Internet Searches

Using the Internet for additional information: In some cases, the data you find in Explore Rail History will suggest searches for additional information on the internet; you can find it by using the following internet query formats. Google works best with a Chrome browser and is by far the best search tool that I know of.

Google can find specific railroads, locations (structures such as stations, roundhouses and yards), locomotives, cars, and just about anything else you are looking for. Google responds best by asking questions that begin with “Who is, What happened when, What is, When did xx happen, Where is”

If you are looking for a specific railroad, keep this in mind:

a. Big, well known, Class I railroads will have almost too many hits to be useful. You will need to be more specific:

i) Instead of “Chicago, Burlington & Quincy” or “Burlington” specify the railroad and the topic and/or location that you are interested in. Add a “+” between the two phrases:
“Chicago, Burlington & Quincy”+“Aurora Shops” or (this may help)
“Chicago, Burlington and Quincy”+”Aurora”
“Chicago, Burlington & Quincy”+”Aurora Station”
“Chicago, Burlington & Quincy Railroad”+History

ii) For a locomotive use:
“Chicago, Burlington & Quincy”+#5632 or
“Chicago, Burlington & Quincy”+#5632+steam or
“Chicago, Burlington & Quincy”+”Steam Locomotive”

b. Smaller railroads, such as the Iowa Central Railroad, can be searched directly using “Iowa Central Railway” or “Iowa Central Railway”+History

c. If you cannot find the railroad you are looking for, try shortening or simplifying the search: thus, if you are looking for “Greenbrier, Cheat & Elk RR” try this:

i. “Greenbrier, Cheat”
ii. “Greenbrier Cheat and Elk”
iii. “Elk Railroad”+”West Virginia”

If you are looking for a known publication, use this format:

a. Article: “Northwestern Lumberman” February 12, 1887 issue
b. Book: “The Burlington Railroad Alliance Division” book by Kistler
c. Book: “British Railways Locomotives”+book

Amazon and some other book sellers allow one to search for all books published by a given author or publisher in addition to the book title.

If you are looking for a specific location, use these formats:

a. “Aurora, IL”+”Burlington Shops”
b. “Aurora, IL”+”CB&Q Shops”
c. “Aurora, IL”+”Chicago, Burlington & Quincy”
d. “Aurora, IL”+”Railroad History”

Remember that you will need to be more specific for large cities like New York City, Chicago, St. Louis and so forth: name the city, railroad, and location, such as “Barclay Street Pier” (New York City, NYC) or “Tower A” (New York City, PRR)

If you are looking for a Facebook Page-see our Facebook list #240-243 first, then use this format:

“Facebook Budget Model Railroading”
“Facebook Railfan”

If you are looking at a specific internet web site, but can’t find the kind of information that you are looking for (because of lack of indexing, or otherwise) use this trick (add your search term after the yellow highlighted text in the sample below). In this example,  site: is the keyword that tells Google you will be specifying a ‘root’ address; is the root address of the web site;  Chesapeake & Ohio is your search query. This query will return over 1,200 hits.

“ Chesapeake & Ohio”

You may find expired web links in the database. However, it is important to realize that an expired (or changed) link establishes the existence of historic information. In most cases, you will find multiple information sources within the data that will satisfy your needs.