Railway enthusiasts, railfans, transpotters or gricers (British English) are people who are fond of the recreational activity with the help of the rail transport. People of different ages are eager to become railfans all over the world. Of course, each railfan wants to investigate definite unknown things that are interesting to him:

  • railway history
  •  railway locomotives
  •  still-used railroad lines, stations, bridges, tunnels
  • railway architecture
  •  railway commerce
  • railway restoration
  • timetable collecting
  • monitoring radio communications with the help of radio scanners

As we can see railfans possess a great variety of items they can explore in a particular town or country.

Train photography is considered to be one of the most popular activities for railfans. As the rule railfans take photos of objects that refer to public property. Nevertheless some railroad companies don’t like railfans as they consider railfans to be a nuisance.

          It’s worth to know that there are some places in the world where photography is entirely prohibited. For example, you can’t take photos on the Tyne and Wear Metro in the United Kingdom without special permission given by the system operator Nexus. Nevertheless this is the only place in the United Kingdom where such policy takes place. National Rail network with all its stations are open for photography.

          London Underground permits all tourists and railfans to take photos and videos when they pass through stations while tripods and flashes aren’t permitted.

          In Singapore photography is forbidden on all LRT and MRT lines. That’s why the special permission must be taken from the peculiar staff (CSOs) at all MRT stations.

          In Melbourne (Australia), Metro Trains Melbourne gives special permissions for those who wish to take photos. This permission remains valid approximately for 60 days.

          The Spanish railroad company RENFE also gives a special permission for photography.

          In Greece the photography is entirely forbidden on all railway networks. Railroad companies require special justification from railfans. In some cases family photography is tolerated, while professional railfans confronts with security guards who try to call the police and to confiscate cameras.

          Railway modelling is another kind of hobby, where railway modelers try to model railroads of a definite period or country seeking information about these objects. As usual railway modelers are rail photographers as well, because to take a photo is the easiest way to document the proper information for modelmaking purpose.