Switch List Application

I’ve been working on a new switch list operations application. The application only needs to provide basic information. I just need to know what cars are where, and where they are going next. And maybe car type and length.

I built the application with a WordPress plug-in called DB-Tookit. It interfaces with the mySQL database back end and helps build the front in forms and UI. It’s a fairly good program, but I’ve run in to a few limitations. For instance, I haven’t been able to select out multiple fields from a joined table. I know how to do it in SQL, but DB-Toolkit doesn’t have an interface to write your own queries. My main goal with DB-Toolkit is to have an effective database interface for the back end.

I’d like to have a nice web-based front end interface that will present the user with sortable track lists; with the capability to sort cars by drag and drop from track to track. I found a couple of JQuery drag & drop scripts to try this out. The most promising is Touch Punch, because it also supports touch gestures like on iPad/iPhone. http://furf.com/exp/touch-punch/ I Especially like the Sortable lists, or a combination of them. Another example: http://furf.com/exp/touch-punch/examples/sortable/handle-empty-lists.html.

Of course when a user updates the sortable track lists, I’d like to enter that data back to the database. Before I get deeper into this project, I need to decide if I really want to take the time to learn relearn PHP and Javascript to develop a decent app. I don’t want to get to far off course.

Other Programs

Before I started developing the switch list application I took a hard look at what existed. I spent a few days working with Easy Model Railroad Inventory but I don’t think it will suit my needs. I really like a program called SwitchList, but it is only available for Mac OS X 10.5, I have a PC. I’ve also tried building a program with OpenOffice Database & Spreadsheet, but I’d really like this to have a web interface.

Jan 082012
 
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 13

Industrial Lead 13

Track Plan Updates
  • Moved Franz Bakery to the west side.
  • Moved the yard to the west side.
  • Rearranged Cargill turnout.
  • Rerranged PCC turnout.
  • Added a smll runaround.
  • Added industry Seaport Steel.
  • Added industry Terinal 115
  • Moved all shelves in to 18″ or 16″.
  • Eliminated Seattle Pottery.

 

Instead of detailing each iteration of the track plan, I’ve skipped ahead to Track Plan #13. This does stray some from the prototype track arrangements, but I think it’s as honest as can be given the space and desired industries.

I’ve added a runaround and two additional industries to make it more challenging. Seaport Steel is located on the South Leg of the West Seattle WYE. It takes falt cars with steel plates and shapes. Terminal 115 is located in West Seattle, at the end of the Avenue. It takes a lot of random specialty loads; including flat cars with machinery, flat cars with pipes.

I’ve decided it’d be best to keep the shelves under 18″. I had planned on modelling Seattle Pottery on the North side of the Hole tracks, but I decided it would be difficult to couple and uncouple cars with this building in the way. I still have PCC logistics in front of the tracks, but I think I’m willing to live with the difficulty of coupling and uncoupling here, because I ‘ll be mostly pulling and spotting the entire track at once.

I’ve moved the yard so it is next to Seattle lighting and moved the Odom Lead to function as an actual lead track. I think this arrangement gives me the optimum storage space and switching realism. In real life there is no yard and the Odom Lead is adjacent to Seattle Lighting and stubs out at Hanford Street.

 

Track Plan 03

 Posted by Greg Amer at 2:21 pm  Track Plan  No Responses »
Jan 052012
 
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 03

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 03

Track Plan Updates

I’ve refined the plan to incorporate an Odom Lead Spur, a runaround. It’d be nice to have a little extra operational opportunity) , an extra industry and moved PCC Logistics North. I’ve added more detail and labels to the plan.

 

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Track Plan 02

 Posted by Greg Amer at 2:17 pm  Track Plan  No Responses »
Jan 052012
 
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 02

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 02

Track Plan Updates
  • Rearranged the lead track to avoid running it through the wall in to the closet. This will make it easier to switch. It also makes the yard larger. And eliminates 22″ radius curve in favor of a 24″ radius curve.
  • Added depth to the west side where the window sill is. This extra depth will make it easier to model the barrel roofed Seattle Lighting.

 

Jan 052012
 
Track Plan - Industrial Lead 01

Track Plan - Industrial Lead 01

Track Plan Updates

I’ve decided to eliminate the runaround and go with a more prototypical track arrangement. Especially “The Hole”.I’ve also changed the name from the fictitious Oriental Lead to prototypical Industrial Lead.

 
Track Plan - Oriental Lead 1

Track Plan - Oriental Lead 1

I am designing a modern day HO industrial layout. The layout is inspired by my experiences railroading in Seattle. It will feature Seattle industries that I am familiar with and have worked at as a railroad engineer.
What I want.

  1. Lots of Switching
  2. Modern day equipment like:
    • 70-20 Reefers because these things look awesome tagged up and weathered.
    • Pressure Aide Hoppers. I see alot of these.
    • Corn Syrup tank cars. Sweet.
  3. “The Hole”. Cargill’s Seattle Corn Syrup Transfer Facility.
  4. Tractors and Trailers.

Some of the places I’d like to model are:
PCC Logistics Occidental Street
This is at BNSF’s 2nd Ave or Occidental Yard. This place is a dead ringer for the Pikestuff Transfer Dock. It get’s tons of BNSF 82′ reefers. I’ll probably do it with 70-20 reefers or Trinity 64′ reefers.
The Hole
This is off of the Industrial Lead at BNSF Stacy Yard. Cargill’s Corn Syrup Transfer Facility. And Maxum Petroleum. This is a great switching puzzle with lot’s of spots and respots. Hard to keep track of because every car looks the same
Franz Bakery
This is on 5th Avenue on BNSF’s 7th Avenue Lead. It’s a great looking building and gets lot’s of hoppers.
All of these industries are in Seattle’s SODO area. They are all off of different leads and served by different jobs, but all of the jobs work out of BNSF Stacy Yard.
I’ve started with a track plan.

 

The plan includes the industries I mentioned plus a team track (still working on this idea). The plan also includes a small yard, because I want to have a place to take the cars to. I’ve oriented the plan to share as much lead and tail track as possible. Most of the leads are sufficiently long to accomodate the associated industries full compliment of cars (Except Cargill). The shelves are 20″ deep on the South and East sides. 14″ deep along the West side and 12″ deep on the North side.
The actual construction will be a combination of free standing benchwork and shelves.
Track will be primarily Peco code 83 Flex and #6 Insulfrog turnouts. ME code 70 Flex and #6 DCC Turnouts. DCC control. One block. 24″ minumum radius.
Locos will be goats and geeps and maybe SD40-2 if it runs OK through the 24″ radius turns.
Comments, questions and suggestions are welcome.

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