ontrackplant.com 20th Birthday
29 December 2019
As usual, the Christmas period saw the birthday of the website, and this year it was the big 20.
Back in 1999, OTP wasn't really covered in any of the railway enthusiast magazines and there hadn't been any books published since 1995 so I felt that there was a bit of a gap that needed filling. Inspired by other popular websites like The Doctor's gbrail website, I decided to work on a site specifically about OTP. After several months of work I launched the website on 26th December 1999 under the name of "OTPnet". The Doctor also mentioned the website and a few people came along and started contributing sightings and photos.
In the early days, the website was very time consuming to operate. I would receive 2 or 3 emails per day, and re-type it all up into the "recent sightings" and "list" formats. Likewise I'd have to resize and re-upload any photos sent in. The number of emails grew to 10-20++ per day and it soon became ridiculously hard to manage. This led to the creation of the "database" which enabled people to add sightings & photos by themselves and the website be updated automatically! Without these automatic update features, I honestly don't think the website would be here today.
If you're feeling nostalgic, you can view the very first version of the website here. It hasn't aged well, but it's amazing to see how far we have come!
I would like to take a moment to thank Ben, Nick, Paul, Roy & Roger for helping keep the records for various machines on the website up-to-date; along with numerous other dedicated correspondents who put in the miles checking things out, reporting sightings and uploading photos! Without everyone who contributes we wouldn't be where we are today.
I would also like to thank all the companies & managers for allowing enthusiasts around your depots.
Finally, some of you may be interested in a few statistics!
Just before the birthday on December 22 2019 we hit the massive milestone of 1,000,000 sightings! AshfordSteve's sighting of APWebb's RL005 at Ashford takes that accolade.
DR73905 Eddie King is still the most reported machine, with 1287 sightings.
Over the years the website gradually expanded, initially covering large track machines, small machines and powered trolleys; to including road-railers, and more recently trailers & attachments. We now have over 11,500 vehicles in the database, comprising of:
Large Machines - 1809
Snowploughs - 124
Trolleys & Railcars - 908
Small Machines - 394
Road-Railers - 3977
Trailers - 2881
Attachments - 267
Wagons - 1055
Seatless/Miscellaneous Machines - 276
All comments are the opinions of their respective authors, and do not reflect the opinions of ontrackplant.com. If you find an offensive comment and want it removed then please contact us with details.