Saturday, December 9, 2023

Blog 13th anniversary

The first post of this blog was posted on December 8, 2010, so that makes yesterday the 13th anniversary. Around every subsequent Dec. 8, I have posted a reflection on the year just past, along with statistics associated with blog viewership. And once again this year, I still remember comments that my blog wouldn’t last out the first year. I guess that prediction was wrong.  

My posting pace of a couple of posts a week continues to be about right for me. This leads to around ten posts a month, which I find comfortable. I have also had comments from people that they like finding new posts fairly often, so for at least some readers, the pace is good also.

The viewership has amazed me every time I’ve looked at it, with numbers of page views that always seemed fantastical to me — and they still do. In the first years of the blog, it received about 100,000 page views a year. Since then, it increased to the current value of about 250,000 a year, still gently increasing from year to year. Total page views for the life of the blog now exceeds 2.6 million views.

Monthly views since 2017 have averaged about 20,000, with occasional excursions higher. This may represent some “views” by Internet crawlers seeking links, but as it comes from a wide variety of the usual Western countries, at least some of it must represent actual human viewers.

I also want to mention that some time back, I added “Reference pages” (as the Blogger application calls them) about my weathering process. The process is one I developed myself, but I did get additional ideas from my late friend Richard Hendrickson. Links to these pages can be found at the upper right of the screen, at the top of each blog post. As I hoped, these continue to receive numerous page views. My experience in teaching weathering to others is that the main requirement is just to try it.

In this calendar year, I hosted four operating weekends on my layout, two days each, one weekend of which was the BayRails semi-annual event. These sessions are a real pleasure for me, because I get to see the layout operating as I intended in designing and building it (well, people mostly operate it as I envisioned). To choose just one example, below are Jeff Aley (left) and John Sutkus switching at Ballard on February 18 (for a write-up about that session, see: ). 

This was a kind of milestone year for me, as this was the year I turned the same age as Richard Hendrickson was when he passed away in 2014 (for my memorial post, see: ). Here’s a photo taken by Ray deBlieck in 2012 of Richard (left) and me, crewing a train at the La Mesa Club’s superb Tehachapi layout. Hard to believe that this photo was taken over a decade ago.

As the photo above suggests, this annual anniversary post allows me to look back and consider what I’m doing, how well I think I’m doing it, and whether any of it needs to change. I have received the comment on occasion that a post describing a project, such as building a freight car, seems to assume that some steps in the project don’t need to be explained. It’s true that this is not a beginner-oriented blog. I am usually writing for those who do have some background and some experience. I plan to continue that way.

An interesting comment received by email a few months ago is that my layout seems to be largely complete and that I don’t write too much about it. That is certainly true in part. Maintenance problems have been more frequently described than new structures or newly-laid track. 

But I always emphasize that my layout was built mostly to operate, not as a great collection of prize-winning structures or stunning scenery. As a result, photos of it can be a little mundane. Still, I continue to enjoy views like this one, showing activity on the freight platform at the Ballard depot.

Another year! I’m still surprised that it keeps going, and that I enjoy doing it. But as long as that’s true, I will continue.

Tony Thompson


  1. Happy Blogiversary! I started my blog one month after yours. Here's for more in the next year!

  2. Congratulations Tony. I have been following your Blog for several years and always find it enjoyable, educational and entertaining. You also help me with insights on the SP as I also model it in the 50's. Thanks and Merry Christmas

  3. I've been following you since you gave presentations at the PCR meetings ( still do). I've been following since before we all knew much about the internet. Was very excited when you started your blog and have never been disappointed since. It just goes to show how valued the information you share is to most of us. Hoping for another 13 years and more! Thanks for all the time you have invested in making us all more knowledgeable.

  4. 13 years, congradulations, I think I have been following your blog for at least 8 of those 13. I appreciate the information I have learned about the SP operations on the centeral coast.