TikTok train spotter Francis Bourgeois has an 'absolute blast' at Severn Valley Railway
Popular TikTok star Francis Bourgeois has been steaming onto the railways of the West Midlands - using his platform to make train spotting a cool hobby to choo-choo-choose.
The creator had an "unforgettable weekend" at Severn Valley Railway for its spring diesel festival, and has also been to Shrewsbury railway station recently.
Francis, real name Luke Nicholson, soared to social media stardom with his videos sharing his passion for railways. With his Go Pro camera pointing at his face, his manic laughter as he gets toots (or tones) from his favourite trains has brought smiles to the faces of his followers. He has so far amassed three million followers on TikTok.
He said he had an "absolute blast" at Severn Valley Railway, and mentioned a touching moment he shared with a fellow train enthusiast.
In a social media post, he said: "Today at SVR, I had quite a moving moment. Whilst flying along behind Western Courier (both Maybach v12s absolutely roaring) I met a chap called Tomos, who explained to me how my videos have stopped people at his school taking the mick about his trainspotting passion. To hear this made me feel very emotional. Both of us cried and I gave him a hug.
"The railway community is a place where camaraderie and friendship can be found just by sharing a carriage. This weekend at the SVR has been a testament to that - I've met so many great people and had an absolute blast.
"Thank you everyone at Severn Valley Railway for an unforgettable weekend."
Francis hasn't posted any videos of his Severn Valley escapades yet, but visitors who met him will be keeping their eye on his social media.
Lesley Carr, head of marketing and communications at the railway said Francis had pictures with lots of visitors and chatted to volunteers at the railway. "We had a good idea he was coming," she said. "Ours is one of the main heritage diesel events in the calendar.
"He's got a child-like joy about it all. I think he has normalised having an interest in heritage rail, and has made it acceptable and fun. He's got a huge following."
It comes after Francis posted a video last week at Shrewsbury railway station.
Camera in hand, and full of enthusiasm, he said: "I'm going to be chasing these today, from Shrewsbury, all the way to Pwlleli in north west Wales. It's going to be a mega day," before giving an excitable laugh as a National Pathfinder train sounded its horn on its way past towards the Cambrian coast.
The date he was there is unclear but, with snow falling, it could be from March this year. The clip has more than 250,000 views and 15,000 likes.
Francis - who is also known for his contemporary fashion and love of riding his scooter - has filmed with many famous faces including Eurovision favourite Sam Ryder, footballer Jesse Lingard and Olympic diving star Tom Daley on his Channel 4 series Trainspotting with Francis Bourgeois.