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Another Word You Need to Know: Foamer

May 2, 2010

There are lots of crazy terminology out there that if you’re not a Foamer, you’ve probably never heard of and have no idea what that means.  Like the word Foamer.

A Foamer is a train geek, think One, the Bus Nerd (see That’s Marta!), and the Train Kid.  It’s people who foam/salivate at the mouth seeing a train go by.  The type of people who think boys nights are sleepovers in old rail cars.  The people I hang out with way too much and am slowly becoming.

So how did train geeks get to be associated with rabid raccoons?  I know lots of Foamers, and none seem to be into dipping trash into rivers and eating it.

But actually, the origin of the name has to do with a river.  The term Foamer comes from the train geeks who would wade into the Feather River to take pictures of the trains heading down Western Pacific’s Feather River Route through the Sierra Nevadas from California to Utah.  Built in 1906, this route is known for it’s impressive engineering and breath-taking scenery.

There was once a thriving timber industry along this route, and the pollutants from the mills was dumped into the rivers, causing foam to build up in the eddies and along the banks.  Train geeks would venture into the river to capture that perfect picture of a locomotive crossing the trestles and would come back covered in foam, hence the moniker.

For further examples of what a Foamer is, I’d recommend checking this out.

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