After nine months and hundreds of hours of work, I am proud to announce that the new GatewayNMRA.org website is now online. This major update is the third version of the GatewayNMRA.org website, and represents the site’s second major revision in its fifteen-year history (the previous major revision was after the 2001 St. Louis National Convention).
All of the content from the previous version of the website has been individually recreated on this new site. It includes:
- 366 pages and articles
- 1,979 unique photos and images
- 66 photo galleries
- 26 article categories
- 55 pdf backissues of The RPO
- for a total of about 18,464 files
Why A New Site
This major project had to be done. The old site was based on a publishing platform that had been discontinued for a few years and was about to be no longer supported by our hosting provider. I also had major problems making even simple site updates (which is why you didn’t see a lot of updates recently), as the publishing process randomly just didn’t work – requiring time-consuming problem solving and emergency site fixes. The publishing also only worked from one (old and slow) computer, requiring all updates to be made from that single system. So there was a need to fix these problems, but also an opportunity to do something better at the same time.
A Simply Better Design and Experience
So this revision looks towards the future. Since the site had to be re-engineered, I also updated and reorganized the structure of the site and its navigation to make it easier to use. The site is now on a content management system, allowing updates from anywhere in the world and by multiple people. I went with a modern, clean site design. It’s also a “responsive” design – providing an excellent experience on mobile devices like phones and tablets as well as desktop and laptop computers. Images have been optimized in file size so they load quickly. Many of the time-consuming publishing tasks have been automated and simplified (so updates can be made quicker and easier). Articles and announcements can now be setup in advance and scheduled to automatically publish at a specific date and time. The site runs from new, performance-tuned hosting. And you can now interact with us using the commenting feature on every article.
New Organization and Features
Look at the Blog to see the latest articles and announcements (in newest to oldest order). If you want to find articles by a specific topic, the Article Library shows you them that way. Just want to look at pretty photos of wonderful model railroads? Click on the Layout Photo Tours to see hundreds of beautiful layout photos. And the new system automatically updates each of these article categories when new articles are added. Find related articles by clicking on the tags at the bottom of each article. Want an email sent when new articles and announcements are added? Subscribe to our email website update notices.
Your old favorites are still here too. Read about the many Gateway Central Project Railroads (small model railroads you can build). Find photos of buildings, interiors and signs to download and print for your model railroad. Look at the photos of the 4’x8′ Missouri Historical Society Model Railroad Layout built by the Division. Page through The RPO online. And plan to attend a Division Meeting or Event or our Annual St. Louis Train Show.
Enjoy our new site. Tell others. And let us know what you think. Please share our Gateway to Model Railroading Fun.