Two years later

Posts like this are a good excuse for these sort of non-sequitur images

MAX FAQs has been around for two years now, and just about everything I said this time last year still applies. I still like sharing rail-related information and putting it out there for people who want to learn more about MAX at TriMet or light rail in general. As I’ve said before, I figure that if you’re taking the time to read about the trains and learn how the system works, you’re not going to be that person who does something stupid around them. So I do what I can to help show people a different perspective than the public generally sees, and it’s really nice in turn to see that a lot of people are interested in the topic. Everybody wins!

I still skim Twitter for rail-related questions/complaints, and although MAX FAQs is not an official TriMet publication, it’s handy having a resource to link to when some of the common questions are asked (e.g. “Why is TriMet running a single-car train during rush hour?” or “When does MAX stop running?“). Some other questions that people ask don’t have answers in posts here (yet), but on the whole Twitter has been a great place for MAX questions and conversations, both the serious and the silly.

It’s been neat seeing where MAX FAQs is turning up online: someone cited my post about track layouts as a reference on Wikipedia; over at Reddit in a thread about the multi-vehicle accident a few nights ago that didn’t involve MAX trains but blocked the right of way, someone said they had just been reading a MAX blog about the dangers of inattentive people around trains. And in the top searches of the past year, people are now finding my blog by name! “max faqs” and “maxfaqs” were at the top of the list of the most frequent search engine terms that brought people here, along with “pantograph“, “automatic train stop” and amusingly enough, “service horses“.

Overall it has been a good year. Year 1 had been a lot of basic intro-level stuff (and if you’re new to the blog or rail, a lot of those things like the types of trains or all the different signals are also linked at the top of the blog as a good starting point for things that come up in more recent posts). In the past year I built on a lot of those original posts for more detailed Q&As (the signals around Rose Quarter, how trains know where to go, etc). And yes, I’ve also taken to writing about the budget issues including the ongoing contract saga between TriMet and ATU 757.  It’s not directly train related, but similar to the rail stuff, I think it’s a perspective that the public should be able to see. That topic also led to a fantastic guest post by a contributing author to MAX FAQs (and like I said last year, I didn’t set out with the intent for this to be a one-man show, so the input and thoughts of other operators, controllers, supervisors, managers, etc that read here are also welcome).

Now some site stats, to compare with next year:

  • 65,724 site visits
    • In all of March 2010 I had 349 visits, which is less than I got on just March 1 of this year.
  • 156 posts (up from 100 – my posting rate apparently dropped significantly over this past year)
  • I’ve uploaded 888 images
  • 784 comments (up from 375)
  • 2451 spam comments (up from 572). Some of them are pretty fantastic, even as far as spam goes:

This has nothing to do with storage tracks. And yet, it’s not like what they said is inaccurate…

Rules, train orders, and more gets more spam than any other post, no idea why. I liked this one in particular because no one has ever described me as “Reasonably unusual” before, but I think it actually fits.

Anyway, thank you all for your interest, comments, and questions. Looking forward to the next year!

Clear track. Have a good day out there.


11 responses to “Two years later

  1. Jessica Bucciarelli

    Happy anniversary, o anonymous one!
    (Not entering the terrible two’s, are you?)

  2. Anyway, thank you all for your interest, comments, and questions. Looking forward to the next year!

    No, no, no. Thank you. While I may quibble with some of the details, I think you deserve credit for being a calm, informative voice in the storm that seems to prevade us.

    Overall, I think you may have accomplished more than I have.

    • Quibbling is certainly allowed here; I sure know I don’t have all the answers to rail, public policies, or anything else, and I’m open to learning from people who know more than me. So the unofficial historian could definitely give the unofficial rail blogger a run for their money…

  3. Happy anniversary … here’s to many more!

  4. Happy anniversary! :)

  5. Well, I guess it’s my fate to turn up as the guy with the profane tweet linked in the anniversary post. Appropriate!

    Congrats! I love this site, and I hope you keep up the good work!

    • Well I think that if people aren’t following your tweets on the surreal and beautiful things in life (and transit), they are similarly MISSING OUT. And that exchange gave me a laugh when one was much-needed!

  6. Ive been reading your blog off & on for about 3 months now. Seems like every time I visit, I come across a ‘new’ section I hadnt seen before. Ive always had a certain enamured with anything rail-related, and reading here [sometimes for longer than I should on ye olde company time…but, wth, I work in the IT Dept.] has been very educational, fascinating, and entertaining. Please, do us all a great service and continue with this blog for a long, long time. Ever since my employer started popping for TriMet weekly & monthly passes, free to employees, Ive been driving into Cleveland or sometimes Gresham City Hall, and taking the MAX into work downtown in an attempt to save gas money. So for the last few months since Ive been riding MAX daily & reading your blog, its been really cool to see & understand the intricacies & inner workings of the TriMet rail system. Thank you, thank you, thank you!! PS: Every time I see a MAX operator exit the train, I always wonder…hmm…that just might be Mr. MAX FAQS himself…haha!! Carry on & keep up the good work.

    • Thank you! I really appreciate it. I haven’t had the free time to post as often as I like, but I always like to hear when passengers get a better understanding of how it all works after reading here!

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