Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Fifth anniversary of this blog

I began this blog about Southern Pacific modeling on December 8, 2010, a date chosen not for any reason other than I was ready to begin that day. And today, here it is, December 8. Once again this year, as has been the case on each of the four anniversaries before this one, I am surprised and impressed with the viewership this blog has enjoyed, not just this year, but looking back for all five years.
     My original intention was to post a couple of times a week, and that has proven to be a good rhythm for me. I have continued over these years in presenting about ten posts per month, and about 120 to 125 per year. The post you are reading is the 620th, so the average rate is exactly 124 per year. These posts have varied widely in how many comments they receive, but as has been increasingly true in recent years, readers with questions, corrections or comments tend to email me directly. That’s not a complaint, just a description.
     Page views have continued at a high level. The first year there were about 50,000, a number which seemed impossibly huge to me when I saw it, and far beyond anything I had ever imagined would happen with this blog. The following year there were almost 100,000 more, bring the total to 150,000 after two years. Even more amazing to me.
     The third anniversary in 2013 brought to light even bigger annual viewing numbers, reaching almost to 300,000 views total, thus almost 150,000 additional views in that one year alone. Since then, the viewing has continue to increase, though the rate of increase has flattened out quite a bit. The total reached 468,000 views after four years, meaning that there were almost 170,000 new views that year. The number of new views in the fifth year is about the same, another indication of flattening, though of course it remains at an amazingly high level. Total page views since the beginning in December 2010 reached 600,000 just before 5 PM on September 28, 2015, and now has reached a total above 632,000 views. I can’t say it enough times: I am just amazed—and also very gratified.
     My original goal was to present a perspective on modeling the SP in HO scale, and to add historical as well as modeling and operating information where possible. Those goals have remained in place, and I feel like I have addressed them in the way I wanted to do. Although not originally central to my plans, it has turned out that modeling projects on my SP layout have formed a significant part of the blog output. That makes it fun, as I now tend to plan any project, whether rolling stock or layout, with photography in mind, to document in a possible future post. This has probably increased my percentage of completed projects, if nothing else!
     I will just include one photo from the layout as it now is, showing Ten-wheeler 2344 switching at Shumala. Set into the fascia at right is a push-pull handle for a switch at the back of this scene.

     In recent years, the blog has acquired new features too. These include increases in the number of documents posted on Google Docs and available to anyone on the Internet, such as the recent posting of a commodity table for tank cars ( http://modelingthesp.blogspot.com/2015/11/a-tank-car-commodity-table.html ). In addition, there are now reference pages, accessible by the list at the upper right of the top of the blog page. These reference pages were created by combining eleven posts about my method of freight car weathering using acrylic washes, into two reference pages, one on the basic method, the other on specifics for individual car types and additional details.
     Although I didn’t begin this blog with very specific plans, least of all with any time frame in mind, I am sure I had no idea that it would extend to five full years and beyond, with over 600 individual posts, nor had I ever remotely imagined more than 600,000 page views in that time. These numbers still make me shake my head. But recognizing that there is a readership increases my motivation to continue, and to enjoy continuing. Thanks for your interest and support.
Tony Thompson


  1. Well Happy Anniversary! While I grew up along the Espee in the San Fernando and Simi Valley's, the SP is not my current modeling focus. I do have a lot of SP equipment, and I continue to add more as time goes by.

    The only reason I point this out is simply even though I'm not 'modeling the SP', I still find a lot of valuable information on your blog. Most everything you post, even if very Espee specific, still is valued reading and useful to me.

    While the numbers are amazing, I'm not really surprised, there is so much great information here, there's valuable insights, alternative methods and thought processes!

    Thanks for the previous half decade, and here's to the next five years!

  2. Congratulations and many thanks for all your contributions to the modeling community. It's been a source of tremendous new knowledge to me and far greater modeling satisfaction.

  3. I am surprised and impressed with the quality of the information you have shared with the modeling community (actually I'm not that surprised since I have attended your NMRA clinics for over 25 years. Even though I model N scale, a great deal of the information can be transferred to other scales (however some things can only be wished for). Thank you for unselfishly sharing the huge wealth of information you have with others. I only hope that some day I will be able to come and see your layout and maybe even operate on it. Keep up the excellent work.

  4. Congratulations Tony, quite a milestone.

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  6. I think that you have the heart of a newspaper man. It is hard enough for professionals to turn out 2 columns a week that are fresh and continually interesting on different subjects, that you do it is quite remarkable. I think that it is the combination of subjects and consistency that produces the justifiably high readership

    1. Thanks to everyone who commented, and I do appreciate all the kind words. Maynard in particular made an intriguing comment, about the heart of newspaper columnist, which may have hit SOME nail on the head. I think. But in any case, thanks all.
      Tony Thompson

  7. Tony, congratulations on 5 years writing this blog. I am continually amazed at the quantity and quality of the articles you have posted. They are very interesting and very much appreciated. Keep up the great work. Al Daumann