Welcome to SteamCentral!

Welcome to SteamCentral!

Welcome to SteamCentral. As much as I'd like to, I probably won't be able to answer each question sent to me from viewers of this site. So please read this FAQ - it will answer many of your questions, and will be regularly updated with common questions.
Farther down you'll find criteria for submitting news and schedules for inclusion in the site. And at the bottom are the "webmaster handling procedures," in which I warn you of my pet peeves.
Part 2: Submission Criteria       Part 3: Webmaster Handling Procedures
PART I: Frequently Asked Questions
"When's the next site update?"   Pretty soon - updates average about twice a week. I update when there's a signficant news item, or important schedule additions or changes. (Hint: a change in an excursion departure time two months from now probably won't rate an immediate update, but a change in this weekend's trip probably will.)

If your browser allows you to subscribe to pages, subscribe to this site's home page. It will tell you when pages change.
"Can you tell me the schedule for (insert trip here)?"   I put everything I know that's confirmed on the Schedules page. If it's not there, then I don't know. If there's a clickthrough to the sponsor web site or e-mail, you may find the answer to your question through them. (Translated: I probably won't answer emails like "What time does XXX leave?" or "Where do I park for the trip?")
"Can you send me a (insert format) version of the schedules?"   Sorry, no. The downloadable documents are auto-generated from a Microsoft Access database report, then saved as Rich Text and as Excel, and put into a PKZIP file.
"I heard that (insert engine number) was being scrapped / returned to a museum. Is it true?"   Probably not. People start all kinds of crazy rumors either out of ignorance or some sort of malicious sense of "fun." One of the reasons I developed this site was to combat these types. Check the news page.
"What is the air speed velocity of an unladen swallow?"    What do you mean? An African or a European swallow?
"Will you post a link to my page?"   Maybe. I am happy to link to sites where additional information directly related to the focus of this site can be found. Send me your URL and I'll look at your site. See the bottom of the links page for the criteria.
"Where's the link to the chat room?"   Anywhere but here. This site will not become a place to post random thoughts and locomotive sightings, or ask whether you prefer "clean" or "dirty" railroading. (There's plenty of places to do that without cluttering up this one.)
"Why did you start this site?"   Read this to find out.
"How does this site work?"   Full technical details can be found here.
"What is the ultimate answer to the meaning of life, the universe, and everything?"   42.
PART II: Submitting to SteamCentral
We welcome submissions of news items, schedule details, photos and opinion pieces to SteamCentral. Below you will find criteria for submitting each.
NEWS:   Information on the restoration or operation of steam locomotives is welcome. We do not print unconfirmed rumors as news, and prefer getting information on rebuilds and operations from the organization responsible for the locomotive if possible. If you are not submitting on behalf of an organization, please provide a way to contact someone in that organization who can verify your submission.

News items should also be of a significant nature. A press release that your organization has touched up the paint on its 0-6-0 probably won't make the page; a press release from UP stating that 3985 is being painted in two-tone grey with wind wings definitely would.

"Anonymous" contributions (submitted from bogus e-mail accounts, or signed only with names like "locomaniac") will be ignored; attach a full name and valid e-mail address to any news item. (You may be sure that if I don't know you, I WILL bounce it back to confirm it.) Send news items to mail@steamcentral.com.
SCHEDULES:   Information on excursions, photo charters, or other special events is welcome. Please include dates, departure and arrival times, ticket prices, and sponsor contact information (name, full address with ZIP or post code, phone numbers, e-mail address, web page address). We do not publish regular schedules for tourist operations, but will consider including a link to a tourist railway's schedule on our links page. Send items for inclusion on the schedules page to mail@steamcentral.com.
BECOME A SteamCentral STAFFER!   If you would like to take over preparing the excursion schedule updates for a particular country outside the USA, contact me at mail@steamcentral.com. I can provide you with the details. Of special help would be staffers keeping up with excursions in Germany and France. We also want to develop a network of enthusiasts providing information on e.g. the RENFE Garratt or excursions in Myanmar.
OPINION:   Opinion pieces are intended to educate the average hobbyist about the everyday realities of the steam locomotive world today, and to spark debate within the hobby. As such, they will usually be solicited by the Webmaster. (In other words, I don't plan to publish your opinion piece that says SP4449 should always remain in "Daylight" colors.) However, if you have an idea for an opinion piece, please suggest it. But be aware: this site is a dictatorship, and the Webmaster is the final judge of what gets published.

If you would like to comment on a published opinion piece, please forward your reaction. We will not be publishing "I liked/didn't like the piece" mails, but will attach thoughtful comments submitted from valid mailboxes (reactions from "locomaniac@fakeisp.com" will be ignored at best, and may be belittled on the feedback page). We reserve the right to share all e-mail with the opinion author and with all visitors to this site.

Send reaction to an opinion piece, or ideas for future opinion pieces, to mail@steamcentral.com.
PHOTOS:   We occasionally publish photos if they relate to a news item, are of excellent quality, and the photographer is amenable. We also accept photos for possible use as "Photo of the Month."

Scanning the photo into JPG or GIF format, and sizing them to a width no greater than 360 pixels, is the responsibility of the submitting party. Before sending photos, please contact us at photos@steamcentral.com to determine if it's something we're interested in.
Finally, while we do not plan to make this a photo site, occasionally we may devote a temporary page to a significant event. Photo requests will be posted on the entry page.
FEEDBACK:  Please send your comments on how to improve the site to mail@steamcentral.com. (Hint: "I liked / didn't like your site" is NOT constructive - tell me WHAT you liked or didn't like, and WHY, and make a concrete suggestion if you have one. For the record, I'm not thin-skinned. And if you write javascript in your sleep, we need to talk.) Especially good, and especially bad, feedback will be posted here.
PART III: Rules for a pleasant visit to SteamCentral  
Before reading further, please insert your tongue firmly in your cheek . . .
1. Read Parts I and II. All of it.
2. Read Parts I and II again. All of it.
3. Don't send e-mails to the Webmaster that are covered in Parts I and II.   Check Parts I and II (all of it) before hitting the "send" button.
Particularly dense and annoying questions will be posted (and probably belittled) on the feedback page, complete with your e-mail address.
4. Be nice to the Webmaster.   This site is something I do in my spare time. Plan on flaming me? Before you do, consider that I've got a warped sense of humor, a large vocabulary, and a feedback page. ;-)