Many people enjoy hobbies or pastimes to relax and have fun in their free time, whether writing, be interested in animals and take pictures… There are those who show interest for transportation means like airplanes, trains, buses or cars. While these hobbies seem a little strange to some, there are people who can stop their life to fulfill this passion and sometimes this gives them a true lifestyle, so, I invite you to discover who the railroad buffs are and how their rich world looks like.  

Image courtesy of Randy von Liski at
Image courtesy of Randy von Liski at

The origins

It is difficult to determine when people began to practice this hobby, however, all indications show that it dates back to the old West, when the first train wandered through the new continent, already at that time there were people who showed interest in this transport mode given that it was a novelty, I just think they must have something special about them because today, more than one century later, trains can still charm people all over the world.

There are people who have been attracted to them from an early age, due to their exceptional figure, robustness, sound and their many trips… I don’t think there is a child who does not like trains, many can lose this passion when they reach a certain age but there are a few that later become railway lovers, they end up taking a lot of pride in it and learning a lot about it.

Trains and family

In many cases, family plays a major role in encouraging their children’s love for trains. Parents, uncles, grandparents or brothers who love trains, worked in them or not, enjoy making children have feelings for them and sometimes this feelings become a little bit more than just a plain taste.

The different branches of the railroad lovers

There are as many colors in a rainbow as there are tastes, this is something very evident in this little world, with an impressive amount of branches that have created specialties that are very different from each other.

Railway Photography

Mixing trains and photography is an excellent combination. So much so that a large majority of fans (especially since the appearance of digital cameras) dedicate most of their time to capture trains with their cameras.  There are many different styles of photography for this branch: art, techniques, etc. but in most cases the train is the main character of these snapshots.

The most valuable thing according to railway photographers is to be able to get one or several photographs of special trains that circulate very seldom; whether they are historical trains, of goods or the few remaining made out of conventional materials.

Following up on trains

Better known by their English name (trainspotters) – do not confuse them with the drug addicts-, there are railroad buffs whose passion is to track down the movements of certain mobile material, like a specific locomotive or a series of rail car, in countries like Spain it is common that this is done only related to peculiar vehicles such as the 251-004 but in other countries it is usual to monitor the entire fleet of a particular company. 


There are many railway fans that are passionate about having their own railway system at home or in the garden, modeling is the variant of this hobby that has the most followers, there are usually people who want to rebuild a real or fictitious environment in a small space. There are plenty of manufacturers and scales for this passion.

Image courtesy of Brian Bennett at
Image courtesy of Brian Bennett at


Small passenger trains

There are those who do not conform to fictitious passenger transport and opt to build authentic railways in small size, these end up being small passenger trains. The trains are easily identified by the width of their tracks. There are countries with multiple associations that are responsible for building real railway parks for the enjoyment of the public… steam trains included!

Historic trains restoration

Without a doubt, the most achieved and hardworking railroad fans are those who are leaving their normal lives to start and maintain the old glories on rails, it is a difficult and costly task that few dare to do but someone has to do it, they are too precious.


There are many that love to have small portions of the railroad at home and they own small railway objects that keep at home, either from trains, books, files, etc, they just love trains.  

Railway archaeology

Another variant within the railway hobby is to discover and wander through the remains of old railways or railways that are no longer serving their purpose. Doing this is being able to have a moment to remember or imagine what it would have been like to travel on these dismantled roads when they were working, the excitement mixed with the power of the imagination lets us have amazing and indescribable journeys.


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