Friday, August 3, 2012

Trackside Treasure Fourth Anniversary

Four years ago, I fired up the scanner, dug out some photos and notes, and set up a tiny corner office in the cyberspace skyscraper. I called it Trackside Treasure.  While it's fun to facetiously throw around terms like Trackside Treasure Global Headquarters, the total workforce and workspace has not and a laptop.  What has changed is the community that seems to have developed here.

I'm very wary of statistics.  Having said that, pageviews total 158,000+ in Blogger's stats page, with 31 entries posted in 2012.  While the pageview graph doesn't exactly peak like the Matterhorn, it does resemble the foothills of the Rockies or perhaps the hogsback profile of parts of CN's Kingston Sub.  Readership is a two-thirds majority Canadian contingent, a large American audience, surprisingly strong (g'day mate !) Australian attendance, then Europe does the rest.  This blog has also given me a springboard to another blog featuring both my current book on VIA Rail and an upcoming second volume. (Working title is Trackside with VIA...Viapalooza. I sure hope I come up with something better!)

Thank everyone who comments.  A blog without comments is like a tree with no leaves; it exists but it doesn't show signs of life or growth.  Thank everyone who reads, even once in awhile.  I hope you find something that interests you.  Thank everyone who's learned something, me included.  This exercise continues to be educational for me, and as the old saying goes, 'The more you know, the more you realize you don't know.'  Thank everyone who makes it fun and takes the information seriously, but not ourselves too seriously.

Thanks also go to my blog partners, featured in my sidebar: Adam, Chris L., Chris M., Chris V., Dave, Jason C., Jason S., John, Matt, Robert, Scott and Steve, and TOTW.  You guys provide me with my daily scan of the prototype railroading and model railroading worlds, interesting reads, captivating photos and video, truly a panoply of topics unparallelled in the blogosphere.  

Now for our anniversary tradition...the Trackside Treasure anniversary contest.  This year, in honour of my Youtube ID, it's all about CN/VIA's E-series. (Top photo - Ernestown passes through Portage la Prairie, Manitoba after I disembarked from Roomette 8 in Winnipeg in August, 1981. Porter and passengers enjoy a vestibule view of Portage.)  I've rounded up some potential names of these VIAiconic eight duplex roomette-four double bedroom-four section sleepers for you to sort through.  Now here's the catch, before you rush to your Canadian Trackside Guides, copies of Trackside with VIA - The First 35 Years, or your handheld Google-boxes.  Only four of the names are real.  The others I stole or dreamed up after one too many cups of coffee.  Here's how it works:

1. Find the four real E-series names. But wait a minute - what is this, some kind of church basement cake raffle?  We need a skill-testing element here.

2. Once you  find the four real ones, arrange them so that...the last letter of each, when arranged in the correct order, forms a word.  What kind of word? Well, it's a four-letter word associated with a celebration like a birthday, anniversary or...something someone left out in the rain...and I'll never have that recipe again.

3. Either by email to mile179kingstonATyahooDOTca, or as a comment at the end of this post, simply include this four-letter word, along with your four correct E-series names. The first reader to send all four correct names and the celebration four-letter word WINS!

Good luck!  Bonne chance! The winner will receive the occasionally-coveted Trackside Treasure Prize Pack, a closely-guarded secret assemblage of stuff I hope you'll like.  Now, here are the aforementioned potential sleeper names, all brought to you by the letter E and the numbers 8-4-4:

Echo, Enderby, Escuminac, Eston, Ecum Secum, Eden, Ethel, Eastville, Endive, Electra, Eagle Pass, Elderbank, Elderberry, Erindale, Entrance, Eganville, Evergreen, Eatonia, Ebenezer, Enrique Iglesias, Erin Mills, Eastvale, Etobicoke, Edith Cavell, Ectopic, Edmund Fitzgerald, Edna, Edwardian, Entre Nous, Emmental, Elkhorn, Euphonium, Erudite, Econo Lodge, Eau Claire, Ebrillade, Elmwood, Escapade, Exploits River, English River, Eltonjohn, Endrico, Eustachian, Edmont, Eagle River, Evansburg, Excelsis, Engelbert, Eureka!


Robert in Port Townsend said...

Congratulations on your fourth anniversary! As a fellow blog editor, I know the effort it takes to organize and publish an article! Keep up the good work!

Zartok-35 said...

Congratulations, Mr. Gagnon! Here's to 4 more fine years of blogging.
Now to see if I can figure this puzzle of yours out. Not much of a VIAphile am I, but I'll see what I can do!

Eric said...

Hi Robert and Elijah,

Thanks for your best wishes. It's great to have such faithful readers aboard. It definitely is an enjoyable and energetic process that leads to each entry.

I must admit I posted the anniversary contest a little early this year...lots of hard work on my next VIA book taking place. How about scanning 180 photos in a sweltering afternoon?

Stay tuned for much more,

Anonymous said...

dear eric...a quick note from the city of two rivers-Red and Assiniboine. as always a great look into the past and today. i wish to report, i-spy with my little lens the following...aug 04 at Portage JCT in Winnipeg at 12.10 hrs VIA no 1 with 6426-6431 with 22 cars and Tremblant Park at the tail-end. please note the the TTs arr on Fri with the postman and I wish to say thanks, but the other half says no more junk, little does she know, its all valuable stuff to us railroad paper collectors, or should i say Hoarders.well thats all from the ballast side view, Schuff.

Adam Walker said...

Hi Eric,
Congrats on 4 years! Glad to be a part of the train blog community and even remotely associated with your fine work. I love the current header image of the LRC locomotive, blue and yellow "B" unit and blue and yellow coach. Where was that taken?

May I suggest Trackside with VIA 2: Electric Boogaloo?


Eric said...

Hi Brian and Adam,

Brian, great to hear your news from the 'confluence' capital of Canada. Hope you enjoy the timetables.

Adam, thanks for your kind wishes. It's likewise great to read your postings from the Durham region, and even though CN runs between us, there's lots of local interest to be found.

The LRC-B was taken during Operation Axle, which you'll read about in the book you creatively suggested a title for. The train is between Montreal and Quebec City. I believe it is a Pierre Fournier photo. I just can't get enough of looking at that krazy konsist!! Notice the CN freight in the siding, background.


Anonymous said...

Fantastic job on the blog. Happy 4th and may there be many more.

JDL56 said...

Congrats on four years . . . I always enjoy visiting Trackside Treasure.

John, Winnipeg

Eric said...

Thanks John, great to have you and the M&M Sub aboard!