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Train Inventory Software

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Posted by joe323 on Thursday, November 8, 2018 6:33 AM

I use excel mainly because I get the entire office suite for home use at next to nothing through the Microsoft Home User Program. I think it was like $10 so you should see if your employer participates.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by Mainesam on Monday, September 9, 2019 8:58 AM

PRR01

 

Are there any useful train inventory software programs?  I am looking for something a step up from Excel.  A lot of the discussions I found on MR or google are really old, and links to many systems don't exist.  

 

 

Apple is soon going to a 64 bit format so all older programs and most legacy programs will no longer work if you upgrade to latest IOS this Fall.  I would, therefore, be very suspect of using older program.

Excel should continue to work well, even though no photos.

An option for photos might be a group of albums in the IOS photo app.

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 11:10 AM

Mainesam

Apple is soon going to a 64 bit format so all older programs and most legacy programs will no longer work if you upgrade to latest IOS this Fall.  I would, therefore, be very suspect of using older program.

 

Excel should continue to work well, even though no photos.

An option for photos might be a group of albums in the IOS photo app.

 

Does that mean that many persons that have their inventory on an older program will no longer be able to read it on a new system / computer??

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Posted by Stevert on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 11:47 AM

railandsail

 

 
Mainesam

Apple is soon going to a 64 bit format so all older programs and most legacy programs will no longer work if you upgrade to latest IOS this Fall.  I would, therefore, be very suspect of using older program.

 

Excel should continue to work well, even though no photos.

An option for photos might be a group of albums in the IOS photo app.

 

 

 

Does that mean that many persons that have their inventory on an older program will no longer be able to read it on a new system / computer??

 

 

I'm guessing that's only an issue if you're constrained by using a Mac.

I've been using 64-bit versions of Windows for many years now, and the (not always "older") 32-bit versions of programs continue to Always Just Work.

 

To get back on topic, my inventory tool of choice is a database using OpenOffice's "Base". It's similar to Access, except IMHO it's much easier and more intuitive. (And that's from the perspective of having retired from a 40-year IT career!)

It's very easy to suck out some specific set of data using a query, and format into a readable report if you so desire. You want a report showing all your 50-foot box cars, broken down by manufacturer and sorted by road number within road name? No problem, use Base's in-built report wizard!

Oh, and OO runs on Windows, Linux, and Mac so everyone's covered. IIRC, they also have an Android reader, although I just create a PDF when I need something on my phone.

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Posted by kbaker329 on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 12:19 PM

I second (or third) the use of Easy Model Railroad Inventory.  It allows you to inventory cars, engines, structures, electronics, parts, etc.  You can export to a spreadsheet and create about any type of report you want.  It also allows a photo to be added to each entry.  

There is an operations segment as well but I have not used this yet.

It does take time to put all of this information together, but i think it's helpful for insurance purchases, travel to train shops & shows, etc.

Just my two cents!

HO scale modeling N&W and Union Pacific, somewhere in Missouri between 1940 & 1990!
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Posted by keystonecrossings on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 5:16 PM

If you plan to get into operations with the use of car cards and waybills as a freight car forwarding system, check out Shenware's software. It is dirt cheap and provides both an inventory system (with really scary reports!) as well as car card functionality.

Jerry Britton

Modeling the Pennsylvania Railroad's Middle Division in the early 1950s

http://pennsyrr.com

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 8:46 PM

To get back on topic, my inventory tool of choice is a database using OpenOffice's "Base". It's similar to Access, except IMHO it's much easier and more intuitive.

Where do you find this "Base"? When I click on my Open Office I do NOT find "Base" ??

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Posted by railandsail on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 9:01 PM

G Paine

At Boothbay Railway Village, we use Easy Model Railroad Inventory. It is a freeware program.

http://easy-model-railroad-inventory.software.informer.com/5.4/

 

 

Can someone tell me what button to push to download the latest version?...sorry I'm just computer iliterate.  Every button I pushed said the particular 'latest version' was not available?...neither the latest, nor previous version?   confused. What are all the other buttons?...some other crap they want to download to my computer?

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Posted by Stevert on Tuesday, September 10, 2019 11:24 PM

railandsail

 

 
To get back on topic, my inventory tool of choice is a database using OpenOffice's "Base". It's similar to Access, except IMHO it's much easier and more intuitive.

 

Where do you find this "Base"? When I click on my Open Office I do NOT find "Base" ??

When you open OO to it's initial screen, on the left-hand side at the bottom of the "Create:" list is "Base Database".

However, if you've never used it before, and/or if you're not familar with relational database concepts, you may want to peruse a tutorial or three. Just Google "OpenOffice base tutorial" (without the quotes) and you'll get lots of hits...

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Posted by railandsail on Thursday, September 12, 2019 8:41 AM

I'm using Open Office 4. When I open the intial page I do NOT see "create" and I do NOT see "base database" ?

I do see a "database". Is this what we are talking about?

I really do wish that these computer folks would stop interchanging words, and actually utilize the exact quoted terminolgy. Its confusing sometimes when are looking for the QUOTED references.

While I am on a rant, I also get confused when someone offers a site for a 'download' of a particular program, whatever. I go to that reference page and see 2-5 'download boxes' . What do I chose that is NOT going to load numerous crap onto my computer. Do we all have to be computer nerds to sort these things out?

...sorry for the rant...

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Posted by GN_Fan on Friday, September 20, 2019 11:45 AM

I use a 20 year old version of MS Acess to keep track of my rolling stock.  With about 250 pieces of rolling stock, I cannot remember everything.  For freight cars I can track AAR class, door size, length, height, weight, rolling ability, and 50 or so more variables.  For passenger cars it AAR class, revenue capy, accomodations, livery style, and around 30 other variables.  Ditto for the locos.  There's so much info I'm tracking, I need 5-6 tabs in my input forms to hold the info, including a photo.  Of course I need to know whether the car is in service, stored servicable, stored not servicable, in the erecting shops, or retired.  For freight cars, I track whether the car is empty, being loaded, loaded or being unloaded, and if an industry need cars I have a program that will find the correct AAR class car that is in service, empty, and close-by, and make up a switch list to get the cars to where they are needed.  I have a program that will tell me when a car is expected to ready for pick-up, so the local knows what to get via a switch list.  Of course all this takes a bit of programming, but with my IT major in collage (not much OJT as I had a dual major and mostly worked the other one) and a good how-to book, it was all doable....challenging, but doable.  For me, it worked out pretty good, but for someone without a programming knowledge, not so much.

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Posted by Brammy on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 8:31 AM

I use an Excel sheet (Well, numbers on my Mac). I track reporting marks, type, manufacturer and how many of them I have. I put a small grey dot sticker on the botton of the car to show I entered it.

 

I also use a sheet to track how often I run certain locomotives and the train type, but that's a different level of geekery.

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Posted by York1 on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 9:00 AM

railandsail
 To get back on topic, my inventory tool of choice is a database using OpenOffice's "Base". It's similar to Access, except IMHO it's much easier and more intuitive.

John       

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Posted by SPSOT fan on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 9:08 AM

I use Google Sheets for my roster. I like it because I can access it on any computer, anywhere, provided there is internet access. It is very simlar to Excel but a bit more basic.

Regards, Isaac

I model my railroad and you model yours! I model my way and you model yours!

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Posted by mobilman44 on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 9:30 AM

As I've said before, I use Excel and have done so for 25 years or more.  It works, it can do sorts and you can make it as complicated or as simple as your abilities allow.

But here is my question......how many pieces of rolling stock do you have?  Twenty, or hundreds?  With a low count of units, are you putting together a spreadsheet(s) to help you manage your roster, or to "build a spreadsheet".

I started the Excel spreadsheets when I was at about 200 cars and 50 motor units, and eventually got up to over 650 cars and 70 units.  That certainly made the spreadsheets worthwhile to track all the variables (i.e. road, type, year, color, repairs needed, etc., etc.).

But here is the bugaboo about all this........no matter what format you use, how simple or detailed it is, it just doesn't mean a thing if you don't keep it maintained.  I learned that the hard way when I downsized to 250 cars and 40 motor units.   

 

 

ENJOY  !

 

Mobilman44

 

Living in southeast Texas, modeling the "postwar" Santa Fe and Illinois Central 

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Posted by doctorwayne on Tuesday, October 1, 2019 11:40 AM

mobilman44
....But here is the bugaboo about all this........no matter what format you use, how simple or detailed it is, it just doesn't mean a thing if you don't keep it maintained. I learned that the hard way when I downsized to 250 cars and 40 motor units.

I've listed every locomotive and piece of rolling stock in my Excel inventory, but when I backdated my layout, selling-off most of my too-modern stuff, I kept those items lettered for my free-lanced roads on the list, noting them as "Sold".  This was to avoid duplicating any car numbers, as more may eventually be sold.

The "too modern" stuff lettered for real railroads was removed from the imventory, as will be any now on the list if they're sold.

Wayne

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Posted by Drumguy on Thursday, October 10, 2019 9:33 PM

For those keeping an inventory for insurance purposes: I’m not an insurance expert by any stretch, but in my experience, any “extra stuff” in your home requires a rider. Be it jewelry (thankfully my wife hates the stuff), original artwork, a $10k bubinga drumkit, or a model railroad. From what I understand, a bunch of pictures or an excel sheet of stuff won’t get you a dime beyond your Home Contents coverage, unless you have a rider to cover it. As always, correct me if I’m wrong, just dont want anyone to have an unpleasant surprise if the crap hits the radial blade thingy.

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Posted by doctorwayne on Thursday, October 10, 2019 10:20 PM

Drumguy
....a bunch of pictures or an excel sheet of stuff won’t get you a dime beyond your Home Contents coverage, unless you have a rider to cover it....

I believe that you're correct.  I made my inventory list to simplify disposal of my trains after I take that last train ride.  Insurance was not even thought of, as pretty-well none of it can be replaced anyways, making it difficult to value insurance-wise.

Wayne

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Posted by joe323 on Friday, October 11, 2019 8:23 AM

Brammy

I use an Excel sheet (Well, numbers on my Mac). I track reporting marks, type, manufacturer and how many of them I have. I put a small grey dot sticker on the botton of the car to show I entered it.

 

I also use a sheet to track how often I run certain locomotives and the train type, but that's a different level of geekery.

 

I never got the hang of Numbers since I "”grew up” in a Windows environmental.  I have excel for Mac.

Joe Staten Island West 

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Posted by GearsMcT on Thursday, December 19, 2019 8:22 PM

1st timer, 1st post. I expect my particulars of getting back into the hobby between childhood and adult, railroad dreams and so on are fairly typical of many in the broad strokes, so won't detail here other than to say: children + toys = :`(

Model trains have never left my mind in 40+yrs and cleaning my mother's home out a few years ago, I found that young self did have some prescience to box the remnants of my collection; a smattering of track, a dozen freight cars from shattered to mint and a couple probably broken, untested as of now, locos.  Obviously, this is not worth databasing.  However for this christmas, my wife allotted me initial funds to rebuild my railroad dream.

In six days I will be unboxing ~100 freight, ~20 passenger and a dozen locos scoured across dozens of ebay sales over 2 months.  The focus was New Haven, Amtrak and Soo.  Auction lots being what they are, I wound up with a consist of BN, NS/W, some UP, SF and a single Chessie in the form of a caboose.  Living in an apartment, I bought no track or landscaping of any kind until we have a home to set up in.  Call this a downpayment on the dream.

Now all of a sudden, that's ~150 cars in one fell swoop in all sorts of conditions from NIB to scrap.  Missing couplers, broken trucks, shattered rails and ladders, the works.

When I left the hobby DC was it.  The last few months of research on my part has done nothing but shock me as to the potential micro technology and databasing afford.  And databasing is the key, isn't it?

Therefore starting fresh as I am with a huge stockpile, if I'm going to database, now is the time and excel seems to be the program.  As my wife's career is built around databasing, I'm in luck on setting up the basics.

All this leads me to the categories one ''needs' to keep track of.  I''ve come up with:

Class: utility, short, med, long range

Era: Years of rail service, 1920-1962, etc

Type: GON, HPR, BOX, TANK, etc + sub-type Caboose: Cupola, FLAT: stake

Manufacturer and prod. #

Gauge: G, O, S, OO, HO, N, Z etc

Car number: default & re-number

Livery: Line, original color/re-paint / weathered?

Overall Condition Mint - Poor

Money Paid: USD$ and when

Loading If so, what? timber, scrap metal, etc

Detailing: brake wheel, railings horns, interior, etc, check mark if present

Lights: LED, GoW, headlight, running lights, etc.  Accurate: y/n

Length: proto/scale

Weight: ounces. meets NMRA?

Min Radius: inches

Wheels: metal, plastic, 33", 36", etc, missing, broken, after-market

Trucks: ditto

Couplers: type, brand, missing, broken, A/B ends, Are they level?

Locos:

Motor: stock// new/ model #

Condition: weak, acceptable, strong

Gears: dirty, clean, broken, greased

Wheels: ditto

And one profile photo

 

That would seem to cover most of it.

 

Thanks for the thoughts and info in this thread.

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Posted by GearsMcT on Friday, December 20, 2019 12:47 PM

I was going to edit my previous post, but dont see an edit button...

Another databse category...

Disposition: Salvage, Yard, Siding, Rails

Salvage is so bad as to be useless other than parting-out. Yard queens sit around looking pretty, but otherwise non-functional.  Sidings are great homes for rusted-out hulks. And of course riding the Rails is every cars dream.

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Posted by davidmurray on Friday, December 20, 2019 2:10 PM

Gears:

I feel that you are overthinking this.  I suggest a data base of "not ready for layout", and one for on the layout.

This means that some of your catagories become unnecessary.  Unless you plan to model more than one scale, why include the scale.  If your standard for on the layout means recommended weight and steel wheels, why mention it in database, etc.

Dave

 

David Murray from Oshawa, Ontario Canada
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Posted by mbinsewi on Friday, December 20, 2019 3:41 PM

GearsMcT
All this leads me to the categories one ''needs' to keep track of.  I''ve come up with: Class: utility, short, med, long range Era: Years of rail service, 1920-1962, etc Type: GON, HPR, BOX, TANK, etc + sub-type Caboose: Cupola, FLAT: stake Manufacturer and prod. # Gauge: G, O, S, OO, HO, N, Z etc Car number: default & re-number Livery: Line, original color/re-paint / weathered? Overall Condition Mint - Poor Money Paid: USD$ and when Loading If so, what? timber, scrap metal, etc Detailing: brake wheel, railings horns, interior, etc, check mark if present Lights: LED, GoW, headlight, running lights, etc.  Accurate: y/n Length: proto/scale Weight: ounces. meets NMRA? Min Radius: inches Wheels: metal, plastic, 33", 36", etc, missing, broken, after-market Trucks: ditto Couplers: type, brand, missing, broken, A/B ends, Are they level? Locos: Motor: stock// new/ model # Condition: weak, acceptable, strong Gears: dirty, clean, broken, greased Wheels: ditto And one profile photo   That would seem to cover most of it.   Thanks for the thoughts and info in this thread.

WOW!  THAT is alot of stuff to keep record of!

You won't have any time for running trains! Laugh

Good luck with that,

Oh, and welcome to the forums!

Mike.

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Posted by rrinker on Friday, December 20, 2019 4:12 PM

 The CarCard database by Dave Husman that I always mention in these threads has pretty much all of that info already in there. It's not that big a deal or very time consuming to enter an individual car or loco. And, since all that info is already in there, all you need to do is add your industries and it will generate car cards and/or switch lists for you to operate once the layout is built. 

 I didn't have quite so much to enter in the first time, but once caught up it's a quick job to enter a new purchase into the database.

                                --Randy


Modeling the Reading Railroad in the 1950's

 

Visit my web site at www.readingeastpenn.com for construction updates, DCC Info, and more.

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Posted by GearsMcT on Friday, December 20, 2019 5:42 PM

Thanks for the welcome. I've no doubt I'm overthinking, too!  :D 

In the interest of being thorough, that seemed about as comprehensive a list as I could come up with based on the little of modern RR I've taken in these past months.  I didn't even think to add a DCC spread in there til just now...

On the other hand and as the saying sort of goes, if you're going to do it, do it right the 1st time.  Adding a category down the road then backlogging an even bigger stockpile is typically much more a pain than the up front cost.  Luckily, my wife would slather her chops at all the info to input.  Carcard, will keep in mind!

As to time, I have plenty now as I have little more than a loop of track and the kitchen floor to lay it on.   And cats.  While the volume of work seems large now, once done, new entries would take 'moments'.

At this time, my modeler skills come into play with repairs, re-paints, graffitti, age, weathering, assembly-disassembly, glue, plastic and general maintenance; practice some diorama work learning static grass and other relevant landscaping techniques.

On the electronics side, I get to combine my nascent arduino abilities learned from droid building and apply them to track operations.  The little I know of arduino and digitrax, NCE  and the like, I wonder if my particular situation allows or even encourages a ground-up, DIY approach.

I'll save my particulars for an introduction thread, but yes mutl-gauge, run-them-even-if-theyre-wonky-out-of-spec just for sake and fun of running trains is my general vision.  Only salvage would be 'offline' and even then, integrated back into the mis-en-scene for atmosphere.

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Posted by Medina1128 on Saturday, December 21, 2019 11:33 AM

I use a program called RRTrains2000.exe You can download it from:
 http://www.gregorybraun.com/RRTrains.html

 

 

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Posted by Walkin Stick on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 2:40 PM
The Gregory Braun site is gone.
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Posted by Overmod on Tuesday, May 19, 2020 5:16 PM

Walkin Stick
The Gregory Braun site is gone...

but download.cnet.com and a couple of other (perhaps dodgier) sites still claim to allow or mirror download of version 2.8 of this program - I believe it was last updated sometime in 2013, for nominal compatibility with Windows 8.

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Posted by fwright on Saturday, May 23, 2020 12:18 PM

Maybe not a consideration for some - we recently had discussions at my club about that last train ride. About half of us at one point or another have had to help with disposing of a collection for somebody (usually a widow). In my case, my dad had me dispose of his model trains while he was still alive.

Regardless of the situation, if you use an inventory program that is not in common use - one of the spreadsheet programs - another person is going to spend more than a few minutes figuring out how your database is set up, and how to get the necessary reports out of it. I was taught early on to NEVER EVER use a spreadsheet for a database, but in this particular case that advice is wrong. Most computer literate folks can conduct searches, sorts, and view all the fields used in a spreadsheet. But doing that with a poorly or undocumented database is another story (is there such a thing as a well-documented database?)

For that reason, and that reason alone, I will do any inventory of my train stuff - which I really should do to help out my wife - in Excel or the Libre (Open) Office spreadsheet.

Fred W

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