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October 16, 2004

Photo Contest
For two weeks beginning on October 17 and ending on October 31, we invite participants to submit images of railroading in the weather. This means rain, thunderstorms, wind, snow, hail, dew, and ice. Each week we will choose 4 first place winners who will receive a one year web site membership, and 7 runner ups who will each receive 3 month web site memberships. At the conclusion of the contest we will choose two grand prize winners who will each receive a check for $100.

Here is how it works. Starting Sunday you may post your weather related images to the appropriate discussion forums. On October 24th and November 1st, we will choose a set of winners that will receive free web site memberships. At the conclusion of the contest we will select two grand prize winners from the previous winners who will each receive $100 cash.

Winners will be displayed on the web site and over time may appear in our advertisements in Railfan & Railroad Magazine.

Web Site Upgrades
During the past few months we have been busy upgrading our hardware and software to allow the web site to run even faster. Users on broadband should notice a substantial increase of speed. We also have included a new feature that displays the number of times a given message thread has been viewed. This feature is experimental and we have received both positive and negative email concerning it. We may remove it in the future or place a switch so that individual users can select if they want it turned on or off. We have additional upgrades planned for the coming months, but nothing as major as the ones we just got through.

Trainorders.com in The Los Angeles Times Magazine
It has not been a mystery that we had a feature story in the Los Angeles Times Magazine telling the world about our trip up the California Coast last May. The reporter had a blast and she has convinced the rest of Southern California to take a railfan trip too. During the past week I have fielded no less than 300 telephone calls and gobs of email from people wanting to ride. Although I am sold out for my November trip, my wife and I will be hosting addition excursions this Spring. If you have an interest please visit coastrail.com. If you are interested in the story visit: here

Web Video
As a reminder our video area has lots of new video and sound clips. If you have some videos please share them with the railfan world. After Christmas we will host our first ever video program contest. Stay tuned in November for more information on this.

Railcams
I want to thank everyone who provided advice on how to get our vintage 1996 era Macintosh working up in Tehachapi. I got it fixed up and it is working. I am also pleased to say we are finally close to bringing you video clips from Dunsmuir. We now have DSL in Dunsmuir and a new Macintosh and camera similar to the Tehachapi model awaiting installation. I am still testing the software and I hope to visit Dunsmuir in November to install it.

Speaking of Tehachapi, it is a wonderful time of year to visit the loop. I have been taking my son Mason up there quite a bit this fall. We typically chase trains during the morning and in the afternoon when the lull occurs we go out into the Mojave desert scoping out several old mining towns.

For next few weeks Tehachapi is alive with not only trains but with apples. Tehachapi has the best apples around and you can purchase many varieties from the family farms along Highline Road. These apples are not the variety you find in the supermarkets. It is a great side trip when the train traffic slows down while railfanning. For more information visit: here

Web Space Area Increase
Effective today all premium members now receive 40mb of web space to create a web site or just use for online storage of images. Previously we offered 25mb. We are flexible and we now allow you to use it for non-railroad related images. Just don.t public anything explicit as that is grounds for account suspension. For more information visit here

Railfan & Railroad Partnership Offer
Trainorders.com members that do not currently subscribe to Railfan & Railroad Magazine are eligible to receive a substantial discount on subscriptions. To take advantage of the offer just log into Trainorders.com and click the "Special Offers" link in the upper left hand corner.

If you already subscribe to Railfan & Railroad Magazine you will now receive a special discounted rate of $24 a year to subscribe or renew to Trainorders.com.

Weather Software
>ith the weather and railroading photo contest coming I want to take this opportunity to tell you about a nifty piece of weather software I ran across over the summer. I have come to find out that many railfans are weather watchers as well. Over the summer I purchased a package called .Stormlab.. This remarkable software package takes National Weather Service Radar feeds and creates a radar portal on your PC. The software not only gives you super accurate radar maps, it even presents a pile of information about storm cells that might be moving in on your neighborhood. Truly amazing. I have included some screen shots along with some weather photos at my web space. Unfortunately, when I was out near Victorville I was unable to frame any trains. Sometimes you win some, sometimes you don.t. The web site for the software is http://www.interwarn.com. This program was written by one guy who has dedicated his life to weather watching. It is pay software, but is well worth the price if you are into weather watching.

Internet Telephone
I received a number of comments about the internet telephone service I signed up for a few months ago through Net2phone. I am sorry to announce that I gave up on internet calling this week. The echo and poor quality prevented me from really using it for business use.

That is it for now, if you want view our previous email newsletters visit http://www.trainorders.com/newsletters

Todd Clark
Trainorders.com
Webmaster & Founder
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