Switch list Vs Waybills

I am setting up operations and would like to know, if you operate your railroad using switch lists or waybills, or nothing at all, and why you use one over the other. Both seem very labor intensive. Are they worth the effort?

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When I don't free-run the trains, I use a switch list for my small N scale layout. I decided on it since I genreally run solo. With a switch list I can take as much time as I want before moving a car. If you plan on having more than one operator, waybills often work better since things are often timing dependent (have to pick up a car before others can be dropped onto the siding.)
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Dale M. Arends


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On Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 1:54:08 PM UTC-5, Dale Arends wrote:

Thank you Dale, for the quick response. How many industries do you have? My HO railroad is around the walls in a full footprint basement so it is fairly large. I have the ability to keep 7 operators busy, even though I am alone.
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When I said "small" I meant small. It's a 2 ft x 4 ft layout with 4 industries and a team track. I don't think the size of the layout should be a factor; rather, the number of simultaneous jobs. Since a switch list is typically a series of sequential jobs, it works well for a single operator. With multiple operators, waybills work well since there can be several jobs being done at once while still having the occasional dependency.
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Dale M. Arends

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The Model Railroad System (https://www.deepsoft.com/ModelRailroadSystem ) includes a program called "Freight Car Forwarder". This program uses a database (in flat text files) that represent your railroad, its yards and industries, trains, and cars, and generates switch lists that will get the proper cars to the proper places on the proper trains. (It actually simulate a run shift.) You run the program and then print out the switch lists it generates. You can carry the switch list with you as you operate the train around the layout. Also included are switch lists [yard lists?] for the yard master(s) to put together trains at the source yards, so the trains can be made up properly, with the cars in the proper order and blocking. The computer does all of the "mindless" work, so you can do the "fun" part running trains and switching cars along the way.

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On Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 3:32:14 PM UTC-5, Robert Heller wrote:

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Thank you for your reply. I am currently using Easy Model Railroad Inventor y. I have found that making a switch list is done manually, one car at a ti me. Does the Model Railroad System have that limitation? I can export all t he data to an excel file. Can MRS Import that? Does it also have the abilit y to print waybills?
Again, thanks for the reply. Frank FAR Seas Connecting Railroad
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Model Railroad System computes the complete switch list automagically for every train and yard lists for every yard. It uses a "database" (a bunch of flat text files) that describe your railroad: its divisions, stations, industries & yards, trains, and cars. Industries are marked with the kinds of cars they unload and load, cars are marked by type, whether they are loaded or unloaded, and where they are on the railroad, how long they are, their clearance plate, weight (loaded and unloaded), and length. Industries also are marked with how long their siding is and yards are also marked with a siding length. Trains are marked with things like max length, clearence plate, max weight, etc. The program goes through the list of cars, finding cars that need to go someplace -- eg a loaded lumber car needs to go to a lumber yard or at least some place that could use a load of lumber. An empty grain hopper needs to get to a grain elevator, etc. It then figures out which train or trains will get the car to where it needs to go. Maybe on a local yard job to get in from an industry siding to a yard where it can be added to a regular freight train to be hauled to another yard where another local yard job will haul it to its destination. It adds the car to the switch list(s) for the trains and/or yards involved. Eventually the switch lists and yard lists are complete and are printed out, ready for your operators to use as they operate their trains. It essentually simulates one shift of operation. It does not print waybills.
The car data file is (effectively) a CSV file, with a header containing the max car count. Actually all of the data files are effectively CSV files, in that they are lines of comma separated data -- originally meant for being read by a BASIC program. So if your data is in excel, it should be possible to do some data manipulation and then exported as a CSV file. It may need some post processing. There are some sample data file sets that are well documented that should help you out.

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933 Cell: 413-658-7953 GV: 978-633-5364
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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On Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 1:35:18 PM UTC-5, Frank Rosenbaum wrote:

ilroad using switch lists or waybills, or nothing at all, and why you use o ne over the other. Both seem very labor intensive. Are they worth the effor t?
Ok. I've downloaded the Model Railroad System for Win32 zip complete. I eve n installed it, I think. I am a technological nincompoop. There was no Icon on my desktop, It did not offer to open the program, and I could not find a .exe file to launch the program.
What do I do? Please be very specific
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If you ran the setup.exe program in the ZIP file it should have asked for a folder to install into. In that folder there will be a folder named bin. In this folder are a collection of .exe files. The Model Railroad System is not one single program, but a collection of programs in the bin folder and libraries in the lib folder [.dlls] and under the share folder [Tcl source libraries], with documentation also under the share folder. One of the .exe files in the bin folder is FCFMain.exe. This is the Freight Car Forwarder. There is also a program named FCFCreate.exe which is a program that will create a set of data files for the Freight Car Forwarder.
Also in the complete Win32 zip file are a couple of sample data sets, ChesapeakeSystem.zip and LHandBS.zip, which you could have also installed. These two zip files each contain a complete set of datafiles for the Freight Car Forwarder, with the ChesapeakeSystem.zip file containing a sample dataset used by the original BASIC version and LHandBS.zip contains a simpler dataset for my railroad (not built yet).

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933 Cell: 413-658-7953 GV: 978-633-5364
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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On Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 1:35:18 PM UTC-5, Frank Rosenbaum wrote:

ilroad using switch lists or waybills, or nothing at all, and why you use o ne over the other. Both seem very labor intensive. Are they worth the effor t?
Well, I got a response when I went to the bin folder.Is there a single file that will run the whole program? I have opened several of the files, but everything is grayed out and would not respond. When I opened FCFmain the only function I could do was open. N othing else worked. I just tried to open a library and got Error: _40d09307 _p_fcfSupport_System{Error readi... Here is the Log report: _40d09307_p_FCFSupport__System {Error reading C:\mrrsystem-2.1.44\bin\libtt classes.dll -- short file (TrainsFile)!} _40d09307_p_FCFSupport__System {Error reading C:\mrrsystem-2.1.44\bin\libtt classes.dll -- short file (TrainsFile)!} while executing "System TheSystem [file nativename "$fileName"] [MakeSeed]" (procedure "LoadSystem" line 11) invoked from within "LoadSystem" invoked from within ".main.topf.tb0.open invoke " invoked from within ".main.topf.tb0.open instate !disabled { .main.topf.tb0.open invoke } " invoked from within ".main.topf.tb0.open instate pressed { .main.topf.tb0.open state !pressed; .main.topf.tb0.open instate !disabled { .main.topf.tb0.open invoke } } " (command bound to event)
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There isn't *one* program, there are a collection of different programs that do different things. Some programs are "offline": Freight Car Forwarder and TimeTable. Some are helper utilites, like Resistor (computes load resistor values). Others are involved with actual operation (they interact with trains or accessories -- there is a throttle program for a Lenz XPressNet DCC system, and programs for OpenLCB/LCC). If you installed the Documentation archive, there will be a user manual in share/MRRSystem/Doc/UserManual/index.html (HTML format) and share/MRRSystem/Doc/UserManual.pdf (PDF format), which will document all of the exe files. There is also a Development archive, which contains documentation and things like C/C++ header files relating to the libraries.

That is correct. The FCFmain program needs a "data set" to work with. It can't actually do anything without data to work with. The data set is a batch of 8 data files containing information that describe your railroad (its divisions, stations, industuries and yards, trains, and cars). The data files are all actually just text files and you *could* create them with a text editor, like NotePad, but make sure that they are saved as plain 7-bit ASCII text files. Most of the data is actually formatted as comma separated data, so you possibly could create the files with Excel, but again be careful to be sure the files are saved as 7-bit ASCII text files. Also since the files are not really spreadsheet files, there might be some issues there. I've always used a plain text editor (MicroEMacs) to edit the files. The Freight Car Forwarder only re-writes the cars and stats files. The other files are only ever read in by the FCFmain program -- that is all other other files are static readonly data and are used by the Freight Car Forwarder in its processing to determine where cars can go and which trains can get them there.
The FCFCreate program can be used to create these files (but FCFCreate is a little funcky and not well tested). There are some sample data sets available. The *original* one is in ChesapeakeSystem.zip -- this is the data set used by the original author of the original BASIC program. This is probably a good data set to work with to get a feel for how the program works. There is another one, LHandBS.zip which is for my (much smaller) railroad.
The section of the User Manual for the Freight Car Forwarder has a section that documents the format of the datafiles.

You can't actually *run* the library files. These .dll files are meant to be be linked to either C++ or loaded into Tcl programs.
--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933 Cell: 413-658-7953 GV: 978-633-5364
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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On Friday, April 24, 2020 at 8:36:52 PM UTC-5, Frank Rosenbaum wrote:

railroad using switch lists or waybills, or nothing at all, and why you use one over the other. Both seem very labor intensive. Are they worth the eff ort?

le that will run the whole program?

d not respond. When I opened FCFmain the only function I could do was open. Nothing else worked. I just tried to open a library and got Error: _40d093 07_p_fcfSupport_System{Error readi...

ttclasses.dll -- short file (TrainsFile)!}

ttclasses.dll -- short file (TrainsFile)!}

; .main.topf.tb0.open instate !disabled { .main.topf.tb0.open invoke } } "

With the explanations you are giving me, It seems much more complex than I can handle. I don't' think I am able to use the system. I am not adept enou gh to delve into the program. Thank you for your assistance.
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On Sunday, April 19, 2020 at 1:35:18 PM UTC-5, Frank Rosenbaum wrote:

I am now trying to find someway to uninstall the program, and cannot find any way to do so. In Windows - settings - Apps/uninstall, the program does not show up so I can't choose it. What do I do?
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Just delete the folders and files.

--
Robert Heller -- 978-544-6933 Cell: 413-658-7953 GV: 978-633-5364
Deepwoods Software -- Download the Model Railroad System
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