Must be a railfan thing. I lurk on a mailing list of a local tourist railroad volunteer organization. (I do the railroad website, and I set up the mailing list for them). It's a pretty quiet list - occasional flurries of messages, often related to monthly brush cutting parties.
But this week, they have been chatting up the fact that the railroad has purchased 15 carloads of track ballast, and has been laying this down all week. More message traffic in the past two days than I have seen in two months! People are taking time off work to watch or help or photograph this. I bet in a few days you might find some photos of this operation here. (The NERAIL New England Railroad Photo Archive) - there are 598 photos of this particular railroad posted there - many by the members of this group.
I never caught the railroad bug. But damn, when it bites, you are a goner!