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The Trainspotter's Notebook: The unmissable book from TikTok's trainspotting sensation

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He sounded a bit nervous at times (understandably, being on live national radio), but overall he came over pretty well. He began making TikTok videos on trainspotting during the COVID-19 pandemic and has received widespread acclaim for his joyful and uplifting content. In a footwell, he explains to Lingard that the trainspotting community has taken against him, because they – like many on the internet – doubt his authenticity. In fact, these days even rail enthusiasts will normally shy away from using this term for themselves.

If we want people to care about passing the torch onto a younger generation for volunteering on heritage railways and supporting mainline steam locos, i think we do need to make more of an effort to welcome more people in and to allow for the hobby to finally overcome the sad man stereotypes as they are yet to die off. There’s something that is just really nice about seeing Francis enjoy life, whether that is via this audiobook or his TikToks/ other social media content, his happiness and energy is just infectious! The book was launched in October, alongside his new Channel 4 digital series Trainspotting with Francis Bourgeois. Afterward, Bourgeois appeared on the Gucci Podcast alongside Bryanboy to discuss the relationship between fashion and social media. It felt amazing to be able to share my passion with my friends for my birthday, which was on the 9th July" – via Instagram.The first, which features as a guest the comedian Aisling Bea, is an ungainly cross between his TikToks and Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. If Trainspotting With Francis Bourgeois can do more of this, if it can tap into what makes Bourgeois tick rather than use him as an object of fun, it deserves to be on television proper very soon. Surely it was a matter of time before Francis Bourgeois would be exposed as an elaborate, train-based Sacha Baron Cohen-style prankster. The book has been described as “funny and heart-warming, meditative and reflective, and always joyous”.

When he entered secondary school at the age of 15, he suppressed his interest in trains as a means to fit in better and sold his railway sets.This is a joy-filled love letter to the railways, their raw mechanical power, the thrill they bring, and the community they create.

I've followed Francis' journey from his TikTok beginning to this book and enjoyed every step of the journey so far. Not my usual genre and if honest I had never heard of Francis - however it had a few things in its favour…. Transferring my stories to the page, I’ve relived the huge moments of exhilaration that people have connected with in my videos. He sounds a genuine guy with a certain type of railway enthuisiasm discuss his hobby* with others in the studio.

Francis Bourgeois is an English trainspotter and social media personality, best known for his videos posted on Instagram and TikTok on the topic of trains.

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