Meet Francis Bourgeois: The 20-year-old TikTok trainspotter who just wants to brighten your day
I can’t get enough of his wholesome content
From the brilliant world of beaning to the dark realm of berries and cream, there are many weird and wonderful corners of TikTok. But none of them come close in terms of entertainment value to Francis Bourgeois and his trainspotting videos.
Francis is a 20-year-old Nottingham student who basically just goes out and about, filming his reactions to the trains that come past. His joyful attitude and incredibly wholesome content has allowed him to amass over half a million followers. But who is the man behind the vintage conductor’s uniform and what makes him run as smooth as a Class 43 HST?
@francis.bourgeoisHere is 158767 and 158747 cruising through Freshford Station! #trains #trending #fyp♬ original sound – Francis Bourgeois
Francis grew up in NW London and has loved trains all his life
Francis grew up in Harlesdon in North West London and has always been obsessed with trainspotting. When he was younger, he’d often go to Willesdon Junction train station to watch the trains pass by, before returning home and drawing pictures of them from memory.
But when Francis moved to Somerset and began secondary school he felt he had to suppress his passion for trains so that he could fit in with the other children. It was only when Francis began his engineering degree at Nottingham University that he really started to come into his own. “Coming to university, I’ve turned a new page and allowed my passions to [flourish] and not be held down. It’s made me a lot happier,” Francis told The Face.
He’s got 576.8k followers with one video getting nearly 9m views
Francis’s fame has skyrocketed with one TikTok doing particularly well, garnering 8.9m views. In the video, Francis anticipates the arrival of a Class 377 train from Littlehampton to Southhampton Central. He smiles with excitement, sits in his camping chair and waves at the oncoming driver.
But as the train toots its horn, the excitement becomes too much for Francis who falls out of his chair into a heap on the floor. As he crawls to his feet, he finds time to snaffle what looks to be a Percy Pig, before regaining his composure.
@francis.bourgeoisHere is a Southern class 377 running Littlehampton to Southampton Central #trains #trending #fyp♬ original sound – Francis Bourgeois
In the comment sections of his TikToks, his adoring fans are keen to show how much Francis means to them. One said: “Your TikToks honestly make me so happy. Cheers pal. Your smile is infectious.”
Another added: “Nothing makes me more happy than this man’s love of trains.”
People come up to him in the street
News of Francis’s TikToks has spread far and wide and now members of the public are stopping Francis for a chat. The other week he was down the pub when he noticed a group of lads waving at him.
“At that point I realised that people were recognising me in the street because they had seen my videos, which is pretty bonkers,” Francis told The Times.
Francis is even on Cameo
Francis has got 193k followers on Instagram and a Cameo account where you can purchase a personalised video for just £26.
Some AWFUL people accused him of being a fake
@francis.bourgeoisReply to @baldidiot here is a video I made in response to the comments I’ve seen saying I’m fake #trains #trending #fyp♬ #19 – Aphex Twin
The haters descended onto TikTok and accused Francis of playing a character in his videos, a claim he strongly denies. In one video, he hits back, detailing how he got into trainspotting and showcasing his motivation for producing his iconic content
“I love to show you guys how awesome trains can be as well as try to make you smile, laugh and try and bring joy,” he said.
Is he single?
Francis posted a video on Instagram in which he was sat across from a girl in a cafe while trying to film a train going past in the distance. Many fans speculated whether this was his girlfriend, with Francis confirming this was the case and adding that he doesn’t like to talk about her online “because she’s quite keen on maintaining a bit of privacy”.
Aside from café dates and trainspotting, Francis also loves going to festivals with his mates.