Tuesday, December 27, 2016

2016 Year in Review

It's that time of year - the time for looking back on the year that is ending, and looking forward to the new year. Time for navel gazing... (though why would anyone stare at their navel? Mine is rather unremarkable. I'll spare you photos)

ANYway, I digress. Let's talk about railfanning, writing, and blogging in 2016.

Railfanning in 2016

I have to say I wasn't railfanning as much in 2016 as I have in the past few years. The last few months of 2016 were particularly idle. I was super busy at work and didn't have a lot of time nor energy to spend chasing trains. It was good for the pocketbook but not for the photography.

That being said, I did get out for a few good trips:
Not too shabby, if I do say so myself.

I went out twice with other people, which is unusual for this "lone wolf" railfan:
Beyond that, I saw a few special trains this year:

Writing in 2016

I was happy to write an eBook in 2016, Diesels on Prince Edward Island. It was something I wanted to do, and it was pretty well received. It's a lot of work to write a book... and mine was considerably shorter than, say, Eric Gagnon's VIA Rail book series.

Did you know that Eric's writing a new book? Find out more!

I also wrote three articles for Branchline magazine.
  • My Stewart Southern article was published in the March-April 2016 issue (based on this series)
  • My "Trains and Grain Elevators" article was published in the May-June 2016 issue
  • My two-part New Brunswick East Coast Railway article was published in the November-December 2016 issue and the second part will likely be published in the Jan-Feb 2017 issue
These articles were almost as much work as writing the eBook! I never realized how much research went into each article. I have an even greater respect for authors than I used to have.

Blogging in 2016

I wrote 98 posts in 2016, including this one, which is pretty average for the past few years. Back in my more prolific years from 2007-2011 I would crank out over 300 posts/year, which was crazy. Keep in mind that back then, some of those posts were pretty short, on the order of "I updated this part of my web site", whereas most of my recent posts are much longer and take a lot more time to research and write. I like to think they are better, too.

I published eight "10 questions" posts this year. These are always popular and I enjoy doing them. I'd like to say I interviewed from A to Z but I only interviewed from Berry to Zulkoskey so I missed a letter!

Two posts in particular have received quite a bit more than the average number of views:
  1. Canadian Model Train Store Directory, 3,326 views
  2. 40 Mile Rail Starts Up, 3,172 views
I think the model train one got a lot of views because people are searching for that. The 40 Mile Rail post got a lot of attention because people were intrigued by a new shortline railway in Alberta, and my post was shared a fair bit on social media.

My least popular posts are the news posts like More on Winnipeg's Waverley Street Overpass which obviously don't appeal to a wide audience.

Off Topic Posts

I wrote a few posts that were a bit off the beaten path, as it were. I was inspired by the retirement of HMCS Iroquois to write about my ship geek days and I wrote a few more personal posts about jealousy and my lack of patience. I'll probably write some more of those in the new year. I know they aren't as interesting for the readers, but to paraphrase Lesley Gore, "it's my blog and I'll write what I want to." ;)


2016 was a busy year. It was a year of finishing projects like my Manitoba grain elevator project and my eBook. Railfanning-wise (is that a word?) it was a slow year.

I'm collecting my thoughts for my 2017 plans and I'll write about them shortly.

Thank You

Most of all, I'd like to thank you for reading and commenting and emailing. Your support has encouraged me to continue blogging as I have for the past 11.5 years. I'd especially like to thank fellow bloggers and frequent commenters Eric, Chris and Connie, Michael, John, ChrisDave, David, BW, Karl, Jimbaux, Jason and Glen. You encourage, educate and inspire me.

Read More

See you in 2017!


Jason Sailer said...

Congratulations Steve. Enjoy reading your well thought out and written posts. Looking forward to 2017 - Highball!

BWBandy said...

Great stuff! I look forward to more in 2017!

DaveM said...

Seemed like 2016 was still a very productive year for you.

BTW - Good catch on the CN RDC,I've never seen it before. Many people (including myself) have a soft spot for RDCs.


Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, Jason! :)

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, BW! Love your daily posts :)

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thank you, DaveM! I did all right, I guess :)

Jenn said...

Sounds like a great year to me! I am looking forward to 2017 being my first full year of blogging and reading my fave blogs...this one included. Happy New Year Steve!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks, Jenn! Best of luck with your first full year of blogging. You're off to a great start and I enjoy reading your blog!

Eric said...

Here's to another 11.5 years, Steve! A nice retrospective for 2016. Thanks for the shouts-out! It's about time you slowed down a bit to smell the roses. Sometimes I'm smelling the roses so much that I forget to blog. NOT!

I think you're occupying a valuable niche/wedge/sector of the Canadian rail blogosphere and I definitely appreciate the trains & grains. Let me also wish you and your family much health, wealth(!!) happiness and time together in 2017.

It won't be long til your kids are grown, out on their own, making money and making their way in the world and hopefully sending some of the former back home to you.
My kids have pretty much neglected that bit, however.

Seriously, if that's still possible at this point, all the best, Steve!!

Canadian Train Geek said...

Thanks for your great comment, Eric. I wonder how blogging will be in another 11.5 years? Maybe we'll be posting with our minds... probably not. I'll bet we will still be banging on keyboards.

No roses to smell around here, just snow and lots of it. At least the trains look nice against it.

Trains and grains are good for me... I love your deep dives into particular freight cars, trains and events. 2016 was the Year of the Mundane... what will 2017 bring for Trackside Treasure?

All the best to you and your family, Eric. May 2017 bring everything you want and then some.