I am the author and webmaster of the website BRDatabase.info and as it gets mentioned fairly frequently on RMWeb, I thought I would try and give you all a better understanding of what it contains, how it has been built, the problems you may encounter and the plans for the future. I'm not going to do all that in this first post but I will try and keep you up to date with developments.
Firstly, despite there being no major updates since spring, I am working on it all the time on my own local copy - I have been trying to improve the granularity of the data (i.e. have exact withdrawal dates where known rather than a month and year). This is very time consuming but will be worth it (I hate inaccuracies!). I am also trying to improve the performance as currently, any query is done on a RDBMS, and as the data is essentially static, I am identifying all of the potential data warehouse scenarios.
Secondly, I get a little bit of flak from people saying that the site is inaccurate and should be treated with caution. To an extent, I agree with these comments but I must emphasise that it is a work in progress and that there are substantial holes which I am working hard to fill. For instance:
- Allocations between late 1949 and late 1950 are not yet fully loaded - this is causing depot snapshot and allocation histories to be inaccurate as it might appear that a locomotive is based at a pre-1949 allocation whereas in fact it moved during this 'black hole' period. This is my top priority to fix.
- Diesel and Electric allocations post 1976 are very lightweight and sketchy - I have an early Harris book but it is a nightmare to electronically parse. I also have the first 100 or so Rail Enthusiast magazines (as it was) and I need to plough through these at some time soon.
Most of the initial data was very basic and was then augmented with scans of Railways Illustrated 'Motive Power Changes' - if there was an error in there, it appeared on the website. As time has gone by, I have found numerous sources of info, some of which conflict with others and I have to convert the data to the internal database format and, if necessary, make a call on which source to use.
The sheer volume and intricacy of data means that I, as an individual, just simply cannot verify everything - that has to come from you. Rather than make critical comments about the quality of the data, why not send me a message and let me know what is wrong and where I can find the correct data.
I'll leave it at that for the time being - I have plans for the future that I will mention soon, I also have requests for information - I want BRDatabase.info to be an accurate resource that people find useful, be they modellers or otherwise.
Thank you for all the support I have received and the donations made to help me run the site and research the data.