CJR "Bison Division" Switchlist Generator Program

 (Microsoft Excel)

    Here is an overview of a switchlist program I developed from code posted on the "Model Railroad Hobbyist Magazine" website. The program was written by Mike Rose. The "beauty" of his program is, not having to maintain a database or enter any car numbers into the program. It was ideally suited for use on my small switching layout, which features one town serviced equally by two railways. As well the layout it utilizes only one, maybe two operators max. Well done Mr. Rose !

Check it out in at the address shown below.



    Mike encouraged users to customize the program to suit their individual needs. I modified it for use on the "Portage la Prairie" section of my CJR "Bison Division" HO layout. I made very few changes to the functionality aspects of the original program. The program was expanded to 5 pages. These additional pages serve to collect/calculate data that cumulates in a somewhat prototypical switchlist, which is designed to be printed out.

Here's a brief synopsis of how each page works . . .

    The screen shot below shows the page "tabs" in my program. They are shown in the order in which the program operates. The first two pages (green tabs) require some simple input before each session  The next two pages (red tabs) do the calculations necessary to create a switchlist, based on data previously entered (when you setup the program to your own personnel specifications) and the data you just entered on the green pages. The last page (yellow tab) is your completed switchlist.




   "Start" tab is the "starting ticket or time card" which requires the input of crew name(s), engine number(s) and the "checking off" of the job assignment. The current date and time are entered automatically.



  "EOS" tab is the "end of shift conductors report" which requires that the locations of all cars spotted during the last operating session be marked with a "x". This step is mandatory to ensure the correct operation of the program. The next step would to enter any "crew notes" from the "switchlist" into the "additional moves requested" spaces at the bottom of this form. They in turn are included in the next sessions switchlist.

   The example shown below came about due to the temporary lack of space at MPE "B" elevator. The car was temporarily stored at the MPE "A" elevator, therefore the next shift will be re-spotting the hopper back at its original assigned location.


  "Setup" tab is where the "setup data is stored and calculated". After the initial input of data, you would seldom need to refer to this page. This code is the heart of Mikes program and remains pretty much unchanged.



  "Actions" tab is where the "additional moves request(s)"  (from conductors reports) are stored /sorted and directed to the correct switchlist. Secondly, I used a random number generator to randomly place various "site instructions" into the switchlist. This should introduce some prototypical flavor into the mix. Again after the initial setup, you would seldom need to make any changes to this page.



  "CN CP Print" tab displays the resulting "switchlist" / printout. We are now ready start switching the layout. Grab your throttle and "get at 'er"


   I should mention that my original concept was to have one crew (a private contractor, CJR "Bison Division of course !) do the switching for both railways using CN power. I plan on making changes to  both the "start" and "printout" pages to reflect a second crew/railway (CPR). This will be an "optional function", mainly for use when 2 operators will be switching the layout.  It only makes sense to use "one" switchlist for both CN and CP railways as interchanging cars between the two railways is such a big part of the operations at Portage la Prairie, MB.



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