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Frequently Asked Questions

The Phoebe Snow Society

The following are many of our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ).  If you don't see your
question answered below, please e-mail it to info@pssrailfan.com and we'll do our
best to answer it, and perhaps add it here for others.
BACKGROUND ABOUT THE PHOEBE SNOW SOCIETY
Why the name "Phoebe Snow"?  Who was Phoebe Snow?
Are you affiliated with the singer of the same name?
So who is the dark-haired chick on the cover of the CD ROM that members receive? 
How many members does PSS have?
I'm a business owner or represent another gay organization and I'd like to link our web site to 
PSS.  What are your policies on this?
Where are you located?
INFORMATION ABOUT JOINING PSS
Why do members have to be 18 or over, is this some kind of sex club?
Is there a local chapter I can join?
How much are dues?
I am on a limited budget on account of fixed income -- is there a senior citizen rate?
Who is this "Queen Mother", and how do I contact her?
Do I have to send in a profile?
I've never been employed at a railroad or transit agency, is that a problem?
IS PSS A WELCOMING/SECURE/SAFE GROUP TO JOIN?
I am a lesbian, can I join?
I'm a model railroader, will I be welcome?
I'm a collector of railroadiana, will I be welcome?
I'm interested in light rail or streetcars, will I be welcome?
I'm still in the closet.  Can I trust you to be discreet?
I don't have access to a computer at home, is your site "work safe"?
Okay, but I still don't have a computer at home, and don't want to take a chance 
at work, so can I be a member anyway?
WHAT ARE SOME OF THE PSS MEMBER BENEFITS?
How can I get in touch with other Phoebe Snow Society members?
Can I become Queen Mother?
Volunteer?  Really??  Me???  How can I get involved?
How can I contribute to the PSS newsletter?
What is a "Yahoo! Group"?  Are you a bunch of cowboys?
How do I join the Yahoo! group and members-only web site?
I signed up for the Yahoo! group and I'm sick of getting 100 emails a day, but I don't
want to stop hearing from the group entirely! What can I do?
How can I post pictures on the web sites?
Do you have a annual convention?
Do I need to be a member of the National Railway Historical Society to come to 
the PSS meeting during a convention?
Are there Phoebe Snow members in the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society 
who might get together?
I'm a model railroader. How about the National Model Railroaders Association?
Also visit our Member Benefits page
Why the name "Phoebe Snow"?  Who was Phoebe Snow?
Phoebe Snow was a  fictional character used by the Delaware, Lackawanna & Western 
Railroad who advertised the virtues of burning Anthracite coal in the locomotives (hence 
less smoke and cinders) by wearing white when she traveled on the DL&W RR trains.
In the time before air conditioned cars, people wore dark colored clothes, otherwise 
they would appear filthy at the end of a journey with open window coaches. Lackawanna 
burned "smokeless" coal and tried to use it as a competitive advantage.  We adopted the
sophisticated lady in the white dress who enjoys riding trains as our representative in 1978.
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Are you affiliated with the singer of the same name?
No, although we're pretty sure some of our members would enjoy Phoebe Snow's music.  
If you're looking for her web site:  
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So who is the dark-haired chick on the cover of the CD ROM that members receive? 
Would you believe that's the original Phoebe Snow's granddaughter?  She fun, full of 
adventure, likes diesels as well as steam, and has a lot of gay friends she adores.
Actually she's a commissioned art work from a talented lady from El Paso, Texas, who
produces a web comic called "Friendly Hostility":    It 
revolves around a gay couple and their weird and wonderful friends and family. 
Our Miss Phoebe was styled after Christine Gonzales, the first female engineer in the 
US, who also coincidentally was from El Paso and shares a Mexican American heritage 
with the cartoonist.  Our Miss Phoebe is a tribute to Christine, and besides, this is NOT 
the "Lackawanna Lovers' society", so give it a rest, and accept that she's been modernized, 
ok? (but she still wears white)
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I am a lesbian, can I join?
Of course!  We'd love to have you!  PSS is open to all gay, lesbian, bi and transgender 
people age 18 or over.
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I'm a model railroader, will I be welcome?
Yes!  Please see above.
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I'm a collector of railroadiana, will I be welcome?
Yes!  Please see above.
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I'm interested in light rail or streetcars, will I be welcome?
Yes! Please see above.
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Why do members have to be 18 or over, is this some kind of sex club?
No.  The reason we specify age 18 is to circumvent any problems that might arise from 
irate parents accusing us of shenanigans with the "Thomas the Tank Engine ®" crowd.  
PSS is NOT a sex club, we're just a bunch of friendly railfans who enjoy rail transit and 
happen to be G/L/B/T.  
This does NOT preclude members from "hooking up" if they so choose, as what consenting
adults do in private is nobody else's business -- ours or the government's!
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Is there a local chapter I can join?
As of right now, we have only three local chapters that have regular meetings.  
One is the San Francisco chapter known as the "Lark."  The second is in Washington,
DC, who go by "Hot Box."  We welcome our newest affiliate, the "Liberty Liners" 
that are members from from the Philadelphia and New Jersey area.
We'd be happy to get you in touch with them if you'd like to join.
We'd also welcome any other groups who would like to organize another local chapter!
Otherwise, we're scattered primarily all over the USA and six other countries including 
Canada, England, New Zealand, Poland, Ireland and Australia.  
Several areas have concentrations of PSS members who get together from time to time, 
but no formal organization of a local chapter yet.  Until then, we're trying to ensure that
the international group will meet their (and your) expectations!
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How can I get in touch with other Phoebe Snow Society members?
Contact between PSS members is usually through our web site, Yahoo group discussion 
board, private email, newsletter mailings, annual CD ROM, phone contacts, and occasional 
gatherings held in various locations.  
We encourage those who will be traveling to check with the members in the area for advice on
railfanning hot spots and the local gay scene.  The more connections we make, the better it 
will be for everyone! 
You will receive a membership roster with names, addresses, phone numbers and email
addresses of the other members. We recommend making the initial contact by email or 
snail mail. You never know when someone is sleeping.
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How much are dues?
We don't have a rigid dues system, but prefer to leave it as; "We'll ask for donations 
when the treasury is depleted."
We're very conservative with the funds, as we don't like to have to ask for money 
any more than we have to! Mostly the donations we collect go toward member
benefits such as the PSS web site, the annual CD ROM, the PSS Newsletter
and mailing costs.
The suggested donation is $15 when you first join, unless you need hardcopy 
printouts of everything, and then we ask for $25 to cover the extra expenses involved
in printing and mailing.  If you're from a place other than the U.S., then we'd appreciate 
a little extra to cover increased international postage.
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I am on a limited budget on account of fixed income -- is there a senior citizen 
rate?
No specific "Senior's rate", but let's face it, gay railfans are a pretty specialized  niche, 
and we wouldn't want to deny membership to anyone because of something  like $15.  
We're all about you joining our family of friends, your participation is more important to
us than putting a hardship on your finances.
So, thanks to the generosity of many PSS members who contribute an extra amount of 
dues expressly for this purpose, if you can't afford the Phoebe Snow Society, we've got a 
little extra in the fund that might be available to help with your membership dues.
Contact the Queen Mother confidentially to see if help is available at this time.
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Who is this "Queen Mother", and how do I contact her?
"Queen Mother" is the affectionate term for the current leader of the Phoebe Snow Society.  
(gender issues aside)
We've had five in our 30+ year history:
   Roy Arpan (deceased)
   Tom Kopriva (deceased)
   David Ross (deceased)
   John Downing (happily riding trains in retirement)
   Jeff Slupski (alive, kicking, and in command!)
Jeff can be e-mailed at: info@pssrailfan.com or mail can be addressed to:
   The Phoebe Snow Society
   274 Quincy Dr
   Levittown, PA  19057
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Can I become Queen Mother?
Well, it's usually succession after the last QM passes away, and Jeff has no intention of 
doing that in the foreseeable future.  But if you REALLY want  the job, it might just be as 
simple as asking if the current Queen Mother might want to abdicate the throne.  
IF NOT, then we could have a democratic election from the membership.  Or we might just 
settle it in the mud wrestling ring.
Truthfully, the Queen Mother's job involves a lot of unpaid work, and it's quite like herding 
cats.  It's hard.
BUT...y'all are welcome to help our beloved Q.M. with some of the many tasks required to 
keep this organization purring (to continue the cat metaphor).  Just email Jeff and volunteer!
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Volunteer?  Really??  Me???  How can I get involved?
The Phoebe Snow Society has all sorts of activities -- some long term (like our newsletter 
and web site) and some "special events" (like get-togethers, excursions, etc.)  All of us 
are volunteers and we can always use an extra hand.  
Do you like to write or be creative?  Then our newsletter or web site might be right for you.
Do you like meeting people and socializing?  Help arrange one of our social events.
Do you have a faaaabulous collection of railroad photos?  Share them with other members.
Do you have a web site for your own business or organization?  Link to the PSS web site.
See?  Lots of ways to get involved!
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How can I contribute to the PSS newsletter?
Send your article, announcements, or pictures to: ecoyote@pssrailfan.com
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I'm still in the closet.  Can I trust you to be discreet?
We respect your privacy.  PSS tries very hard to be sensitive to those who must stay in the closet.  
We understand.  If we didn't, then we'd lose some of our membership!  
Before you are actually allowed to join the PSS, a member (usually the Queen Mother) 
will contact you and go over the privacy policies.  PSS offers (through our web site)
a private email account if you so desire, to prevent others from accessing your PSS mail.  
The members-only section of our web site and our Yahoo Group are password protected, 
and membership has to be approved.  You are allowed to post as much or as little information 
about yourself as you wish, some posting their full names, other merely using a "handle" or 
"screen name".  It's your choice. 
We also have two kinds of membership on the roster.  Regular membership allows you to 
post a profile of yourself if you welcome other PSS members to contact you.  Maybe they'll 
be in your area and wish to get a cup of coffee and talk trains, or take a trolley ride!  You are 
not REQUIRED to post a profile, but contact between members is one major benefit of PSS.  
It's great to make new friends who might be in your area and have the same interests!
Our other membership is "non published" and you won't appear on any roster that is 
distributed, only on the PSS master file.  If someone should want to contact you directly, 
it has to go thru the Queen Mother, and he'll forward your request discreetly, and it will be 
up to the "non pub" member if he wishes to respond.  We respect your privacy!  
We request that you don't go "non pub" unless there is a very urgent need for it. Out of our 
entire membership, currently only 8 are non pub and 2 of those are ready to get on the 
roster very shortly. 
If you have further questions or concerns about privacy, please contact the Queen Mother.
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Do I have to send in a profile?
It's not required but is encouraged.  That's the best way members have to get to know you.   
Tell us about yourself and your interests. Tell us where you are located and the best way 
to contact you if it's allowed.  It's easier to become friends that way.  
If you need to update any information on your profile, then you'll need to send in an entirely 
new one, as they are scanned as a complete document and things like phone number 
changes or email changes cannot be done individually at this time.
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I don't have access to a computer at home, is your site "work safe"?
Neither our web site nor Yahoo group is strictly moderated. We pretty much allow any 
posting (unless it's really off track) without censorship.  In the past, it has proven not to be 
a problem, as even though the topics stray from time to time, eventually they all swing back
to gay railfanning topics sooner or later.  
Likewise the photographs posted have not been pornographic, but remember we do require 
all members of PSS to be at least 18.  
Adult themes are not actively discouraged, but this is primarily a good group of friends, 
not a porno site. There are plenty of other venues for that sort of thing.
Having said that, if your workplace discourages certain language or terms, "adult words" do
occasionally creep into our discussions.
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Okay, but I still don't have a computer at home, and don't want to take a chance 
at work, so can I be a member anyway?
Yes!  You can have things like the rosters and newsletters printed out and mailed to you.   
Although they won't be in color, and you'll miss out on the photograph albums and messages 
that members post on our PSS web site and Yahoo group. 
We also ask for an extra donation to cover the added expense of printing and mailing. (also 
see "dues" question)
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What is a "Yahoo! Group"?  Are you a bunch of cowboys?

We wish.  Watching old western movies with trains in them is about as close as most of us get
to being a cowboy.

"Yahoo!" is a popular online information service, offering news, games, email, and more.  One
of their many services is called "Yahoo! Groups".  This is simply a way for like-minded individuals
to create mailing lists so that all the members of a particular "group" can send and receive
messages, photos, files, etc. 

PSS uses Yahoo! Groups as a primary message service from the organization to its members,
or between members.  We also use our Yahoo! group (along with this web site) to share photos
and other member files.

Our Yahoo! Group is free and (at least most of us think) easy to use.

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How do I join the Yahoo! group and members-only web site?
The Yahoo! group is joined by invitation only and is limited to members of the Phoebe Snow 
Society. The Queen Mother issues invitations after a membership application for PSS has 
been received and the applicant has been contacted either by phone or in person.
The members-only section of this web site also is limited to members of the Phoebe Snow 
Society.  Click on any link in the left-hand column for any of the members-only sections.  This 
takes you to a new page called PSSRAILFAN COMMUNITY SERVER.  In the upper right corner 
of that page click on JOIN.   This takes you to the "join" page, fill in all the information and click 
JOIN NOW.  A representative from PSS will approve your application.
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I signed up for the Yahoo! group and I'm sick of getting 100 emails a day, but I don't
want to stop hearing from the group entirely! What can I do?
You have options available. There's the option to receive every single message.  Or you can 
have a single email  -- called a "Daily Digest" -- delivered to you once a day with all the 
messages from the day indexed so you can pick and choose what you wish to read.  
Or you can stop the email entirely and just go to our Yahoo! group web site and read them 
there.  
You can change your preferences under: "edit membership" on the Yahoo! site.  And you 
can change them back again any time you wish.
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How can I post pictures on the web sites?
First you have to join PSS.  Then, you have to be approved for either (or both) of the web 
sites to post (as a security measure).  Once that's accomplished (and it's EASY) you'll be 
able to post your favorite photos on either of our sites.  
There are different posting instructions for the web site and the Yahoo! group, so we won't get 
into technicalities here.  If you have questions about posting photos, simply send your question to 
info@pssrailfan.com and someone will get right back to you!
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How many members does PSS have?
That's a tough question to answer as the number is changing all the time.  Currently, we 
have over 300 members in seven countries! Our new web site has already gathered many 
memberships for folks seeking friends
Sometimes, sadly, we lose a member. More often than not, they're still around but have 
neglected to update any contact information with the Queen Mother.
So...PLEASE notify us of address changes so we can update the files and give an accurate
answer to this question!
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Do you have a annual convention?
Sorta.  Nothing really formal, as this is a very informal group.  However, quite a few members
also belong to the National Railway Historical Society (NRHS).  We and get together at their 
annual convention which is held in various locations. It is usually the biggest concentration of 
PSS members from all over who gather once a year, so it's become our default convention as 
well.
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Do I need to be a member of the National Railway Historical Society to come to 
the PSS meeting during a convention?
No.  PSS usually has one night during the convention week we set aside to gather amongst 
ourselves and go out for dinner together. We also enjoy riding the excursion trips, but the 
NRHS sells tickets to its members first, and only to the general public if they don't sell out.
However, all are welcome at Phoebe Snow Society events!
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Are there Phoebe Snow members in the Railway & Locomotive Historical Society 
who might get together?
Yes.  We do indeed have members in that organization. But so far, we're not aware if they 
get together at their convention.   Sounds like a good idea, though!
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I'm a model railroader. How about the National Model Railroaders Association?
Another opportunity for PSS members to meet! All it takes is the initiative to gather up your 
PSS friends and have a good time!  PSS has many model railroaders in its ranks!
And let us know if you have a model of a gay bar or resort on your layout!
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I've never been employed at a railroad or transit agency, is that a problem?
Not for us!  Although PSS has quite a few active and retired railroaders on it's roster, BY 
NO MEANS is that a requirement!  If you're GLBT and interested in rail transportation in any 
form, then you're WELCOME!  Prototype, modeler, collector, employee, retiree, private car 
owner, train rider, rail photographer, trolley fans, or just plain railfan -- please give us the 
benefit of your friendship!
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I'm a business owner or represent another gay organization and I'd like to link our web site to PSS. 
What are your policies on this?

Thanks for asking!  As you know, it benefits both PSS and your organization or business to have links to each
other's site.  Our policy is simple: if you want to link to the PSS web site http://www.pssrailfan.com and your
business or organization is gay oriented or gay friendly, feel free!  Please let us know so we can thank you! 
And if you'd like us to link to your site, please contact webmaster@pssrailfan.com

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Where are you located?
The Phoebe Snow Society is an international organization with members in seven countries, 
but our beloved Queen Mother has to live somewhere.  Her...um...his mailing address is:
   The Phoebe Snow Society
   274 Quincy Dr
   Levittown, PA  19057
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If you didn't see your question answered above, please e-mail it to info@pssrailfan.com and 
we'll do our best to answer it, and perhaps add it here for others. 
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