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View Poll Results: How old are you?
0-15 years 6 12.77%
16-25 years 19 40.43%
26-35 years 8 17.02%
36-45 years 10 21.28%
46-55 years 3 6.38%
56-65 years 1 2.13%
66-75 years 0 0%
76-100 years 0 0%
Voters: 47. You may not vote on this poll

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Old 09-17-2006, 05:41 PM   #1
a231pacific
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Default What are RP's age demographics?

I've been wondering, how old are RailPicture's users?

I was browsing through the screeners choices today and noticing that diesel shots seem to get about 4 times as many hits as steam shots. From this I deduce that the average RP viewer is quite a bit younger than the steam fans!

Also, reading some of the questions and comments in the forums leads me to conclude that there are quite a number of teenage fans that visit and post on this site. I find that to be a pleasant surprise, as the conventional wisdom is that railfans are an aging demographic.

A poll might give us a view into the future of this hobby.

Michael Allen
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Old 09-17-2006, 05:49 PM   #2
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I'm guessing the demographic tilts younger, just with the fact that this site is on the internet (but that might be stereotyping).

I'll be 30 in November, and as I've stated before in the forums, I could care less about steam. That's a blanket statement, but to be specific: I dislike present-day steam, excursions with steam, staged photos of steam, and any foreign steam. I do enjoy shots from the past (40s, 50s, 60s) in the US that show when steam was still used in regular service as it marks an era in history.

I grew up in the 70s and 80s when steam was long gone. It was Conrail blue that rolled by my backyard in those GP38s and SD40-2s that still peak my interest even to this day. I'm the same way with airplanes...give me what I grew up with all the way to the present day. A flying B-17? Not a big deal for me, even knowing the history and importance of the machine. I'm guessing the steam demographic is an 'aging' demographic, but railfaning in general might be leaning younger...
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Old 09-17-2006, 06:39 PM   #3
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I'll be 17 in November. I just saw a triple headed steam train (IAIS 6888, 7081 and Milwaukee 261) yesterday.

Image © Nick Hart
PhotoID: 158550
Photograph © Nick Hart

Image © Nick Hart
PhotoID: 158547
Photograph © Nick Hart

Image © Nick Hart
PhotoID: 158507
Photograph © Nick Hart

Image © Nick Hart
PhotoID: 158505
Photograph © Nick Hart

Image © Nick Hart
PhotoID: 158503
Photograph © Nick Hart

Image © Nick Hart
PhotoID: 158551
Photograph © Nick Hart


This was an excursion (sorry Chris ).
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Old 09-17-2006, 07:40 PM   #4
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I am 15 years old, and I like everything from steam to GP9s to F45s (really like those) to the newest SD70ACes....
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Old 09-17-2006, 07:47 PM   #5
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Nick,

Nice shots, expecially the B&W shot! I wish I had been half as good with a camera when I was your age! And BTW, the Bears are putting it to my home state Lions today!

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Old 09-17-2006, 07:57 PM   #6
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35 here, and I'm just about burned out on modern American railroad photography.

I've been interested in railroads since I was a kid and always like diesels and thought steam was for "old foagies". Well, I couldn't have been any more wrong. Seeing all of the images from China, South Africa, UK, south America, etc., has rejuvenated my interests. While I agree with Ween that I don't get incredibly excited about steam excursions, I have begun to take a second look. While diesels are photogenic in their own colorful way (or at least used to be in the early passenger days) I think steam embodies what the "true" railroad photo is all about. To me, steam is a living, breathing, machine. Many may disagree, but diesels, (modern ones especially) can (and I'm using the word CAN) appear to be stale and lifeless in comparison when captured in photos.
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Old 09-17-2006, 08:06 PM   #7
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Hi Michael,

Thanks a lot for your comments! I really appreciate it. It's really nice to hear comments like yours. Seeing a triple headed steam train was one of those times that I'll never forget. The last time I saw 261 was in June of 2004 at La Grange, Illinois. Thanks again!
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Old 09-17-2006, 08:24 PM   #8
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I've been on this earth for almost a quarter century (I will be 25 in May). My childhood contains some nice memories of the Southern Railway. I remember the long hood forward running and the radio control units on 111 and 112 up through the mid 90s.

As far as steam is concerned, I don't really care one way or the other about it. The only real opinion I have is that western steam (Challenger, Big Boy, etc.) is grossly overrated when compared to the locomotives built at the Roanoke Locomotive Works.
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Old 09-17-2006, 09:49 PM   #9
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I prefer diesel, since that is what I am growing up with. Also, a very similar thread was created a while back. http://www.railpictures.net/forums/s...ead.php?t=2055
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Old 09-17-2006, 10:23 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ween
I'll be 30 in November, and as I've stated before in the forums, I could care less about steam.
I'm 31 and 180 out. I could care less about modern stuff because I am around it everyday. But I love to see steam power. There are some wonderful old steam engines in one of the yards I work in, and my employer has some classic engines that they never retired that make their rounds around our system.
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Old 09-17-2006, 11:29 PM   #11
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Sammy,

I missed Chuck's poll. Thanks for pointing it out. It looks like the median age for RP is in the mid to late 20's somewhere. Glad to see there are a lot of younger railfan shooters out there!
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Old 09-18-2006, 12:30 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by a231pacific
I've been wondering, how old are RailPicture's users?

I was browsing through the screeners choices today and noticing that diesel shots seem to get about 4 times as many hits as steam shots. From this I deduce that the average RP viewer is quite a bit younger than the steam fans!

Also, reading some of the questions and comments in the forums leads me to conclude that there are quite a number of teenage fans that visit and post on this site. I find that to be a pleasant surprise, as the conventional wisdom is that railfans are an aging demographic.

A poll might give us a view into the future of this hobby.

Michael Allen
I was born WAYYY after the "end" of steam but I have been and always will be in love with steam and 'like' diesels. I currently have 626 photos on RP.net of those 210 are of a steam locomotive.
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Old 09-18-2006, 12:51 AM   #13
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When I was little,

  • TV was in B&W
  • Music was bought on black round things called records
  • There were no mobile phones
  • Global warming had not reared it's ugly head
  • The word Digital had not been invented
  • Photographing trains was not an offence
  • Computers filled entire rooms
Christine.
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Old 09-18-2006, 01:00 AM   #14
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Disregard
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Old 09-18-2006, 01:13 AM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Switched out
When I was little,

  • TV was in B&W
  • Music was bought on black round things called records
  • There were no mobile phones
  • Global warming had not reared it's ugly head
  • The word Digital had not been invented
  • Photographing trains was not an offence
  • Computers filled entire rooms
Christine.
LOL, Same here Christine
Although I did have the pleasure of seeing the J-611 twice under steam and haulin!
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Old 09-18-2006, 03:33 AM   #16
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I just turned 18 about 2 weeks ago. But, yeah, I couldn't believe that there were other teenage railfans out there until I found RP.net about a year and a half ago.

I used to like diesel, but I fell in love with steam about a day ago, while chasing the triple header between Rock Island and Bureau. It was the first time I had seen a working steam engine in over 5 years. It was also my first experience as to just how crazy some phoamerz are, especially when steam engines parallel roads. We were just going along, not really jockeying for any particular position, mostly just enjoying the experience of having three steam engines right next to us, but man, some people were pacing it in the left lane, people sitting on doors outside of windows, it was crazy. Wish I had gotten some pictures.

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Old 09-18-2006, 03:33 PM   #17
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I will be 21 in next December.I like diesels more than steam as when i born i found diesels everywhere in Egypt.My dad told me that the Egyptian steam fleet was great and there were steam action here too in my city as trains were stopping to get water.He also told me that there were anarrow gauge service called DALTA trains where passengers were travelling by steam trains too.I can say that steam trains become apart of the history here in Egypt but i wonot forget it.
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Old 09-18-2006, 09:03 PM   #18
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I'm 19 and a stubborn BN fan. The most modern thing I like is the SD70MAC. SD40-2's and SD45's kick everythings butt, its that simple.

I wish I had been born in the late 1940's so I could see the transition between the majestic steamers to the rugged diesels, then complain how things were "back in my day"
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Old 09-18-2006, 11:38 PM   #19
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Im 16 and Im more into the diesel locomotives .....and 1 LNG loco too
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Old 09-18-2006, 11:48 PM   #20
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14 here but i have no photos on rp's
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Old 09-19-2006, 12:29 AM   #21
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Still 28 Years.
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Another place to look at pictures if there is more to photography than railroading http://www.picpublisher.com/referral/William_Grow
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Old 09-19-2006, 10:36 PM   #22
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I'm 36 and, frankly, I am dumbfounded to find that Nick Hart is 16 years old. Nick, you have some great stuff. I'm not suer I had even picked up a camera when I was your age. Or if I had, it was my mother's point and shoot. I can't even begin to imagine the reaction if I had said, "Mom, Dad, I want to take the car out and chase trains."

As for steam, I didn't get my first real taste until, let's see, oh, February of this year. This says something about the time we live in that I was 35 before I saw my first real steam engine. (I saw the Shay at the NC Museum in Spencer a few times.)

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Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of steam action around here. Even the GSMR is steamless at least for now.
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Old 09-19-2006, 10:46 PM   #23
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If I could point the DeLorean back in time, I'd start in the 60s with the end of steam and the begining of diesel. Get shortlines and ops no longer around now. But I'm really kicking myself for not getting out more in the late teens and 20s during the change over of Seaboard in my area to CSX and the Southern to NS years too.


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Old 09-19-2006, 11:14 PM   #24
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Joe the Photog
If I could point the DeLorean back in time, I'd start in the 60s with the end of steam and the begining of diesel. Get shortlines and ops no longer around now. But I'm really kicking myself for not getting out more in the late teens and 20s during the change over of Seaboard in my area to CSX and the Southern to NS years too.


Joe
Joe,
I was there for the Seaboard to CSX transition,as well as the Family Lines to Seaboard, and the C&EI to L&N(Family Lines) and MAN, do I miss those days.
But, I was lucky enough to have seen the N&W J-611 at about 18. And have had the priviledge of riding behind narrow gauge steam on the D&S.
When I told my parents I was going chasing trains at that age, they just rolled their eyes and hoped I would grow out of it, BUT, not yet
Oh, and Nick!
Great shots, all of mine at your age pale in comparison
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Old 09-20-2006, 01:42 AM   #25
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Joe,

We must have crossed paths. I was at Strasburg on the 18th and at New Hope on the 19th! Spent my birthday shooting N&W 476!

Image © Michael F. Allen
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I wish John West would cast his vote so I won't have to remain the only old guy in the forum!

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