TikTok has created an online home for people to share their niche hobbies, and one student’s childhood passion for trains has now officially made trainspotting cool.
Francis Bourgeois (@francis.bourgeois) resumed his hobby during the lockdown and shared his outings with followers, as he travels to different destinations to greet trains.
On one occasion, his excitement led to a slight mishap in a clip which has garnered more than 6.8m views.
In the clip, as Bourgeois watches from his foldable chair, a class 377 locomotive passes him en route from Littlehampton to Southampton Central and he hilariously falls off his chair. Luckily, he manages to salvage his packet of Percy Pigs in the process.
After gaining millions of views and more than 500,00 followers, the engineering student’s internet fame is getting him recognised in real life.
He recalls how, when walking past a pub in Nottingham, he “saw a group of lads all stood up and waving at me”.
“At that point I realised that people were recognising me in the street because they had seen my videos, which is pretty bonkers,” he said.
However, as with anything on the internet, not all the comments on Bourgeois have been positive, with some accusing him of faking his interest in trains and creating an entire character persona.
In a TikTok video, he addressed those rumours and put them to bed by showing old childhood photos of himself enjoying his model train sets. He also recalled sitting on the platform at Willesden Junction with his dad.