Hobbyist or Terrorist?

Admiring trains has been a refuge for generations of men. Now it can get you a visit from the police

Every lunch hour, computer programmer John Almeida leaves his cubicle at an insurance company outside Philadelphia and chases trains. He sets up four video cameras on tripods beside the tracks and waits, listening to his scanner. "I come out every day because history happens every day," he says. Almeida, a father of three, is a railfan--a hobbyist who watches trains with the fastidiousness of a lab researcher. Over the past 15 years, he has shot hundreds of hours of video and tens of thousands of pictures. Call it what you will, it is hard to think of a more benign hobby.

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