Large Scale Central

TrainOps (the program) and the future

Hi folks

The TrainOps switchlist program started eight years ago, with this conversation between Bruce and I, at the 2005 Invasion.

We were discussing the various switchlist software out there, and our frustration with getting them working correctly, or their inability to provide a simple interface, and generate a simple switchlist for small, one or two train operation sessions. Apparently it was a lively discussion, as we had witnesses, and even a photo.

Within about 3 months, I had the first bit of TrainOps working. Over the next few years, it grew and got more features. I’ve always considered it Beta software, not ready for prime time, due to the various known issues that happen from time to time. There are a handful of people using it for ops sessions, and, for the most part we can work around the issues. Last year at my event, another glaring error made operations awkward. I took a couple stabs at fixing it, but it still seems to happen for a couple of users.

TrainOps is also written in an older version of MSVC. I’ve tried to update it to the latest version, but several libraries that I use (db access, pdf printing) don’t work with the newer libraries. Converting to a new set of libraries will take time that I dont have.

So, after much soul searching, I am declaring a Stop Work action on the TrainOps program. The amount of time needed to upgrade it to a modern compiler, fix all the known issues, and add features that people have been asking for (interchanges, turns, locals), in a timely manner, would turn this from a ‘neat thing to write’ into a job, and I would rather use my time more effectively.

Now, the future. For the past couple of months, I, and in the last week or so, Bruce and I, have been evaluating the Operations module of JMRI ( I’m ready to declare it easy to use, very close in use to TrainOps, has a bunch of features TrainOps doesnt have (turns and locals, an a mountain of other stuff), and it has a large, active, development community supporting it. I’m going to create another thread for those of you out there using TrainOps, that want to convert over to JMRI (you don’t HAVE to, you can keep using TrainOps if you want).

I fully understand your reasoning, but still sad to see this project stopped. I was a very regular user and enjoy the simplicity and ease of use. I’ll look at JMRI, but from fist glance I’m pretty overwhelmed just trying to figure out how to get started. I’ll take that to the JMRI thread.

I “second that” Jon!

Let’s hope that the largescale community, Bob, Bruce and Ken will help people make the transition. Many times the smaller, inside scales don’t understand the unique concerns of operating outdoors. I originally explored RailOps because of my first operators at my first session taking my car cards home as souvenirs.

That is how you spell frustration. :wink:

Well, it’s been a few months and I think the initial test group of Bob, Bruce, Ken and Myself have successfully moved to JMRI. There is a little bit of a learning curve and coming from TrainOps; You need to translate some of the terminology. For instance; What we used to call a Switch List that was carried with the train is now a Manifest and a Car Location report is now a Roster sorted by Location.

JMRI seems to do everything that TrainOps did and many of the things that we wanted to add in the future.

So far so good!

I think we need to update that Google Doc of instructions, too, since we found out a few other things since the initial switchover.

Another alternative, but OSX only, is SwitchList.

I evaluated it about a year ago, and it does a lot of what TrainOps does, with a similar interface.

Glad to see you have a handle on it, Jon. With RailOps’ demise, it sounds like the future is this direction.

Bob McCown said:

Another alternative, but OSX only, is SwitchList.

I evaluated it about a year ago, and it does a lot of what TrainOps does, with a similar interface.

OOOOOOOH is this Ipad compatible? or c\dio you have to have a mac and moes the switch lists to a mobile device?