Trainspotting As A Hobby - How To Start?

Trainspotting As A Hobby – How To Start?

People follow various hobbies. A hobby is a personal choice; therefore, you can follow different options until you find what interests you the most. This article will bring some great insights for vehicle enthusiasts or anyone who would like to pursue a unique hobby.

Have you ever heard of the term trainspotting? Trainspotting is an ideal hobby to spend your leisure time in a relaxed and productive manner. However, when you hear the term trainspotting, you might not feel it is an actual hobby. What makes trainspotting a good hobby, what is good about it, and how can one pursue it as a hobby? This article will help you to understand these concerns.

Trainspotting is more than just a pastime; it’s a captivating hobby that has enthralled enthusiasts for generations. This article explores the world of trainspotting, delving into its history, appeal, and the joy it brings to those who find fascination in the world of locomotives.

In its most basic sense, trainspotting involves collecting sightings of trains. Trainspotting is considered a good hobby primarily due to its versatility and ability to help one spend their free time meaningfully.

If you intend to follow trainspotting as a hobby, there are multiple areas that you can pay attention to. For instance, you can focus on different train models, engines, the history of trains, railway photography, and more.

Trainspotters collect information and data regarding the area of their personal interests. Trainspotting is not a complex hobby to pursue, and nor is it limited to a gender or an age category. However, it is crucial to understand the basics of trainspotting and follow it step by step.

If you do not have a thorough idea about trainspotting, you will question how exactly it is a hobby. However, as mentioned earlier, trainspotting is a versatile hobby. Furthermore, this hobby gives you multiple benefits apart from enjoying your leisure time.

Read through because this could be the perfect hobby that you’ve been looking to do. 

Is trainspotting an actual hobby?

When we talk about hobbies, trainspotting might not be the first thing that comes to mind. Many will wonder whether trainspotting is an actual hobby. It sure is. People choose their hobbies according to their interests.

As a result, there are no fixed rules to follow when selecting a hobby. The bottom line is no matter what you choose as a hobby; it should be able to make you content and satisfied. Not everyone wants to spend their leisure time the same way.

Some prefer to stay indoors, while others want to go outside. Some want to do hobbies requiring physical exertion, while others want mentally relaxing activities. If you like to be outdoors and follow a hobby that makes you feel relaxed, trainspotting is a good choice for you.

Trainspotting is an activity that has a fascinating history linked to it. This was first started in the United Kingdom in the early 1940s when Ian Allan, a young PR trainee, initiated the locomotive club to fill the knowledge gap and spread awareness about train safety.

Without taking a lot of time, trainspotting became a popular hobby among many. Trainspotting is not merely limited to watching trains; there are various things one can explore regarding trains.

Pursuing it as a hobby allows for relaxing one’s mind, enhancing focus and patience, and having a productive leisure time. 

Why is trainspotting hobby so popular?

As mentioned in the previous section, trainspotting first started as a way to evolve the knowledge of train safety. Eventually, this became a popular leisure activity, but what made it so demanding? It is hard to pinpoint what exactly made trainspotting a popular hobby.

However, many interesting things about trainspotting make it popular. Trainspotting is a convenient hobby for many, primarily for those who want to spend their free time outdoors.

Overall, trainspotting allows you to have fun, learn new things about trains, and utilize what you learn and collect for meaningful purposes. All of these benefits made trainspotting a popular hobby. 

Why do people love trainspotting?

There are plenty of things to love about trainspotting. From structure to functioning, trains are fascinating vehicles. As said, trainspotting is a wide-ranging hobby, and there are many things one can do as a trainspotter prioritizing their interests.

Some such areas include railroad locomotives, railway photography, collection of timetables, the study of used and abandoned railroad lines, preservation, restoration, and operations. 

People follow hobbies to fulfill varying expectations. However, in general, anyone pursues a hobby to escape from their busy regular lives and spend their spare time in a relaxing manner.

Trainspotting is a therapeutic hobby, one of the reasons why many love it. If you are keen to follow a mindfulness activity as a hobby, trainspotting will help you meet your expectations significantly.

Trainspotting is a hobby that requires patience and focus; therefore, it evolves your concentration abilities and eventually reduces stress. Trainspotting also creates space for you to go outdoors and explore trains, even abandoned railroads, bridges, and stations; sounds exciting, isn’t it?

Moreover, if you are a fan of studying history, you can specifically focus on areas such as the history of trains. If you are interested in photography, you can give priority to railway photography.

Likewise, you can adjust trainspotting according to your preferences, making it more fun and convenient. 

How do I start trainspotting as a hobby?

Even though you are interested in pursuing trainspotting as a hobby, you might have concerns about how you should start it. Below, you can find a simple guide to understanding how to commence trainspotting as a hobby.

  • Identify your interest 

As discussed earlier, trainspotting is a diverse hobby; therefore, first, you should figure out which area interests you the most? Simply put, what exactly do you want to spot? This is a choice that you should make considering your personal preference.

There are different types of trains, for example, electric, diesel, and hybrid trains. You can choose one of them, particularly to study or else any sort of train in general.

You should also decide how to gather information; you can take photographs and videos or collect descriptive or statistical data.

Then, you can accordingly pick the required equipment and start trainspotting. Whatever the area you focus on and the technique you use, make sure that it makes you find it exciting. 

  • Ready the equipment 

Once you decide on the area of interest, you can gather the needed equipment. The equipment you need will vary from context to context.

Usually, trainspotters need notebooks, notepads to pen down their sightings, and sometimes devices to capture them. Moreover, trainspotting is typically an outdoor activity; therefore, dress accordingly.

  • Select the correct place 

You should select a place for trainspotting based on your interests and expectations. Some are interested in modern trains, whereas others are in ancient ones; therefore, you should select a place where you can best meet your expectations.

You will be able to find resources online to find out the best local trainspotting places. Furthermore, there are trainspotting networks where you can find more details from people with the same interests. 

  • Follow the safety protocols 

You must pay good attention to your safety to become a trainspotter. Ensure you are attentive enough to take care of yourself while trainspotting and that your presence does not bother anyone.

Wandering in railway stations could be hazardous; therefore, be mindful of what you do. Moreover, talk to the platform staff first and inform them about what you do so it will not make them suspicious of you.

Certain railways are restricted for public entrance; if you are entering such an area, it is vital to grant permission from relevant parties.

What do I need to start trainspotting? 

You need certain things when you follow a hobby. What equipment do you need if you want to follow trainspotting? As said in the previous section, the equipment you require for trainspotting is determined by the area you will focus on. 

Most of the time, a notebook and a pen are the most crucial equipment trainspotters need. You should have a notebook or a notepad to sketch down the sightings.

If you want to expand on descriptive and statistical data, you can also take photographs and videos of trains that you observe; for that, you can use a phone, camera, or tape recorder.

Trainspotting is typically an individual hobby; nonetheless, it is always better to find out other people who follow trainspotting as a hobby. If you want to start trainspotting as a hobby, try to find people with a similar interest.

When you become a part of a trainspotting network, this will be a more exciting and engaging hobby. 

Final thoughts 

Trainspotting might sound like an old-fashioned hobby. However, do not let others’ opinions determine what you want to pursue as your hobby. Although trainspotting sounds like an old-schooled hobby, it still is an excellent hobby followed by many.

Several things make trainspotting an adventurous hobby; as discussed in the article, trainspotting is not only an exciting hobby, but it also benefits one to relax their mind, enhance focus, and maintain mental stability.

For anyone who would like to spend their free time doing something unique, trainspotting will be a hobby worth trying. 


  • Delbert Spence is the founder of HobbyLeads. He is passionate about meaningful extra time by engaging in different hobbies. He believes every hobby has its qualities and benefits. So, Delbert started writing about different hobbies and researching more in-depth about each hobby. He has done some research on the correlation between hobbies and social-emotional behavior. As a scholar and a hobby enthusiast, Delbert tries to help you find answers to frequently asked questions about hobbies.

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