Friday, August 16, 2013

Trackside Treasure Fifth Anniversary

Can you believe it? This post is the 240th I've added to this cloistered corner of cyberspace in the five years since I pecked away at my first post and hit the 'Publish' button on August 19, 2008! Each published post is read by several hundred readers, followed by a trail of several comments with the comment conversation sometimes becoming rewardingly intense! These comments help me to remember why I began blogging and why I still enjoy it. One commenter discovered Trackside Treasure in July, and sent this amazing email, excerpted below:
"I have stumbled across your 'Trackside Treasure' blog/website and I have to tell you....It is the most amazing, thrilling website I have ever seen on the Internet! I can hardly believe it! You have assembled a collection of articles, news items, information, photos and links that is unparalleled anywhere! You have information and photos available that only a true Canadian railroad fan would want...and I do! I am still marvelling over how complete, and how well-written, and how thorough and accurate your information is. 

Along the way, I saw and experienced much of what you write about in your blog: the changing or CN and CP to VIA Rail...modernization of equipment...major derailments...paint schemes...but I find much of what you write about to be absolutely riveting...the long article about cylindrical grain hoppers...the evolution of the CN 'Lazy Three' logo...all of your writings and photos about railroading on the prairies...all of it very interesting. I suppose if I could sum it up in one word, everything you write is very ESOTERIC. Anyway, thank you for creating such a marvelous blog on the 'net. I shall continue to read...and enjoy. - CB"
Google continues to find Trackside Treasure regularly. For some of the keywords in the above email excerpt and others, this blog is listed first! A recent poll of readers asked which posts they'd like moved up in publishing order. I've actually finished and posted some! Other timely subjects have intervened, temporarily postponing the rest. The value of this type of dialogue with readers is great. (I recently found myself commenting on Ben's BArailsystem cross-Canada VIA Rail journey on Youtube - start here and enjoy!) I've added some great blogs to my sidebar. I enjoy keeping up to date with UCOR First Section: Bruce, Steve, John, Chris M., Mark; UCOR Second Section: Chris L., Michael, TOTW, Robert, Jason and Adam; ETU: Chris V., Jason, Lance, Dave and Manny. It's with perpetual interest that I view the world of railroading through your blogs and websites. I intend to continue with my somewhat randomized pattern of material: eastern/western, freight/passenger, CN/CP, current/retro.
Books are a useful reference for blogging, and the past two years have seen me publish three. Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years in May 2011, then Trackside with VIA: Cross-Canada Compendium  and Consist Companion a year-and-a-half later in November 2012. Less than a year after the last two were released, I'm very pleased with the resonance these books have achieved with fellow VIAphiles. No, I don't have plans for any more right now, but you never know. Book contributors Jason, Tom, Robin, Bruce, Gary, Brian, and Jakob added to my available network of experts, and I'm grateful to know all of you.
Speaking of books, you'll notice some photos of books from my rail library throughout this post. (For an interesting read on the future of books, check out Seth Godin's post from a day ago.) As a special 'thank you' after five remarkable years, it's contest time, with this year's prize being Bookshelf-in-a-Box, though not the books shown - I still need them! Simply identify as many of the 12 books by author or title. Take your time sleuthing, but...the entry received earliest with the most correct answers wins! Comment on this post or email at mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca to submit your entry by closing, next Friday Aug.23 at 5:55 p.m when the results will be posted here. Good luck!
Thank you to anyone who has supported, corrected, added, enjoyed, corresponded, cajoled, ignored or commented on Trackside Treasure at any time in the last five years. You've all made me want to do a beter job of sharing useful and interesting posts and photos showing the Canadian railway scene. I'd like to close with a meaningful and unusually deep (for me) quote that aptly describes why I enjoy this pursuit of blogging so much - it really comes down to sharing:

"As I walked, I pondered the paradox that I could find my true purpose only by releasing those selfish concerns and interests that had driven so much of my existence. I struggled to grasp the concept that we are, as individuals, created for one another, that our strengths and weaknesses exist to complement the strengths and weaknesses of others, that as a body of life, we are incomplete without each and every other and that ultimately, we find ourselves only after we have given ourselves away." - From 'When the Capelin Arrive' by Steve Porr, published in the October 2012 Canadian Geographic, read onboard VIA No 651.

Eric Gagnon
Kingston, Ontario 


Bryan said...

Congratulations on five years!

Eric said...

Thank you, Bryan. It's great to have loyal readers like you along for the ride!

Michael said...

Congratulations, Eric! Your blog has been a must-read for me each week since I discovered it several years ago. I know that there would be no Beachburg Sub without your site. Here's to five more years and hopefully many more!

Anonymous said...

Eric, congratulations on reaching this milestone! I am one of many who never miss a post, yet never think to comment. I do have some idea of the amount of work it takes to produce a blog with as much content as should be very proud of your achievements!


Eric said...

Thanks for your kind comments, Michael and John. I'm glad to not so much inspire someone as show them it's possible and relatively easy to blog! Though as John notes, it's a fair amount of work.

Something I could identify with that Seth Godin talks about is 'shipping ideas'. Every time I tee up a blog post, I enjoy that moment in which it finally 'ships'!

Of course the web is ethereal and invisible, yet its trailings will exist for awhile in some form, even if it's just in memories of what was posted. The work is not for naught!


BArailsystem said...

Congratulations on your milestone Eric! The fact that Google has recognized Trackside Treasure is one of the top places to send curious Canadian railfans suggests you truly have made a place to call your own on the internet. A remarkable feat!

I discovered TT a few years ago while google searching
"Saskatchewan Grain Car Corporation". I was delighted when I found your post on said cylindrical hoppers. I actually signed up for a blogger account so I could subscribe to your feed.

Thank you so much for all the time you put into your blog and sharing all of your precious photos, notes, knowledge and research with us. Also, thank you for the nod to BArailsystem, I am humbled.

Here's to 5 more Eric. Wishing you all the best.


Anonymous said...

Kudos on the fifth anniversary of your blog "Trackside Treasure". Your foresight /commitment to collecting and publishing train related information is truly commendable. Here's to hoping you never run dry!
Regards, Randy O'Brien

Eric said...

Thanks, Randy and Ben. Google has indeed been busy referring searchers my way.

It's great to be in the company of enthusiasts like the two of you as we each share and promote Canadian model railroading and prototype railfanning in our own individual ways.

Though I wish I'd been able to record more of what I saw on film, I'll certainly be kept busy posting what I have to share, both observations and photos.

Thanks to both of you for your support!

Sir said...

Well done Eric on your 5th anniversary..

Shame you can't go to a Kingston model train layout to celebrate...

Hope you have another 5 years posting a this blog...

Eric said...

Thanks for those good wishes, Warren.

Steve Boyko said...

Congratulations on 5 years and looking forward to many more!

Zartok-35 said...

Happy 5 years, Mr. Gagnon!

Eric said...

Thank you for your kind feedback on Trackside Treasure's big day, Elijah and Steve. I'll try to keep a good head of steam up! Full steam ahead, as it were!