Young railfans have trains on the brain
We received many fantastic submissions for this year’s Young Railfan Photo Contest! It was our hardest photo contest to judge yet. We loved them all and wish we could have fit all of them into this article! From costumes to toys and decorations, all the young railfans had a unique way of expressing their passion for trains. Thank you to everyone who participated and for showing your love of BNSF trains! Take a look below to see some fellow railfans.
Jonah’s Mom: Here’s my son Jonah in his costume, and BNSF 5537 in the background. He was elated to snag this photo! Jonah absolutely loves trains and BNSF! He had been intrigued with trains since before he could even speak. As his parents, we have nurtured his interest and enjoyed making his BNSF costumes and venturing out to look for trains. He was elated to snag a photo with a locomotive in the background. We were so excited for this contest and opportunity. Thank you, BNSF Railway!
Grantley’s Mom: Our son Grantley has had a love for BNSF locomotives steady and strong for over three years now! He adores going train tracking on the weekends and waving at all the BNSF locomotives that come by. He even got a BNSF themed bedroom for his birthday this year!
From being a BNSF engineer for Halloween to meeting a real BNSF policeman while out train tracking— it’s been such a joy to see his love for trains grow and grow. We especially thank all those kind BNSF engineers who always have a honk and wave to spare for our young railfan.
Duane Joseph Stover
Duane’s Grandmother: There is never a dull moment when travelling with a toddler train spotter! Driving back to Kansas from Colorado we had to make an emergency stop in La Junta when “Choo Choo” was announced from the back seat. His face lights at up just at the sound of a train in the distance.
Jackson’s Mom: The top photos shows my son, Jackson Jonas, near the Hi-Line East of Shelby, Montana. This photo was taken on the day that his Grandpa had to move out of my childhood home. I had that view for 15 or so years and I never really appreciated it back then. Many late curfews from a train blocking the highway home and horns going at all hours. Now my son would have loved to have lived there to get to see and hear trains 24-7. And me, just hearing a train horn now brings me back to my childhood, to that spot, the Sweetgrass Hills, the smell of sagebrush on a hot day with grasshoppers buzzing by. Jackson would stand out there for hours watching trains come and go. He'd be excited to go see his Grandparents, not only for them, but he knew he'd get to watch trains all day. He's 15 now but has not stopped loving trains. He's a true railfan for life and still plans on making it a career.
The second picture is him as a teenager with Central Montana Rail‘s dinner train, Charlie Russell Chew Choo.
Abram’s Mom: Meet my handsome train enthusiast son Abram! BNSF is one of his favorites!
Abram loves playing with his wooden toy engines, riding his little mechanical train, waving at passing trains, and watching videos on the mechanics of trains.
He wants to be an engineer when he grows up and of course, BNSF is on top of the list.
Joel: I hope to work for BNSF when I get older and be a train engineer. I’ve always been a big fan, and I live by BNSF’s Cadet Yard in San Antonio. I love hearing the horn. I love BNSF.
Louis' dad: Louis Taber Shelton’s fascination with trains has taken the whole family to model railroad events and historic train exhibits. Louis enthusiastically approaches toy trains with an intensity of focus that still allows for creative problem solving in freight logistics. Outdoors, Louis is always alert for the sound or distant sight of a train. The whole Shelton family appreciates the hard work and dedication of the BNSF team and other essential workers along the supply chain.
Photographer Barry Sprofera: On July 12, 2021, while watching the live camera for Flagstaff Amtrak Depot, I noticed a young boy on the platform holding up a sign to passing trains. I live here in Flagstaff so I drove over there to see what was up. The attached photo tells it all. His name is Mason and his Grandma brought him to watch trains. We chatted for a while and I got this cool photo of Mason and the conductor of BNSF 8390 enjoying a moment in time.
Tyler’s Dad: I have been a railfan most of my life. Both of my sons were into trains, my oldest just a few years, but Tyler's admiration of trains has only grown. It started for Tyler around the age of 3. As a young toddler, he would ask me to go see trains. I was into photography at the time, so he got plenty of opportunities. However, for Christmas of 2020 he wanted a train set. By February, he had me hooked on model railroading. Thousands and thousands of dollars later we have a nice 10-foot by 16-foot shed full of trains. He usually runs the trains when we have guests over.
I am truly blessed to have a son that shares the railfan blood. He is actually into it more than I was at his age.
Thanks to everyone who submitted wonderful photos of their young railfans!