Why am I doing this?
Why would someone spend this many hours of their free time on something
like this? Well if you have a hobby like model railroading and you have
taken the time to build a nice layout, you probably understand already.
I am an N-Scale (ok, I dabble in HO and Z as well) model railroader mainly modelling BN and MoPac. I still haven't built a decent layout yet, since I keep getting hung up on making detailed locomotives and intermodal double stack cars (and got 3 NMRA Merit Awards in Freight Cars to show for them). To properly detail and paint them, I had to have pictures to ensure that the models I was putting all this effort into were accurate.
At first, I bought several BN books and a couple MoPac books to get prototype photos. After a while, I could not get what I wanted in books, especially for MoPac, so I started collecting photos and slides. It was too late for me to take slides of MoPac, but I learned my lesson and began taking slides of BN equipment as I found time. I'm glad I did, as BN may disappear to BNSF changes any day now.
About one year ago, I first came up with the idea to start this archive. I had learned some simple HTML by working with some UTA Student Organizations, and thought it would be neat to put up a collection of railroad pictures. Three months later, Netscape 1.1b1 came out and supported tables. That got me excited, as that was how I wanted to implement most of my roster organization. I worked on the indexes for about a month, and then on April 10, 1995 (I think) someone posted to rec.railroad asking about BN 2150. I just so happened to have a picture of it on my then 4 megs total website, so I "let the cat out of the bag" and announced my website. That week I got over 4000 hits, so I decided this was a worthwile project.
I guess there are three main reasons I continue to work on this.
1) I doubt it's going to happen, but it would be really cool if the folks at BNSF like my work and hire me to help with their website.
2) I am enrolled at UTA slowly but surely working my way to a BS in Computer Science and Engineering. I know C and C++, but I never really had the motivation to create anything really cool, and none of my C programming assignments provided much opportunity to make anything really cool. I think this web stuff is really cool, though, so I am now trying my hardest to learn what I can about html, perl, java, etc. It definitely hasn't helped my GPA, which is already pretty lame. I'm still sticking with my CSE studies, and may have finally found the motivation I needed to finish my degree, and put more effort into those classes. I'm sure a CSE degree would help me get a job as a webmaster somewhere (like BNSF, heh heh), and I think that would be a cool job.
3) I'm hoping that the time I spend on this pays off in the form of contributions from other modellers and railfans. Most of the BN is not in Texas, and it will likely be gone soon, and I haven't many opportunities to get photos of BN equipment, especially equipment that is stationed outside Texas, or was retired years ago. So far, things look promising, so keep those contributions coming!