Hi, we recently had a discussion about train spotting and the original meaning of the term. I friend of mine said it would have to do with travelling from one spot to another by train. Then we looked it up on the internet and we found out that train spotting is a popular pastime in the UK and the US. Train spotters would spend time around train depots, stations and other railway locations to write down the serial numbers of the trains that pass by. I have never heard of such a thing in Germany (which doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist). I’d like to know what those train spotters do with all that data? What is the use of this activity?
Train spotting is definitely not traveling by train from one spot to another. It’s the other activity you mentioned. Spotting means to catch sight of something.
For a while after art school, I worked for an art museum that traveled from town to town in a converted train, so I can tell you at least one thing those train buffs do with the information they gather. They go aggravate the heck out of anyone they find working on or near a train, just by sharing it with them. Initially it can be interesting, but after half an hour or so, you want to turn to them and bark, “This train’s my JOB, man! Not my fetish!” Generally they profess to be able to tell you all the history and manufacturing details of the cars on your train, but each guy tells you a different story.
They’re something like the people who memorize minute details about Star Trek.
By the way, the radio equivalent of that is called DXing. (I don’t know what the DX stands for.) DXers scan the shortwave dial, and sometimes the AM dial, searching for far-flung stations. Then they send post cards to them, and the shortwave stations send them post cards back, sometimes along with souvenirs. This is probably dying now that there’s not much interesting on shortwave anymore and so many stations are switching to webcasting.
I’ve found some quotes of CV’s on the internet, one of them was kind of scary. This guy wanted to be a busdriver, he says he has been collecting pictures of buses and trams for twelve years already in two different files from the oldest to the latest ones, so he is really interested in this job.
The funniest thing, in Hungary you don’t have to be a maniac to be hired as a busdriver because they don’t pay that much, they are happy if anyone walks in and asking for being hired. He could’ve been trained and got the job in no time, instead of dreaming about it for twelve years.
I don’t think he’s got the job, though