Milestone: One Year of Blogging

As of this week, I’ve been writing this blog for one year.  That’s not a terribly exciting topic for a blog post about model trains, but as milestones tend to do, this one has given me reason to reflect on the past year.

I might have missed my calling as an academic because I enjoy teaching, writing, and researching.  Prototype modelling requires more research than other approaches to the hobby, so it’s possible that I waste more time than most doing what I’ll rationalize as “hobby research” on the internet.  Before I started writing this blog, and while researching (i.e. wasting time) various things on the internet, I bumped into a great number of interesting blogs that I bookmarked and frequented.  These now appear as links on the right of my Home page, by the way.  I found the narrowly focused content of these blogs helpful, inspirational, and just plain interesting, but it was the medium itself that intrigued me.  This notion of creating a public record of my daily model building activities had me curious.  Did these blogs have regular readers?  If I did this, would anyone read it?  My uninformed expectations were low because the hobby itself is small and purported to be in decline.  Add to that the fact that prototype modelling represents a niche within this setting, and my specific interests of a geographic place and decade represent a niche within a niche.  Other blogs were doing this, so I resolved to do it for a year and see how it goes.

WordPress has essentially made it easy for anyone to prattle on endlessly and self-indulgently, much like I’m doing right now.  Think of it as Twitter for people who possess a longer attention span (or perhaps it’s Twitter for people who have a much deeper need for approval).  In very little time, I had the blog up and running, and I decided that I would simply do my best to document the things that I was building or thinking about.  Conveniently, WordPress keeps track of some basic statistics for me:

  • This represents my 74th post, which averages one post about every five days.
  • I’ve written with sufficient breadth to warrant 17 different indexing categories.
  • From August 12th, 2012 to August 12th, 2013, this blog had experienced approximately 15,500 page views.

Yay me!

What does all of this mean?  In the context of blogging, it means that my readership are an extremely specific cohort.  It also means there will NOT be a book deal, but there are enough people reading my blog that I can feel justified in devoting some of my free time to it.

What my more detailed stats reveal to me is that there is a very high likelihood that you’ve read my blog before, and you’ll come back to read it again.  It also reveals that my readership is a group much larger than my family and much smaller than columnist in a commercial hobby publication (incidentally, not a single person from my family has seen this blog).  You’re the reader who I was hoping to reach because your interests are most likely aligned with mine, and we both have much to gain from each others’ experience and knowledge.  As long as people like you keep checking in, I’ll keep writing.

Goals and predictions are also part of our tradition of celebrating milestones, so I’ll set some out for the coming year.

  • Goal: I bought a house with an unfinished basement last week.  I move in on September 5th.  I’m looking forward to building a permanent workspace.
  • Goal: I’d like to see those SW1200RS models running at an ops session on the WRMRC.
  • Goal: Likewise, those 16 ore cars need to get on the rails and in service.  I’m not sure if we can incorporate them into an ops session, but just seeing them finished would be very satisfying.
  • Goal: Build some TH&B 40′ boxcars.
  • Goal: Publish at least 74 more posts on this blog.
  • Prediction: The unfinished basement in the above mentioned house is not needed as part of the living space for my family.  Need I continue?

Finally, I can’t think of an appropriate photo to accompany this post topic, so I’ll reward the fact that you did abide 752 words about blogging with this random image that has no relevance to this post, but at least shows an interesting train and was taken in Ontario.

Chessie power was leased by CP on a number of occasions, and here we see a trio of leased units on the point of a TH&B train at "Summit" near Copetown, bound for Waterford.  Photo by Gerry Schaefer

Chessie power was leased by CP on a number of occasions, and here we see a trio of leased units on the point of a TH&B train at “Summit” near Copetown, bound for Waterford. Photo by Gerry Schaefer


12 thoughts on “Milestone: One Year of Blogging

  1. Congratulations on the anniversary.   I really enjoy reading your blog. You do amazing work and I’m grateful for the window in.   Cheers


  2. Great milestone!
    I just started a similar modeling blog on my personal site ( for my Algoma Central modeling. Hopefully having this place to post progress reports will allow me to actually make some progress and achieve some goals as well.
    We’ll see if my blog manages to turn into anything a year from now!

    • It’s good that you decided to start blogging. Your work is really nice and I think people will be very interested in the depth of your knowledge and your attention to detail. You need to get some of your model projects posted on your blog!


      • Thanks!

        I’ve got a number of irons in the fire, and I’ll be spacing things out quite a bit so it’s more of a steady stream, and not just a huge dump of different topics all at once. Plus that gives me a chance to actually catch up on a few things (and hopefully encourage me to actually get caught up on them!)

  3. I’m definitely looking forward to seeing those SW1200RS units on an ore train to Crean Hill Mine, rolling through that corner you’ve currently been working on with trackwork and scenery at the club, and past the Copper Cliff Mine scene on the lower level as well, which you’ve touched on in posts on this blog as well.

    Funny how all those projects totally tie together!

  4. Yes, congrats on your quite successful blogging endeavour. You seem to get a lot more traffic than the WRMRC club website, probably because you have more focused postings and update more frequently…and mail everyone a notice that there is something new to read.

    I like the photo, by the way. That would be the slab train between Stelco in Hamilton and their Nanticoke facility. I remember chasing that thing many a time, since it was one of the trains you could count on Weekends, when it was CP’s turn to run it. However, this layout-inappropriate consist, though interesting, can’t compare to its heyday when CN was running it and used an A-B-A set of F-units for power!

    It’s interesting, what you wrote about the Victoria Mine operation being a layout unto itself. There are a lot of things like that on the Sudbury Division. I see it like almost a dozen different smaller layouts superimposed upon each other, making up one multifaceted mega-layout. Each has its own theme and distinct operation, and could be a home layout itself. We just get to play with all of them all at once.


  5. Congratulations on your one year anniversary! Your story sounds much like mine. Three years ago I questioned if it was worthwhile to blog about my model trains. A good friend professionally involved in the social media business convinced me to give it a try. Three years later and well over 100,000 unique visitors I am still blogging. In fact, your site has directed visitors to mine. Thanks!

    Much like you, it turns out I like blogging. If nothing else it is fun to go back in time and read my old posts. When I feel I haven’t made as much progress as I would like on my railroad all I have to do is read some of those old posts. That makes me realize I actually have made good progress. Nice morale boost when I need it.

    Looking forward to what you do with the “extra” space in the new house.


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