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Operation Software

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  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Operation Software
Posted by Anonymous on Sunday, January 11, 2004 9:27 AM
I would like to purchase one of the various operation software packages available on the market today. Can someone recommend or offer some pro's and con's to the these softwares packages? Thanks
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: North Central Illinois
  • 1,458 posts
Posted by CBQ_Guy on Monday, January 12, 2004 12:37 PM
Hi,

The little bit I've looked into ops software I've learned that they vary greatly in level of complexity/adherence to prototype practice. So the first question you have to ask yourself is exactly how involved do your want your operations to be. Also, most if not all of these programs require you to think through your ops plan IN DETAIL prior to setting up the program as you have to literally tell it EVERYTHING you want your ops to do so the software has all the info it needs. Realise this will take a lot of time to think about (potentially FUN), and also a lot of time to enter it all into the computer during the initial set up (potentially not so much fun).

Opinions will vary widely on which is the best, etc., but my list of the ops software I am aware of or have read up some on are based on level of complexity to set up and use - at least how it appears to ME. My list, therefore, goes from what I've ASSumed are the simplest up to the most involved.

RailOP
Ship-It
Interchange
ProTrak

I know there are others, but can't recall them all from memory, or I haven't looked into them that much. For example, the above would seem to indicate that RailOP is the simplest or easiest of all. But I know that's not true, there are others I would rank in level of complexity lower than RailOP because in the past I have decided that for ME, RailOP seemed to be a good middle of the road program - not too easy/simple - but definitely not too complex/hard. In fact, if I were to purchase Ops software today, RailOP would be MY choice.

One example of potential problems/complexity I've heard is that Ship-It has a "balancing" problem trying to get it all to work right over multiple sections. Having said that, I have also heard that there is some sort of recent balancing fix available for the program. I've also heard that support for Ship-It is so so.

Having said all that, I haven't abandoned the idea of just using cards because they offer the most flexiblity and ease of use, and it's been said that car cards/waybill ops are self-correcting. The only down side to their use, at least for me with Rheumatoid Arthritis disease, is trying to manipulate them all with my hands and hoping I didn't drop them a lot! Sure would be nice to have a single sheet of paper, or two at most, to carry and just read my drops and picks from.

Finally, realise that there are email groups you can join to ask questions and have problems solved for, I believe, all these programs. So you're not just left hanging out there all alone. Some and possibly all of these lists include the writer of the software as a group member, so you can info and assistance "straight from the horses mouth", as they say. I know with ProTrak, RailOP, and Interchange this is the case.

I don't have the names handy of the various software program vendors, but a search on your favorite search engine should yield them for you. I DO know that ProTrak's web site is at <http://www.protrak.cc> and RailOP is <railop.com>, so that should get you started. BTW, I think ProTrack is the most expensive of the group, but realise that AFAIK this is the most involved of the group AND you get life time FREE updates as they become available.

Hope this bit of info is useful to you.

Take care,
"Paul [Kossart] - The CB&Q Guy" [In Illinois] ~ Modeling the CB&Q and its fictional 'Illiniwek River-Subdivision-Branch Line' in the 1960's. ~
  • Member since
    September 2003
  • From: North Central Illinois
  • 1,458 posts
Posted by CBQ_Guy on Monday, January 12, 2004 12:42 PM
Forgot to mention that very nicely printed up car cards, pockets, waybills, etc., similar to the old McFall ones so often cited in the hobby press of old, have recently become available from Micro Mark.
go to:

<http://micromark.com/>

type CARDS into the By Keyword box at the top of the page and resulting search result gets you into the ballpark.

Best,
"Paul [Kossart] - The CB&Q Guy" [In Illinois] ~ Modeling the CB&Q and its fictional 'Illiniwek River-Subdivision-Branch Line' in the 1960's. ~
  • Member since
    April 2003
  • 305,206 posts
Posted by Anonymous on Monday, January 12, 2004 3:49 PM
[Thank You for your input, There is really allot to think about before I make a final decision. I have not ruled out a card system as of yet.]Originally posted by CBQ_Guy[/i]

Hi,

The little bit I've looked into ops software I've learned that they vary greatly in level of complexity/adherence to prototype practice. So the first question you have to ask yourself is exactly how involved do your want your operations to be. Also, most if not all of these programs require you to think through your ops plan IN DETAIL prior to setting up the program as you have to literally tell it EVERYTHING you want your ops to do so the software has all the info it needs. Realise this will take a lot of time to think about (potentially FUN), and also a lot of time to enter it all into the computer during the initial set up (potentially not so much fun).

Opinions will vary widely on which is the best, etc., but my list of the ops software I am aware of or have read up some on are based on level of complexity to set up and use - at least how it appears to ME. My list, therefore, goes from what I've ASSumed are the simplest up to the most involved.

RailOP
Ship-It
Interchange
ProTrak

I know there are others, but can't recall them all from memory, or I haven't looked into them that much. For example, the above would seem to indicate that RailOP is the simplest or easiest of all. But I know that's not true, there are others I would rank in level of complexity lower than RailOP because in the past I have decided that for ME, RailOP seemed to be a good middle of the road program - not too easy/simple - but definitely not too complex/hard. In fact, if I were to purchase Ops software today, RailOP would be MY choice.

One example of potential problems/complexity I've heard is that Ship-It has a "balancing" problem trying to get it all to work right over multiple sections. Having said that, I have also heard that there is some sort of recent balancing fix available for the program. I've also heard that support for Ship-It is so so.

Having said all that, I haven't abandoned the idea of just using cards because they offer the most flexiblity and ease of use, and it's been said that car cards/waybill ops are self-correcting. The only down side to their use, at least for me with Rheumatoid Arthritis disease, is trying to manipulate them all with my hands and hoping I didn't drop them a lot! Sure would be nice to have a single sheet of paper, or two at most, to carry and just read my drops and picks from.

Finally, realise that there are email groups you can join to ask questions and have problems solved for, I believe, all these programs. So you're not just left hanging out there all alone. Some and possibly all of these lists include the writer of the software as a group member, so you can info and assistance "straight from the horses mouth", as they say. I know with ProTrak, RailOP, and Interchange this is the case.

I don't have the names handy of the various software program vendors, but a search on your favorite search engine should yield them for you. I DO know that ProTrak's web site is at <http://www.protrak.cc> and RailOP is <railop.com>, so that should get you started. BTW, I think ProTrack is the most expensive of the group, but realise that AFAIK this is the most involved of the group AND you get life time FREE updates as they become available.

Hope this bit of info is useful to you.

Take care,

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