Railfan Tip #1: Location.

A 1950s era "Areotrain".  Location is one of the more important aspects of anything to do with trains.  Obviously you have to be near train tracks, but there are some things that you need to know that upgrade a regular spot for watching trains spot to a railfan’s paradise.  For instance, if you go watch trains near a railroad crossing as opposed to just a section of track, you’re off to a good start.  This is because you’ll alerted by an approaching train when the crossing gates go down.  A railroad crossing is ideal, but if you can find a set of train signals, then you’re set.   My favorite spot to railfan, for example, has both a railroad crossing and a set of signals, giving me warning for when a train is coming and when it actually arrives.  To conclude this post, I would like to stress again that location is one of the MOST important components for a railfan, whether he is filming, or if he is just watching the trains go by.

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2 thoughts on “Railfan Tip #1: Location.

  1. And if you’re not near a railroad crossing, then make sure that you at least have an idea of when the train is coming (i.e. if you have a scanner, a train just left siding A, you’re at siding E and you know that it takes 15 minutes for him to get from siding A to siding E, then in 15 minutes he probably is), and you know what to listen for! A diesel engine will make a lot of noise and if you know what you’re listening for and you have a pretty good location, too, you’ll hear the diesel engines probably at least 30 seconds in advance. Or if you can hear the sounds from a nearby crossing, or there’s a crossing not too far away where the train whistles, then you’ll also have some warning like that as well. Some of my favourite spots to catch trains aren’t at a crossing at all, so I have to be able to keep track of the trains before they show up!

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    • Thanks for the tip! There are two other railroad crossings nearby, one to the left and one to the right. I’m also looking into getting a scanner, since I’ve gone to my spot for some railfanning on a few occasions only to see red eyes both ways.

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