• What's a Foamer?

  • General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.
General discussion about railroad operations, related facilities, maps, and other resources.

Moderator: Robert Paniagua

  by BR&P
Trains travel at a particular speed on a certain route using correct equipment because it's the most profitable.
A foamerism!

More likely, it's traveling at that speed because of slow orders on the track, using that route because the proper one was out of service or all backed up, and using certain equipment because that's all the junk that was available to pull the train/carry that load.

  by lakeshoredave
a foamer is someone who is really into trains and railfanning.
  by Otto Vondrak
gp9fan wrote:I am a new railfan so I hope you won't mind this dumb question. In reading thru many of these posts I have seen the term foamer used several times. Just what exactly is a foamer? Thanks, Karl
I'll say it again: Don't worry what it is, just make sure you don't become one.

  by Caseyjim
I've run into that type when railfanning the Southern Tier Line at Silver Springs and elsewhere along the line, particularly when the Berkshire engine NKP 765 came to town. I was at the depot long before anyone else got there and soon so many people gathered trackside and got in my way when the train was on its eastbound trip I could do nothing about it. I am pretty chummy with a number of the trackmen who work out of there so I am no bother to any of them. I am sure there was a lot of foamer activities during Conrail's final days as a line haul railroad in 1999. These foamers give the rest of us a bad name.
  by RearOfSignal
A foamer is someone who signs up for a railroad forum, and makes 75 posts in 3 days explaining why every train that runs on his favorite railroad either needs new locomotives or needs to bring back the old ones; and his favorite railroad has to create new useless routes and restore ones long since gone and tries to prove his point like everyone else who actually works for the railroad has no idea what they're doing -and he annoys everyone on the forum while doing it. And then disappears after a week, never to return again, though perhaps under a different username. And the the whole process starts over again. Sort of like Peter-Pan.
  by BR&P
We have a winner!
  by ex Budd man
'those of you who think you know??? all about railroads are particulary annoying to those of us who actually do! :wink:

Added by UPRR, i was guessing.
  by Gadfly
The actual employees themselves don't "know all about it"; they're just following the boss's orders---who himself is prolly a college intern or new-hire mgt trainee. :-D And there are managers who were never rules-trained or worked in specific areas such as a shop that does a dedicated task. I once observed a local with a car in tow with sliding wheels. Sparks were just flying! I rushed in to tell this boss to QUICK!
TELL THE TOWER TO STOP THAT TRAIN! (This was prior to us getting multi-channel radios). He told ME to worry about my "own' work and not to worry about what that train was doing! More than once, this non-op supervisor had violated the rules because he simply did not KNOW that ANY employee was obligated to tell of any defect or problem occurring on the RoW. But I had just bid back in from the Transportation Dept where i was still rules-qualified and I knew that if I said nothing and there was a derailment, there would be questions as to why I had not said something to stop the train. I went around the guy to another phone and called the Yardmaster and told him. Eventually, we got multi-channel radios and even the shop forces got- if not the whole rules exam- an orientation course and familiarization that included train operations, Blue Flag Rules, fork lift and heavy equipment operation rules as well as an Operating Rule Book for each employee even if he did not have to take the exam. It was the Blue Flag rules that caused an "incident" at the shops that brought this on and they thought, "Hmmm, maybe we better do something about this!" :-) The same supervisor who had ONLY worked in the Stores Dept had also chastised me for pointing out a Blue Flag discrepancy previously, not even realizing that this was a VERY dangerous situation that could get somebody hurt. He (or somebody else) had a blue flag removed at the end of our yard (why, I don't know) while workers were working on
equipment flats farther down in the yard! The switch engine came in with a cut and shoved in that track since there was no blue flag protection! :( Luckily, someone saw it and signed the move down in time!

It is VERY important to know what you are doing, and very annoying, as was said, when you are out on the landing handing up orders in 15 degree WX, and there's some dork out there telling you that what you are doing is "wrong"! :-D Been there and done THAT, too! :-D
  by GSC
Some years ago, my father heard of a steamed-up shuttle move of #285 (correct me if I got the number wrong) from Steamtown west to go home via the Southern Tier line. He lived near Waverly NY and headed on down to trackside. He said he was the only one there who didn't have his eye stuck to an eyepiece (he didn't bring a camera, just his eyes and ears), and all the foamers there would have to go home to watch the video or develop their pictures to actually see the loco that blasted past them.
  by 3rdrail
Good point ! Your Dad was the only one who really witnessed the event.
  by GSC
Up to that point, he hadn't really been around railfans of any kind, and he simply shook his head at them. Not really a railfan himself, he was into steam. He was a Machinist Mate aboard a Navy destroyer, and worked as an engineer in power plants for his working life.

He was into steam tractors and restored one, and went to those shows. He said there were some steam fans at the tractor events, but they were far more human than the railfans he witnessed that day.
  by atsf sp
3rdrail wrote:Good point ! Your Dad was the only one who really witnessed the event.
I shoot the shots before the train gets to me and then witness the train.
And if all you think about 24/7 is trains, you're a foamer.
Think of something else for a change.(But trains are awesome still :-D )
  by toolmaker
I got one for you. "You're unemployed, the economy is sinking deep and you are only looking at job postings if they would put you near a rail line." :-D
  by ex Budd man
To paraphrase Norm on Cheers, "foamers, you can't live with'em, you can't kill'em." :wink:
They're like a small dog humping your leg, a nusence, hopefully they will go away! :P
  by Plate F
Nope, not until the trains do. Even then they would make a museum every 5 miles on the salvaged ROW.