It’s official. Trainspotters are normal, according to the latest research carried out by the British Steam Railways Marketing Fund. The figures speak for themselves. Last year, claims the Fund, nearly 7 million people visited steam lines. Of these, only eight per cent fell into the “enthusiast” category, which describes those anorak-wearing nerds oft abused for their sad pastime.
The rest were just ordinary, decent people looking for a fun day out. The Fund is using the figures to show what a mainstream activity trainspotting is, and is looking for brand sponsors for steam lines. As marketing adviser Brian Adams says: “Until recently, I believe adverse media coverage has deterred potential advertisers from participating. Now we’ve proved trainspotters are “normal” we hope they’ll think again.”
The Diary has seen a marketing opportunity. The figures show there are some 500,000 hard-core trainspotters in the UK, or one in a hundred of the British population. Now, at an average price of 9.99 per cheap, plastic anorak, that means the British are blowing an uncool 5m a year on anoraks – assuming the unstylish, plastic wind-cheaters last only 12 months. There is definitely an opportunity for any ambitious marketer.