many mistakes-the most common being 1 horn blast per crossing. Passing over the crossings, I sometimes see lights, but there were no trains.

Even before that, my dad used the excuse to purchase an HO scale set to encourage me to clean up the table. That set never materialized, though I see a desire for it nowadays.

My first ride was on an M3 (based on memories)
For some reason I remember M7 seats on a car with flickering lights (M3).
Last edited by Amtrak7 on Wed Jul 30, 2008 7:40 pm, edited 2 times in total.

  by nycrailfan
Hey Steam. The interest of trains started way before me. My grandfather had 2 lionel trains sets when he was a kid and my father collected HO and N scale when he was a kid. He still collects HO. lol My father gave me Toys r us HO set for my first birthday. My father and I saw our first frieght train in Rockland County, NY on CR's River Line when I was 5 years old. We went trainwatching a whole summer at CR's North Bergen Yard in NJ when I was 8. Im 19 now and still go train watching and collect O and HO scale trains and I love it. You probably think i need girl or something. lol Girls love my layout (dont know why lol) Plus they think ur rich when you tell them this engine is $700 or insane lol For people to get interested, model railroading is the best way to me. Gives your kids something to do other than drugs and gangs. Family hobby and they can learn a lot and have an imagination. Makes them want to see the same thing in real life that they have on the layout. Had fun thanks for the topic.

  by Pablo M 201
Hmmm......I would have to say my father is most definately responsible for me becoming the railfan I am today. Ever since I was a little child, he took me out to railfan on the NYC Subway, most of our trips ending up at Yankees Stadium. He took me on the PATH alot. He was the first to take me to ride the HBLR when it started on the first day of service. Sadly, I only remember that one time riding it with him because I think that was the only time. He sadly passed away early 2001. Ever since, always thinking of him when I go on my transit adventures. So yea, thats basically how I became a railfan and always a pleasure to be. Lots of great people in this community and have made plenty of good friends.
  by IC&E6565
I am 30 years old and have been through all the hell of being the only kid and teenage rail-fan in the neighborhood, everything You could imagine, but now I look at it with pride, I would rather watch the slowest most boring railroad operation than watch[from Chicago area] the Cubs win the world series, or any sports game, to Me that is boring.

I think one problem for young people getting into trains is the attitude that I know I experienced from the more "traditional" aged rail-fans is that for example. I told one of my early rail-fan friends I had spent a day out rail-fanning on the CSX and I was scouraged at it since I didn't call it the "B&O", and that I thought that today's railroading is awesome. The old time rail-fans need to understand 2 things. Those old railroads are dead and gone so stop calling their successors by their predecessors names, it helps to discourage the young rail-fans from feeling excited by what They are seeing today.

But I think that one thing that could help Younger people get "into" trains is that if more places like the Rochelle Railroad park were built, the railroads would get over the idea that rail-fans are giving them a bad public rep just by being around, etc. I
  by Darien Red Sox
I began modle railroading when I was 5. But when I realy got into it was when I started colloge and taking the train everyday.
  by ErieLimited2914
I was born into it, its in my blood. My grandfather was a conductor for 40 years on the Erie Lackawanna and NJ Transit, my uncle works for NJ Transit now, I model O gauge and 1.5" scale Live Steam, my other uncle owns the ex-New York Central freight house in Fort Plain, NY that he's turning into a hotel. Its my life. Its my "thang."
  by Chessie GM50
From another Hobby... I've always been a Photography Enthusiast. From wanting to photograph new things, (stuff that moved) I found myself shooting off of different NJT platforms/ CSX trains from a local parking lot.
  by daylight4449
i grew up, and still am, growing up in leicester MA, which had an interurban line along stafford street, CSX, which runs through my town on the B&A spencer branch, my aunt marge, who introduced me to railroadin, my dad's grandparents, who live near the p&w, and my grandfather, edward walanty, who intorduced me to the New Haven and Penn central.
  by atsf sp
My love for trains started at age 1 and a half. I used to be into telephones before but at that age I went to California and to the California State RR museum. My parents have said that all I was interested in was the informational telephones until I saw ATSF 347C. It was a connection in my brain and from then on I have loved trains.
  by Alcophile
I got hooked in several ways. When I was a kid my favorite TV show was "Shining Time Station" on PBS. That's also how I got into George Carlin. I also had a neighbor who worked for the Erie during the Steam-era and since the Erie and Arcade & Attica interchanged in Attica he told us about the A&A so my parents took me there when I was four. I also live a few blocks from the Somerset Railroad and my grandfather who later became Somerset Town Supervisor was responsible for getting the railroad built and he also had a large collection of HO trains.
  by drcrf93
I also enjoyed Shining Time Station, and Thomas the Tank Engine. (The old ones.) From watching that I started collecting the wooden railway trains, and eventually just about anything train related. (Books, computer games ect.) I now photograph trains with my digital camera, really enjoy running trains on Microsoft Train Simulator, filming trains running by or switching in a yard. My favorite type of trains are freight trains, simply because there are so many interesting types of cars and power. Since I live in Maine, I get to see a lot of regional/shortline freights, most often Pan Am Railways, Maine Eastern, St. Lawrence & Atlantic ect. I hope to someday be a driver for any company, but for right now I just enjoy being a railfan while I am a teen. :-)