I cannot remember a specific moment when I said to myself, "I am going to create a Web site about trains and transit in Chicago." It is something I had wondered about doing for a while. But more importantly, I asked myself, "Can I actually do a Web site?" But that question was answered, thanks to the wonderful "Dummies" series of books. So in June, 1996, I read "Creating Web Pages For Dummies". And later that month, I was "up and running".

Whenever one writes a book, it cannot be published until it is absolutely finished. And that printed version is final, at least for a while. A Web site never has to be really "finished", but can be expanded, revised and updated. So I was able to start "small", but with enough material initially to make the site worth visiting. And I gradually expanded the content, including photographs for the first time three months later.

They say, that some of the most loyal consumers of a particular brand of product, are those who use Apple Macintosh computers. Prior to acquiring my own computer for the first time, I had sometimes used my father's Mac. And I did some volunteer work at the Information Services department at a museum, which also used Mac computers. So I became a loyal Mac user. One of the more controversial chapters in the history of public transportation, was National City Lines, and its anti-competitive practices in the conversion of streetcar systems to buses. And sometimes I make comparisons between National City Lines, and a certain dominating software company not part of the Macintosh Operating System.

In 1994, I acquired a Macintosh Color Classic computer, which in 1997 I replaced with a Power Macintosh 6500/250. And in August 2004, I acquired my third computer, an "E-Mac". I also bought an "I-Book" Laptop in September 2005 to use while commuting. And in October 2009, I bought my fifth computer, an I-Mac.

For photos, I originally used the Photo CD system developed by Kodak. But by the year 2000, scanners finally became reasonably priced. So I purchased a Microtek ScanMaker X6 scanner. The scanner came bundled with various software, including PhotoDeluxe from Adobe. I used PhotoDeluxe for all final conversions of graphics and photos to JPEG and drawings to GIF formats. To prepare the maps and drawings, I use the "draw" function of AppleWorks, formerly ClarisWorks, which is bundled with Macintosh computers. AppleWorks is capable of saving the drawings in a "PICT" format, and PhotoDeluxe can convert the PICT files to the GIF format. Because AppleWorks is not available for the newer I-Mac, I continue to use the I-Book for drawing.

Because my scanner was not compatible with my eMac computer, I hung on to my Power Macintosh 6500/250 for a while longer, until it died. Meanwhile I began using my father's HP scanner, for the limited scanning which I do. In December 2009, I acquired a new digital camera, a Kodak EasyShare C180 model. I also installed Adobe Photoshop Elements on the new I-Mac, this software is the successor to the PhotoDeluxe software.

So basically, anyone with a computer can create a Web site. And just as with a new business, a new Web site can be successful if it meets a need which is not already being met. And there are still many areas of railfanning which are not yet covered on the Web. I look forward to the time when rail and transit fans seeking interesting information for anywhere, can find what they are looking for on the Web. And for anyone with any new Web sites pertaining to transit, I would gladly "trade links".

Bill Vandervoort