Anonymous
Anonymous asked in Cars & TransportationRail · 1 decade ago

What do the terms 'railbuff' and 'foamer' mean?

Update:

Ok then, please give me an example of what each of these types of people would do.

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  • 1 decade ago
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    These are hobbyists who enjoy railroading and railroad operations.

    Though the association is always made with reference to "foamers," as frothing at the mouth as would a rabid dog, but the truth is, that isn't how the term originated.

    The Western Pacific (now the UP) runs the "Feather River Route" eastward along the Feather River to Portola and beyond. The timber industry has now been gutted, but at the time there were a lot pollutants being dumped into the river upstream, primarily waste from mills and stagnant log ponds.

    This caused the formation of copious amounts of foam in back washes and eddies along the river, a favorite place for rail buffs and photographers.

    Often times, these people would wade into the river to get the right angle for a photo, usually knee deep or deeper amidst the foam, hence the moniker was applied; "Foamers." Its meaning has been upgraded to describe an over zealous aficionado of rail operations.

    In the UK they are called "train spotters," and as a whole they receive a lot of derision for their chosen idle time pursuits wherever they appear. I don't see what harm they do and I am of the opinion that, since most are very aware of railroad operations, our railroad operations are safer for their presence. Many more extra eyes....

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  • mazuc
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    Foamers

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  • 1 decade ago

    To answer your question, we need to ask ourselves when a hobby becomes a fetish. Because honestly, when you get right down to it, that's the distinction we're making when we separate the buffs from the foamers.

    In my opinion, it's all a matter of moderation. For example, I would feel totally comfortable if someone called me a buff. I like to visit other railroads and see their equipment, and if I happen to be near a museum, I make every effort to check it out. I mean, come on. Trains are totally sweet. But if you bumped into me at a museum, you'd notice a couple things about me. First, I'm not carrying a camera. My memory is good enough that I really don't need one. Second, I'm not wearing anything railroad related. No hats, no shirts, no pins, no nothing. And third (and most important), I'm not spouting off technical information or bogus stories that I've heard second-hand or read in magazines. I enjoy my visit, but I show a little reservation. Pretty much your basic buff.

    On the other side of the line, we have our foamers. Foamers are the guys who foam from the mouth and the groin as soon a railroad touches their peripheral vision. They're the guys you see decked out in railroad apparal. They'll have two cameras with them, and a scanner rigged up to their car's stereo system. You see them crawling under rolling stock looking for truck castings, or hanging off overpasses taking pictures. They ask you questions to see if you know the answer. Know what I mean? Well, those are preliminary indicators, but to really be sure, you have to take some time and talk to them.

    The first thing you'll notice is that a foamer is way over-eager. He wants you to know that he's an expert, and he'll really let you know it. Sometimes they'll go to the point of rudeness, correcting you on trivial details. Just a little condescending! They also try to share in the attitudes of railroad employees, but it comes off as a contrived effort. They'll make comments about how useless CMO's are, for example, or they'll slam railroad officials for not knowing how operations work on the ground. That bugs me a lot. They also have weird loyalties to certain railroads and locomotives, and they'll totally glamorize them. One guy said to me the other day, "Nothing beats a good smoking Alco!" Yeah? He's obviously never had to run one of those piles.

    Well, I'm starting to rant. Foamers are alright, but in small doses. It's fun to play the cool engineer and let a couple dudes into the cab. Depending on who's around, we'll even let them ride a little while we switch. As long as they cap the camera lens, if you know what I'm sayin'. But yeah, anyway. Like I said, the difference between a buff and a foamer is all about moderation. Trains make a good hobby, but as far as fetishes, do your shopping somewhere else.

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  • 5 years ago

    Foamers just need to remember to keep their distances from the trains that are running on a main line and try not to film the crew. They have enough to deal with. (Don't believe me? Ride the train on new years and st pattys day. See the abuse they take)

    Source(s): My self. A Railroad employee
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  • Anonymous
    5 years ago

    This Site Might Help You.

    RE:

    What do the terms 'railbuff' and 'foamer' mean?

    Source(s): terms railbuff foamer mean: https://tr.im/eWTKN
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  • Andy
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    We can always tell a foamer because you see them more than once on a trip.And they are usually in a group instead of alone.And they have scanners most of the time.

    A rail buff just usually just stops and takes your pic as you go by.

    Source(s): UPRR engineer
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  • DON W
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    Both describe individuals, typically men, who are very interested in railroads. A "foamer" takes the hobby to extremes, figuratively "foaming at the mouth" when they see trains go by. One way to identify them is by the railroad caps that many of them wear or by a railroad radio scanner in their hand.

    Each person follows the hobby in their own way. Many take photographs of train equipment, some ride as many passenger trains as they can, some are interested in particular railroads (some no longer in operation, known as "fallen flags"), some also operate model railroad layouts, some collect old timetables or pieces of equipment such as lanterns--it varies by the individual.

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  • Leisha
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    Matte means without shine. One would normally achieve a matte look by applying powder at the end of their makeup routine or using a powder foundation alone. The opposite could be greasy or oily, but no one wants that. The opposite makeup look would be dewy which gives a more natural look to the face. It can be achieved through certain foundations or a good highlighter.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Railbuff is an enthusiastic railway fanatic. Foamer is an excessively enthusiastic railway fanatic.

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  • 1 decade ago

    rail buffs and foamers go railfanning alot railfanning is when you go to a place to watch trains for a while

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