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I have posted this in OO although it is really not gauge specific.

I want to run my layout to some sort of schedule and that fits with the industries etc I have. I found WagonFlow. On the face of it this seems to do just what I am looking for. However, and apologies to the developer if he is here
, it has not been much updated since 2003 and the user interface is very dated. Also I cannot get it to work as it should on my Win7 system. I suppose I could run it in different compatibility modes etc. Anyway that gets beside the point.

It seems to me that most software is for the US audience and there is another thread on inventory management that says pretty much the same thing. So is there anything out there that you might recommend?

Failing that (and I know I may be dropping myself into a big hole!) is there a market for such a program for UK practice? I own up to being a software developer and although I do not have a clear idea at the moment how such a program needs to work I guess I could develop one. I don't have a huge amount of time as I need to develop, maintain and support my current applications but since I want something for myself I could see me getting interested in doing it.................
 

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Hi Jon

First, I have to say that I have absolutely no experience of any timetabling (Software or otherwise).
However, with regards to developing it, I think there might be too many variable to cater for? I am thinking about things like
Number of platforms
Single line or dual line working.
Station type :Terminus / Branch Terminus / Island passing
With or without loop
With or without shed, etc, etc.
Availability of rolling stock

I am not saying it could not be done, just that it is quite complex!

Regards
Ray
 

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Jon, I have no experience or knowledge of timetabling but have often looked for software packages that might help me with timetabling ideas for my layout..... I have even thought about using Excel of something similar to help me with some simple scheduling of train movements. I have also discovered that experience picked up in business life i.e. aircraft / flight scheduling is of no help at all when it comes to railways so I watch your thread with great interest.....
Ron
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Well I guess from the limited response that there is not much interest in this particular subject. Nevertheless I will keep looking at what is out there and I am inclined to work on a small program for my own use just to see what could be done....
 

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QUOTE (Jon Masterson @ 14 Jan 2012, 07:44) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Well I guess from the limited response that there is not much interest in this particular subject.Oh yes there is!
Sorry but I missed this thread in scanning the forum yesterday. In operating our trains the grandchildren and I enjoy trying to work a system where we have "a duty to maintain a service". Of course this is beset by all kinds of imagined potential disasters: animals on the line is a favourite one. Not least are frequent H&S failings of the railway infrastructure - my responsibilty.

Based in the Welsh mountains, did you see an excellent pair of articles by Chris Evans on timetable running his wonderful layout of Llandudno Junction in RM 131/132 ? I've tried to develop a sequence for us derived from his suggestions.
LF&T
 

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I would have no problem with the timetabling software as long as it was designed for a model railway and not the prototype. Like many, I wish to operate trains, not wait for a scale couple of hours for the next movement.

Regards
Ray
 

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My approach to this has been to obtain a working timetable for the area of interest and to transfer the data to an Excel spreadsheet.

I then had columns for each area of the layout that could store trains such as platforms, storage sidings and goods yards.

I then had a list of the available trains-passenger expresses, suburban sets, local sets, parcel trains, milk train, fish train, various goods trains.

I then semi-automated the process of moving the trains for each element of the timetable using Excel macros so that for each line of the timetable the movement for that line was identified and the resulting position of each available train was updated.

Of course the objective was to end up with all the trains in their starting position after 24 hours and this required a bit of poetic licence introducing a few additional passenger and empty stock movements.

A summarised report was then extracted showing the train movement for each element of the timetable and one then has the choice as to whether to run this with an accelerated clock or just as a sequence of movements or a combination since there are quite large time intervals between activities early in the morning and late at night.

My layout is based on Paddington and has a terminal with four main line platforms, two suburban and local trains and two parcels and goods platforms as well as various hidden storage sidings etc. It can viewed here if you have a spare 15 minutes


 

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QUOTE (BVM @ 14 Jan 2012, 13:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It can viewed here if you have a spare 15 minutesMost enjoyable video.
I particularly admired the way in which you manage to compress the whole railway system from terminus to furthermost branches in your operational layout.
The only thing I object to is your hijacking of "my" G2A (with wheeze) and running it into Paddington of all places!
LF&T
 

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QUOTE (BVM @ 14 Jan 2012, 13:52) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>It can viewed here if you have a spare 15 minutes



Nice video but some scary speeds running into a major terminus!


Regards
Ray
 

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Thanks for the replies folks. I am going to look at this. First for my own use and then perhaps I will make something available to the community


However in the meantime if y'all would like to make some suggestions or identify what you might want from such software then I will add it to my list
 

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I would recommend getting your hands on "Model Railway Operation in accordance with prototype practice" by C. J. Freezer which deals with the complex subject of timetabling in chapter 6.

Regards
Ray
 

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I've just purchased a book "Signalling and Lever Frames" by Jeff Geary, published 2011 by Noodle Books/Kevin Robertson (ISBN 987 1 906419 61 5). Not obviously anything to do with timetables, but it has the latest version of the TRAX software - TRAX3 - which is an update from previous books in the series and which includes a program for producing timetables. Can't comment on how it runs or how good it is as I've not yet tried it out.
 

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Jon,

QUOTE (Jon Masterson @ 14 Jan 2012, 02:02) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>I have posted this in OO although it is really not gauge specific.

I want to run my layout to some sort of schedule and that fits with the industries etc I have. I found WagonFlow. On the face of it this seems to do just what I am looking for. However, and apologies to the developer if he is here
, it has not been much updated since 2003 and the user interface is very dated. Also I cannot get it to work as it should on my Win7 system. I suppose I could run it in different compatibility modes etc. Anyway that gets beside the point.

It seems to me that most software is for the US audience and there is another thread on inventory management that says pretty much the same thing. So is there anything out there that you might recommend?

Failing that (and I know I may be dropping myself into a big hole!) is there a market for such a program for UK practice? I own up to being a software developer and although I do not have a clear idea at the moment how such a program needs to work I guess I could develop one. I don't have a huge amount of time as I need to develop, maintain and support my current applications but since I want something for myself I could see me getting interested in doing it.................

You could have a look at our CMS Stock software which appears at the top right of this page in the Ads.

This software doubles up as collection management software and a tool for Wagon Scheduling.

Full details here: http://www.gppsoftware.com/cmsstock

'Wagon Director' works by using your database of wagons. You set up 'destinations' and the number of wagons they can take. You set up groups of wagons (block trains) so that all wagons in the block go to the same location and you set up the locations which each wagon cannot go to eg a 100T oil tanker doesn't go the Dairy or Cattle dock. You then run the randomisation process and a report is created for you of all the locations of where your wagons are to be sent. You then operate your layout to achieve it.
The report is not based on time, although you can operate to a timetable if you wish. It doesn't require wagons to be located in specific places to start and you can always pick up operation where you left off. You can re-run the randomisation process as many times as you like and save/print each report such that you use a different report for each operating session - it's entirely up to you - the software just creates random destination lists with a little bit of logic applied to how vehicles are targetted.
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·

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Hi Jon,

QUOTE (Jon Masterson @ 16 Jan 2012, 18:32) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>@John - thanks the book looks interesting. Amazon have it for £12.25 so it is on its way

@Graham - the link you offered seems dead but this worked for me http://www.gppsoftware.com/ViewProd.aspx?P=41582C2324292128 This looks interesting and I have downloaded the trial to check it out.

My apologies: I edited the link in the message, editing the visual bit, but not the http bit - sorry.

The link you provided will do it, but this one should be easier: http://www.gppsoftware.com/cmsstock

Kind regards
 

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Jon

Interesting you should post this. I am building a small switching layout (US HO, hence the terminology) and, instead of shuffling cards around or using some other paper-based system for operating, I've written an Excel macro to generate semi-random switching movements. On a data sheet, you specify the cars, loads to be carried and industries, relate them to one another and the macro spews out an operating sequence, different each time.

Not nearly as sophisticated as you and many people would be looking for, however, and it's goods only. I did read in a copy of Model Railroader that there is a gap for a good piece of software for this type of thing, at least in the US, as the ones available aren't flexible enough.

Good luck with it.

Rod
 

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QUOTE (Rod Shaw @ 16 Jan 2012, 22:11) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>Jon

Interesting you should post this. I am building a small switching layout (US HO, hence the terminology) and, instead of shuffling cards around or using some other paper-based system for operating, I've written an Excel macro to generate semi-random switching movements. On a data sheet, you specify the cars, loads to be carried and industries, relate them to one another and the macro spews out an operating sequence, different each time.

Not nearly as sophisticated as you and many people would be looking for, however, and it's goods only. I did read in a copy of Model Railroader that there is a gap for a good piece of software for this type of thing, at least in the US, as the ones available aren't flexible enough.

Good luck with it.

Rod

Rod,

Just out of curiosity, when Model Railroader mentions the gap in good software and lack of 'flexibility', what exactly are they looking for ?
 

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Jon i agree i have looked at several programs and tried Car Cards etc. However as you say these all have a US slant. Wagonflow looked promising and have tried it. i set it up on an old laptop running Win98 and it works even if a bit awkward to use. BTW Win7 has a problem with a specific dll file and most versions won't run it.
For the moment I have reverted to a 12 dice based system for freight and an Excel timetable listing the time for each movement and which has taken months to devise. i have been trying it out in Trainz Simulator where I 'built' a copy of my terminus layout and this has proved very useful for 'desnagging'.
As others have said a TT for the station/area of interest is useful but Model is not the same as Prototype.
Interesting to hear of CMS Stock, not come across that one, will give it a look. Llandudno Junction - RM131/132 was an excellent set of articles and worth reading.
 

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Well I have a few books on order that might help me understand things better. I do understand some scheduling and timetabling. Many years ago I worked for an airline and was involved in flight scheduling. I must dig around and see if anything there is of use - my guess is probably not.

First thing I need to do is write a short spec of what I expect it to do. I think I know what I don't want! At the moment I don't want to operate to 'the clock' but I do want a sequence of trains that have a purpose. I don't really want a randomizer for freight traffic. I would rather have the requirements based on what is on my layout (and what is imagined to be in the fiddle yards). I want it to cover all traffic so passenger and freight. I want to be able to load in the traffic requirements and have the software generate the traffic sequence for the day so I would want it to reflect day of the week and time of year. I think this is the way WagonFlow works......

There is an access violation in one part of WagonFlow. I suspect that run in compatability mode it might work. However (and this is obviously personal) I find the interface hard to use. I suspect this is because I work in the current Microsoft development environment and try to meet the current usability criteria.

Generally once I have the spec and have the 'algorithms' needed then the coding side is pretty straight forward.

Bearing in mind that I am a real newbie with railways does any of that make sense or is it rubbish?
 
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