New findings from Virgin Trains revealed that trainspotting is making a comeback with Millennials and Generation Z as hashtags such as #Train_nerds begin trending on Instagram. The news comes as the train manufacturer has started rolling out their newest model, the Azuma.
Virgin is hoping all this fuss can help encourage the success of their new Azuma trains, which the company expects to see transform the UK rail industry when the new fleet comes into service next December. The 65 trains will provide an extra 12,200 seats and increase capacity into Kings Cross by 28% during peak time. Azuma will slice 22 minutes off East Coast journeys, making London to Edinburgh in just four hours, and London to Leeds in two hours, the norm throughout the day.
Interest from millennials shows no signs of slowing down, and Virgin hopes to spark spikes in conversations on social media. Since announcing the new fleet last year, the train operator has seen three clear peaks in engagement from fans, including Azuma’s inaugural test run to Scotland in August.
To delve further into this emerging trend, Virgin Trains worked with subculture expert and author of Style Tribes, Caroline Young, to identify the top next-generation train lovers taking over social media – millennials with a thirst for ‘real’ experiences, photography and a love of technology.
“Not only is there a certain ‘geek chic’ attached to the concept of trainspotting, but the journey becomes part of the travel experience as people enjoy the chance to observe scenery, read, listen to music, and even write,” said Caroline Young. “Technology is key to their lives, and we know they’re snapping and sharing their real-life experiences more than ever before.”
Virgin is hoping people of all ages are all-aboard the trend, seeing the trains as something romantic and vintage, while remaining cutting-edge.
“We’re really excited to see trainspotting transcend generations and become as popular amongst hipsters as it is with regular fans,” said Aileen Jordan, Director of Azuma at Virgin Trains on the east coast. “We’re looking forward to exciting even more fans when our trains hit the tracks in a barely a year’s time, and move us into the next era of high-speed passenger train travel.”