Wayne Roderick, 3rd Division, PNR, NMRA (life)
01/08/98 rev 01/16/07
Once upon a time when the earth was a bit younger, the TETON SHORT LINE (TSL) management became fascinated with the possibilities of them new fangled computers, so we took on the challenge to learn "computers". In those days, every lesson book on computers stared out with BASIC commands like: PRINT "Name". After we learned a few of those commands, it became obvious that we could eliminate several clerical positions, and manage our growing freight traffic with these contraptions, and so it started.
We developed a program written in basic BASIC, later upgraded to M-80 BASIC and running on a 64k CPM machine. If you know what CPM is, hold up your hand grandpa. It was popular among our visitors and we were encouraged to share it with the world, and so after much re-write to make it generic, it went out into the SHAREWARE world via AOL. Some folks used it- some probably cussed it- and some loved it- and a few honest folks registered it. Sorry- it's still a DOS program, and I'm not sure what it will do with your printer running in Windows.
I did not get wealthy, but once in a while we could buy a new HO car for the TSL, and that gave us the idea. It is no longer for sale! Well, not exactly-
I want an HO car painted and lettered for YOUR railroad,
or some other momento, and you can have the most current program version 1.05. Short cars, 40 foot or less, in the '50s or prior era preferably, but we can suffer with larger and newer ones.Continue to read about it from the annotated Chapter 1 of the manual or
Download TSL Freight Manager, V1.05, 94k it and try it out.
Please respect the copyright and don't repost it. This is NOT the earlier shareware version that had a couple bugs. It is the serial numbered fully working version for your evaluation only. Feel free to comment on it in your web pages and provide a link to us.
SOURCE CODE: Sorry- Not available
As you read through Chapter 1, it may make more sense if you first view and/or print a copy of the typical generated documents:
A typical Switchlist , A set of Wheelers , Optional Customer Status ReportChapter 1 TETON SHORT LINE FREIGHT MANAGER Fun with freight operations on your model railroad by Wayne Roderick P.E. Copyright (c) 1993, by Wayne Roderick made in the USA Much has been said and written about operating model railroads and it would take far too much space to repeat or summarize it here. The management of the TETON SHORT LINE will assume that you have knowledge of, and share the pleasures of model railroading with us. If you continue reading this, we can further assume that you have an interest in freight operations, so we'll continue on to describe what the TETON SHORT LINE FREIGHT MANAGER can do for your enjoyment of this great hobby. You will find an excellant collection of freight operating ideas in Bruce Chubbs 184 page book "How to operate your model railroad", from Kalmbach, publishers of the Model Railroader. PHILOSOPY of the TETON SHORT LINE "Computer technology is used to replace unprototype or undesirable work on the TETON SHORT LINE. It shall not replace responsibility" Yes, our computer permits cornfield meets. The TSL is heavily computerized, using a dedicated real time computer to manage multiple train control, full memory walkaround command control, signalling etc. You can't find that computer- its hidden from view, has no keyboard or CRT during operating sessions. Our Dispatcher, when we can get him to work, does have a remote computer with a display something like Union Pacifics big Harriman Dispatch Center in Omaha. We borrow his computer to generate and print out the SWITCHLIST and WHEELERS just before an operating session and then the machine is turned over to him. The freight operations do not normally require any further interaction with the computer. For a freight train to exist there must be a PURPOSE and as we are modeling the prototype, then we might consider modeling their purpose rather than just randomly running trains about. The prototypes purpose is simply that the customer has a need and they'd like to make a few bucks satisfying that need. The TETON SHORT LINE FREIGHT MANAGER models the entire process from the customers call for an EMPTY car to be set out on his track to the SWITCHLIST that we use for making up a train in the yard with loads to be forwarded and empties to be routed, and the WHEELERS that tell the train crews what and where to set out and what to pick-up. The system provides customer names, load descriptions, waybills and all the support that we need to generate and run our freight trains. It does this with enough random factors so that we do not become bored with repetition. The WHEELERS are "colorful" as they describe the customers and loads so that you have a feeling of serious business, not just random car movements. Tailoring the TSL FREIGHT MANAGER to your model railroad is a significant work, but it is a lot of fun as we deal with YOUR railroad, not my program. The paperwork and clerical effort after the initial installation is nil! We like to build, switch and run trains, not play paper games. Sorry Clerks Union, but this is operation oriented. CAN YOU USE IT? probably if: 1. You have one main switching yard for train assembly and breakup. 2. Ten trains per day or operating session is enough. 3. You have a few customers, up to 40, scattered about the railroad. 4. 150 freight cars in service at any one time is enough. 5. You want to have lasting fun with what you're building. 6. Your needs exceed the above and you register the program.
This "registered version", 1.05 can handle 80 customers, 400 waybills, and 500 cars of 40 differant types.A BIT OF HISTORY: This program was started in 1984 on a Heathkit CPM machine and was intended to simply replace the then common "card order" system that has been written up in the model railroad press a number of times. It evolved toward maturity with regular Thursday night work-outs on the TETON SHORT LINE until about 1988 when it was moved onto an MS-DOS machine and was completely re-written to take advantage of the bigger & faster machine. It has served the TETON SHORT LINE for several years on our Thursday evening operating/BS sessions. The TSL has grown to 32 on-line customers including team tracks and freight agents, more than 150 freight cars in service and over 300 feet of track. We run three or four local freight trains and one or two interchange trains connecting with Union Pacific in the South and the Great Northern in the North each operating session. Nominal train lengths are 10 cars but may range from 1 to 14 at times. The TSL is built in the mountains and the length of passing sidings as well as grades rule the train size. The program was originally written to be fully generic i.e. work on most model railroads, but improvements over the years and particularly the addition of interchange trains tended to tailor it to the TSL. Enough people have shown interest in our program and the desire to use it on their railroad so that I was encouraged to re-write it to make it fully generic again and friendly to other users. I hope that I have been successful in this effort. HOW DOES IT WORK? See figure 1. The CAR STATUS file that was saved at our last operating session is loaded into the computer along with four data files that describe your railroad, the trains that you might run, your customers and commodities that they ship and receive. Our computerized "Clerk" then looks around the yard and finds the loads needing delivery. He tells you, the "Yardmaster" what he finds and asks you what trains you want to run today. He assigns the loaded cars to the trains and then he takes customer calls for empties to help fill these trains. Waybills are generated and cars are identified from the pool of empties. Random factors are introduced to mark some cars on the customer tracks for pickup, while others will remain longer while the customers is loading and unloading. The capacity of the customer track is considered and finally a SWITCHLIST is generated. The yard crew now goes to work making up trains. WHEELERS have also been generated for the train crews, instructing them as to what and where to setout and pickup. Some cars may set on the customer tracks for several days while they are loaded or unloaded while others may move the next day. To increase traffic and switching, all loaded cars are returned to the yards for switching rather than being dropped to the consignee on the same day. Several customers may be on the same spur track so some of the wayfreight crew work is to re-spot disturbed cars so the customer can continue his loading or unloading. The program does not block trains, provide detailed instructions or replace any responsibilities of the yard and road crews. ================= | MALFUNCTION | ========== | JUNCTION YARD | ========== |OFF LINE| outbound | | local |SHIPPER | |intrchng| empty | Random select | empty | | | |------|<-<-<-<-<-<-<| a bill & match|>->->->->->->|----| | | | | XE | with empty car| SE | | | | |XS | outbound | | local | |DS | | | | load | | load | | | | | |---|<-<-<-<-<-<-<|<--------------|<-<-<-<-<-<-<|----| | | | | | XL | \ YL / | PL ========== | | |XR | | next day | ========== | | | | inbound | remake trains | local |CONSIGNE| | | | | load | / \ | load | | | |--|---|>->->->->->->|-------------->|>->->->->->->|----| | | | | PL | YL | SL | | | | | | inbound | | local | |DR | | | | empty | empty pool | empty | | | | |---|>->->->->->->| |<-<-<-<-<-<-<|----| | | | PE | YE | PE | | ========== ================= ========== Car status codes: XE=Interchange empty YE=In Yard Empty PE=Empty Picked up XL=Interchange load YL=In Yard Load PL=Load Picked up XS=Offline at Shipper SE=Empty to Set Out DS=Delay by Shipper XR=Offline at Consig' SL=Load to Set out DR=Delay by Consignee figure 1 Figure 1 depicts the possible movements of a car. A "Customer call" for an empty car occurs when the computer randomly picks a waybill. Our computerized "Yardmaster" surveys the yard for the suitable cars and randomly picks one. His "Clerks" will verify that the customer will have room on his track, considering what pickups might be made this day, and assigns the car to the appropriate train. The selected car will be moved to a local SHIPPER or sent offline in an interchange train where it will be delayed for loading. Another operating session, not necessarily the next one, will return the loaded car to the yard where it will lay overnight. The next operating session will most likely send the car out to a local CONSIGNEE or via an interchange train to an off-line customer. Another operating session will return the unloaded car to the empty pool. Thats all there is to it. The two-letter codes represent the transient in-train status and the final resting status of the car. These codes will be stored in a historical file with each operating session. WHEN SOMETHING GOES WRONG ? If the Yardmaster assembles his trains according to the SWITCHLISTS and the train crews run the trains making the SETOUTS and PICKUPS according to their WHEELERS, then at the end of the operating session, the cars will be where the computer "thinks" they are and nothing can go wrong -can go wrong -can go wrong....... If Murphys law intervenes and something goes wrong, as it will, usually due to human error, then you have two ways to fix it. The program can print out a LOCATION STATUS REPORT that will list each customer and interchange trains with a listing of the cars that should be at or in each. You now have two choices to clean up the errors. The most desirable and prototype way is to physically move the car(s), with an engine of course, where they should be, but if you've got a real mess, then you can PENCIL edit the LOCATION STATUS REPORT and then make updates to the computer record. We have found this second method is rarely used, after the initial installation.
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