About the Rip Track

Contents
The Site:
 What is this site?
 So where's the content?
 Why are you doing this?
 How did you make that logo image?
The Authors:
 Who are you anyway?
The Readers:
 I created a login but I can't login. What's wrong?
 I didn't see the verification question email. Are you sure you sent it?

What is this site?

The Rip Track is a personal website where I, the webmaster, will post information about model railroading. The three "oohs" mentioned in the page heading are: News, Reviews and Howtos. At some future time, when there's enough traffic here to guarantee a wide readership, I may add a fourth "ooh", Interviews.

So where's the content?

As new material is added to the site, it appears on the main page as a new story. Previously posted content is available through the menu on the left under the "books" link. Documents that describe how to accomplish a task are then listed in "Howtos". There are a lot of headings in there that have no content in them yet; they are place holders for future content. You may notice that the content is added apparently at random in this outline; that's because it is. As I write and upload documents, I will add them into the outline so they are published under the appropriate headings. I find that I write best when I do it in a sort of "free association mode", so the next topic to be posted will be whatever I feel like writing about. Eventually, I hope to have all of the topic headings filled in such that the sections can be viewed as a dead tree version (a book), organized by topic and where they fall in building a model railroad.

Sean Lamb at Galesburg Railroad Days
The website's author and admin, Sean Lamb, in a locomotive cab at Galesburg Railroad Days.

Who are you anyway?

My name is Sean Lamb, I'm a model railroader. You may have seen one of my clinics at an NMRA national convention recently (one I did on scratchbuilding techniques at the St. Paul convention in 1999 was videotaped and is available for checkout from the NMRA library in Chattanooga). I've served on the Board of Directors for the NMRA's South Central Wisconsin Division for many of the years that I've been a member, and I'm currently the division's model contest chairman. I have served in the past as the division's clinic chairman and webmaster. At the 2005 Midwest Region convention, I was asked to partner with another SCWD member to fulfill the region's model contest chairmanship. In early 2006, I was elected to one of the Director-At-Large positions for the Midwest Region's Board of Directors.

I am very active with the Capitol City "N"Gineers NTrak modular layout club; I exhibit with the club at about 7 shows per year around Wisconsin and northern Illinois. I'm also in the process of building my home layout based on the Milwaukee Road between Portage and LaCrosse, Wisconsin, set in 1984. Many of the photos that I have planned to add to this site will feature scenes and under-construction views of this layout. Who knows, you may even see it in one of the magazines at some time.

I am also an administrator on the English language edition of Wikipedia where I am the lead editor for the Trains Portal.

Why are you doing this?

Why not? This website gives me a chance to give back to the model railroading community without setting specific deadlines or making the information available only to those who are able to attend one of my clinics. I can put the information out to a global audience, and get feedback on it, and still keep an interest in the hobby.

How did you make that logo image?

I had this idea for a site logo to make it look like the site name was stamped onto the side of a rail, much the same way that the rail's manufacture date and information is stamped on. The original photo is one that I took while railfanning at Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, and I added the lettering on the rail with the bumpmap plugin in the free graphics editing tool The Gimp (it works a lot like Photoshop, but for free). I plan to make some more graphics for the stories and articles, and I will upload them as I have time to work on them.

I created a login but I can't login. What's wrong?

The most likely answer is that you didn't reply to the question that was emailed to you to verify that you weren't a spammer. When I get a notice of a new account request, I send a question to the email address that you used in your account request. I give everyone a minimum of seven days from the time that I send the followup question to respond to me with a coherent answer. The accounts of those who do respond are unlocked, while the accounts for addresses that don't respond after seven days or that immediately bounce the verification question email are summarily deleted.

I didn't see the verification question email. Are you sure you sent it?

Yes, I'm sure I sent it. Are you sure you typed your email address correctly? When the verification question email bounces, I immediately delete the account request. Also, check your antispam settings and your spam trapbox just in case it got sorted there by a more aggressive setting. Since I am not personally online 24/7, and the verification question emails are all generated manually by me, there could be a pause between your account request and the time that I send the verification question email (the longest pause so far has been four days, but the 7-day response clock doesn't start until after I send the verification question). If you're unsure, you can always send an email to the standard webmaster address at this site and ask about it.