Working on the railroad….

I haven’t recently ran on the layout, nor have I been working on it for about two weeks now. The major reason for this was major surgery a little over two weeks now, so my body has been out of commission. However my brain has not.

While recuperating and healing, I’ve been working on a program for the railroad I believe developed by a Tom Edwards called STS. STS stands for Shipper driven Traffic Simulator. Without going into two much technical detail, this program basically lets you develop, print, and use waybills and switchlists  for your layout, plus in real time through either a desktop at your layout or on a mobile device let you input pickups and set outs as you’re running your train. The program also will compile car management reports, shipper forecasts, forecasts of how many cars of each type are needed on your railroad for operating sessions, and more.

The program does take a lot of time inputting information into its database, but once there, it’s pretty cool what it will put together for you. One aspect of the program will allow you to print a color-coded waybill that’s quite different from the standard car cards available out there.

I’ve been working on this now for a little over a week, and I’m just about ready to start printing waybills and switchlists for use, whether for an operating session, or an individual session. I’ve posted several photos below of number one, the form showing all the shipments possible on the layout, and second, the preparation work just before printing out a switchlist. I’ll start with the photo below. These are a part of all the shipments possible on my Hitop, showing a computer code much like you’d see today as a train symbol, the next column shows the route. For example, the second line shows a routing from Arcata California from Sierra Pacific with a load of lumber going from Arcata-Dickinson yard-Alloy, with a final destination of the team track at Alloy to be unloaded by Carnahan Home Improvement Company of Alloy. Photo below:

The second photo below shows the cars that have been ordered by shippers for the Spring Street job, and Hitop mine turn, which is listed under “select job” in the far left column. The color coding is for each major station on the layout, dark blue for Hitop, grey for Spring Street. As soon as I hit the “build” key just off camera, this will build two switchlists, one for the Spring Street job, and one for the Hitop turn.


This looks to be an interesting program to test and use. I may use this in conjunction with my current car cards as well, but I’ve yet to start testing and experimenting. Hopefully this will start later this week! I’ll update how the program works, so stay tuned!

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