One year later

This picture has nothing to do with anything
I just like it and haven’t had any place to use it yet.

This blog is  a year old today, and it’s been an interesting year.. when I started I didn’t really know what to expect. The main topics that people blog about (and want to read about!) seem to be how to cook, how to be a writer, or parenting advice, but not so much light rail. So I didn’t know if there would even really be an audience for this sort of technical information, since there’s no food involved, no pictures of babies, and I’m not good at telling interesting stories (even transit related ones like what EMS or Dan Christensen write) that people enjoy reading.

But I like putting this kind of information out there. As far as I’m concerned, only good can come from sharing information. While on the trains, I’ve talked with a lot of passengers who are curious about how things work (most asking things like “what’s the top speed?” or “how do you steer?”) and I really like doing that, because I sort of figure that anyone who wants to take the time to learn about the trains is not going to be someone who is going to run or drive in front of a moving one. I much prefer teenagers asking how the signals work to teenagers who think it’s fun to “pretend” shove each other in front of a train as it comes in to the platform.

Gateway art

Also, since there aren’t a lot of light rail blogs, I’ve found that when people do websearches for things like “trimet signal n60” (I’m still curious why someone was looking for that one) or “train to wayside communications vetag” or “Trimet ‘auxiliary track'” or the extremely popular “arcing pantograph”, they end up here. Most visitors don’t comment, but I kind of hope that they find what they’re looking for when they read one of the posts here. I want to see if there’s an easier way for people to find posts here – the search function is pretty good, and I’ve got all the tags & category links at the bottom, but there’s probably a better way to organize things.

All in all, it’s been a good year. Here are some stats, which might be interesting to compare with a year from now, assuming this blog is still around:

  • This is the 100th post, and there are:
  • 375 comments
  • 552 spam comments (which are filtered out before they ever get published)
  • 22,755 site visits
    • March of 2010 I had 349 visits – so far this March I’ve had 852
  • 533 images

I intend to keep writing, because I still think TriMet needs much more public outreach (I’ll be keeping an eye on the new Safety Education Committee), and I guess this is my way of contributing where I see a gap. If people walk away from here having learned something, then mission accomplished. And I know a few operators and at least one Controller that read this blog, and your perspectives and contributions – if you would like to weigh in – are welcome. I’d never specifically planned for this blog to be a one-man show, so the more input the better.

Anyway, thanks for reading, and your comments and questions. Here’s to another year!

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10 responses to “One year later

  1. I think this blog has added a lot to the discussion about transit in this area. It is also unique in several ways: it presents clear, detailed descriptions of technical issues; it is consistently interesting to read; and most notably, when the author presents an argument or opinion it is done factually, with evidence and a refreshing lack of screeching rhetoric.

    I’m leaving TriMet at the end of this week to start a new job in the Twin Cities. But I will definitely continue reading as long as you keep publishing. Keep up the good work.

    Cheers,
    Josh Collins
    TriMet Operations

  2. Jessica Bucciarelli

    Happy blog birthday! (100 posts: Wow.)

    I don’t have an FRN bone in my body, but I very much enjoy MAX FAQs because it’s so well written–and not bad looking either. Good for you, for doing your part to fill the gap!

    Jessica Bucciarelli
    (a TriMet coworker, but writing on my own behalf)

  3. I think this is a fantastic site. When I miss operating I can alway go to this site and feel connected. Thanks, well done.

  4. I love the blog, I always share what I learn with my friends. A few weeks back a lady was complaining about a MAX “messing up” the traffic lights and I was able to tell her all about how the signals work, it was great! Keep on writing.

    p.s. Every time I see a MAX operator I wonder if it is you.

  5. Great work thanks. I learn stuff I have forgotten over the decades.
    a Ruby Operator

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