Friday, January 20, 2023

New for 2023

Since I brought this blog back in August 2021, I have been blessed with an abundance of material to share, which was made easier by the fact that I have slowed my pace to one post every other week. This means that I posted 24 times last year. That didn't seem like enough.

Those who have been following this blog since the beginning know that I maintained a weekly post pace for years, until the pandemic hit in 2020, when things became different. Personally, I found that I was running short on material and my posts were not up to my personal standards. I like to include elements of railfanning, a little bit of railway technical knowledge, some history, lots of storytelling and some big-picture commentary. I found I was not hitting many of those goals in my posts, so I parked the blog, not knowing if I wanted to resume what I was doing. 

I found that I had begun to rediscover my passion for sharing railway stories in August 2021, although I was wary of falling into the same trap of overpromising and underdelivering. That said, I now find myself in the position of having at least a half year's worth of posts in planning or production, which means I am creating a backlog. That is not a huge problem to have, until such time as when some of the posts cease to be fresh. I know I have a few posts that need significant updating.

Chatham, Ontario Via Rail station, March 2022. Expect to see a post about this railway town.

My solution this year is to post three times each month. I am aiming to post 10 days apart. That means you will see new content on the 1st, 10th and 20th of each month, with a gap a little bit longer at the end of each month. 

With this change of pace, I am going to continue developing content that is more far-reaching than ever. In the past, I have explored the various elements in a single railway photograph. I did the same thing earlier this year when I shared the various elements of two photographs I took of boxcars in Ogdensburg, New York. When I say far-reaching, I mean that I aim to explore more than just the nuts-and-bolts of where I shot a certain train, its number, what type of engine was pulling the consist and in which direction it was travelling. These are all elements I have included in the past, but it doesn't interest me as much as the intangibles of railroading. I thrive on my family railway stories, the challenges of getting shots in tight spaces and what railroading means to people. I find that sometimes railfanning becomes tiresome to me when it becomes more about the technical aspects rather than the intangibles. 

We all remember the thrill trains gave us as kids, I assume. I want to keep that spirit alive in my posts. I have a hard time understanding when people count axles on a train, for example. I see that a fair bit and I find it a bit mystifying to be honest. That's not a critique, by the way. If that is what people thrive on, that's great. You just won't find that level of detail here.

I will never profess to be the best photographer. You can visit any number of other blogs to see more proficient imagery and more informed technical information about railways. But for me, the stories will continue to be the main emphasis of my writing. I think it's just as important to show shots that didn't quite turn out and explain why.

I will try to maintain a strong focus on Eastern Ontario, but given its limitations, I will continue to branch out whenever I can and tell railway stories from wherever I happen to be.

All this to say, this blog will continue to evolve. I know that, since my hiatus, a large chunk of my readership has scattered, many to Facebook. I see some people slowly coming back, which is exciting to see. However, I am aware that blogs aren't what they used to be and it seems as if the trend toward railfans clustering on social media rather than on blogs will continue. That's okay. To each, their own. 

I will continue doing my thing here as honestly and actively as I can. I thank everyone for continuing to visit. Please feel free to make suggestions for content you'd like me to cover or pass along any information or images you'd like to share.



hammond.michael77 AT gmail dot com.


Canadian Train Geek said...

Happy new year! I'm glad you have a posting pace set out... but don't beat yourself up if you can't maintain it. I used to post twice a week (Tue and Fri) but that was exhausting.

I can't wait to see your Chatham post! I was in Chatham* for a couple of hours in September 2012 and I have some questions... like what's up with the broad track coming out of the Kent Transformer Station? Does CN still use the ex CSX track to Blenheim? Inquiring minds want to know :)

* Chatham, Ontario. I was in Chatham, New Brunswick many times before it amalgamated into the larger municipality of Miramichi.

Michael said...

I can give you some quick answers, but I'll save it for the post. Coming soon. Chatham has an interesting rail history.

Eric said...

Posting honestly is a good way to look at it, Michael. I am liking the new header logo and wordmark, and the new larger font in the posts.

I addressed the blog vs. FB issue back in 2019:

And you even commented at the time. The crux of the issue seemed to be C-O-N-T-R-O-L which FB does not give us. Blogging is the ultimate level of control, albeit the platform is owned by Blogger or whomever. And much easier than programming a website. Also, nobody said we have to blog for life. Even Pope Benedict retired when he thought the time was right.

Keep up the good work!

Michael said...

Thanks Eric. I guess I'm becoming philosophical in my old age. I love talking about trains, but I am finding that my interests in the industry and in photography are broadening. I am just hopeful that those who stop by are okay with this transition.

Keith Boardman said...

I have to agree... I've seen the pics/posts counting axles. Sure, to each his own. It's not my thing. I like the photographic opportunities, the fun of the catch, and most of all, the memories of chasing trains with my Dad when I was a kid. This is why I still do it!

AJ said...

Very excited to see what you have in store for 2023 Micheal! I'm also eager to see what you have thats non-eastern ontario as I am curious to see what your experiences are. Lets face it, going somewhere that has much more frequency and activity will be a big change from what we experience in the Ottawa area!

And honestly I find myself gravitating less and less to social media spots. For the most part its just become boring and repetitive. The nice thing about a blog like you have is that while posts aren't everyday like social media has (as its easy to slap anything down in a couple lines), the posts are always well thought out, have great pictures and give me a few minutes of a break in reading and enjoying railfanning. So certainly think what your doing is actually a better fit for me personally than in past years.

Michael said...

Thanks for your ongoing comments and interest, Keith and AJ! You two have been on board since the beginning, it seems. Can't ask for better fellow railfans along for the ride.