A BRIEF HISTORY OF LOCOPAGE

Here is a brief history of Locopage and my interest in railways.

I have been interested in railways since a young age (I was born in 1975). When the Mornington line was still open (it closed in 1981), I can remember traveling along it in a railmotor.
Our family was involved with the Mornington Railway Preservation Society from the mid-1980's to early-1990's. Trains are a family interest; my brother is interested in railmotors and rollingstock; while my father has been involved with Puffing Billy, Walhalla Goldfields Railway, and the Daylesford Spa Country Railway.

In September 1988, I got an interest in diesel and electric locomotives, and decided to start 'locospotting'. I cannot recall where the idea for this came from.
I made a 'Locolist' covering Victorian diesel and electric locomotives; this later expanded to interstate government operators, and eventually, private operators.
The first loco seen was N474, while on a short holiday at Warrnambool  on 20 September 1988.
If you want to see the list of locomotives that I have seen over the years, then please follow this link.

Initially, I wrote up my locomotive data, but then with access to database software at secondary school, typed it up. My locomotive database is now in Microsoft Access, and has over 5000 records in it, as the fleets have grown over time. If you want a copy, it can be downloaded at the bottom of the Guide page.

The printout from the database - the latest edition of my 'Locolist' is now a 'book' over 300 pages long.

1994 saw me off to RMIT University studying for a cartography degree. While here, I got access to the Internet, and found the aus.rail newsgroup was a useful source of information.

In May 1997, a request was posted on aus.rail for information on Victorian locomotives. A reply suggested the book 'Power Parade'.
This got me thinking: I had recently done some web design work as part of my course at uni, and I had diesel and electric locomotive information at home in 'Locolist'. Perhaps I could create a web site on diesel and electric locomotives? So, I got in touch with David Bromage, the webmaster of Railpage, and asked about the idea of having a "locomotive page" on Railpage. He agreed, and so Locopage was born.

In early June 1997, the first HTML files for Locopage went online. They contained just brief tech specs, details of named and preserved locos, and links to photos. During July, the first stage of Locopage was completed. It should be pointed out that at the same time I was doing this, I also had mid-year exams, and then was working on my research project. I had initially included TasRail locos on Locopage, but after discussion with Stuart Dix, removed these, as they were already covered on the RailTas website.

By late September 1997, I had produced a template of the current design for the individual pages for locomotive classes. The only feature that would be added in the future were the entry-into-service, withdrawal, and scrapping dates, following a suggestion in the feedback.

As soon as I finished final exams in November 1997, I started work on the upgrade. Each class would now have an individual page, based on the template, while the pages for the operators were reduced to become descriptions of the operators with an index of the classes. The upgrade was completed in January 1998. Since then, it has been a constant matter of updating the pages, and adding new pages as required. 

In March 1999, I finally got connected to the Internet at home, making things much easier for reading and sending emails, and FTPing updates to Locopage.

Keeping track (no pun intended!) of the locomotive fleets is a never-ending business, especially with the increasing amount of loco sales between operators. Every quarter, I go through my printout 'book', and do a 'major' update of Locopage, as well as the database. Minor updates are made more often as required.

In May 2003, I finally started a permanent job (after previous contract jobs). This meant a long-term look at my hobbies, and so it was time to 'ease back the throttle' a bit on Locopage. This is because the job (as a draftsman) has me with a solid workload in the office on a computer, and therefore I don't want to use one so much in my spare time.

The result of this is that since 2003, I have made changes to Locopage, reducing the amount of information and changing the layout so that updating the website continues to be manageable.
These changes included:
* Removing the 'Withdrawl' and 'Scrapping' dates.
* Reducing additions to the Photo Gallery.
* Introducing of the "Fleetlist" ("Locomotives in Service") page.
* Merging of pages to provide a clearer history of locos that have been sold from one operator to another, or rebuilt.
* Reducing updates of  fleet details on individual pages.

From 2007 - with work continually busy; I reduced things back to just updating the database and the 'Fleetlist' and preserved locos (and one or two other) pages; unless I have the time to do more.

By autumn 2009, work remained busy; and to avoid overworking myself, I decided to drop things back to just quarterly updates of the database and the builders numbers spreadsheet.
Bear in mind that other railway enthusiast websites now have more information than Locopage (for individual operators), while Wikipedia also has a lot of information on Australian locomotives.

At the end of 2009, I decided the only way to keep Locopage going was to have a much smaller version, and move to my ISP's server; so this was done over the Christmas - New Year break.

With work continuing to be busy meant that updates to the site will be made on an 'as time permits' basis. This will usually be over the Christmas - New Year break.

In late 2011, I put photos (1 for each class) back online for a smaller photo gallery (the photos themselves being one of my PhotoBucket albums).

From 2015, Locopage will no longer be updated; this is because I am still busy at work and want to reduce the amount of time spent on the home computer.

Locomotive Page Introduction


Copyright John Cleverdon