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I’ve told you about my gaming hobby, writing, acting, etc. I’ve never really told you about this hobby. if you ask me, it’s pretty underrated. People can like airplanes, bikes, trucks, cars, etc. Have you ever met someone who enjoys videoing/photographing trains? Well, you’ve met me. Railfanning (or train spotting) basically is when you video or photograph trains, and have an interest in trains basically.
How It All Started
I originally was introduced to the hobby back in 2014 when I found a train channel with a good-sized following. I didn’t have a license at the time. I was only able to get a train if I went somewhere with my grandparents. After 2014 I was on a long hiatus, due to again, not having my license. I got my license in 2017, I wasn’t on my grandma’s insurance therefore she didn’t wanna risk me doing a lot of driving.
My sudden “fame” on social media
My grandma got me on her plan before COVID hit. Then I slowly got back into train spotting during covid. It seemed like it was harder and harder to spot trains due to COVID since it was harder to get imports from China. In 2021 I started posting my Railfan videos to my Instagram. Later on, I tried tiktok and then Facebook reels. One of my tiktok’s took off when I posted a video of the slack from the couplers spooking the living hell out of me. I took off on Facebook when I posted a video of a “short” train. I based it on the wait (commenters told me they waited as long as 15 mins to an hour). Not everyone is understanding of your lack of knowledge of your hobby. I ain’t no big celebrity, when you’re a tiny creator you appreciate any OPs that come your way.
The grass isn’t always greener on the other side
Internet “fame” isn’t what you think. The grass isn’t always greener on the other side. You’re in a hurry to blow up. Sure you will get more followers, score deals, and even monetize your platform. You will attract the attention of trolls. It seems like all I do is exist on the internet, posting a video. and these trolls come out of their bridge. I don’t get it, why be an ass to someone you don’t know from Adam? It makes zero sense.
Folks say replying to trolls just gives them attention. I feel as though that ship has sailed the moment they chose to be a jerk on the internet.
How some people I knew responded to my filming trains
Now you want to know how people I know responded to me filming trains. my 9 y/o cousin and her cousins made fun of me. Said it’s “weird” that I like to film trains. Then another person came in and told me it was not weird at all. One of my older cousins asked me about it and I told them it’s called “railfanning”
when I went down south last summer, I filmed so many trains, my folks now know I’m into trains. As soon as I heard the horn, I grabbed my shoes and ran outside to get on the train.
Me being me
Sometimes I’m ‘late’ for the train. if I don’t arrive to catch the head engine so I know what train it is ( eg BNSF) I say I was late. or I caught the head engine (eg stuck at a red light by the tracks) I say I was late. if the train ends before I get to it, I missed it.
it appears I’m facing some misogynist. I’ve noticed when my reels go viral or sem-viral, I get trolls. I don’t see male railfans getting as many trolls. I have enough screencaps for a literal wall of shame. It really ruffles these people’s features that women/fem presenting people can be train spotters. I’m just queer fem train spotter enjoying the hobby like my comrades/potential comrades. What’s so wrong with that? Nothing at all.
People need to get over it. This is 2023. These people are acting like I’m the FIRST fem railfan. Btw I identify as non-binary and I’ve seen a few enby creators, who are fem presenting. use “fem” to describe themselves since most enby people don’t ID as a man or a woman. Since I ID as a dem-girl, I don’t fit the typical binary. so I use the term fem.
Not only am I getting the sexist trolls, the trolls as a whole. They would leave comments about my video wasting their time as I forced them to watch. I’ve gotten comments saying I need a job like filming a 1K+ ton machine harms them in any way. I am a chronically ill creator and content creation is the only accessible job where I can accommodate myself, take time for flares, take as many breaks as I need, and more. People assume if you don’t work 24/7 you must collect gov money. The gov doesn’t hand out welfare like candy. You probably need to meet certain requirements. The gov doesn’t hand out any type of “checks” like candy. Content creators in general get these trolls. People get laid off w/o notice. With being your own boss you don’t have that problem. We tried to warn ya’ll. Ya’ll see how COVID caused some jobs to be lost.
It’s hard to ignore the trolls. I do not even have a huge account. Putting the trolls on the “wall of shame” is like my therapy. Things need to change. If I don’t then who will? Maybe it’s time for a change.
These people make tiktok trolls look like a saint. And one person basically admits they try to beat a train because it’s “slow” when you can easily misjudge the speed from a certain distance. I guess some sites can have worse trolls.