Metrophile

From Academic Kids

A metrophile is a person who has as a hobby the study of metro (subway, underground) systems.

Such people may indulge their hobby by:

  • travelling and visiting as many metro systems as they can;
  • attempting to find out about and/or visit hidden nooks and crannies of a metro system;
  • learning about the technology, architecture, and history of various metro systems;
  • collecting material related to metro systems, such as maps, plans, transfers, tickets, and the like, often from many cities around the world;
  • publicizing their metro systems (some metrophile websites contain more information about the system than the transit companies' own);
  • designing expanded metro networks for various cities;
  • discussing their findings with others;
  • and, in general writing, learning, teaching, photographing, and thinking about metros.

Some metrophiles even manage to attract attention, approval, help, and even employment from transit companies.

However, in New York City, fans of the New York City Subway are known as railfans. Some of them have formed a well-organized lobbying organization.

One metrophile, an apparently autistic New Yorker named Darius McCollum, impersonated a range of New York City subway personnel for some time; he was so technically proficient at driving trains, helping repair crews, fixing trains, and even dealing with emergencies, that he served unpaid with some distinction (and a certain amount of complicity from actual personnel). Unfortunately, this was quite illegal and he was repeatedly arrested and, despite a plea to have him treated for Asperger's syndrome, was finally imprisoned. Harper's Magazine published an article on him in May 2002.

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