How we met: ‘I was a bit taken aback when he asked if he could hit on me’

Amanda, 39, and Alex, 42, met on a forum for railway enthusiasts. After a long online friendship, they started dating in 2007. They now live in New York with their two children

Alex was studying transport management in Boston when he first came across Amanda in 2001. They belonged to the same internet forum for railway enthusiasts. “At the time it was a hobby dominated by men and a lot of women who did join disguised themselves,” says Alex. “I remember seeing Amanda’s name and thinking it was great that she could be herself.”

There was an AOL chatroom within the message board, and they began to talk. A New Yorker, Amanda had always been interested in transport systems. For several years they chatted online, but neither expected it to turn into more. “She was dating a subway operator and I told her to be careful because the railroad life can be really tough,” he says.

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