Railfans Chasing Trains is a documentary covering three longtime friends and railfans who have chased and photographed trains for years but for the first time are able to do so together. While some may see chasing trains as a perplexing pastime for men or women to engage in the hobby is really no different from any other. It's all about simply doing something you love and this film illustrates that very well. However, more to the point, the film really highlights a hobby and industry that is not well understood by today's general public.
Having been around trains and railroads nearly their entire lives, the three railfans (Bill Choiniere, Dan Hunter, and Kurt Haubrich) are well educated about the industry and share this knowledge openly on the film covering topics such as different types of diesel-electric locomotives, maintenance equipment, how the freight trains themselves function and what is the purpose of equipment attached to them, and even how components of the general infrastructure work (i.e., ballast, ties, and spikes/clips). The bottom line is that you can learn a lot about railroading by watching this film even if you are not a railfan.
Most importantly, however, the film brings to light two very important issues when chasing and photographing trains; always be safe when doing so and never trespass on railroad or local private property to get your shot. The word "railfan" is a general term describing those who study, model, photograph, or simply enjoy some aspect of railroading. For me, personally, I am not a chaser and more enjoy studying the historical side of the industry rather than trying to catch up with a train to photograph it. However, if there is one thing I, and virtually every other railfan can relate to it is that a passing train for some reason or another is a site to behold.
This can probably partly be explained by simply the raw power and force found within every train, huge machines that can pull heavy loads over great distances at either blazing speeds or slowly inching up steep grades. But, harder to explain is just the joy of it all. While perhaps a somewhat tacky comparison, the hobby of railfanning truly becomes a part of who you are whether you have always had an interest in trains or they grow on you over time.
For whatever reason unbeknownst to me I have had an interest in trains and railroads for all of my life. While a lot us like trains as kids many grow disinterested in them, as they get older. As a kid I can remember playing with an entire boxful of Brio (which by chance I was lucky enough to have because my grandmother owned a small specialty shop when I was young) and a few model train sets, which Santa thought I was good enough to receive. My story is quite similar to other railfans who likewise received train sets as kids and have been hooked every since. If you are a railfan, would like to learn more about the industry, or simply would like to learn more about a hobby that highlights and studies an industry which has been around since the early 19th century this film documentary covers it all. For a short preview of Railfans Chasing Trains please click here.