Saturday, January 13, 2018

27k+ Train Rides? Oopsie!

Written 13 January, 2018

The little red train is one of Whimsy's most popular attractions. Made by Kitto Flora, it chugs happily along its track, above or below the water. With carriages added to the engine it can carry multiple avatars. We attach two carriages, making the capacity six riders.

The engine e-mails me whenever someone rides it. It makes me smile to see a message in my inbox, and it makes me happy to see the train chugging along in the distance or hear it when it's not in sight.

Back in 2014, in September, I created a counter that displayed the number of train rides. When the train would pass, it would increment the count by one. Here is the train rides sign a couple of weeks after its creation:

That's 23445 rides. Based on the number of e-mails I received  from the train monthly, I made an educated guess at a starting figure: 23,400. I took the photo the day of my blog post about creating the sign, 27 August, 2014. That's three years and four months and more, or 1227 days.

Since the count on 5 January, 2018 was 27837, that means the train passed the sign 4392 times since its creation in August, 2014, for an average of 3.58 rides per day.

The sign counts the number of time the train passes and not the number of riders. The train often has two riders, and sometimes more-- and of course sometimes there's a single rider. In retrospect, I wish I had scripted the sign to count riders passing by on the track rather than the number of times the engine passes, for what I'm counting isn't riders, as the sign suggests, but the number of trips. Oh, as they say, hindsight is perfect.

I bought the train some time in 2007 and it had a route established before the end of that year.  Between 1 January, 2008 and 5 January, 2014, there were 2430 days, for an average of, according to my estimate, 9.65 rides per day.

This means I considerably overestimated the starting count, as there's no reason to assume the train had more riders per day between 2008 and 2014 than it did between 2014 and 2018.

I therefore reset the counter to 8900. I took a dozen or so rides past to make sure it is counting properly.

I think 8900 is an honest number for the number of trips.

Sorry for making your head hurt with the maths.

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