Also known as railfans, railway enthusiasts are part of a very large international community that has one very strong interest: everything related to trains. Wither be it railways history or preservation, photography or videography, travel or collection of vintage items, showing interested in railways can be a great hobby, especially for children.
In this article I will give you the top 5 reasons why you should encourage your child to become a railway enthusiast.
#5 Learning History
Becoming a railway enthusiast is not a new hobby. In fact, it is as old as railways themselves. Encouraging your children to become interested in railways is a good way of helping them embrace a rich locomotive history and the history of their own country. This love of history doesn’t need to stop at railways, it can expand into all aspects of their life, especially at school, and thus make them much more of a keen learner. The history of trains is truly fascinating and is something your child would really enjoy becoming a part of, and so would you.
#4 Getting into Photography
Many railway enthusiasts become quite talented photographers as a result of always wanting to photograph moving trains and displays at railways museums. Nowadays everyone has access to a camera on their phone so photography has become easier and more accessible than ever. (You could also consider children’s cameras!) Learning to take good photographs can improve artistic talent and may even branch off into a whole new interest on its own. Many parents find that encouraging their children to get into photography can give them a whole new way to see the world. A whole new way to see trains too. Photography gives you and your child a way to record the time you spend together taking pictures of trains, so you can always cherish them.
#3 Travel More
Whether you are only traveling to your local locomotive museums by car or traveling throughout the countryside via train, an interest in trains can give your child a whole new breath of fresh air taking the entire family to new places. Traveling by train is a great way to see your local countryside or new areas you normally don’t stop to when in a car.
Some of the most incredible journeys available in the world, such as the Trans-Siberian Train or the Orient Express, stem from the love of trains and the love of travel that go hand in hand. You don’t have to take a train across Asia, but it is a nice dream instill in your child that one day they might be able to journey far, far away and become better human beings.
#2 Collect Memorabilia
The hobby of collecting stuff you’re fascinate with is incredibly common. Whether it’s stamps or sports playing cards, coins or banknotes, there’s a true emotional (and even monetary value) to collecting memorabilia. Railway memorabilia can give your child something they can always hang onto to remember their childhood time together with their family. There is a reason why so many people choose to be collectors, no matter what it is they collect. So if you’d like your children to become responsible and organized, why not encourage them to collect railway memorabilia? You never know what resale value that one ticket you collected will have in 30 year’s time!
Orienteering is an undervalued skill in today’s society, and there are very few opportunities for children to learn how to navigate by themselves and read maps. Typically they just use Google or Apple Maps, but what if that’s not available? What if you ran out of battery?
Visiting train stations gives children a real-life opportunity to learn how to read a map and navigate using it. When taking the train to a new place, teaching your child to use a map to find their way to whatever attraction you are visiting and then how to find their way back to the station is an opportunity they won’t get in very many other places. Being able to read a map is a skill not very many children have but one that all of them should.
Looking at trains and railways as a hobby provides children many valuable and practical opportunities. From travel to orienteering, from photography (and even videography) to collecting personal memorabilia, encouraging your child to become a railways enthusiast can have a true impact in your child’s future life. Oh, and their history grades will improve too!