Dateline targets trainspotters who want more than a brief encounter

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The Independent Online
TRAINSPOTTERS, reckoned to be too preoccupied by locomotives and timetables to pay much attention to women, are being targeted by Europe's biggest dating agency.

Dateline has taken full-page advertisements in trainspotters' magazines calling for "bright, active, lively, caring individuals" for "partnership vacancies".

The advertisements, which appeared this month, have proved so successful that Dateline has decided to take regular slots in the magazines.

Modern Railways and Railway World are regarded as the "train enthusiasts' bibles" and are often hoarded by readers for future reference. At least 98 per cent of the magazines' readers are middle-aged men - almost half of whom are single.

The computer-matchmaking agency has received dozens of applications from single men, many of whom describe themselves as "shy" and very keen on "travelling". Dateline has sent the trainspotters a "colour brochure with lots of information about seeking a partner and meeting people". However, it says its computer will not seek out female railway buffs.

"We will put an ad in any journal that will appeal to single people. We don't match people specifically on musical tastes or trainspotting," said a Dateline spokeswoman. "We think a healthy relationship is one in which people can complement each other. Some females are interested in trainspotters with woolly hats. Why shouldn't they meet someone?"

A source close to the company added: "The people who read these magazines are not great mixers. They stand on corners with plastic bags. They would have problems meeting women who are also interested in trains."

Their sister titles, Buses and Aircraft Illustrated, are also being targeted by Dateline. Advertising in Buses has proved equally successful. Half of its readers are single and, according to market research, 98 per cent are male.

"You can tell a true spotter because he will have a notebook and tape recorder and will hang out of the train window to record going through tunnels," said Graham Best of the Railway Enthusiasts Club, Farnborough. "Our club is outgoing, but lots of clubs tend to be closed in. Their members do tend to wear anoraks and are quite shy which may put ladies off. You don't meet many single women on train platforms."