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The group's FAQ is always available at newsgroup FAQ

Keep Group Members Happy. Read the FAQ!!

Please note that this is an attempt to codify the answers to some of the
most frequently asked questions. They are intended for the guidance of
newcomers and are emphatically NOT a set of hard and fast rules. As one
long standing user has pointed out, “We have been very good at self
policing/control over the years. That is not to say that there should not
be some kind of guidelines, especially for newcomers who may find us
confusing at times.”

1. What is the subject for this group?

Any pictures that are concerned with transport by rail. The group has also
generally been open to discussion of these pictures since there is no
related discussion group.

Trains (freight and passenger), metros, trams, streetcars, funiculars,
monorails - and the associated paraphernalia are all welcomed. Scenic
scenes that include trains or railways or involves structures such as
stations, bridges, water towers etc. are also acceptable. “A hundred shots
of cows, mountains each shot from a moving train are not relevant to this
group. In the past one user has posted shots of the trains here and the
scenery shots have been posted to
with a text message on ABPR announcing the postings to the other groups.”

Other kinds of binary files (such as videos) are better posted to
news:alt.binaries.multimedia.rail. There is also a group called where pictures of other kinds of
public transport (not rail based) can be posted.

If you need to post to the group, but your message is not about pictures
of railways, please put the letters OT (for off topic) as the first two
characters of the subject line.

2. What format is expected?

Most posts encoded using either uuencode or MIME. There have been long
flame wars over yEnc postings: many people use news readers that do not
automatically decode yEnc files. (For more info on yEnc and a link to a
plugin enabling OE to decode yEnc encoded files, Google on "yEnc.") See
question 4 for more details.

Generally a simple text format for an explanatory message with the picture
as an attachment in JPEG format is appreciated. HTML is not needed in
usenet posting.

For those using Outlook Express, these instructions will help you set news
postings to plain text:

Inside OE, you can specify that you want to use plain text... Click
tools, options.. Select the SEND tab.. at the bottom, select Plain Text
for News sending format.

Then click plain text settings.. Select UUencode and OK your way back to
the beginning.

If you include a long URL in your text message, it may line-wrap and
become unclickable on the other end. Try including your long URL in side a
pair of < > thingies. Thus: <...long URL...>. This is not a cure-all,
since some newsreaders don't support clickable links no matter what you
do. But it may help in some cases.

3. What is the convention for naming pictures/subject headers?

The first two letters in the Subject heading should indicate the country
of origin. It is suggested that the standard Internet two letter country
code be used. The most common are shown below: others can be found at (Who's computer is this?)

AU - Australia
BE - Belgium
CA - Canada
DE - Germany
FR - France
IE - Ireland
NL - Netherlands
NZ - New Zealand
UK - United Kingdom
US - United States

Not everyone uses the same set of codes: the following are being used too:

C - China
GB - Great Britain
IR - Ireland
NI - Northern Ireland
CY – Cymru (Wales)

This could then be followed by a brief description e.g. railway, loco
number, class, location and finally date:

for example

CA – CN2559 Roberts Bank BC 2060222

However, many people do not follow this convention very closely - and this
is not usually a problem as long as some information is provided. Of
course, there will be times and places where not all the information is
available, and that should not deter anyone from posting.

The reason the two letter code is useful is that there are regular
proposals to set up separate newsgroups e.g. for US pictures. These
proposals have been widely rejected since most users value diversity, or
are able to set up filters on their newsreaders. A user points out that in
practice filtering on the country code is not very effective. “Its more
effective to sort the messages on the subject column, which will group
most of one country together, or at least in two or three bands and just
select those you want to view.”

“One effective way to filter is to block those posters who post only
garbage or subjects that are of no interest. Additionally automatically
download the contributions of those who meet your approval criteria.
Sample the offerings of those posters that fall into neither category and
filter accordingly. Do this consistently for a week or so and most
interests will be covered.”

People who collect images of steam locomotives appreciate the inclusion of
the word STEAM in the subject header: it also helps to pacify those who
dislike what they call “kettles” so they can avoid them.

For retrieval and archiving, file names that contain “railway/road
name+number+date+location” with the date in the yyyy-mm-dd format are
practical for sorting. The sequential file name generated by digital
cameras (such as DSC12345) should be replaced by a descriptive name. File
names that exceed 64 characters can cause problems for archivists saving
to CDs.

4. What size of picture/file should I post?

There are no hard and fast rules since some people still use dial up,
which makes large files slow and expensive to handle, and others use cable
and other high speed connections where file size is of less concern than
picture quality. Similarly some people have very large screens, while
others have smaller ones. JPEG is a format that compresses files, which
results in some loss of quality over originals in tiff or raw format but a
much more manageable file size. The amount of compression is a matter of
personal preference but advice can be found at (Who's computer is this?)

Many posts are now at file sizes between 100k and 500k, which produces
very good quality images up to 1600 x 1200. However, this a high volume
newsgroup with a great deal of variety and the majority of its regulars
are sufficiently sophisticated to sort out the pictures they want. It
really helps a lot if you post a set of thumbnails (smaller pictures with
titles) as the initial message of a bunch of pictures, so people can
choose which they would like to download at full size.

Some news readers split large attachments across several files: Xnews
deals with these easily, Mozilla doesn't. Outlook Express users need to
"combine and decode" these files to avoid a screen full of alphabet soup.
(Highlight the file names and then right click, and select "combine and
decode" from the menu that appears. You may also need to reorder the files
first using the buttons in the pop up menu.)

Irfanview is a very good, free program that will help you resize pictures
and create thumbnails at (Who's computer is this?)

The GIMP is the GNU Image Manipulation Program. It is a freely distributed
piece of software for such tasks as photo retouching, image composition
and image authoring. It works on many operating systems, in many
languages. It can be found at (Who's computer is this?)

Both the GIMP and Irfanview allow pictures to be rotated in one degree
increments – very useful for straightening up telegraph poles in grabbed
shots! (Who's computer is this?) has helpful information on how to post to
abpr .

5. How do I access the Usenet?

If your ISP provides no service or poor service, you might try one of
these news servers (listed in no particular order):








Agent Premium Newsgroups

6. Is there a free program which will allow me to post more than one photo
at a time?

Powerpost found at (Who's computer is this?) or Xnews at (Who's computer is this?)

7. Is there a limit of the number of posts per day?

No. But the retention time on many servers is governed by the available
storage space. So if you flood the group with a lot of large pictures,
some regular viewers will start to miss posts - which fills the group up
further with requests for reposts. Sending a lot of pictures at once may
reduce the size of your audience. Better to spread the posting of large
collections over several days: this also keeps the group varied and allows
everyone the opportunity to contribute and have their pictures seen by all.

A “flood” by the way is when your posts overwhelm the group and do not
allow others to post. If you post a lot more than 20 pictures a day you
are likely to hear complaints.

8. Is there an archive?

There are several places where posts to this group are archived. Note that
Google does not provide access to binary newsgroups. (Who's computer is this?) has everything back to March of 1998. More
recent pictures are available up to the end of the previous month (so at
the time of writing February 22, 2006 you see everything up to the end of
January 2006.

There is a searchable database of 73871 images from the group at (Who's computer is this?)

There are a number of web access portals for binary newsgroups. These
include (Who's computer is this?) free (Who's computer is this?) has a free option

Teranews has free, limited download option for a one time $3.95 set up
fee. Its retention time for this group is one calendar month.

9. Is this a good place to sell things?

Not really. Most people log on this group to look at rail pictures - and
that is pretty much all they will tolerate. That being said, a sample
picture and a link to a website might work - as long as it is about
railways and pictures.

10. Is this a good place to start an argument?

See 8 above. If you want to post about other subjects, Usenet has many
newsgroups to accommodate you. You do not need to post your thoughts about
politics, religion or other issues here.

Note also No 1 above: discussion about the pictures is welcomed.

11. Should I post scans or repost other people's pictures?

Generally speaking this is not a good idea unless you have the permission
of the original photographer. A number of regular posters on this group
specialize in posting from collections of older pictures and these are
greatly appreciated. These posters give credit to the photographer.
Occasionally someone posts in yEnc or a very large picture (see 2 and 4
above) and it will get reposted quite quickly by a regular, in a format
that all can enjoy. However, this is usually done to illustrate the point
that the original poster needs to pay attention to our conventions.
Posting pictures that have been taken from other groups or scanned from
other media should be governed by good manners, common sense and an
acknowledgment of the laws of copyright. There are other groups that
encourage huge floods of scans: their “charters” are rather different to
abpr and subject matter is not confined to rail pictures.

For a helpful discussion of copyright in plain language, see (Who's computer is this?)

On occasion members of our amiable little group try their hand at
enhancing images posted by other members. This is fine and there is no
objection to the work that is put into these postings. However, the word
"Rework" should be put into the subject line instead of just posting the
image (albeit with an explanation in the body text) as a response ("Re").
This little extra effort would prepare the recipients for what we are
about to download. This helps with the sorting method that is used by
those who keep archives of posts.

12. Can I post binaries from an AOL account?


13. Can I be stopped legally from taking pictures of trains?

This topic comes up now and again, and the short answer is no - but it is
subject to various conditions and these can vary from place to place and
time to time. For a reasonable summation of the situation in the US see
The Photographer's Right.

For the UK Photographers' Rights and also see the National Rail Guidelines
for Rail Enthusiasts

Here's an example from Down Under: (Who's computer is this?)

However, as always, your experience may be different. In general, do not
trespass on the railway - in many places this is a criminal offence, not
just a civil wrong. Always be polite to uniformed railway personnel, and
especially policemen. Officials in plain clothes will always show you
their identity: if you need to ask, then be very cautious. If you are on
public land and not breaking any traffic regulations (vehicle parking and
stopping can be very tricky) and most importantly not endangering yourself
or others, you will probably not experience any problems. Security staff
on railways have to contend with people who like to damage railway
property, or steal, or even harm themselves. They have an important job to
do, and railway photographers can be of assistance to them. For example
please see BNSF Citizens for Rail Security

Some systems require photographers to obtain a permit – one example is
Metrotrains in Melbourne Australia . The London Underground, while
permitting photography does not allow the use of flash or tripods.

This FAQ was compiled by Stephen Rees and includes contributions from
Wilson R Adams, Steve Barker, Paul Bowery, Bryan Flint, Kevin Martin,
Nigel J Rollings, Chris Tolley and Bill Waller. Please post comments or
further questions to the group with the letters FAQ as the first three in
the subject line.

This FAQ will be updated as required and posted to the group as often as
needed and regularly on the first day of each month.

This FAQ was last updated on July 30, 2006.

Thank you for reading this far. As a reward, here is a link to a list of
links. These have been collected from abpr posts and are (mostly)
collections of rail pictures from people who post regularly on abpr.

Suggestions for improving the FAQ are welcome.

Using Opera's mail client: (Who's computer is this?)

Vlad & Genny Kedrovsky, Edina, MN
vjkedrovsky at gmail dot com
John 3:3; Acts 16:31

Where you can get the newsgroup