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10 Years spur1info!


Exactly ten years ago tonight, my online magazine spur1info appeared for the first time. In 2012, this was a real venture: At that time, the communication of special interest content still took place predominantly in printed magazines, usually published at long intervals - with the fundamental disadvantage of low topicality and the restriction to a few photos per article.

At that time, I thought it was time to launch something completely new: A special interest magazine on the World Wide Web, not as a pdf of a printed counterpart, but in an innovative, digital-only format. The vision: to present all information live and online as quickly as possible, with up-to-the-minute articles, relevant links and extensive picture galleries, making it possible for the first time to really present a Gauge 1 model from every perspective, down to the smallest detail. What previously could only be achieved by visiting a specialist store and examining a model in person was now made possible virtually and digitally on a PC, tablet or smartphone - from anywhere in the world and at any time.

Implementation then took two months. The learning curve in the digital world was steep, but often also exhausting and time-consuming. What did I know about hosting, privacy, web design and banner advertising? Not too much! Learning by doing was the motto and the friendly (but rarely free) support of people who really had a clue about the technology.

But the result compensates for many a late shift at the computer: I was initially impressed when photos could be viewed in full format instead of having postage stamp-sized images - readers with a large screen will get the details presented in a size and sharpness that no other medium can offer. And on the go or on the sofa, spur1info keeps you up to date on your smartphone or tablet.

The digital journalistic medium offers even more advantages that neither blogs, forums nor private discussion groups can provide: Carefully researched facts based on background discussions and interviews (personal and digital) with the responsible makers of the models, collectors, model railroaders and other experts. At spur1info, there are no rumors and conjectures, but carefully researched factual reports.

My background comes in handy here, because I am not only a railroad enthusiast since my youth, but I have also spent my entire professional life as a journalist, editor, chief editor, PR manager, communications consultant and ghostwriter for the railroad industry. That's why you can find not only model railroad articles at spur1info, but always stories and picture galleries about the big railroad, i.e. the prototype in 1:1 scale.

spur1info is still the world's only online magazine about gauge 1, with subscribers around the globe, from all five continents. Since the end of 2015, more and more articles have also appeared in English, and since 2018, all articles have been completely translated. The relaunch at the end of 2019 enabled separate threads and tags for German and English articles.

I make spur1info just for you, the readers. Well, a little bit for myself as well, since I am simply fascinated and excited by 1-gauge model railroading due to its richness of detail and impressive size. However, my magazine not only offers model reviews, new product announcements and photo spreads about outstanding 1-gauge layouts. It also analyzes background information and market developments in the industry and looks beyond the end of its nose. And with all the love for the most beautiful hobby in the world: The rose-colored glasses remain in the drawer. In other words, criticism must also be possible where it is appropriate and helpful - always fairly and on the basis of objective and comprehensible arguments.

Some observations on hand samples and discussions with suppliers also lead to new features in models or improvements before delivery. Manufacturers share ideas because they can rely on my discretion.

My photos have continued to raise the bar over the years. No one else offers images of this quantity and quality, which penetrate to the smallest details. Customers often decide to spontaneously order a model on the basis of these photos because the representation is so close to reality. For this purpose, I have acquired appropriately elaborate equipment, including a professional photo studio, and I am always trying out new ways and technologies. Photos of railroads taken by myself over 50 years bring even younger readers closer to bygone eras. There are still many treasures waiting in my archive that have never been published before.

The Gauge 1 project lists have also proven their usefulness, providing orientation and an overview in this lively industry. Only if you have a neutral overview of hundreds of announcements, delivery times of up to ten years and probable delivery dates, you will be able to adjust your private budget planning accordingly.

spur1info is therefore not a leisure activity "just on the side", but professional work with a high time commitment and quality standards. The approximately 200 journalistic contributions per year are based on our own research and the know-how of many years of professional and private life with the railroad. The approximately 3,000 photos per year are only the tip of the iceberg: In fact, I take considerably more pictures, but only the best motifs are put online. Regular visits to trade fairs and to layout owners cost time and money. That's why, since the end of 2014, spur1info has been producing most articles for subscribers only.

Ten years is a long time. I would like to thank everyone who has supported me with information, background discussions, trust, sympathy, advertising and, last but not least, a subscription. A nice side effect: Many friendly contacts have been established, which I appreciate very much.

The model railroad industry is in the midst of a serious upheaval, which has rapidly accelerated due to dependence on Far Eastern producers, ubiquitous cost increases and the effects of pandemic and war in Europe. Sad but true: some suppliers and also print media will fall by the wayside. This is regrettable, because competition, as we all know, stimulates business in every industry.

spur1info will stay on the ball, because never before have the developments in Gauge 1 been so exciting. Whether it will be another ten years is written in the stars and depends on many factors: Health, motivation, funding - and above all on your loyalty and feedback, dear readers.

I hope you continue to enjoy the magazine and send you my best regards.

Friedhelm Weidelich

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