Sunday, April 28, 2013

More Progress on the CP Rail M & M Sub. (And a Confession)

Trains are running again on the M & M Sub.

Progress is being made on the M & M Sub. Slowly, but that's the way I like it. No need to rush; I've got lots of time to get'er done, as we say on the prairies. Plus, how much ballasting can a person do in one go and not lose their mind?

Speaking of ballast, I've done about a quarter of what needs to be done. Can't say that it's much fun, but it is more enjoyable than painting track. Although with painting track at least it's done in one evening; ballasting takes at least two days as the glue dries, and then a third day to fix the places where it didn't stick.

(And I thought I was done with ballasting, as when I wrote about the "last ballast," as opposed to the last spike. But that was before I decided to take down part of my layout and start over.)

Anyway, we're getting there--some of the land forms are done, and the basic town layout is determined. Best of all, trains are running again on the newly-ballasted track, which is always a good thing.

Next up, the finicky stuff: I need to eyeball the track and pick off any stray ballast that is sticking to the sides of the rails. There's nothing worse than a photo of a great model railroad with pieces of ballast doing that gravity-defying thing on the side of a rail!

A Confession

This has nothing to do with model railroading, but I feel the need to note something about this blog. As the view count rises toward 450,000, I have to note that some of those views are the result of comment spam.

(Comment spam is when owners of websites use robots to send comments to blogs with their URLs embedded in the messages; the goal is to have their website link noted on as many blogs as possible so as to improve their SEO rankings.)

Some days, there are a few spam comments; some days there are more. This weekend was particularly bad, with over 100.

Since I moderate all comments, they go directly to my spam box and I delete them. But each time they hit a page that counts as a view, which drives up my count. (There can't be a lot of model railroaders in Russia, Poland, Cyprus and Turkey with an interest in Canadian model railroading--can there?)

Since the spammers change their addresses frequently, it's impossible to block them. (Or, at least, I think that's the case; if anyone knows different, let me know.)

In the end, the view count is meaningless, I know; I do this for fun, and for me. But all that spam is annoying and bothersome--another glimpse into the dark side of the Internet.


  1. Hi John:
    I have the same problem on my blog ( I installed a CAPTCHA program which worked for a while, but even that is failing to stop the robots these days. I too moderate comments on my blog, so like you I spend a lot of time marking them as spam and flushing them. That's all you can do for now, so keep at it and good luck until a stronger CAPTCHA comes along...
    - Trevor @ The Model Railway Show

  2. Thanks for the note, Trevor--nice to get a comment from a real human being! The robot comments never make it through to get published, so there's no need for a CAPTCHA. They get marked as spam immediately, and go straight to my spam box. What bugs me is knowing that the comments artificially inflate my view count. Oh, well . . .

  3. John - I too really enjoy your blog (a real human when I last looked :-)). I have a layout in my basement that I haven't touched in months due to work pressures. Its nice to see others making progress at least.

  4. Hi John,

    Your ballast looks nice. Is it a mixture or is that a stock blend? I also like that you've sprinkled in some green.

    I hear you about the spam. It can really be unbelievable how much spam comes through. I filter for about 50 words & that's good enough to catch 30-40 spams a day. I moderate the rest and still end up deleting another 30-40 spams. I have no idea what my view counts are, I just gauge interest in my blogs by how many real comments come through.


  5. Thanks, Greg. I use a blend of Woodland Scenics grey blend, cinders and buff. It matches what I see around the area I model.