Railfan Virginia


All solutions start with problems.

As is the case universally, you follow and participate in a hobby because something about it interests you - right?

I began railfanning in 2004, roughly a year after my high school graduation. At the time, I was also taking on an interest in photography,
so I was learning a great deal of information all at once. As most railfans start out, I knew nothing about what I was seeing, where it was going
or if there was any significance to what I was seeing. It was a classic "see train, shoot train" scenario.

As time passed, I became educated through field experiences and friends within the hobby. The yearning to experience new things began
taking me new places to document trains I wouldn't normally see at home. These trips were the fundamental happenings which ultimately
helped me to spawn the idea for Railfan Virginia.

In time, my brother gained enough information to begin compiling railfan-friendly signal lists, or, railfan guides, as they're now
referred to. These documents began helping railfans around the state while listening to and following trains by means of radio
transmissions. With these resources now readily available, a breakthrough had been made - but there was still a great unknown.

As I began visiting places around Virginia, my sense of visual learning would kick in, and I could visually remember locations in which I had
previously captured pictures, video, etc. I started bouncing the idea around of making a web-accessible collection of media which
could be utilized to explore Virginia's rail lines from the convenience of a computer.

Enter Railfan Virginia.

When I first started hearing rail activity in cities such as Charlottesville, Lynchburg, Norfolk, and Roanoke, just to name a few, curiosity warranted
visits. The problem with this endeavor is having no prior knowledge of the railroad workings within and around each metropolitan
area. I knew nothing about which lines ran where, what to expect, where to go to capture images, or anything of the like.
Trains run in many different directions across the state, but I knew nothing about how to get anywhere, or capture anything without an experienced guide.

The mission of Railfan Virginia is to be a learning resource for anyone who has an interest in documenting rail activity within the confines of
the Old Dominion. Viewers will be able to educate themselves through various mediums about any desired part of the state, and furthermore,
be able to make educated decisions based on the material presented on the site. An essential element of the media displayed by Railfan Virginia
is the that all media which is presented has been captured from public property, and can be duplicated without worrying about encroachment on
private or railroad property. Audio files of radio transmissions are presented where possible to acquaint viewers with the style and linguistics
in use by train crews in different areas.

In time, my goal is to present maps which also feature roads and highways which are essential to each rail route. For now, detailed descriptions
are provided with each image to divulge to viewers exactly where each was captured. My pledge to viewers is that "If I can get there, so can you."