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TheTrams.co.uk is devoted to trams and light rail in the UK. The website is the product of one person—I am responsible for all the content, coding, styling and, with a couple of exceptions, the photographs on the site.

TheTrams.co.uk began in March 2004, developing from my desire to share the handful of photos I had taken on NET's first day of operation with friends. The easiest way of doing this was to upload them to the webspace I got with my ISP, and shroud them in a couple of pages of HTML. Before long this developed into a comprehensive NET website, and that's how it was intended to stay. However, a comment from the late Stephen Parascandolo (webmaster of the excellent Unofficial Croydon Tramlink website, may he rest in peace) about the lack of websites covering other tramways such as Sheffield Supertram and Midland Metro made me broaden my horizons. Since then several visits to Birmingham, Sheffield, Manchester, London, Blackpool and Newcastle have resulted in sections on light rail operations in those cities, completing the coverage of all public tramway and light rail systems in the UK.

TheTrams.co.uk is not associated with or endorsed by any tramway/light rail operator or transport authority. For the official websites of UK tramway and light rail operations, see the tramway links page.

Technical stuff

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TheTrams.co.uk is written in PHP and XHTML 1.0, with a sprinkling of MySQL. All the pages are coded by hand—that is, I use a text editor rather than a program such as Dreamweaver or HotDog. This gives me greater control over the look of the site, makes it much easier to write and update pages and results in much cleaner code and smaller page sizes—better for me, better for visitors. The site is designed and tested to display in any browser at any screen size. However, I personally recommend Mozilla Firefox for viewing this and every other website on the 'net.

I completely redesigned the site in 2005, to be easier to use and prettier to look at, and to be easier for me to maintain and update. One of the aims was to create a site where every page is valid XHTML—I believe I have achieved that. In pursuit of this goal, I use a very handy Firefox extension—HTML Validator—which validates pages automatically as you browse.

Another redesign in 2008, building on the work I had done in 2005, has brought the site more up-to-date in design terms and be more search engine-friendly. It has also made it a little easier to navigate and hopefully resulted in a more pleasing design. I've also put some effort into accessibility considerations, with the aim of meeting the W3C's WAI AA standard. I'm particularly interested in feedback, positive or negative, on this topic.

Camera

For the first year or so I used an Olympus μ300 compact digital camera to take pictures for the site. This was capable of very good photos, but I reached the limits of its capabilities and replaced it with a Canon 350D digital SLR. This was helpfully stolen during a break-in in 2006, along with the lenses and other equipment I had amassed to go with it, and my wonderful insurance company replaced it with a Canon 400D. This is the camera I currently use.

Questions, suggestions, comments and complaints

I always welcome feedback. Whether you have praise or criticism, or if you have suggestions for ways of improving this site, please contact me.


Peter Courtenay
updated February 2008

 

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