Hundreds, even thousands, of pieces of railroad history are lucky enough to be saved and cared for, many restored cosmetically, operationally, or even just sitting quiet in a collection. Unfortunately, not everything has that luxury, and many pieces of history have been lost or have nearly been lost, and others sure feel lost. One such example is a little place called Loweth, Montana.
Something I mentioned briefly in my last post was this quote: "On May 17th, we got to return to the bridge after a rather grueling day in Hanna." Why was it such a grueling day, you might be wondering?
I won't lie to you - it's actually just one bridge. However, it was two separate visits to that bridge that made for one unforgettable pair of stories.
During the Great Race To Ogden, we stopped along a variety of places along the road and in just as many towns, but one spot sticks out in particular - a bridge in roughly, well, the middle of nowhere. Between the towns of Medicine Bow and Hanna, Wyoming sits a bridge that crosses over Union Pacific's transcontinental main, and it was here that many, many photographers wanted to get a few pictures of the UP #4014. We got the shots, but it was certainly not as easy as you'd think.
To get an understanding of what I mean when I say the middle of nowhere, I really mean it. From Google Maps, we can understand where we are pretty quickly.
The journey from Cheyenne to Ogden and back was unlike any other for a myriad of reasons, but one of them was the opportunity to get alongside the legendary Union Pacific #4014 while it was in motion. The trick was getting up there! Because so many other people wanted to the same thing, it was tough to get close at all. However, we did manage it multiple times throughout the journey. It was truly exhilarating to be able to do, and certainly not easy at times! So, now, we look at some of the highlights of getting side by side the Union Pacific Big Boy, #4014.
It's been quite some time since we've done pretty much anything at all on SMWorks. So, hello again - we're back with newer and better things! You may have noticed the website is completely different now in terms of content. Practically everything old is missing! (but not really)
Let's talk about what's new and answer some questions!
Firstly, SMWorks is rebranding as my own personal site that is not based on Trainz. Instead, we're going to be focusing on the things I actually enjoy that don't make me want to put a fist through a monitor: my photography and musical interests. These are the things I want to show off and present instead of an old, dead video game. So, the most important thing is how the line about "no future content will be in development for SMWorks" in my last blog post... is now completely false!
Well, technically, it's true, because it was about Trainz. Of course, this site has had Trainz content on it for years and there are people out there that have a use for some of the assets here, so it's not going away - yet. But for now, the big question any old user of this site will have: where is all the old Trainz content?
Short answer: Legacy tab.
All of the old stuff - Downloads, information pages, etc. - will continue to sit in the Legacy tab for a while until I decide to pull it permanently. As to when that'll be, I have no idea; it could be two months or two years. It will not stay forever, but it will stay for now. Everything is completely unchanged and the pages were simply moved, so nothing should be broken, but if anything is and I haven't caught it, do let me know. The other important thing to note is that, yes, Trainz content is still not in development anymore nor will it ever be, and any active support for issues that may come from installing it is now completely zero.
On the topic of what's new for the site, that would be primarily be the photography section. I want to have a good platform for showing off what I create that mirrors what I post on Flickr, as well as having a place to talk more in detail about some of the things done to get the final photo, whether that's the trip to get there, the moment the photo was taken, or the post-processing - that's what we're here for now. In essence, we have become your run of the mill photography website but, hey, these photos mean more than some .cdp files to me. More on this below!
That also does mean the blog here should get some more usage. In particular, I'd like to write more about some of the photos & videos created out of the trips I take and all the things related. Especially with the recent UP 4014 & 844 Great Race I've just returned from - that's generating quite a few published photos and soon, equally as many posts here about it! Do note though that I won't limit the blog to exclusively photography stuff, but I won't start posting personal stuff, either. This isn't meant to be a blog all about the ins and outs of my life, but if there is something relevant, I may post about. I'm talking major life event sort of things only, really, so don't worry about that if that's not your thing.
One other new addition is the musical stuff. Though I'm not quite at a producer level by any means (I have yet to create a track worthy of listening, so), I am becoming more and more proficient at DJing as time goes on and I practice more. This is something I'd like to do more of and ideally make something out of, so I'd like to highlight some of it here as well. I've been doing it in some capacity for about a year now and I like to think I'm not too bad at it - I'm no El Hornet or Andy C, but I'm, well, me, and I can fill a little niche in my area of the United States which is drum & bass in a dnb-less place, so... hey. That means something to me at least. Anyway, the music spot here on the site is meant to show it off a little more and act as as an example of what I can do to those who might be looking for something like this, especially if they're at all in my area...
The last really, really big new change is coming soon this summer I'm going to be adding in a little bit of a storefront here. In particular, we're going to see photo prints become available! They may not be for every single photo, but generally you can assume that if it's on the "Photos" page/gallery, then you can buy a print of it. All of them will include a choice of different sizes (e.g 8x10, 12x16, 24x36, etc) all at different price points. Right now as to what those price points are? I'm still working on that. I hope to make them pretty reasonable based on what you get - there's no sense in me charging hundreds for a photo, as it stands. So unless you plan on buying the entire catalogue when it shows up, don't expect to break the bank for a print or two! Of course, this is coming later this summer - sometime in July or August 2019, so stay tuned for that (and more info).
But, anyways, yes, this is something that is going to show up soon. Before I make it public I want to make sure that what you get is actually of quality, so between now and summer I'll be getting samples and organizing everything to work as smoothly as possible and make sure everything is up to par. The Home page has a photo of what one of the store pages looks like right now, which is certainly early in the development cycle and not the final. I believe you can expect this to be released late June or early July if all goes according to plan (which will even include more photos I can't post right now!).
So, to wrap things up: SMWorks is finally getting the rebranding it deserves. Ever since I departed from Trainz last year, SMWorks has been completely and utterly dead. Now, the site is going to have some actual purpose and will be something more than a forgettable video game website. We'll see where things go from here, but right now, things look good for the site.
Oh, and one last thing... maybe it's time we actually got a proper domain name... :) As always, more to come in the future.
I believe it would be prudent to get the most important announcements out of the way first.
At present, there is no new content in development for SMWorks, and there is not likely to be any additional content uploaded in the foreseeable future. This is due to the game and people surrounding it, primarily. Trainz as a game is a nightmare to work with, regardless of how new or old your version is, and it is ultimately no longer worth it.
As well, you may have noticed a little bit of a change in colour on the site. I've edited the CSS a bit to give the site a little bit of a Spark-inspired theme. It's a nice look, I think. There were some changes to the buttons, and I think I caught all of them but if there's an issue let me know ASAP.
The site is planned to continue up to November 2019 after the next cycle (Nov 2018), but after that, we shall see. If it proves not to be worth it to continue to host the site, either it'll be downsized or everything moved over to my old friends at The Erecting Hall - they do a great job archiving all sorts of Trainz content, and they even have some of my creations there. You'll know here months before that happens if it were to indeed occur, so no worries. We've got over a year to figure it out - it shouldn't be a problem.
There's a lengthier post about this all on the Trainz Forums, but the detail isn't necessary here.
In short, nothing new is likely to show up here unless I'm straight up told I can post old skins or given something to host, but neither are likely. Site will continue till November, 2019, but after that the future remains to be seen (partially depends on Trainz as a whole continuing).
Here we are! After a few weeks worth of work, SMWorks proudly presents the most massive update ever given to the website, period!
Since starting the site in 2014, SMWorks has been using the same theme the entire time - an old one, called 'Clean Lines'. It's a great theme, looks good and functions well, but it was definitely time for something fresh. So, after a little experimenting and back and forth, I've chosen a brand new theme that gives the site a much cleaner and brighter look.
Unite 2 proved to be the perfect solution. The biggest and best change with this new theme is the fact it's an actually updated theme that gives me Sections! Sections are really crucial for doing up the new site. You'll notice new scrolling effects on some pages and just how modern the site feels thanks to that handy tool in the build bar. Absolutely fantastic.
So, in total, how much was and wasn't changed? Almost everything was changed in some way. The pages that received the least attention were the Blog & Misc, Licensing, and Support pages. All they required were some touchups.
Everything else was rebuilt practically from scratch. Locomotives, Routes, Home, etc - starting fresh with most of them resulted in a great new look I'm very pleased with! The benefits of how all these pages were setup is also just how easy it'll be to add new items. Previously, adding a new item to the locomotive section in particular was an awful task of trying to perfectly line things up - no more! It doesn't just look good, but it also is far more functional than ever before.
As well as updating pages with the new theme, thumbnails and headers for most pages have either been updated or remade entirely to better fit. Lots of new images and even old, never-before-seen images were dragged out of folders I forgot I had in order to fill up some of the pages. Of course, the colour scheme here has changed pretty drastically too - from black to white!
There's just so much that was changed, all I can say is go check it all out!
This is the part everybody's been waiting for...
While there are no new locomotives to speak of, we have FOUR (4) routes/modules now available for download!
For routes, the Silver Lines V2, Silver Lines Electric, and Silver Lines Midwest are now all available for download!
For modules, the Silver Lines Steam module is now available for download - the largest module yet!
Silver Lines V2 is a complete rebuild of the original Silver Lines route, which was very briefly available for a few years here as a limited time download. The new route is much shorter than its original base, but it's much better detailed and looks better in every which way. It has a few operable industries, as well. Check it out under Routes!
Silver Lines Electric & Silver Lines Midwest are both some of the oldest routes I have and, as previously discussed in a post here, it would take years to complete both of them. So, I've decided to release them as-is. What does this mean? Well, there is a lot of blank space and incomplete scenery all over the routes, varying in designs as they each were worked on for four years with different design styles in mind at different stages of progress. Nonetheless, because I'm fully aware they won't be finished any time in the near future, I present them to you. Check them out under Routes!
Also added in this update is a Silver Lines Building Pack under Scenery - a required dependency for all the routes mentioned above! The V2 route also has a very small pack with a handful of extra dependencies that will be of use for that route.
Finally, the various MILW & SLRR SD9/SD7 packs have all been updated for full TANE compatibility - no more errors!
Milwaukee Road - Harlowton to Butte: Where is it?
Not here, that's for sure.
I still have plans to build that route, but it's being put the side entirely for the time being. There are more important things to take care of before starting a 200-some mile route of a long dead railroad. As well, I do lack a fair amount of required resources (both documentation and photos), not to mention I don't even have a DEM.
Short answer: If the project continues, it'll be added under Routes.
Do people read changelogs? I know I do, so if you're interested, this is everything that has been changed in this update!
No idea what's coming next. As it stands, I've released about everything I'm allowed to, so, we'll have to see where Trainz goes and me with it. It could be radio silence for a year, I could release something in two weeks. Who knows?
I think I've said everything that needs to be said here. As always, if you have any questions / comments / concerns, feel free to contact me or write a comment here.
See you next release!
Mind the Mess
For a few days, SMWorks will be undergoing major changes and redesigns, resulting in the site looking and functioning rather poorly due to the editing process. We'll be back online soon, looking and working better than ever before.
There's major changes coming soon, and major content releases.
In the coming months, SMWorks will be receiving a ground-up redesign, fitted with revamped download pages, new and improved information all around, and it's highly likely we'll finally see a new colour palette. Right now, the site's main base template is a few years out of date, and the overall look of the site has yet to change since the earliest days. Time for something new!
There's more to that than just a site update, mind you. Along with that, we'll be seeing a pretty hefty release of content in the way of routes - at long last! The remake of the original Silver Lines (dubbed V2) is on the release slate as it nears completion, and, after much debate, other unfinished and old routes will become available even in their incomplete state. While not ideal, it's unrealistic to assume all of them will be completed in a timely matter. There'll be more on that when they're out.
And that just might be sooner than you think!
Well, it's that time of year again - the time where the year kinda ends.
2017 has definitely been an odd year for the world, with the nightmare that is American politics, terrorism and scares of it around the country and world, more celebrity deaths, and not to mention that recent Amtrak derailment in Washington. Still, despite that, it's generally been a good year for myself.
This year marks the resolution of some of my own longstanding goals and personal issues, which makes this a good year in and of itself of course, though I also learned a lot this year. I'm now legally an adult, I got to experience railfanning a steam engine (twice!) for the first time, I discovered music mixing and how much I enjoy that (I'm not about to call myself a DJ yet, haha!) (Bonus: My 2017 'End of the Year' mix), I've even started tinkering with basic graphic design, plus my continuing enjoyment of photography. An interesting bonus appeared in the last few months in that I've found that I really enjoy writing, but with the length of some of these posts, you probably already figured that one out!
The downside of all that - among other things - is that I've done progressively less and less work with Trainz. A healthy combination of doing other, more fun things, disenchantment with the game, and waiting on someone to get me the dang DEM of Montana have all put me off of the game a bit. There's been far less content made and released by myself this year than I had hoped, and that's something I'd like to change for 2018. I've got a few goals for next year, the one I just mentioned included. What are yours?
So, to wrap up, 2017's treated me alright, despite whatever the hell is going on in my country and those around me. How about you?
As a little bonus (and because I have nothing else I can release right now), I'm putting up my Silver Lines / SLRR Phase 3 / Executive F7 units in the downloads section - shoot, it's Christmas time, why not?! Plus, take a look at the new 'Acknowledgements' page under the Misc tab, that thing's been a long time coming!
Hello, my name is SM, and this is where I write.
This little blogspace is where my thoughts go - whether it's talking about a photography trip or a DJ mix, this is where it all ends up.
SMWorks isn't free to run! Consider sending a little support our way if you can.