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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


See also Trains:Questions, for other places to get answers.

If you cannot find an answer to your question among the FAQs listed below, please visit the Station Cafe where someone will try to help.

If you want to add questions and answers here please read Help:Adding FAQ answers for instructions.


Why are there so few FAQs?

Very good question!

It's probably because the editors at TrainSpotting World are busy setting-up Help pages, portals, and other things at present.

Please feel free to join in!

How do I add a "Frequently asked question"?

There are several stages:

Stage 1

Make sure that your question is a real Frequently asked question, and that it is not already in the list. This is not a place for any old rubbish, or for duplicates!

Stage 2

Check that your question and your answer are simple to understand and are technically correct to the best of your ability. Check with another contributor here if you are in any doubt.

Stage 3

Decide on a title for the new page you are about to create, and create it in the Help: namespace (the page must start with the characters Help:) and the page name must follow with no intervening space: Help:Adding FAQ answers is the title to the page that makes up this FAQ. The following is mandatory:

At the top of the page, copy and paste


exactly as it appears in the box above.

Stage 4

Immediately below this, create a user friendly heading that is your question. Use a double "==" sign heading for this job. Do not miss this step out. The question name belongs in the article, not in the main FAQ page.

This page has a heading of

==How do I add a "Frequently asked question"?==

In your page you may use all heading types except top-level headings (those created with a single "=" sign), as that type is reserved for the main FAQ page. But remember that all headings will appear in the Table of Contents on the main FAQ page, so use them sparingly.

Do not sign your work. It is not necessary. People who want to contact you will use the history tab anyway

Save your page.

Stage 5

Look at Trains:FAQ. When you know where to put your new FAQ, either add it below a current heading, or create a new top-level heading for it. Top-level headings are created thus:

=Top level heading=

Below that top-level heading, and in the correct place, put the simple code to transclude your new FAQ. The code for this page is

{{Help:Adding FAQ answers}}

but your page will have the name you chose when you created it.

Add a comment to the edit history to say what you have done, preview the page, and, if happy, save it.


How do I add an Event to the Calendar?

It's very easy to add an event to the calendar.

Before you start you need to understand that the calendar is an automatic function that includes any page with the correct categories. It's wise to design the page about the event itself to be separate from a page on the organisation which holds the event. {{Railfan convention}} will be helpful reading.

In the left hand margin, below the calendar, is a link: calendar help. This page, written by the author of the calendar feature, describes the way to do it.

There are special categories for events. Cat:Events is the umbrella category for all events, and there is a special date format category to place the event within the left hand margin calendar scheme in the format:



What may I write an article about?

In general, articles on any topic related to rail-borne transport are welcome, although a few articles related to steam-powered road transport (steam fairs, traction engines, etc) – likely to be of interest to rail enthusiasts – have also been allowed to sneak-in.

Special policies and guidelines have been written to cover the inclusion of Commercial links and advertising, and Fan Fiction. (See below)

May I add a link for a commercial website to an article?

May I create an article which is just an advert?

There is a Spotting World Guideline concerning Commercial Links and Advertising which describes the commercial activity that community members have agreed is appropriate to include within Spotting World.

In essence, Commercial Links (links to websites primarilly designed to sell goods or services) may be added to the External Links section of an article, provided that they are are related to the subject of the article, and provided that they are placed at the end, after the sub-heading created by the {{Commercial links}} template.

Those wishing to add commercial links should note that rel="nofollow" is used throughout the SpottingWorld family of sites and no advantage except casual visitors can be gained though such a link. SpottingWorld is not a link farm.

Articles which are purely advertisements may be allowed if the consensus of community members is that the article is of benefit to users of Spotting World, and, of course, provided that it covers a subject which is within the topical scope of the wiki.

This is only a summary, and users are encouraged to read the Guideline for further information and guidance.

May I create an article based on 'Fan Fiction'?

Yes, Fan Fiction is encouraged within Train Spotting World, subject to some common-sense restrictions.

Please see the Fan Fiction Policy for further information and instructions.


How do I use material here that others own the copyright to?

It is vitally important that we do not infringe the copyright of others. Copyright is important intellectually and financially to the copyright holder. Using any material that is subject to copyright without proper permission is illegal.

In order to use copyrighted material the person deciding to use it must take the following actions:

Ask permission

Write to or email the copyright owner to ask for permission. A useful form of words would be:

I am an editor on Train Spotting World. This is a website at which publishes material under the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), which may be inspected at

I am writing to ask for your permission to publish without fees the following material at Train Spotting World:

(please create an accurate and restricted list of the material here)

If you give permission we will also publish that permission in a manner directly associated with the material that you agree that we may publish. We would prefer to publish that permission in full, but will, if that is your wish and is so stated in the permission, obliterate any information in it that identifies you or your colleagues personally.

Before giving permission for this event please read the GFDL and be clear that any publication under it permits the free reuse (see section 2 of the license). The permission effectively releases the material into the public domain.

It will be our pleasure to link this material to a relevant page of your choice your own website if you would like us to.

Wait until permission is received

It is illegal to publish copyrighted material without permission

When permission is received

If in any doubt, check with any administrator here. If in no doubt please go ahead and publish the material and the permission, suitable defaced if required.

For images, use the correct copyright attribution class, and link the image to the permission and vice versa

For audio or video, use the correct copyright attribution class, and link the item to the permission and vice versa

For text, use the talk page of the article in question, define the text that has been used, and link the item to the permission and vice versa

Will we link to the copyright owner's website?

Of course we will, unless the site is in some manner unlawful itself. But why would we be publishing material from an unlawful site anyway?

Thank the copyright owner

Show them the pages that you have created and thank them warmly for their permission. Suggest politely that they may wish to link to one or more of the pages from their own websites.

Why don't I own things I write here?

At first sight you'd think you did. After all, you wrote it and it's your copyright. And so it is until you release it here. The moment you release it here you make an irrevocable commitment to release it and rescind any rights of ownership you had until that point.

Above the "Save Page" button is the text:

Please note that all contributions to Trains are considered to be released under the GNU Free Documentation License 1.2 (see Copyrights for details). If you don't want your writing to be edited mercilessly and redistributed at will, then don't submit it here.

That paragraph and the GFDL licence (see the bottom left hand corner of every single page here) are the things that say "I fathered this article, but I did not mother it."

You have a perfect right to edit anything, but you have no right to claim ownership. You can claim that you originated something if that pleases you, but nothing more. It's even a bit flaky to say "That is my article." It isn't. It has been released under the GFDL and it is licenced under those terms. It is the GFDL that permits you to edit any article here, even those that you didn't create.

If anything in this help text conflicts with the GFDL, the GFDL always prevails.

Editing Help

Help! I've copied a WP template to TSW and it's gone all screwy!!

Wikipedia is more fault-tolerant about certain formatting codes than TSW. Hence, a 'faulty' (poorly debugged) template or page copied from WP can look OK 'over there', but strange 'over here'.

Some problems to look out for:

Outer frame areas overwrite main display pane

Possibly the worst, as it may not be possible to even see the 'save' button, which is kind of tricky!

Probably means that you have unmatched pairs of <div></div>, in this case, not enough </div>s. (See note [1])

All text/boxes missing from left-hand side of page

Probably means that you have unmatched pairs of <div></div>, in this case, not enough </div>s. (See note [1])

Outer frame displays small font

Probably means that you have unmatched pairs of <div></div>, in this case, too many </div>s. (See note [1])

All text has gone to courier font

Check that each <code> has a matching </code>. Can be caused by a missing '/'.

The documentation page is (literally!) loopy

The symptoms are the presence of a TOC box and recursive text in the documentation pane.

This is caused by the use of {{BASEPAGENAME}}, which is supposed to pick out the name of the template, but seems to work unpredictably here. The solution is to replace all instances of {{BASEPAGENAME}} with the name of the template (ie 'foo', for 'Template:foo'). Check both template page and its documentation, as it may take several iterations for each to sort itself out.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Note that in the case of '/div' codes, the matching 'div' may not be visible in the editing area.
    Don't worry about this, just make it look right in preview and you should be fine!
    However, do take care where the '/div' codes are placed, or undesirable effects may be seen.

How do I make things appear or not appear when my page is transcluded?

There is a neat set of syntax that controls whether thinsg are included in a transclusion:


This does what it says. "Stuff", any stuff, between a pair of <includeonly></includeonly> tags is included when the page is transcluded, but never shows up in the original page.


This is similar. But stuff surrounded by <noinclude></noinclude> tags shows up in the current page, but doesn't show up when the page is transcluded.


Deploy the tag that does what you want when the page you are working in is going to be transcluded. That type of a page is usually a template, but FAQ pages like this one are transcluded. Any page can be transcluded.

Be very careful when nesting the tags. Debugging your unusual results is not easy!

Importing and attributing material from elsewhere

Importing from Wikipedia - What must I do?

First note: This is not optional. We must do this in order to honour the licencing of articles at Wikipedia. This holds true whether the original author is also an author here. If the article or media was first published on Wikipedia, this process applies.

Step 1

Assuming that the article is not present here, open the Wikipedia article in "edit" mode, select the entire text from the edit window, copy it to your clipboard, and paste it into the new page, usually with the same name as on Wikipedia, here.

After making any edits you wish to make, save the page.

Step 2

We must acknowledge Wikipedia as the source. On the talk page of the article, or, if the copied item is media, in the summary box on the upload page, place the template {{From Wikipedia}}.

This is an intelligent template. If the page name here is the same as the pagename there, then that is all you need to do. If the page name here is different, please follow the instructions at the template itself.

Importing from Wikimedia Commons

There is a special template {{From Commons}}. The process is identical in all respects to Importing from Wikipedia, except the different template is reqired