The People who make up Western Railfan

Pertaining to all railroad subjects, past and present, in the American West, including California, Arizona, Nevada, Colorado, New Mexico, Wyoming, Montana, and The Dakotas. For specific railroad topics, please see the Fallen Flags and Active Railroads categories.

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UP fan

Postby ljeppson » Thu Nov 22, 2007 3:18 pm

I am 61 years old, and grew up right by UP North Yard in SLC. I still live close by. I love the UP, but confess to missing the old Rio Grande a lot. I'm not all nostalgia, having gained a growing interest in the UTA mass transit system.
Utah's interurban network is being rebuilt-who'd a thunked it?!
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby AmtrakRider » Mon Dec 15, 2008 9:26 pm

As u can tell, I come to western railfanning via Amtrak. . . I take every opportunity possible to ride and observe, and if at all possible, photograph trains throughout the intermountain west. I've been fortunate enough to do so in all the Rocky Mountain states over the last 4 years. I have yet to get further west than Sandpoint, Idaho, however.

I am more of a reader than a contributor, but I hope my little contributions are worth the groups' interest.
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby amt510 » Sat May 23, 2009 10:31 pm

I grew up in Southern California spending my formative years (late 70's & early 80's) photographing Cajon and Tehachapi. After a 20+ year absence I'm finally back in So Cal. I've been photographing trains for 34 years and have been fortunate to have traveled extensively throughout the West sharpening my photographic skills.

I'm an avid collector of vintage railroad advertisements and have amassed a collection of thousands of ads. I’m always in search of those who share my fascination with that aspect of the railfan hobby.

Please feel free to visit my website:

My site is mostly a resource for my clients but you can see hundreds of good photos and interesting railroad ads!

I’m looking forward to exchanging information with members of this and other forums.

Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby CVRnut » Fri Jul 29, 2011 10:38 pm

I am 47 y/o, grew up in western, Kansas and other than a 7 yr stint in the Army and living in the PNW for almost 8 years, still call Kansas home. Have been employed by the Cimarron Valley for the last five years and have been a railfan for most of my life.
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby Desertdweller » Sat Aug 13, 2011 7:55 pm

I am new to the forum this year, but find I have some things in common with a couple other posters.

I am 62. Retired from railroading this past April after 26 years, a locomotive engineer the last 16.

Started out in life in Marshalltown Iowa. It was quite a railroad town back then, home to the Chicago Great Western, the Chicago & North Western (a division point) and the Minneapolis and St. Louis. Unfortunately, the CNW ate the other two.

Graduated from Winona State College, Winona MN. Got interested in a railroad career from riding passenger trains while in college.

Became a boomer. Worked for 12 railroads. Began on Milwaukee Road in Winona MN. Ended on Southwestern RR in Deming, NM. Railroaded in 13 states, Class Ones, Class Twos, and Class Threes.

While I lived in Winona, it was served by four railroads. At one time it had been a division point on CNW.

Worked on startup and subsequent eight years on DM&E in Pierre and Brookings, SD.

I'm sure I worked on Cimmaron Valley RR with CVRailfan.

Now I live in Ogallala, NE, and all my railroading is done in N-scale.

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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby up8677 » Tue Jun 26, 2012 11:29 pm

I'm just new to this forum, though I have read it as a lurker for some time. :)

I'm a railfan (foamer?). I live in New Mexico, but I have family all over Oklahoma and Texas, so I try to always bring my camera with me when I'm traveling. I may be an unsatiable foamer, but I strongly believe in safe railfanning. I always stay off the right of way no matter what. Never had any issues. When I was a little kid I dreamed of a railroad career, but I've decided that it's easier to just be a fan and enjoy the sights and sounds rather than have it be my job.

I'm planning on majoring in Computer Science this fall (transferring though, not as a freshman).
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby Desertdweller » Sat Jun 30, 2012 12:03 pm


If your real passion is for railroading, then you owe it to yourself to do it.
Don't pass up a railroad career just because it is easier to do something else.

No career worth doing is easy. What would the world be like if people chose careers on that basis?

I graduated from college with a degree in Political Science. But by the time I graduated, I already knew I was meant to be a railroader. And no, it wasn't easy. And I'm glad I did what I did.

You might spend your life being a foaming railfan, wishing you were working a railroad career. That is not the way to spend a lifetime, wishing you were doing something else.

I would urge you and the other railfans to at least give the real thing a try. Not everyone can be a successful railroader, but the ones that never try will never know.

Don't take my word for it. Talk to some retired railroaders and ask them if they wish they had done something else.

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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby up8677 » Sat Jun 30, 2012 6:15 pm


Thanks for the encouragement. :)

Because I have a chronic medical condition, I wonder if I would be able to even pass the initial physical. I'm not sure, however, what policies the railroads have towards chronic conditions such as mine are. Any place to find out? On other hand my vitals and lab work are always excellent (good blood pressure (my systolic is seldom over 110, usually between 100 and 105), cholesterol excellent, etc).

On the bright side, I have noticed that BNSF sometimes posts salaried positions related to my field (computer science) at Fort Worth. That is always a possibility too. With everything becoming so technology centric, there is always a need for the nerds who know their way around code. :P

Ultimately, though I would LOVE to have a career on the railroads deep down, going to college and getting my degree is sort of a safety net so I *hopefully* will have a job no matter what (and I do enjoy working with computers and coding). :) I totally agree with you that people who never try will never know. My school is actually not far from a pretty major through terminal for BNSF...
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby Desertdweller » Sat Jun 30, 2012 8:20 pm


I know there is a feeling among the railfan community that railroads don't like to hire railfans, but I think that is an over-generalization. The fear railroads have about railfans is that they may not be able to focus on the job at hand. If you can demonstrate a serious interest in the industry, and the railroad you are approaching in particular, it will help you get a job.

Railroading is a very demanding job in any department, especially the T&E people who are expected to work odd hours. It is a lifestyle that demands a commitment. So if a railroad personnel person finds a job applicant that is genuinely interested, as opposed to someone just looking for a job, it makes it easy for them to make a hiring decision.

The one biggest reason people do not get hired is that the person doing the hiring is worried they may not work out, and the person who did the hiring would be blamed.
Considering this, it is best to work around the HR Dept. and try to find someone who would be your boss if you were hired. If you can convince them they should have you working for them, ask them to recommend you to the HR dept. That way, if you fall flat on your face, the HR person cannot be held responsible for hiring you.

The way to make this work for you is to do some networking and make yourself known to the railroad field management. If you have a health concern, talk about it with this manager and find what the railroad policy really is.

I have hired people to work on railroads who were railfans. They turn out no worse than most, and better than many. After all, these people are looking for a career, and not just "a job".

So, if this is what you really want to you, you owe it not only to yourself to try, but to the industry, too.

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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby up8677 » Sun Jul 01, 2012 10:10 pm

Well I'll keep that in mind then. :) Thanks again for the encouragement.
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby railnut49 » Sun Mar 03, 2013 1:45 am

I am a guy who has spent most of his time along the Sante Fe tracks between Holbrook, AZ and flagstaff, AZ. Canyon Diablo has been a favorite spot as well as Winslow, AZ yards until Burlington Northern took over and closed my favorite places off. The Sante Fe folks had given me permission to railfan in these places, but BN folks are not very nice about things, especially when I went to ask permission. I lived in a small town, ST. Johns, AZ about an hours drive from Holbrook, AZ so I got to spend some great times along the old Sante Fe RR.
I've railfanned with friends who had scanners, but I never had one, until the other day. My old friends are all gone, so now I go alone. Right now I live in the Phoenix, AZ area and it's home to the UP, so I'm trying to find the frequencies used by the UP. ON the net I've not had good luck so far.
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby Backshophoss » Fri Mar 08, 2013 12:26 am

Try the following:
Lordsburg -Raso 160.230 DS-40
Raso- Tucson(36th street) 160.550 DS-42
Tucson(36th street)-Gila 160.550 DS-42
Gila-Yuma 160.230 DS-44
Tucson-Nogales 160.785 DS-84
Picacho-Coolidge 161.550 DS-42
Coolidge-end of track at Gillespie 160.785 DS-84
Phoenix yard switching 161.100
BNSF Phoenix area
Willams Jct - Ennis 161.370 DS-11
Sun city to Phoenix(Mobest)yard 160.650 DS-13

The above have worked in the past,unknown if UP or BNSF have gone narrowband yet.
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby Lupo10 » Tue Aug 25, 2015 1:58 pm

Well I know this thread was started 10 years ago and last posted in 2 years ago but here's my story...

Born and raised on Long Island. Moved to the Denver Metro area 9 years ago at the age of 33. Am currently modeling in HO scale (New York Cross Harbor RR circa 1999-2001) but work in downtown Denver and frequently take in the sites of BNSF and sometimes UP depending how far I want to walk on my lunch breaks. Anyone who needs any photos in the Denver area I'll see what I can do for you :-D
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Re: The People who make up Western Railfan

Postby John_Perkowski » Thu Jul 07, 2016 1:59 pm

Hi, John here.

Grew up in Los Angeles, on the old Valley Branch of the SP Coast Line. It came off at Burbank Junction, and rejoined at Chatsworth. It's now a bus path.

Saw the Daylight more than once as she diverted around a derailment on the main.

Took the City of Saint Louis as a child to Kansas for summers with my grandparents. That's where my love of Uncle Peter developed.

Post Amtrak, rode the Starlight, the Chief (1972 reincarnation), the Super, the SW Limited, all more than once.

My first duty station was Sill, in OK. Saw the Frisco, before it joined BN, and CRIP, already decrepit.

Now I'm in the Midwest, in Missouri, and see the KC-Lincoln main of the CB&Q daily on my commute. Even better, I live six blocks form it.

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