Number of Images on this Page = 1


Current NEWS ...

NEW DOMAIN NAME

Plans have been announced to remove the domain name www.csse.monash.edu.au, and all the pages under it. This will probably not happen for a while yet, but in the meantime, I have setup a new server (belonging to me, rather than the university) which will mirror all the railway photograph material for the foreseeable future. It is suggested that you start changing those bookmarks to:

http://www.ajhurst.org/~ajh/trains/

Themes

There is a new directory called "themes" containing themed photographs. These are photographs already in the album, but linked by a common theme. See Night Photographs for an example.

Welcome to John Hurst's Railway Photograph Catalogue!

G'day. This site started out as a way of cataloging my numerous railway pictures, which I first starting building up as a set of root window backgrounds. That was back in 1992, before the web. But once I became aware of the web (in 1994), I realised that a web page would not only allow me to peruse my catalog easily, but might also prove useful to others.

This site first went on-line in the week starting 3 Jul 1994, and I claim it as one of the first railway web pages! Proof of this lies in the school's server log pages, at http://www.csse.monash.edu.au/usage/cs/1994/week6.html , under "10 items accessed most ... /image_lib/trains 96". How about that for industrial archaeology?

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these pages. Many people have written to me to say they have enjoyed them, and you are welcome to drop me a short (or long!) note with your comments.

  • Image : dir= page=index 96835 bytes, 800x600 pixels
  • Date : 21 Apr 2000, catalogued 14 May 2000
  • Photographer : Barbara Hurst
  • Medium : colour print
  • Description : Hello. This is me. I'm not sure why I'm including this picture of me, but my wife likes it. Taken on the broad gauge steam train returning from Wodonga, Easter 2000.


Whether you are visiting for the first time, or revisiting, you will probably find the Recently Added Images page useful to see how things are progressing with these pages. I add things as I get time (which isn't often nowadays!) and this page gives you a quick overview of what has changed of late.

The catalog is restricted to photographs where either I own the copyright, or permission has been given to include photographs here. Permission is given to copy any these images for personal or research use, but not for commercial gain or profit without written permission from me or the original copyright owner. I would appreciate hearing how you find these images useful.

Work has started on archiving photos. Access to the larger images is restricted so that they can only be accessed through a cgi interface. This allows me to track the actual use of the images more easily than through log files. (One of the consequences of this is that Internet Explorer browsers cannot access large images, due to a fault in IE with how it handles cgi parameters. Sorry, but if you use IE, you deserve everything you get!) In the longer term, images will be moved to and from archival storage according to demand. It is intended that thumbnails will continue to remain on the web pages, to show what is available.

I currently also have a rather large backlog of photos to put up, and while I am always most pleased to hear from new correspondents, I would ask you to note that if you send my photos for inclusion in these pages, there may be some delay in placing them online.

This page also accessible from http://tinyurl.com/2u493

Catalogue Overview

This page describes the extensive collection of railway images maintained at Computer Science, Monash University. For my other reciprocal railway links, see my Railway Links Page (still being updated). If you have a railway page, and you'd like to swap links with me, just drop me an email note, and I'll add you in!

The numbering scheme used for the images themselves is relatively straightforward, and provides the basis for referencing all images and their descriptions. Where there is only one locomotive in the scene, its class/road number is used as the title. Multiple images of the same loco are reflected in a "-1", "-2", etc., suffix.

Where there is more than one locomotive in the scene, and the locomotives are coupled together, the road numbers are appended in the form "leading+trailing+.." as appropriate, again with a "-1" suffix to distinguish multiple images. If the locomotives are on separate tracks, the notation "loco=loco-1" is used. Multiple parallel running, with multiple coupled locos is handled by "loco+loco=loco-1" and so on.

Occasionally, where many locomotives appear in a scene, only the main ones may be identified (such as at roundhouses, etc.).

Please mail ajh@csse.monash.edu.au if you enjoyed this archive, or if you have any comments or complaints!

Catalogue Details

Dynamic Ranking of Images

There is a dynamic ranking process that uses access to the full images as a voting mechanism. This does not use the web log files, but only records those images accessed by clicking on the thumbnails. See the Vox Pops page for more information, or clink here .

How the Catalogue is Built

In an ongoing project like this, managing the large amount of information that is continually changing can rapidly become intractable. Hence I recognized quite early on that some sort of management system was imperative. Here are the various approaches that have been used:

  1. Building all pages in HTML, and editing the raw HTML. A consistent look and feel was established by cutting and pasting templates. Needless to say, this approach was quickly superceded!
  2. Defining each page as a literate program, using macro processing facilities within the literate programming tools to ensure a consistent look and feel.
  3. Defining each page as a literate program, but generating m4 files for handling the macro expansion. This complicated the generation process, but provided more powerful macro tools.
  4. Moving the literate programming process from a TeX based system (nutweb) to an XML based system (XLP/ AXE).
  5. Building the pages in XML, using a purpose-built markup, and then statically transforming these XML files (at the time of upload to the web server) into static HTML files. This system has worked well for several years.
  6. The current system is a bit more elaborate, but has the advantage of dynamic rendering, and simpler file maintenance. It is described below.

The Current System

Each image has its own description XML file. The main pages are defined as XML documents called index.xml that "include" the description files. Such files are then translated directly to the corresponding HTML page using an XSLT script. The shunting yards, or navigation bars at the head of each page are generated by a series of separate xml scripts, such as Central.xml.

Requests for files from the server can either be to the base XML file, or the derived HTML file. In both cases, a .htaccess file gives the server additional information on how to render the file.

For an XML file, there is a handler index.py that is invoked, and it is passed a parameter string indicating the XSLT stylesheet to be used for transforming the document into HTML, which is then delivered to the client. Dynamic data (such as file modification times) are delivered to the XSLT script at this point.

For an HTML file, if the file exists, it is retrieved and returned. This is a transition phenomenon only, where the HTML file is left over from the previous (static) method of rendering (see above section). Where the HTML file has been replaced by the XML file however, an Error 404 is generated (since the HTML file does not exist), and this is captured by the handler. The corresponding XML file is retrieved, the stylesheet name recovered from the nearest upward .htaccess file, and the process of the previous paragraph completed. All without any obvious action observed by the user (well, there is a bit of a speed penalty, but I'm working on that). Neat, huh?

Given any image reference (e.g., Gerogery-1) and its directory (e.g., misc), all the information required to present this image can be constructed from them, relative to the user home directory on the server, viz.:

Full Image
trains/misc/Gerogery-1.jpg
Thumbnail Image
trains/misc/thumb/Gerogery-1.gif
Description
trains/misc/Gerogery-1.xml

Indexing the Catalogue

A taxonomy of railway subjects is not straightforward. I have taken the approach of cataloguing by attribute of ownership, although the epoch is not necessarily consistent. Thus for example, Puffing Billy has a separate section, although most of the stock was originally built by the Victorian Railways. Visits by rolling stock to other systems further confuse this, especially where multiple items of different ownership are involved. Hopefully no one will be too confused by the approach taken. Of course, the author will happily entertain any debate upon the subject!

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