6: Railpace Writing Style and Format Guide

CameraWe suggest the following guidelines for manuscripts, news items, and photo captions submitted to Railpace Newsmagazine. You may submit text in a Microsoft Word document, as a text (.TXT) file, or simply typed into the body of an e-mail. Information is best submitted via e-mail, so we can “cut-and-paste” rather than re-type from paper manuscripts. Photo caption information is best submitted at the time you upload your images on our FTP site.

For consistency, please use the following conventions and styles:

  • State names should use the US Postal Service two-letter abbreviations, i.e., PA, NY, DE, QC (Quebec, Canada) etc.
  • Dates should be written out fully, February 24, 2009, not abbreviated such as Feb. 24 09 or 24 Feb. 09
  • Times should be written out inconventionalhours, with lower case a.m. or p.m., i.e. 5:30 p.m., not 1730 hours, or 5:30PM, etc. Noon means noon, it is not necessary to type “12:00 Noon”
  • Numbers: Don’t use the “pound” sign < # > to precede a number, such as CSX GP40-2 #4400. The # sign is redundant, it essentially says “number number!” Write CSX GP40-2 4400.
  • Apostrophes: Don’t use the apostrophe to form a plural following a locomotive model type, such as: the GP40-2’s. Write the GP40-2s. The apostrophe should be reserved to show possession (Norfolk Southernʼs… or the GP40-2ʼsturbocharger failed) and for contractions (…. It isnʼt….)
  • Spacing: Don’t type an extra blank space after a period when continuing with a new sentence. That was an old style left over from typewriter days— so 1970s. Save a tree! With modern typesetting and proportional spacing, typing extra blank spaces can produce undesired “rivers” of white space.
  • Capitalization: DON’T TYPE TEXT OR PHOTO CAPTIONS IN ALL CAPS. THIS DRIVES US ABSOLUTELY CRAZY and we have to completely re-type what you have already typed once. Your e-mail may be ripped to shreds. Kindly use normal upper and lower case type.
  • Quotation Marks: Don’t use quotation marks around engine numbers, such as: the ‘8614’ Just type the number, the 8614.
  • Conjunctions: When a railroad name includes the conjunction “and” use the ampersand < & >this not only saves space, but also provides better readability when several railroads are mentioned in series, such as “the Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio, and the Norfolk & Western.” That certainly looks better than, “the Baltimore and Ohio, Chesapeake and Ohio, and the Norfolk and Western.”
  • Vary the lead-in to your photo captions by starting with something other than the date. Instead of: On February 6, 2009, NJ Transit announced that it will… Instead, consider writing: NJ Transit announced February 6, 2009, that it will… Note that a comma follows the year when a date is written out this way.
  • Courtesy: When you communicate with us, kindly provide your name. Itʼs common courtesy, plus we have absolutely no idea who “CSX6709@aol.com” or “GTObob@gmail.com” is.
Railpace Newsmagazine

This article was posted on: February 28, 2020