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All About Links To Other Sites

I think most site visitors are aware that some locomotives have a “Links” page providing links to other sites that have information about that particular locomotive. I am embarrassed to admit that, back in 2001 when this site was being created the liks pages were a bit of an afterthought.

I provided means for a site visitor to submit a link, and means for an editor to approve that submission. Though the Admin menu for Links had entries for Add, Edit and Delete, they were never written.

About three months ago, I took a long look at the site, what it could do and what it couldn’t. I used Google Analytics to delve into how visitors to the site used it, and what features were used most often. I was surprised to learn and the links we provide were clicked on an average of about 40 times a day, sitewide.

So I put it on my work list to improve the Admin interface so that our editors had tools to better maintain the database of links. And about 6 days ago, I dug into the problem. I was partly motivated by the discovery that there were a couple of “broken” links on the Milwaukee Road 261 page. It would have been easy enough to go into the database using a management tool and simply remove the defective entry, but that didn’t fit with my redesign philosophy. I’m trying to make the site completely maintainable by someone with now programming or database skills.

In any case, I went ahead and wrote the “Delete Link” functionality for our editors, and it worked nicely. Somewhere along the way, I began to wonder just how many broken links there are in database. I imagined that it would be an annoying experience for a site visitor to click on a link and end up going nowhere.

I wrote a tool to go through the database and attempt to read each and every link in the database, and record what happened. The program attempts to go to the website in the link and records what happens when it does. The following table shows the results: 3525 of the 4347 links in our database were definitely valid.

Error CodeMeaningCount
200Page Successfully Retrieved3,525
0DNS Resolver Failure373
400Bad Request1
401Unauthorized 1
403Forbidden Error23
404Page Not Found367
408Request Timeout Error42
410Gone3
500Internal Server Error5
502Bad Gateway3
503Service Unavailable (Temporary)2

I could probably bore you witless by explaining the various error codes, but insteal I will summarize: if the code isn’t 200, it didn’t work. I will be pruning the dead sites/links from the database today.

Hopefully this will make the site more useful and usable, and perhaps a bit less annoying.

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Website Update 06-01-2020

Much of what I have done to the site since kind donors from rypn.org funded its continued existence for a couple of years has been directed towards making the site and its data much, much easier to maintain. This is being done because I have fond hopes that someone will continue to operate and maintain this site long after I have shuffled off this mortal coil. In any case, over the past several days, I have continued work on the site’s Administrative interface.

There were all kinds of problems with the Add Video/Delete Video functionality. I’ve talked about that here previously and won’t rehash it. When I got to the point that the functionality looked good and worked well, I got rather distracted, and spent some time adding videos to the web site. Now, more than 1000 locomotives have videos. Some locomotives have more than one. All of our videos come from Youtube and are hosted there, and included in our site by a technique call <iframe>. This means that when you view a video, though it is framed in our site, the actual streaming is done by youtube.com.

Looking at Google Analytics for our site, I was quite surprised at the number of people who view these videos (pleased too!) and I do want to point out a small bit of functionality that may not be obvious. If you are watching a video and place your mouse cursor over it, you’ll see the Youtube comand bar at the bottom of the video, with Pause, Volume and so forth. At the far right of this bar there’s a little square. If you click on this, you’ll see the video in full screen and can return to steamlocomotive.info by hitting the Escape key on your keyboard.

The Note System

The Note System was originally conceived as a sort of community bulletin board where people could comment on, and interact with each other regarding the locomotive. Sort of like an electronic Post-It Note. This turned out to be a really bad idea. Porn, political nonsense, religious proseletyzing and other electronic detritus became the principal content of the Note System.

So… a moderation system was designed and implemented so that a note posted went unseen by anyone except the editors who had authority to approve or disapprove the submitted note. And it worked quite well. If you go to https://www.steamlocomotive.info/notelistingx.cfm?startval=1 you can page through all 16,124 notes that are currently in the system, and you’ll discover there are few if any off topic notes.

I realized that a Delete Note and an Edit Note function might occassionally be necessary for our Editors and I wrote both. What I did horribly badly was design the user interface for these two functions. They work, but finding an individual note to edit or delete is time consuming and unpleasant. So, I’ve redesigned those interfaces and am actively rewriting them to the new design. About 4 or 5 hours of coding, and an hour or two of testing, and this will be working, I think. It won’t affect site visitors much, but it should make the Editors (including me) more able and more willing to correct issues.

 
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Posted by on June 1, 2020 in Uncategorized

 

Preservation News (8/6/2017)

Some newsworthy items acquired today:

  • V.E.W. Donawitz 0-4-0T No. 100.13 had been listed as being stored at the Waldbahn Museum Railway in Bezau, Austria. At least least since 2015 it has been operational at a tourist railway in Criscior, Romania.
  • An 0-4-0T with only partial information was listed at Feldbahnmuseum FIM in Freiland, Austria. The locomotive’s railroad of origin was the Graf Karoly Imre tramway, it’s build date was 1899 and a photo was added for the locomotive. The locomotive is operational, have had its boiler recently reworked at Graz, Austria.
  • Removed a duplicate entry for this locomotive at Freiland
  • CFF 0-8-0T No. 764.219 is in possession of the Club 760 Museum, in Frojach, Austria, and it’s status is now “Operational”. A photo was added for this locomotive.
 
 

Another Locomotive Added

Noerdlingen_Eisenbahnmuseum_1599The wreckage shown above is Royal Bavarian State Railways (Königlich Bayerische Staatsbahn) No. 1599 (Class G 3/4 H). The locomotive was destroyed in an Allied bombing raid in Treuchtlingen, Germany on April 11, 1945 and the wreck is now displayed at the Bayerisches Eisenbahnmuseum Nördlingen, in Nördlingen, Bayern, Germany.

 
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Posted by on December 26, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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Erie 4-6-2 No. 2524 Does Not Exist (Korea)

The presence of Erie RR 4-6-2 No. 2524 in South Korea has long been rumored, and no matter how often the rumor gets debunked, it seems to keep cropping up. Hopefully, this will put a cork in it. Tim Moriarty spoke with  Director Son Gil-Shin of the Korean Railway Museum regarding this locomotive. Here’s what the Director had to say:

Director Son Gil-shin of the Korean Railroad Museum was asked specifically about this locomotive and he never heard of it being displayed anywhere in Korea at
any time, and it appears this Erie locomotive was possibly confused with
No. 244 above or it was a case of deliberate deception or hoax by someone
wishing to get Erie fans excited. Director Son also confirmed there are no surviving US-built steam locomotives anywhere in Korea.

Here’s an image of the locomotive from happier days:
Eriesmall

 
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Posted by on December 18, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

SBB 0-6-0WT No. 8522 at Triengen, Switzerland

Until today, we’d displayed the following photo of this locomotive, undergoing restoration at Triengen, Switzerland:

Copyright © Hans-Jörg Ritz

Hans-Jörg Ritz informs us that the locomotive is now operational and provides the image below:

Copyright © Hans-Jörg Ritz

 
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Posted by on November 15, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

SNCF 141R568 Operational in Switzerland

Site visitor Hans-Jörg Ritz who has provided photos of numerous locomotives in Europe provided the image below of SNCF 141R568 formerly at Citev, France and now operational in Schaffhausen, Switzerland.  The photo was taken October 21, 2012 at Biasca, Switzerland, on the return leg of an excursion over the famous Gotthard line.

Copyright © Hans-Jörg Ritz

Other photos by Mr. Ritz can be seen here

 
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Posted by on November 13, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Sarthe 0-6-0T No. 16 – Butry sur Oise, France

Given my fondness for peculiar steam locomotives, it was probably inevitable that I’d encounter this little meter-gauge critter and write about it in this blog. It is, well….ornate if nothing else.

By Didier Duforest (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC-BY-SA-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Alcoy Gandia 2-6-2T “Cocentaina”

With Graham Nixon’s contribution of the photo below of Alcoy Gandia 2-6-2T “Cocentaina” steamlocomotive.info has reached a tiny milestone. We now have photos of 7600 different steam locomotives. Not 25,000 photos of 300 different locomotives as one site proudly boasted not too long ago. Many thanks to Graham for the photo.

Photo Copyright © Graham Nixon

 
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Posted by on June 3, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

Beyer-Peacock 4-8-2+2-8-4 in Livingstone, Zambia

The following photo of ZR 4-8-2+2-8-4 No. 750 was taken by H.G. Glaser at the Bulawayo Depot in 1990. Our listing indicates that we don’t know the location or status of this locomotive currently, and that it may have been scrapped. Anyone with uptodate information, email info@steamlocomotive. Thanks.

By H.G.Graser (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0 (www.creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons

 
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Posted by on May 28, 2012 in Uncategorized