RailServe.com: Rail Travel, Hobby & Industry
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About RailServe.com

"There's no better information source than RailServe.com." - Smart Computing Magazine

RailServe.com is a leading provider of rail information services, including the world's largest and most popular online rail directory. Acclaimed by newspapers, magazines, books, radio, and numerous online publications; linked to from more than 50,000 web sites around the world; serving more than 250,000 visitors per month - RailServe.com is the premier source for rail travel, hobby, and industry.

This page provides an overview of RailServe.com's mission, history, and founder, plus a review of select media appearances and memberships. For information about promoting your business, organization, website, or event, please see the Advertising Page. To submit comments, questions, and all link requests, please select the proper form in the Support Section.

Note: RailServe.com is in no way related to Railserve, Inc., a provider of contract rail services.

Contents of the "About" Section

  1. What's In It For You?
    Overview of RailServe.com

  2. So Who Exactly Is RailServe.com?
    Information about RailServe.com's Founder

  3. The Tracks We've Made
    Chronological History of RailServe.com Development

  4. RailServe.com Select Media Appearances
    Newspaper and Magazine Articles about RailServe.com and its Founder

  5. RailServe.com Select Book Appearances
    Listing of RailServe.com Features and References Since 1996

  6. Organizations We Support
    Non-Profit Organizations Supported by RailServe.com's Founder

What's In It For You?

"If you have room for only one railroad bookmark, you absolutely must choose RailServe.com."
 - Sam's Teach Yourself E-Travel Today, by Mark Orwoll

RailServe.com's mission is simple: provide the leading worldwide resource for finding rail-related content on the Internet. More than 19,000 quality resources are carefully organized into 180 categories covering all aspects of rail travel, hobby, and industry. These well-defined categories provide easy browsing of any rail-related topic, with content covering past and present railways in more than 130 countries. For more focused queries, RailServe.com's keyword search technology includes both directory search and index search options and can suggest specific sites to match your interest.

So Who Exactly Is RailServe.com?

"The most amazing thing about this award-winning site is that it was started in 1996 by a 13-year-old boy named Christopher Muller." - The Complete Idiot's Guide to Planning a Trip Online, by Julia Cardis et al.

RailServe.com is the personal work of Christopher Muller who began the site in 1996 at age 13. All features, support, and ad sales are managed by Chris. In addition to RailServe.com, Chris also offers web development, e-commerce, photography, and consulting services to the rail industry. His railroad photography has appeared in books, magazines, calendars, timetables, and advertising materials worldwide and is available for sale at SteamPhotos.com.

Chris graduated summa cum laude with a bachelor's degree in information systems in 2004 and a master's degree in economics and investment management in 2005. His interests include travel, photography, transportation planning, economic policy, industrial history and preservation, college basketball, hockey, baseball, running, musical theater, and film.

The Tracks We've Made

Christopher Muller's Home Page: The Early Years

"If you're new to the Internet and you're looking for railroad-related Web sites, this is a great place to start." - Model Railroader Magazine, April 2003

RailServe entered the World Wide Web on May 10, 1996 by 13-year-old Christopher Muller. Chris was new to the Web and had a love for trains and computers. When Chris first went online he found it challenging to find rail-related sites, so he started his own directory of railroad web sites. During its first week online, RailServe received its first review, from the (now defunct) Program One Radio Network. Before long, Chris was receiving many new link requests from his visitors and the directory was rapidly expanding. By September, Chris had turned 14 and his site listed approximately 700 sites (amazingly complete for 1996!) and was receiving 100 visits per day.

Searching for Time: New Search Technology Takes Significant Effort

"Don't conduct an involved Web search. Instead, I recommend first checking with RailServe.com"
 
- Travel Planning Online for Dummies, by Noah Vadnai & Julian Smith

On January 2, 1997, RailServe made the move to a new server and also took on its own domain, www.railserve.com. RailServe.com continued to receive increased traffic and by February was serving about 300 unique visitors per day. With the directory constantly expanding, some RailServe.com users wanted the option to search by keyword. Chris embarked on the first major redevelopment of the site since its founding just one year prior. The task involved programming scripts and re-entering the data for more than 1,000 sites into a database, but greatly enhanced the site's ease-of-use.

Happy Anniversary!: RailServe.com Receives Its First Awards

"This is a fascinating site." - AAA Travel Tips You Can Trust, by Anne McAlpin

By its first anniversary, RailServe.com was receiving recognition from a variety of sources. The most notable of  these was USA Today's Hot Site of the Day award which resulted in a surge of visitors when listed at www.usatoday.com on March 26 and then in the print edition on April 1. Meanwhile, Chris was using his experience from RailServe.com to begin web design services for local businesses and organizations. His computer knowledge was well known in his school and community and on September 28, 1997, RailServe.com was published on the front page of the regional "Neighbors" section of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The article included a narrative of Chris's computer work including the development of RailServe.com. This would be the first of many major newspaper appearances for RailServe.com.

'98 Goes Out In A Flash: RailServe.com Improves Performance Worldwide

"From Baku, Azerbaijan to Yokohama, Japan and all stops in between. Whether you want the timetable for the Taegu line in Korea or route maps for the Philippines, you'll find it here." - TIME, May 15, 2000

As RailServe.com traffic expanded and advertisers signed-up, speed and reliability was an increased concern. In October 1998 the site was moved to USA Domains, a start-up web host committed to excellent performance and reliability. During the web hosting move, Chris spent several weeks writing new software that would significantly enhance RailServe.com's search, advertising, and user support functions. The layout of the directory/category pages was much improved, and a new database system allowed for quicker additions and modifications to the directory. Chris didn't know at the time that these efforts would provide the foundation for the next decade of growth.

RailServe.com in the 21st Century: Train Simulator Brings Railfans To The 'Net

"Whatever you are looking for related to the railroad is likely to be found on this site."
 - You Are Here Traveling with JohnnyJet.com: The Ultimate Internet Travel Guide, by Eric Leebow

PC-based train simulators existed for years, many of them distributed as freeware known only to a niche market of rail enthusiasts. Then came Microsoft Train Simulator, a program that developed a notable online presence a full year prior to release. Promising to include extensive development tools so that users may develop everything from their own locomotives to their own routes. In June of 2001, Microsoft Train Simulator ("MSTS") was released, and a wealth of freeware add-ons arrived shortly after. RailServe.com launched the Microsoft Train Simulator Add-Ons Site and began daily updates of a file library and searchable index of all the latest user creations. The success was phenomenal, as this feature introduced a whole new audience to the wealth of resources provided at RailServe.com. Two months after the launch, the Train Simulator section was receiving more than 50,000 views per month.

Full Steam Ahead: RailServe.com Records One Million Visitors in 2002

"RailServe.com is also useful for digging up rail information in less traveled regions, such as Africa."
 - Internet Travel Planner, by Michael Shapiro

RailServe.com maintained steady growth in 2002, indexing more than 7,000 rail sites in total by year end. For the first year in its history, RailServe.com topped 1,000,000 unique visitors. Search enhancements were made in 2003 including a new "Index Search" option, making RailServe.com the first true rail directory and search engine. This new search method indexed the full text of all resources found in RailServe.com's directory, useful for more specific or obscure search terms that may not be included in titles or descriptions. Like the existing Directory Search, only sites specifically reviewed and approved for listing at RailServe.com were included, ensuring quality results.

The (Rail) Road Ahead

"This speedy, comprehensive, and easy to use directory of rail sites is a vast labour of love."
 -
The Rough Guide to Travel Online, by Samantha Cook & Greg Ward

As the scope of Internet resources expands exponentially, there is an increasing need for specialty web portals that provide high quality content in well-organized directories. These sites, such as RailServe.com, enable users to truly browse by topic or interest rather than rely solely on broad Internet search engines.

Today, RailServe.com indexes more than 19,000 websites spanning 180 categories and serves more than 200,000 visitors each month. Eighteen years of growth demonstrate RailServe.com's ability to serve the rail travel, hobby, and industry audience while delivering exceptional value for advertisers and partners.

To reach Chris with comments or suggestions for RailServe.com, please use the Contact Form.

RailServe.com: "Enough to satisfy any curiosity." - The Jerusalem Post, June 16, 2000


RailServe.com Select Media Appearances
including RailServe.com founder Christopher Muller

Philadelphia Inquirer
Philadelphia, PA
September 27, 1997
Feature on Christopher Muller (Link)
Bucks County Courier Times
Bucks County, PA
May 10, 2000
Feature on RailServe.com (Link)
   
USA Today
March 26, 1997
"Hot Site of the Day"
The Wall Street Journal
August 11, 2003
"Riding The Rails" Feature
   
The Washington Post
Washington, D.C.
September 23, 2005
September 26, 2004
September 15, 2002
"Taking the Train" Annual Feature
Los Angeles Times
Los Angeles, California
March 28, 2004
"Low-cost route to riding the rails
starts by surfing the Net"
   
TIME Magazine
May 15, 2000 (Vol. 156, No. 19)
Recommended in "Do-It-Yourself
Luxury on Thailand's Railways"
Model Railroader Magazine
Kalmbach Publishing
April 2003
"10 Favorite Web Sites" Feature
   
London Sunday Times
London, England
February 27, 2000
Essential Travel Site
Associated Press
Various US Cities
April 16, 2009
"In recession, some child's play is still free"
   
The Jerusalem Post
Jerusalem, Israel
June 16, 2000
"Planes, Trains, and Automobiles" Feature
Sydney Morning Herald
Sydney, Australia
April 29, 2000
"Steamy Stuff" Feature
   
Associated Press
Various US Cities + USA Today
November 2003
"Cybertrips: Track down a tourist train
for an easy scenic trip"
L'Ordinateur Individuel
France
December 17, 2002
"Pour mieux jouer" recommends
RailServe.com's Train Simulator add-ons
   
Bloomberg
Kalmbach Publishing
April 2003
"Japan Rail Crash Toll Rises"
cites RailServe.com
Edmonton Journal
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
February 12, 2010
"Travellers want a tourism industry that
is more eco-conscious"
   
The Wall Street Journal
May 3, 2005
"Rail Stations No Ticket to Success"
quotes RailServe.com designer
Mail on Sunday
London, England
June 2, 2002
"Life in the fast train to Europe"
   
Knoxville News-Sentinel
Knoxville, Tennessee
August 31, 2003
"View fall leaves from the tracks"
Montreal Gazette
Montreal, Quebec, Canada
September 12, 2008
"Going Green"
   
Dallas Morning News
Dallas, Texas
December 12, 1999
"Beyond low fares:
21 cool Internet tricks for travelers"
Cincinnati Post
Cincinnati, Ohio
January 21, 2000
"From quilts to crosswords,
find your hobby online"
   
Centre Daily Times
State College, Pennsylvania
December 8, 2008
"Railroads offer scenic journeys through time"
Smart Computing Magazine
November 1999
"Where To Buy... Train Tickets"
   
Daily Herald
Chicago, Illinois
September 10, 2000
"Web-based guide a must for every traveler"
Chicago Tribune
Chicago, Illinois
March 23, 2011
"When that lonesome whistle blows..."
   
Yardley News
Yardley, PA
July 22, 1999
Feature on Christopher Muller (Link)
Bucks County Courier Times
Bucks County, PA
July 14, 1999
Feature on Christopher Muller (Link)
   

RailServe.com Select Book Appearances
books that recommend, reference, or cite RailServe.com

How To Travel Practically Anywhere
Susan Stellin
Houghton Mifflin (2006)
Sams Teach Yourself E-Travel Today
Mark Orwoll
Macmillan (2000)
   
Travel Planning Online for Dummies
Noah Vadnai & Julian Smith
Wiley, John & Sons (2000)
First-Time Around The World
Doug Lansky
Rough Guides Limited (2006)
   
50+1 Fun Things to Do With Kids During Summer
Ann Kepler
Encouragement Press (2007)
USA by Rail
John Pitt
Bradt Travel Guides (2008)
   
Rough Guide to Travel Online (2nd edition)
Samantha Cook & Greg Ward
Rough Guides Limited (2004)
Rough Guide to First-Time
Europe (8th edition)

Rough Guides Limited (2010)
   
Marketing Through Search Optimization
Alex Michael & Ben Salter
Butterworth-Heinemann (2003)
Hassle Free Business Travel
William Mitchell
Ten Speed Press (2003)
   
The Wall Street Journal Guide to the
Business of Life
Nancy Keates
Crown Publishers (2005)
The Complete Idiot's Guide to
Planning a Trip Online
Julia Cardis & Kendall Smith
Que (2000)
   
You Are Here Traveling with JohnnyJet.com
Eric Leebow
Yahbooks Publishing (2003)
Internet Travel Planner
Michael Shapiro
Globe Pequot Press (2002)
   
World Stompers: A Global Travel Manifesto
Brad Olsen
CCC Publishing (2001)
The Traveler's Handbook:
The Insider's Guide to World Travel
Globe Pequot (2006)
   
AAA Travel Tips You Can Trust
Anne McAlpin
AAA (2002)
Le voyageur branché
Gilles Bélanger
Éditions MultiMondes (2003)
   
The Travel Guru: Turn Your Love of Travel
Into a Rewarding Home Business
Bill Reitter
Xlibris (2001)
Lessons in Your Rucksack:
The Complete TEFL Survival Guide
John Hughes
Modern English Publishing (2005)
   
Getting Started in Garden Railroading
Allan W. Miller
Krause Publications (2001)
MTV Europe
Various Authors
Frommers (2006)
   
Que's Internet Yellow Pages
Que (2001-2007, Annual)
Compton's Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia Britannica (1997)
   
Best of the Internet
Joe Kraynak
Que (2002)
Harcourt Learning Travel Agent Course
Harcourt Learning Direct (2000)
   
Guide to English Language Teaching 2005
Simon Collin
Modern English Publishing (2005)
The CyberUnion Handbook
Arthur B Shostak
M.E. Sharpe (2002)
   
The Capstone Encyclopaedia of Business
Capstone
John Wiley & Sons (2003/2007)
Baltimore Civil Engineering History
Bernard G. Dennis, Matthew C. Fenton
American Society of Civil Engineers (2004)
   
Traveler's Tool Kit
Rob Sangster
Menasha Ridge Press (2000)
Online Travel
Ed Perkins
Microsoft Press (2000)
   
The Internet Kids & Family Yellow Pages
Jean Amour Polly
McGraw-Hill (2000)
Buying Travel Services on the Internet
Durant Imboden
McGraw-Hill (1999)
   
La Familia Hayburg: On the Opposite
Side of the World (Vol. Two)
Juanito Hayburg
iUniverse (2007)
Great Scouts!: Cyberguides for
Subject Searching on the Web
Nora Paul, Margot Williams
Information Today (1999)
   
Walking With Your Ancestors
Melinda Kashuba
Writer's Digest Books (2005)
Cyndi's List
Cyndi Howells
Genealogical Pub. Co. (1999)
   
Greenwood Encyclopedia of World
Popular Culture, Volume 1
Gary Hoppenstand & John F. Bratzel
Greenwood Press (2007)
Green Jobs: A Guide to Eco-Friendly Employment
A. Bronwyn Llewellyn
Adams Media (2008)
   
Internet Outdoor Family Fun Yellow Pages
Jack Sanders
McGraw-Hill (1999)
Raising Bookworms
Emma Walton Hamilton
Beech Tree Books (2008)
   
Oxford Encyclopedia of Economic History
Joel Mokyr
Oxford University Press (2003)
Privatization of Roads & Highways
Walter Block
Ludwig von Mises Institute (2009)
   
Alternative Travel Directory
Clayton Hubbs
Transitions Abroad (2000)
Model Railroad Resources
Allan W. Miller
Krause Publications (2000)
   
BikeBuch USA / Canada
Clement Carle
Reise Know-How (2004)
English Language 2007
Simon Collin
Keyways Publishing (2007)
   
Technologieführer
Hans-Jörg Bullinger
Springer (2006)
British Railway Enthusiasm
Ian Carter
Manchester University Press (2008)
   
All Aboard: The Complete North American
Train Travel Guide
Jim Loomis
Chicago Review Press (2011)
Encyclopedia of the Industrial
Revolution in America
James S. Olson
Greenwood Press (2001)
   
The Sunday Times Guide to Holidays Online
Matthew Wall
HarperCollins (2001)
Get Out, Explore, and Have Fun
Lisa Jo Rudy
Jessica Kingsley Publishers (2010)
   
Have Backpack Will Travel: How To See
The World on a Shoestring Budget
Earl E. Paul, Ph.D.
CreateSpace (2010)
La Familia Hayburg: On the Opposite
Side of the World - Volume Two
Juanito Hayburg
iUniverse (2007)
   
Getting Started with Lionel Trains
Allan W. Miller
Krause Publications (2001)
Ultimate Guide to Model Trains
Elvio Romeo
CreateSpace (2009)
   
Career Opportunities in Transportation
Richard McDavid & Susan Echaore-McDavid
Ferguson (2009)
Microsoft Bookshelf
Microsoft (1998)
 

Organizations We Support

RailServe.com's founder is a member of these organizations dedicated to historic railroad preservation:

  • Friends of the Cumbres & Toltec Scenic Railroad - Chama, New Mexico
  • Nevada Northern Railway Museum - Ely, Nevada
  • Friends of the East Broad Top - Orbisonia, Pennsylvania
  • Historic Red Clay Valley Inc. (Wilmington & Western Railroad) - Wilmington, Delaware
  • Railroading Heritage of Midwest America (Milwaukee Road 261) - Minneapolis, Minnesota
  • Oregon Rail Heritage Foundation (SP Daylight 4449, SP&S 700 & OR&N 197) - Portland, Oregon
  • Pacific Railroad Preservation Association (SP&S 700) - Portland, Oregon
  • Fort Wayne Railroad Historical Society (Nickel Plate 765) - Fort Wayne, Indiana
  • Steam Railroading Institute (Pere Marquette 1225) - Owosso, Michigan
  • San Bernardino Railroad Historical Society (Santa Fe 3751) - San Bernardino, California
  • New Mexico Steam Locomotive & RR Historical Society (AT&SF 2926) - Albuquerque, New Mexico
  • Railroad Artifact Preservation Society (AT&SF 5000) - Amarillo, Texas
  • Durango Railroad Historical Society (D&RGW 315) - Durango, Colorado
  • Mountain State Railroad & Logging Historical Association (Cass Scenic RR) - Cass, West Virginia
  • Tennessee Valley Railroad Museum - Chattanooga, Tennessee
  • Maine Narrow Gauge Railroad Museum - Portland, Maine
  • Sandy River & Rangeley Lakes Railroad - Phillips, Maine
  • Wiscasset, Waterville, and Farmington Railway Museum - Alna, Maine
  • Sumpter Valley Railway - Baker City, Oregon
  • Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad - Tillamook, Oregon
  • Lake Superior Railroad Museum (North Shore Scenic Railroad) - Duluth, Minnesota
  • Monticello Railway Museum - Monticello, Illinois
  • Colorado Railroad Museum - Golden, Colorado
  • NYS&W Technical & Historical Society (Bel-Del Railroad) - Phillipsburg, New Jersey
  • Iowa Railroad Historical Society (Boone & Scenic Valley Railroad) - Boone, Iowa
  • Pacific Locomotive Association (Niles Canyon Railway) - Sunol, California
  • Golden Gate Railroad Museum (SP 2472 at Niles Canyon Railway) - Sunol, California
  • Railtown 1897 State Historic Park - Jamestown, California
  • Orange Empire Railway Museum - Perris, California
  • Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania - Strasburg, Pennsylvania
  • Western Maryland Scenic Railroad Foundation - Cumberland, Maryland
  • Hoosier Valley Railroad Museum - North Judson, Indiana
  • 611 Society (Virginia Museum of Transportation) - Roanoke, Virginia
  • New Jersey Museum of Transportation - Wall Township, New Jersey
  • Branford Electric Railway Association (Shore Line Trolley Museum) - East Haven, Connecticut
  • Electric City Trolley Museum - Scranton, Pennsylvania
  • Rockhill Trolley Museum - Rockhill Furnace, Pennsylvania
  • Shore Line Interurban Historical Society - Lake Forest, Illinois
  • Central Electric Railfans' Association - Chicago, Illinois

 

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