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About Us

The People

Office Staff:

Ray Burns, Sales & Marketing, Author of many rail travelogues.
Steve Grande, TrainWeb.com Content, Author of many rail travelogues.
Will Kudick, Sales & Public Relations.
Shivam Surve, TrainWeb SysAdmin, Web Design, etc.
Matt Melzer, Part-time general help & avid rail traveller.

TrainWeb Travel Writers:
Darlene Banning, Robert Burns, Richard Elgenson, Chris Guenzler, Laurie Irving,
Carl Morrison, Doug Symons, Lorraine Symons & Kent Weatherilt.

TrainWeb & RAILnews.net Field Reporters:
Ray Burns, Richard Elgenson, Steve Grande, Chris Guenzler, Matt Melzer & Carl Morrison.

Office Volunteers:
Richard Hamilton & Saylor Runyon.
The TrainWeb logo was design by Amtrak Ticket Agent, Ken Barrett.

The History

Ray Burns and Steve Grande have been working together and offering online information services since 1982. At that time, they operated a commercial computer time-share service known as "Medcom Information Systems, Inc." Medcom was an offshoot of Midcom Corporation (www.midcom.com), a technical contracting & staffing firm started by Steve Grande and his wife, Barbara Cepinko, in 1979.

In 1990, Medcom began providing dial-up computer services to home users via a Bulletin Board System (BBS) called the "Medcom BBS". In 1992, Medcom created a second BBS system named "The Liberty BBS" that provided information, forums and chat for a broad range of liberty related topics. Liberty grew to be one of the largest Bulletin Board Systems in the United States with thousands of subscribers and hundreds of local dial-up numbers throughout the country. The Liberty BBS was nationally acclaimed by many publications, including being described by Boardwatch Magazine as being one of the largest and best BBS systems in the nation.

In 1993, we obtained the domain name Liberty.com and connected our computer systems to the internet for the first time to allow people throughout the world to access the Liberty BBS via telnet. To this day, we still operate the Liberty.com website. In 1993, the general public was just beginning to discover the existence of the internet and the web. Access to the online community was still mostly through dial-up BBS systems rather than through the internet.

As knowledge of the web grew, interest in dial-up Bulletin Board Systems waned. We made a strategic decision to redirect our energies away from the BBS and to the web instead. Rather than compete with the large number of companies directing their energies to the general web audience, we focused on one particular area that interested us. That area was trains.

Believe it or not, I, Steve Grande, rode in a passenger train for the very first time in September of 1995. Prior to that time, it never crossed my mind that it was possible to travel significant distances by train in the United States. I'm sure I heard "Amtrak" mentioned in the news from time to time, but I never realized it was a national service nor thought it had any importance to my own life. Sometime in the early 1990s, some friends mentioned to me that they heard that it was possible to take long trips by train and that it was even possible to travel in your own private room on the train. That caught my interest. But, it wasn't until I heard an Amtrak radio commerical in 1995, that I decided to explore the possibility of taking a trip by train.

My children had a five day vacation from school coming up, so I decided to explore the possibility of taking an Amtrak trip during that vacation. It turned out that five days wasn't really enough time to go round-trip by train on the vacation we selected, from Los Angeles to Seattle. So, we flew to Seattle, spent a couple of days there, and then took the two day overnight trip on the Amtrak Coast Starlight from Seattle back to Los Angeles. From that moment, I fell in love with train travel and was hooked! Since that time, I have traveled all over the country by Amtrak and logged over 200,000 miles of rail travel. Ray Burns and Shivam Surve, the other members of the TrainWeb team, have been on some of these travels with me. Ray has developed a good working relationship with VIA Rail in Canada and has traveled on almost every route in their network.

So, that is why we selected "trains" when we decided to concentrate our internet company into one specialization. Since our website would feature "trains on the web", we came up with the domain name TrainWeb.com in December 1996. We held a contest open to the public to come up with the best design for a logo for TrainWeb. Among many submissions were a few excellent logo designs from Ken Barrett, an Amtrak Ticket Agent. The logo used by TrainWeb today is from one of the designs submitted by Ken Barrett. TrainWeb continued to share office space with its parent company, Midcom Corporation, in Anaheim, California, until 1997. On September 1, 1997, we moved TrainWeb into the offices above the Amtrak Ticket Office in the Fullerton Santa Fe Depot in Fullerton, California.

Matt Melzer came to work for us in 1999 while he was still in high school. Matt has a keen interest in rail travel and is exceptionally knowledgeable about trains in general. He even operates his own website hosted on a TrainWeb server at RailRomance.com. The combined knowledge and experience of railroads, rail travel, and the internet make Matt a valuable addition to the TrainWeb team. Matt is currently attending college in Santa Cruz, but continues to work part-time off-site for TrainWeb during weekends and vacations.

In 2000, Midcom hired a new programmer who was waiting to be placed on assignment with one of Midcom's clients. Since he had an interest in trains, Midcom had him temporarily do some work for TrainWeb. Ray and I were immediately impressed with his programming and web design abilities and hired him full-time onto our staff. That is how Shivam Surve joined the TrainWeb team and became our key designer for new features and new websites. Part of his duties also includes TrainWeb's server administration.

Over the next few years, TrainWeb grew into one of the largest and busiest websites for trains with thousands of web pages and millions of page visits each month. TrainWeb provides free web hosting to hundreds of rail related non-commercial websites of individuals and organizations at www.TrainWeb.org. TrainWeb also features many specialized rail related websites beyond the original www.TrainWeb.com website. Examples include: RAILagencies.com, RAILcams.com, RAILcharter.com, RAILchat.com, RAILclassifieds.com, RAILexcursions.com, RAILforum.com, RAILgreetings.com, RAILhotels.com, RAILindustry.com, RAILjobs.com RAILlinks.com, RAILmagazines.com, RAILmuseums.com, RAILnews.net, RAILschedule.com, RAILsearch.com, RAILstations.com, RAILtravelogues.com, 360360.com, AmericanDinnerTrains.com, RRmail.com, and TouristRailways.com .

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Phone: (714) 773-9544                         E-mail: will@trainweb.com
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