Infrequently asked questions

As yet, very few questions have been asked about this web site, which to me is a sign that all is working well! However, the following subjects have been raised.


The site has been designed and tested to work with a large range of browsers. It should work adequately with all browsers, but browser design is something I have no control over and features of the any web site will inevitably vary slightly. Internet Explorer and Mozilla Thunderbird are reliable and popular browsers with which you should have no trouble viewing the site

Graphical Links

The lever badges at the top of the pages linking to other pages are echoed with text links at the foot of the page.


Some features of this web site use JavaScript to enhance your browsing. If you have disabled the use of JavaScript, or are using an early browser, some small features will not work as expected.

Speed of loading of pages

A few users have experienced very slow loading of the pages. This is definitely abnormal - a number of users have confirmed that loading is normally at a reasonable speed. There are a few possible reasons why this should occur:

  1. Many of the graphic images on the page are common to all pages. Once the graphics have loaded for the first page you view, they should stay in your computer's memory cache and not need to reload when you change pages, Unless, that is, you have your browser set to reload every time. This is a feature that ensures you always view the most up to date version of a page, and not what you viewed (say) yesterday. It is a rather tiresome feature unless you are fortunate enough to have ISDN or similar fast Internet connection.
  2. If you are using Internet access at work, you may be hampered by a slow "firewall" or proxy server. This works by first loading the files onto your local server, examining them for viruses and other dodgy devices, and then passing them to your machine. If the proxy server is set up correctly, this will store the most recently accessed information locally so next time you want to look at the same pages they should load faster. It works then by comparing the local files with those on the Internet and if they have changed it goes through the whole terpsichorean sequence again. So, I am afraid if I have recently made a change to the page, it might not be visible. Use Shift-R, Control-R or Shift-Control-R to refresh the content stored on the Proxy.
  3. Many Internet Service Providers encourage you to use their own Proxy Server. They will try and convince you that it will increase speed of loading, but my view this is not worthwhile unless you very frequently revisit sites that never change in content. Use F5, Shift-R, Control-R or Shift-Control-R (depending on the browser) to refresh the content stored on the Proxy. Some ISPs also encourage you to use their Proxy Servers as a "nannying system" because they can set them to prevent access to certain less than decent web sites. Unfortunately, the blocking of access is applied without research (or consideration) and often involves the blocking of access to harmless sites - some users report not being able to access this one!
  4. The slow speed of loading JPEG colour pictures is a recognised evil, which is why I have arranged them to load in small groups rather than having a big page of them all (like some sites do) which would take an eternity. All of the pictures and images on this site have been compressed to ensure they load at the fastest possible rate, without noticeable loss of quality.
  5. This page you are looking at now has no graphic images on it whatsoever. It should have loaded very quickly. If it didn't then the problem is definitely not with me!

The basis of the above was written in the last century and it should be remembered that internet access has changed beyond recognition since then. The word "slow" would have meant quite a different thing against today!

I hope this information is useful. All comments are appreciated.

Telegraph the Signalman