Aug 8, 2016
CRCyc Background Info
Q: What is the Conrail Cyclopedia?
A: The Conrail Cyclopedia, often abbreviated as the CRCyc, is a website dedicated to archiving and cataloging photos of equipment and everything else from the Consolidated Rail Corporation (a Class 1 railroad) that operated on the railroad between 1 April 1976 and 31 May 1999. It also features photos of equipment from all of Conrail's predecessor railroads (Penn Central, Reading Company, Lehigh Valley, ect) and photos of equipment from its predecessors' predecessors (Pennsylvania Railroad, New York Central, ect) as long as that equipment ran across or sat on Conrail property from 1 April 1976 to 31 May 1999.
Q: Who owns and runs the CRCyc?
A: The CRCyc has an enormous staff of one--me! I (Robert S. Waller) own and run the website, which graciously has been hosted on Railfan.net since day one. But the website has always been community driven. I've always encouraged visitors to contribute photos and information to make the site richer and more informative. Iíve always seen the CRCyc as a free resource for railfans, modelers, historians, and everyone else interested in Conrail, its operations, and its heritage. In fact, most of the photos on the website are from enthusiasts just like you!
Q: Can I have a bit more history of the CRCyc?
A: Sure! The idea for the website began in 1996 as a website for Conrail rolling stock photos. That website, called the Conrail Rolling Stock Pages, came online in early 1997. It was a joint project of Robert Waller (me) and Tom Wolfgang (my buddy), and was an adjunct of sorts to Tom's Conrail Caboose website at Railfan.net. But we always talked about creating a large Conrail website covering everything Conrail. In 1998, a year after I moved from PA to FL, Tom officially rolled out the Conrail Cyclopedia. (I wanted to call it The Conrail Superpages, but thankfully Tom had better sense.) The website became an instant success, much to our surprise! Tom soon left the CRCyc to focus on his caboose website and family, mainly the latter. A couple decades later, having gone through many peaks and valleys, the CRCyc is still here. In 2015, I began a major effort to restore and reinvigorate the CRCyc, revising much of the site's ancient HTML code and getting new photos online. That revamp continues in 2016, with new sections being added and old code still being cleaned up.
What Photos Will You Accept?
Q: Are you accepting roster shots?
A: Yes! A roster shot is a train photo emphasizing a single piece of equipment (freight car, locomotive, ect). The photo is cropped so that mainly the image of the equipment remains. Roster shots can be taken from many different angles, such as 3/4 views or views from above. Actually, photos from all sides of a piece of equipment are ideal.
Q: Are you accepting detail shots?
A: Yes! A detail shot is a close up photo of a piece of equipment, such as a fuel tank, plow, fan, brake wheel, ect. Detail photos are important for unusual or non-standard items. To save server space, I might have to limit the number of detail shots of standard equipment so we don't have too many shots of the same type of standard GP38 air horn, for example.
Q: Are you accepting scenic shots?
A: Yes! A scenic shot is where the scenery is the focus of the photo, with a train running through it. It doesn't always mean that the scene is amazingly spectacular. It just means the scene captures a moment on the railroad. I'm pretty flexible with what constitutes a scenic shot. If you submit at least a few scenic shots, you'll get your own gallery as well.
Q: Are you accepting caboose photos?
A: Probably. Tom Wolfgangís website used to be the place for Conrail caboose info and photos, but he hasnít updated it since 2000. Iíve been debating taking on that task at the CRCyc. If I can get enough Conrail and predecessor caboose photos, I will create a caboose section. Sadly, I have very few caboose photos of my own.
Q: I have photos from the 1970s and 1980s of Reading Company, Penn Central, and Erie Lackawanna engines and freight cars but they have "CR" painted over the original logos and numbers. Plus some are still in their original RDG and PC markings. Can I submit them?
A: Yes! As long as that piece equipment was on a Conrail locomotive or freight roster any time from 1 April 1976 through 31 May 1999 you can submit photos of them. You can even submit photos of the equipment still in full predecessor markings and paint as long as they fit the timeframe above.
Q: I have photos of Conrail equipment taken after 31 May 1999 but they have NS or CSX markings painted over the original CR markings or applied to the piece of equipment. Can I submit them?
A: No. Those would be better for websites featuring NS or CSX.
Q: What about photos of equipment still in full CR markings taken 1 June 1999 and after?
A: Probably. But there comes a point where CSX or NS modified something on a piece of equipment to not make it truly Conrail anymore. This applies mainly to locomotives. Conrail freight cars can still be seen today without any modifications, so they probably would be fine. If in doubt, just ask.
Q. Can you scan my photos or slides for me?
A. No. Sorry, but I no longer have the time to scan photos or slides for others.
Q. What are your photo requirements?
A. Only .jpg type files and file extensions are allowed. Landscape format (horizontal) images should be between 800 and 1100 pixels wide. Height will vary, but please closely crop all roster shots. Portrait format (vertical) images should be the same basic dimensions as above, just vertically. Set your .jpg compression to 10% or jpg quality to 90%, depending how your program defines it. Since we are graciously hosted on Railfan.net, I prefer to keep file sizes under 350K; the smaller the better while keeping image quality high. If in doubt, just ask.
Q: Are you crazy picky about the quality of submitted photos like some other train photo sites?
A: Not really, especially when dealing with old photos. Of course, I prefer photos that are well-lit and in-focus. But with older photos, I try to be as understanding and as forgiving as possible. Simply ask yourself, "Would I really want download this photo?" If the answer is anything other than yes, well there you go.
Q: Can you tweak or edit the quality of the photos I submit?
A: Right now, I use Paint Shop Pro X8 Ultimate Edition as my photo editor. If running the photo through some of the program's features, like Perfectly Clear SE2, will help, I will gladly take a few moments to edit the photos if you want me to. If you like, I can send them back to you for approval. Otherwise, I'll leave them untouched. It's up to you.
Q: Iím psyched to help! How do I upload photos I want to submit to the CRCyc?
A: At the CRCyc, we party like it's 1999! Actually, there is no "submit" form or upload page because the CRCyc isn't a modern database. Simply CLICK HERE to email the photos to me. Include the relevant info like location and date taken, along with any technical or interesting anecdotal information about the photo. It may be old school, but it's the only school I know.
Q. Can I submit someone else's photos?
A. To submit a photo, you must agree that it is your photo, or you have full rights to it. Copyright infringement is not tolerated. All photos belong to and are copyrighted by the original photographer. If you have a question about a photo, please contact the original photographer. I cannot stress this enough.
Q: How long will it take for my photos to appear on the CRCyc?
A: This is the toughest question. Even though I am a one-man operation with a family and career, I will try to post photos as quickly as possible. It might take several days or more, or a matter of hours. It all depends what is going on at that moment. Plus, I still hand code everything. I wasn't kidding when I said the website parties like it's 1999! I try to let folks know an approximate time frame.
Photos for personal use only. All rights reserved by original owner of image.
Reproduction or redistribution in any form without express written permission is prohibited.