The online magazine on the history and operation of vintage scale model trains in American OO gauge

Monday, September 6, 2010

RIP Model Train Magazine Index [Updated--it is back online]

One of the most very useful places on the entire Internet for finding things in back issues of magazines was the The Model Train Magazine Index. Now it is no more [but see the UPDATE, it is back!], as explained as follows at Trains.com
To our readers:

The advancement in Internet browser technology has created an insurmountable problem for the Model Train Index, which has been a fixture on Trains.com for many years.

The information in the Model Train Index and its integrated software originally were written in MS-DOS language 20 years ago by a train hobbyist on his PC as a personal project. It was not designed for the Internet and the software is unique to the index.

Kalmbach Publishing Co. purchased the index and its software many years ago. We created a website interface for the index and made the index a featured part of the Trains.com website.

Today, the progression of technologies on the Internet and the antiquated software of the Model Train Index have intersected to the point that we can no longer offer the index to our website visitors because we can no longer keep the index free of viruses or other even more significant Internet security risks.

The index software cannot be rewritten to update its security level, nor is there any method of transferring the index text information to a more modern software platform since the design of the index software and the index text information are integral to each other.

Because of these issues, we have reluctantly removed the index from Trains.com.
The index had a few limitations (such as it did not start early enough to cover the earliest OO articles in The Modelmaker) and I completely understand the reasons stated by Trains.com but still it was an awfully useful index and was something I referenced frequently for a variety of reasons.

My reason for referencing it this last time was to look for a scale drawing of a PRR N5 caboose so that I could see which classic OO model was closer to the prototype, the 1937 Scale-Craft or the 1938 Lionel tooling? I am thinking somewhere in all my magazines there must be a scale drawing and maybe even a full article on the topic of the N5 caboose? With no index I won’t be finding it any time soon.

MR still has a more limited index back to 1986 in their website and it pointed me to a review of a PRR N5C caboose in N scale. That did not do me a lot of good as it is a different model although it was cool that this review was actually online and easy to access. I will have to rely on photos for now to compare the S-C and Lionel cabooses, and this info on the N5 caboose is good in the Bowser website for those curious about the topic, which I will come back to.

It will be interesting to see if someone takes up the challenge to build a new online index, maybe not as fancy but with at least the index of each magazine as a page of searchable text. Thank you Trains.com for having The Model Train Magazine Index while you could and for explaining the reasons for it is no more in the text that still holds the place. It was really useful while it lasted and it is to be hoped that something will take the place of it in the near future.

UPDATE: The index is back and better than ever! http://trc.trains.com/Train%20Magazine%20Index.aspx The only thing missing is The Modelmaker does not seem to be included in the index, but this is still an extremely valuable resource.

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