Lisa Hoff is the woman behind TCTrainspotting, the Facebook blog that documents life on the Twin Cities’ light rail system.
Hoff worked for many years as the Star Tribune’s letters editor. During that time, many readers wrote in on the subject of the light rail.
“A lot of people were writing in with their opinions,” says Hoff. There were some letters in favor of it, but Hoff became fascinated because so many people wrote negative letters. “People were calling it a ‘boondoggle,’” says Hoff. And that was one of the less colorful words used, she explains.
In addition to the letters she read at work, Hoff says she has always been captivated with streetcars and the role they played in people’s lives. She grew up listening to older family members telling stories about riding the trolleys.
So when the Blue Line opened in 2004, Hoff knew she would end up writing about it. “Ever since the Blue Line began running, I’d see people on the train and wished I knew them. My dream was to do a blog about the light rail and get paid for it, but that didn’t happen, so I decided to do it anyway,” she says.
“I [also] wanted to introduce more people to the idea of light rail and public transportation,” says Hoff, a regular rider of the bus and light rail.
Over the past few years, Hoff has been concentrating on taking photos rather than writing text for the blog. “It surprises me, because I’ve always been a word person. But I find that taking photos suits me, because I’m an introvert,” says Hoff.
Hoff says interacting with people who ride the light rail is interesting because there’s only a limited amount of time before the train comes. “I like that,” says Hoff, “because it keeps me in the moment.”
“I’ve enjoyed getting to know people I probably wouldn’t have gotten to know.” says Hoff.