Model RailRoad Manager (tm), MRRM (tm), software provides model railroad Inventory, Maintenance and Waybill-based Traffic Generation. Advanced version includes Dispatcher, Fascia, Cab Panels Editor and Operations, Layout Locomotive, Turnout, Signal, Block Occupancy, and other sensor Control. Advanced edition also provides HyperThrottle Cabs that integrate rail traffic workload and layout control, Multi-layout Operations for virtual car forwarding between layouts, Remote Operations to drive trains from a distance, Web Cams, Internet features, and extended DCC support.

Frequently Asked Questions:

How do I navigate through the program?

The program menu is used to open windows. Each window contains one or more tabpages. Each tabpage is used to add, delete, or change data items related to specific program features such as rolling stock, track segments, industries, city/towns.

The workflow window tabpages (Workflow Diagrams menu item in the Help menu) guide you through the major functions of the program: Inventory Setup, Simple Car Cards and Waybills, Switchlists - Quick or Prototypically, Industry Activity, Train Planning, Train Workloads and Timetables, Maintenance Workflow, and Operating Session Generation. (Clicking the blue colored text on the right side of each tabpage, brings up the associated window and tabpage)

After you become familiar with the functions on each tabpage of the program, use the ‘RR Operations Consoles’ can be used to guide the major roles on your railroad: Conductor, Dispatcher, Yardmaster, Engineer, Freight Forwarder, Railroad Back Office, and Roundhouse Foreman.

What is the sequence for entering my layout information?

The ‘Quick Start’ document can help you get off to a good start.

Some tabpages have one or more ‘little windows’. How do I use these?

The little windows are called ‘panes’. Tabpages generally have one or more ‘panes’ to hold data of a particular type in your database. For example, the rolling stock tabpage has two panes: list and form. When the list pane is visible and active, the form pane is hidden and inactive, and vise-versa. Some tabpages have multiple panes visible at the same time. The active pane is the one just clicked with your mouse.

How do I add or change new data on a tabpage pane?

Most tabpages have a set of small buttons at the top to control the data for that tabpage. The four on the left act like VCR controls to advance to the First, Next, Previous, and Last entry in the active pane’s database table.

The ‘X’ button is used to cancel changes just made. The ‘A’ button is used to Add a new row of data in the database table controlled with that pane. The ‘D’ button is used to delete the current row. The ‘S’ button is used to save changes you have just made, if any. If these buttons are ‘grayed out’, they are not active at this time - they may be active on the form pane not the list pane.

The ‘Tbl’ button is used to switch from the form mode to the list or table mode.

There are a great many data items defined for this program. Do I have to use them all to use the program as a simulator or inventory tool?

The short answer is No. You only need to enter those data items that you want to use except for the data items which are shown when you click the check box on those pages where a minimum of data items are required (Checkbox and Black text on a Red background). Also, fewer data items are needed in Beginners mode, more for Intermediate mode and the most data items are required for Advanced mode.

Does your software support multiple railroads?

Yes, MRRM supports multiple railroads. There are two basic options: keep a database file for each road and swap them into the program path as needed. Second option: if they are of the same scale then you could create two divisions in the one database. Each division would have its own 'homed'

rolling stock and other assets. Later when you sharpen your MRRM skills, if you want to operate together (even if not physically adjoined trackage) you could define an interchange track on each layout that virtually ties the two railroads together and industries could work with one another across the interchange.

I am fairly proficient with FileMaker and Access. Does this database function in a fashion similar to these programs?

I have used FileMaker on a Mac as well as Access on a PC. These are both good databases for many applications. MRRM uses 'industrial strength' databases which share many of the features of Filmmaker and Access. MRRM uses the Sybase Adaptive Server Anywhere (ASA) database for its single user application and Oracle or other high end databases for mulit-user server applications. The MRRM program is written in the Sybase PowerBuilder language - often used to write financial /stock market applications.

Most of our rolling stock is already in a basic Access database, can MRRM import data from another file?

Yes, MRRM can import data files in tab delimited format.

MRRM includes extensive Input/Output capabilities including rolling stock, and other data element types. The program will output data in tab delimited format which can be read by spreadsheet programs such as Microsoft Excel as well as by database programs such as Access. If you enter a, say, rolling stock record or two in MRRM and then output them to a flat file using MRRM's features and next read that file with Excel, you can quickly ascertain the sequence of the data elements. I recommend a spreadsheet program like Excel since the blank data elements are readily discoverable.

I believe that you can output data from Access and import that data into Excel. Then it is a relatively simple matter of rearranging the columns into the MRRM required sequence to then input the data into MRRM. 

As a railroad grows and changes is it easy to make changes to shippers, sidings, yard sizes, etc. and add additional elements?

You can add shippers, cars and other elements at any time. Siding lengths can be redefined at any time. Including when the sessions are being generated for tonight's operations if you want. Individual industries can be stopped or started at any time.

How do I start a new database with only my own info, not the included sample data?

To get rid of my records use the 'D' button to delete them. Or, start from scratch by copying the Blank Database file from its directory onto the C:\MRRM directory after moving or renaming the current database file.

Some of the screens have letters in the menu bar that I haven't found explained yet. They are: "A" for add, "S" for save (?), "D" for duplicate (?) and "X" for lord knows what (delete?).

The X, A, D, and S keys are crucial to using the program. I will have to update the documentation no doubt about it. These keys are discussed in the User's Guide, an Adobe PDF file, I believe under the navigating section. I'll summarize here.

When the XADS buttons are black (not gray) then they are active. They refer to the pane you last touched with the mouse - this is commonly referred to as focus in Windows programs.

To add a new record in say the Rolling Stock inventory, click the mouse anywhere on the window pane where the data is displayed. Then click the button labeled Frm (Form or Template screen mode).

A single record is displayed and the XADS buttons change from gray to black ( active).

Click the A button with the mouse to add a new record. A form with labels but no data is displayed. You can now enter the data for the cars and locomotives by tabbing through the form and adding the information. Click the S button to save the information.

The D button will delete the entire record shown. The X button Cancels the Add operation. When you are finished adding inventory records, click the Tbl button to return to the table or list mode of display. The XADS buttons will now be gray (not black) and inactive.

In many areas of the program the table and form modes are used to summarize and add/edit data respectively. In other parts of the program the XADS buttons are black while in table mode. This means that there is no form mode of entry and that you can add/edit information right on the table display format.

Refer to the User's Guide for a recap of XADS and table and form modes.

I am listing the Current Stops with cars in place presuming ( again ) the program will be able to handle cars on sites when it starts. If this is not the case please tell me!

You should NOT specify the current stop of any cars at this time. You should assign the homeyard stop of each car, however. Cars will be assigned locations during operations. There is also a 'scatter' option to pre-locate cars of the appropriate AARcode at shipper sidings.

How about defining a list of terms including the following: Waybill, manifest, schedule, switchlist, extras, shipper, consignee, spot, pickups, setouts, commodities, lading, consists, etc. Understanding these operating terms would ensure everyone is on the same page.

A Microsoft Word compatible glossary file (MRRM_Glossary.doc) is now provided on the CD ROM.

Is there anyway to print the "Workflow" files in Help.

You can use the windows screen print button to capture the workflow info on screen to the clipboard, then use Microsoft paint program to print it. The actual text for the workflows are in microsoft word readable x.RTF files in the C:MRRM directory. You can copy them to another subdirectory then open them in Word and print them.


My layout is continuous with staging hooking up to both "ends" so there is really only one staging yard serving both ends of the line. There is also one yard on the modeled portion of the railroad. It acts as a division point where off line shipments are classified for delivery to on line industries and vice-versa. Suppose the shipment comes from off-line, does this mean staging is the "home yard" for that car? Also, my staging does not allow manipulation of consists as it is accessible only for rerailing, etc. Train makeup must take place in the on line yard.

Every piece of rolling stock to be used in Operations must have a home yard. If you do not want certain rolling stock to be selected for an operations task (e.g. a collectible), mark its status as "Out of Service" - a checkbox on the rolling stock inventory form.

A home yard stop is the main stop at the home yard. The home yard is one or more tracks defined as having 'rail class' equal to 'yard track' in the rail siding tabpage on the same window as the rolling stock. To get started you only need to define yard track, industrial track for each industries, and interchange track. You can define the main yard stop with a default name using the button on the siding inventory tabpage or define one separately on the stop inventory tabpage.

Each citytown must have a homeyard stop assigned to it. If you define your divisions, then citytowns, then sidings, then stops - you have to go back to the citytown inventory and add the homeyard stop. This annoying sequence is unavoidable at this time.

There a several alternatives for your yards that you can try. Staging yards are just yards. My first suggestion is that you create three yards - the two staging yards and the main yard. All three yards can be in the same division. (Later might try defining them in different divisions connected by interchange tracks).

The staging yards are natural destinations/origins for industries that are off layout. Initially try setting the on-line classification yard as the home yard for rolling stock and just use the staging yard for off layout industries. Assign stops at all layout industries in citytowns served by the on line classification yard. If you decide to assign car homeyards from all three yards, then cars will be ordered by the online yard from the other yards if no cars are available for a shipment.

You will need to define local trains that serve the on-layout industry shippers and consignees. You will also need to run way freights between the staging yards and the on-line yard if all in same division. If you define interchanges, then fast freights will have to be defined to move cars between yards on different divisions or across interchanges.

I would expect that all "foreign" road cars would have a "home yard" off line, correct?

Yes, 'Foreign' cars should be homed at one of your staging yards or you could define an interchange track(s) as the home for foreign cars. In general, a home yard stop would be either a yard stop or an interchange track stop.

When is midnight: 24:00 or 00:00?

MRRM uses 00:00 as midnight, the beginning of a new day. Industry time is kept as Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). GMT has been around for most of the train era. GMT has been replaced in recent years by a comparable metric and a different name. Using a normed time, like GMT, will facilitate inter-model railroad shipments in the future Internet version of MRRM since everyone everywhere (on this planet) can use GMT and not their local time for their Industry operations.

What lists can I delete? As I operate, I build up lists of "car order queues (by yard)," "manifests," "train schedules," "switch list id's" and "train manifests status manifests listings," among other lists. What ones can I delete and when so it that won't hinder the normal operation of the software? How?

Shipments can be deleted when they are ‘Completed’. Individual shipments are deleted using the ‘D’ key on the Form pane for the shipment. A date picker and button are provided on the shipment tabpage to delete all shipments completed before/by the specified date.

Car Order Queue entries can be deleted when the status is changed from ‘On Order’ to ‘Shipping’. Single and multiple delete options are provided.

Waybills, Manifests, Base Schedules, Train Schedules and Switchlists can be deleted when the associated Train is run and the Switchlist is printed, if desired. Each type of data can be deleted individually using the ‘D’ button on the List/Table pane if active; otherwise using the ‘D’ button on the Form pane. Each of these data tables also have capability for bulk deletion based on date and completed status using buttons on the respective tabpage.

Why does the same car occasionally appear twice on a fast freight switchlist?

This is normal for fast freights since when they go through an interchange they are set out and picked up so to speak. In the old days, the waybills had to be stamped by the interchanging railroads to signify responsibility transfer or access permission to use the other Division's rails.

In the internet version, a handoff to the other division and its locos occurs at the interchange. The first division sets out the cars and the second division picks up the car.

I unchecked the "ignore siding full" in the switch lists box. This now keeps my passing siding/interchange (yard) filled with the max cars, but no overload. The down side is that traffic is barely moving on the layout.

You probably need to run more fast freights that pick up the cars at the interchange and deliver them to their destination. Remember that if the destination is off layout, you must manually remove the cars when they arrive at the interchange!

Is the un/load times multiplied by the number of cars per batch by the software or by my manual entries? (i.e. If I set the order for 2 cars every 24hrs. with an un/load time of 8hrs., would the software consider it to be a total of 16hrs. un/load time or or just 8hrs. for both cars?)

Keep in mind that the order comes from the Consignee and the shipment comes from the Shipper.

In your scenario, the Consignee orders two cars every 24 hours. The shipper manufactures cars loads according to its batch specification. If the shipper produces 2 car loads every 24 hours then the shipper will honor the orders once the Shipper has the inventory and the order is accepted.

Allowing a random time for Shipper back office processing of between 15 minutes and 45 minutes, the Shipper will order two empties from the local yard serving the Shipper. If the empties are already setting on the Shipper’s siding, they will be assigned by the Yard back office and can be loaded. Otherwise, the two cars will be sent from the home yard to the Shipper on the next local visiting the Shipper, if they are available. Otherwise the cars are ordered from any other yards in the division or in other divisions.

Once the cars are available to the Shipper, the Loading time for the batch of cars is specified by you. If the load time is constant at 8 hours, then both cars will be filled within the same 8 hour time. If a delta is also specified, the load time will be randomly chosen within the specified load time interval. For example, if you specify mean load time at 8 hours and delta time at 1 hour then the load time will be randomly assigned from 7 to 9 hours.

Once the cars are loaded, the local will send the next local (regular or extra) that visits that Shipper to go and pick up the two cars. The local will bring those two cars to the local’s home yard for scheduling to the Consignee.

If the Consignee is served by the same home yard as the home yard serving the Shipper, then the next local that stops at the Consignee will bring the two cars to the Consignee. (if there is room at the siding and if the maximum number of cars allowed on the train can accommodate these two cars).

After the Consignee receives the two cars, the unload time specification is used to determine when the next local can come by and pick up the empties. The unload time, again, specifies the total time to unload the batch.

Is there any way we can force the software to leave the cars in the sidings?

Cars assigned to Shippers, can stay at the Shipper’s siding until an order is accepted from a Consignee. You can set the Shipper cars ‘Shipper Car Reorder’ to the number of cars that will fit on the Shipper’s siding.

Also, you can define the Shipper’s industrial siding as the home yard for several cars (if they fit). This has the effect of reusing the same cars over and over if you otherwise have a large pool of cars with the needed AAR code, however.

For Consignees, once they have unloaded the car(s), the local’s back office will order a local to bring back the empty cars to its home yard - if there is room! Set the unload time to a very large number if you do not want the servicing yard to schedule pick up for a while.

Currently, the only way to force unassigned freight cars to stay at a stop is to change its status to ‘Out of Service’ Downside is that ‘Out of Service’ cars are not included in siding space calculation - possibly leading to overloaded industrial sidings.

If you change a car status from any state but ‘Unassigned’ to ‘Out of Service’, you will corrupt the operations.

I have two sidings within my elevator grounds. I could use one as a 5-6 car yard, but I would only want covered hoppers being setout on that track. I also have a small segment in another area that could be used for storage of 2-3 cars, but again, I would only want cars from the immediate industries being setout there.

You could assign the industrial siding as the ‘home yard’ for 5 or 6 covered hoppers in the first case. Similarly the other industrial siding could be assigned as ‘home yard for 2 or 3 cars of the appropriate AAR code. The software will generate moves as necessary to return those specific cars to those specific industries via local freights.

Can you provide a glossary of terms used with Model RailRoad Manager?

A glossary in MS Word format is now available. A version viewable with a web browser is now available from within the MRRM menu.

To properly calculate siding space, the actual length of each car must be included on the inventory record for the car. How do I measure car length?

Measure in inches the distance between the center of the coupler knuckle on each end. Typically this is about 1.5 to 2 prototype feet from the end of the car body on each end. A forty foot car then would measure 43 to 44 prototype feet. At HO scale of 87:1, this gives a length of 5.93 to 6.07 inches. In N scale the car length would be 3.23 to 3.3 inches.

How large does a yard have to be for good operations?

As large as possible! Avoid placing cars in your yard which are not appropriate for operations. For example, if you do not have industries that buy and sell refrigerated goods from each other, do not waste yard space holding these type of cars. Set out cars not used in operations at sidings that are not part of operations or remove them from the layout unless you have a very large yard compared to your rolling stock inventory at that yard.

On start-up if you scatter cars to shipper sidings, then you know that the first moves on the railroad will likely be to move full cars from these shippers to their servicing yard. Be sure that you have enough space for all of these cars coming in or your cars will be stuck at the shipper’s dock awaiting space to be freed up - a lot of small trains may have to be run in this event. I would suggest at least 75% empty yards at startup with a scattering of cars.

If you do not scatter car, then initial moves will likely require empties to be moved from the yard to the shipper industries needing them. In this case, I would suggest at least a 50% empty yard at startup.

Should locomotives and cabooses share the home yard with your freight and passenger cars?

Sure, if your yard is big enough. Generally I set aside a few sidings which are separate from the servicing yard, as home stops for locomotives and cabooses.

When Preventative Maintenance (PM) is triggered by usage count, how is the usage counter for a piece of rolling stock incremented?

The PM usage counter in the inventory record for a Locomotive or caboose is incremented when the Dispatcher runs the train and acknowledges completion. For freight and passenger cars, the counter is incremented when the car on a manifest's waybill is set out.

On the Report popup window I can direct output to a file in Excel, Text or HTML formats. Where are these files placed?

The files are placed in the ‘PDA’ subdirectory under the ‘MRRM’ directory.

In the rolling stock inventory record, what does ‘Out of Service’ mean?

‘Out of Service’ means that this piece of rolling stock is not useable for any operations. You might use this state for your prized pieces that you do not want to run during operating sessions. Also, when the program computes siding space consumed by cars set out there, ‘Out of Service’ car lengths are not included in the calculation. ‘Out of Service’ cars should be moved to sidings not typically used in operating sessions or removed from the layout.

If an empty is loaned by a foreign yard, how is it returned when empty?

All cars have a default ‘Return when Empty’ specification. The Empty (MT) return location is the home yard stop specified in the car’s inventory record. If a car is loaned from, say a yard two interchanges away from the shipper, the program will arrange for its to be moved from the foreign yard to the shipper’s yard and then it will be moved from the shipper’s yard to the shipper to load the required commodity. The shipment progresses as is normal. Say that the Consignee is one interchange away from the Shipper. The program will arrange for the movement to the Consignee via the required interchange, possibly requiring multiple trains to accomplish this move. When the Consignee empties the car, the program moves the MT to the Consignee’s servicing yard which is not the Home Yard for the car. The program recognizes this condition and creates a multiple leg shipment to move the MT car to its real home yard via the up to three interchanges necessary to get it there. If a fast freight between the yards does not exist, then multiple train moves will be required to get the MT home!

When is the Next Stop field in the rolling stock inventory used?

It is not (fully) used in the current version. The next stop for a piece of rolling stock is based on the manifests and their waybills and run times. This field in the inventory record should be ignored at this time.

When is the horsepower value in an inventory record for a locomotive used?

If you use the ‘Power on Grade’ feature for a train, the power of the Consist’s locomotives are summed then multiplied by the scenario power factor to get the ‘pulling power of the train. The full weights of all rolling stock including locomotives, caboose, and freight cars must be specified. For freight cars the empty weight in the inventory is added to the net weight in the waybill for the car to get the total weight of the car. If the pulling power is not adequate for the grade in the selected scenario, then a warning is issued.

If the AAR code for my car is not included, can I add my own?

Yes! You can enter any code that fits in the field. But, we recommend that you stick to authorized American Association of Railroad (or other standard) codes if you intend to use the Internet features in the future since standards are needed for inter-operation.

If the needed lading for my industries is not included, can I add my own?

Yes! We will be establishing a set of standard lading naming conventions for Internet operations to ensure reliable inter-operation, however. These names may be based on Standard Industrial Codes (SIC) as used for international freight movements.

In the Industry Goods Buy and Sell pane, there are deltas for cars, load time and batch time. Why should I use these?

After you configure the program for your industries, you may want to have the program generate more variation in otherwise recurring activities. These deltas provide for some variability in individual industry activity. Other things you can do is to stop an industry from working for a few sessions or add another industry that competes with an existing industry for a Consignee’s business and the like.

Do I have to use the automated generation features to create shipments that make waybills that are used on manifests, schedules, and switchlists?

No! After you become familiar with MRRM, you can create your own shipments and shipment legs. In the advanced mode, buttons are provided to find empty cars for leg 0 and to arrange returns for leg 99. Using manual shipment making, you can introduce intermodal activity such as nine containers of car parts from a British manufacturer via British rail to a UK seaport to a US seaport to a US railroad to a US trucking company to a Canadian industry. This may not be possible on a single model railroad! However, what if you and some friends scattered around the world each modeled a piece of this scenario and you could coordinate inter-operation via the Internet?

If I invite some friends over to operate my railroad, can I personalize my sessions for this day when I may have different friends or friends doing different jobs the next time I hold an operating session on my railroad?

Sure! Add the new Friends to your Actors list. For a given train, reassign the Actors who will play the various Railroad Employee roles for the day’s session. Print out badges and switchlists with the roles identified. Recall that Friends can bring their rolling stock to your session if they coordinate with you prior to the session.

The Schedule Rules pane on the Trains tabpage changes for Locals versus Way versus Fast Freights? What is this all about?

Local freights are restricted to certain Citytowns in a single Division. The Schedule rules list the sequence of Citytowns that this train can visit in the specified Division. The same Citytown can be visited going out from as well as coming back to the yard if you prefer. Also if you choose, some towns may not be visited by certain locals even though they could logically be served - more variability.

Way freights are restricted to going between two yards or a yard and an interchange in the same Division. No rules are listed in this pane for Way freights since the entire train is defined by the origin and destination yard/interchange point pair.

Fast Freights can travel and stop at any yard or interchange reachable on your layout. Multiple Divisions are supported on a single train. The Schedule Rules pane lists the Yard and Interchange stop sequence for a Fast Freight (aka Manifest Freight, Through Freight)

What is the ‘mrrm.ini’ file that is in the MRRM directory?

‘mrrm.ini’ contains various presets for the program. When the program is run, these values are referenced by certain internal function to guide it to do what you say you prefer it to do. A recent example for the ‘user’ section of this file is shown with explanations:



role=end user reserved for future use in multiple user configurations
skill_level=Advanced Beginner, Intermediate, or Advanced User mode. Activates selected features
initial=No turns off initial pop-up window. Set to Yes to reset to initial state
show_min_data=Yes set to No to turn off the checkboxes with ‘red’ background
make_pda_files=Yes set to No to disable PDA file creation
learning_mode=Yes Yes to show all reports and functions. No suppresses reports and functions not typically needed after you have configured MRRM to your needs and are using the configuration to generate your traffic.
train_car_arrival_leadtime=0:30 time that train will wait for air brake pump up before it departs
siding_a_warning_only=Yes set to No to cause offending waybills to be dropped from a manifest
full_empty_a_warning_only=Yes set to No to cause offending waybills to be dropped from a manifest
last_maintenance_ticket=2 information! controls number assigned to next maintenance ticket that you create. Use to manage multiple time period tracking. E.g. set initial number for tickets for each month or year
last_auto_shpmt_num=900000209 information! Controls shipment number assignments via automatic session generation
information_alert=On set to Off to turn off informational alerts on many functions
long_menus=Off Use short menus (default); set to On to use long menus
auto_ship=Yes Automatically assign MTs and create waybills automatically when railroad receives a Shipment contract from a Shipper
auto_order_car=Yes Automatically assign MTs from other yards when required by a yard
schedule_stop_dwell Amount of time a train will wait or spend moving cars about at a stop on the schedule

What does the ‘Suppress Information Alerts’ checkbox on the Setup tabpage do?

Some people dislike the large number of non-error messages that pop-up to tell you what the program is doing or to simply alert you about an event that occurred for your information. If you believe the program is too verbose, check this box to so indicate.

This checkbox also updates the associated entry in the ‘mrrm.ini’ file in the MRRM directory.

What scales does MRRM currently support?

N (160:1), HO (87:1), O (46:1), G (20:1), Z (220:1), S (64:1), ST (27:1), TT (120:1), OO (76:1), NE (148:1)

How do I use the Input/Output tabpage on the Administer menu?

You may output (export) or input (import) data for most MRRM tables as tab delimited text files. This may be one file at a time into/ or out-of any directory of your system.

These text files may be manipulated in a spreadsheet program such as Excel or by many databases such as Access. Using these third party tools may be beneficial when you are making a large number of changes to your data, such as adding car lengths, weights and the like. After you make the changes you can import the tab delimited tab file back into MRRM. Of course you can also use input/output to back up critical data for future restoration purposes.

Normally there are two backup/restore options: save/restore all the text files or save/restore the entire database.

To save all the text files, click the ‘Backup All Tables to Text Files’ button. This generates a tab delimited text file for each of the tables listed on the tabpage and puts them into the ‘Backup_Restore’ subdirectory overwriting any old files currently in the subdirectory. To restore the data to the database, click the ‘Restore All Tables to Text Files’ button.

To save the entire database, copy the ‘ModelRR_asa5.db’ file in the MRRM directory to some other directory. To restore the saved database, copy the ‘ModelRR_asa5.db’ file in the directory where you saved the file previously to the MRRM directory.

Why is the database called ‘ModelRR_asa5.db’ and why can’t I change the ID and password used to access the database?

ModelRR is obviously Model RailRoad. ‘asa5’ implies backward compatibility to Sybase ‘Adaptive Server Anywhere version 5.0 database specification. Currently we are using version 7.0 of asa. ‘db’ is the database name extension required by Sybase. Other databases may be offered in future versions of MRRM.

The required ID of ‘dba’ and password of ‘sql’ may be removed in the future. As it stands, you can ZIP your database and email it to us so that we can help you to debug your configuration when appropriate.

When is the ‘Check Data Integrity’ tabpage used?

If you cannot get your generate shipments or create manifests that allow you to run a train, chances are that you have data problems. Sometimes you type a value with different spelling or case notation (use a drop-down pick list whenever offered!). Sometimes you change your Divisions, Citytowns, etc. or forget to update some names.

Use this tabpage and the program will check all typical data spelling problems. Names that no longer exist will be flagged.

What does the ‘Add Daily Regular Trains’ button do?

For each calendar day you may click this button once. All ‘Regular/Scheduled’ trains are added to the manifest list with a status of ‘Not Ready’ and their start date to the day specified in the GMT value and start time to the time specified for the train.

You can also add individual regular or extra trains one at a time using the add button on the manifest ‘form’ pane.

How do you use the ‘View Queued Car Moves’ button?

The radio button in the ‘Cars to be Viewed’ box drives this feature. When the button is clicked, all eligible waybills of the appropriate type are picked and sorted according to origin and destination. This information may help you to plan your trains or check for cars ‘stuck’ somewhere and needing a train to come and get them. In which case, you may introduce an ‘Extra’ train to do just that unless this situation is expected to recur in which case you would define the new train as a ‘Regular/Schedule’ train.

How does the ‘Suggested Train Start Times’ button on the build Manifest tabpage work?

All ‘Eligible’ waybills for each local, way and fast train are examined. For each train that can have cars eligible to move, the start time, including waiting times for cars to fill/ empty plus time to pump up the air brakes (see MRRM.ini file), is calculated and displayed.

If you click on a row in this pane, you will be asked if you want to use an existing or create a cloned train to satisfy the time specification.

Typically you only use this feature when you first create trains and need some help defining what trains run when for optimum industry support. After they are established you would not typically use this function except to check if adjustments are needed for some reason such as industries added or removed, batch frequency and volume changed, and the like.

Why do some switchlists direct both a Pickup and a Setout of the same car at the same Stop?

If an empty is already parked at the Industry when it becomes assigned to a shipment activity, the Industry is not assumed to own their own switching locomotive at their siding (or set of sidings). This switchlist authorizes the Local train’s Conductor to move the empty at the siding for the Railroad’s Industry customer.

Similarly PU and SO authorizations at Interchanges allow the Conductor to rearrange the cars on the train if desired.

What is the Barnett Shuffle?

This is a new feature of the program that for each Industry hour that lapses, all Shipper Empty car reorder specifications are examined to determine if an empty should be sent to an Industry just in time to keep the empty available count close to optimum.

Switchlists do not display but train manifests schedules and switchlist data look normal. What is the problem?

There are two typical reasons that the switchlists will not be created in the report window. First you may not have assigned a train consist ID and lead locomotive. Second, you may not have created your registration record and named your railroad.

What does the 'Any + Reassign' checkbox on the Start Over/Scatter Cars function do?

If you choose to initially scatter MT cars to your shippers, the default (checkbox NOT checked) is to assign AARcode MTs from the shipper's home yard, if the car is available. If you check the checkbox, then MTs will be assigned to the shipper from any yard or interchange on the layout.

What does the 'Auto-Ship' checkbox on the Step Industry time function box do?

Every industry hour, the railroad back office (i.e. the program) checks to see if any shipments are pending attention from the back office. If a shipment is pending, then the needed MTs will be assigned to the shipment. Also, a shipment leg to return the MTs from the Consignee to the local homeyard will be created. Finally, all needed waybills for the shipment will be created.

What does the 'Auto-Order Car' checkbox on the Step Industry time function box do?

Every industry hour, the back office checks to see if any cars have been ordered for other yards to supply. If there are orders outstanding, the back office checks for appropriate MTs from all yards in the home yard's division and then from other yards on the layout.

What do the 'Batch' and 'Real Time' radio type buttons on the Auto Generate Manifest function box do?

If you use this program to create Switchlists before you hold an operating session, we call this Batch mode operation. In batch mode you simulate the actual running of each train sequenced chronologically correct. This assures that correct switchlists will be created to use in a future operating session. If you use the program in 'Real Time', then the running of each train is authorized by the dispatcher during the operations session. In real time mode the switchlists are created during the session in proper chronological sequence.

When I print some screens, I find 'second' pages that are blank or only show a little information. Is there any way to avoid these blank or almost blank pages?

Try setting the default printer in landscape mode instead of portrait mode before completing the print operation. In some cases you will get a more effective printout in landscape format.

I have two sidings at one of my industries. I homed a few cars on one of these tracks but the cars are never selected for movement by my trains. What is wrong?

When MRRM assigns cars for use by an industry, it first checks to see if there are any empties at the industry before looking elsewhere. 'At the industry' means on the single siding where the stop is located for this shipping activity. If you have multiple sidings 'near' the industry, the software does not know that these other sidings are also owned by the industry so it ignores anything on these sidings.

The solution is to make the siding length of the siding where the shipper stop is located to have length equal to the sum of all sidings owned by the industry - just like a yard is considered to be one long track. Like a yard, multiple sidings are managed locally by a 'Yardmaster'. The Yardmaster decides which cars go where. The movement of the cars can be done with an industry owned switcher or by the local freight when it next visits the industry.

Each Industry commodity bought or sold has a’ preferred interchange’ data element. How/when is this preferred interchange value used?

Preferred Interchanges are used to force routing across interchanges of choice for a Shipper’s shipment. If an interchange is used in Multiple Layout Operations (MLO), there may be multiple ways with various numbers of hops to get the shipment to a Consignee. The preferred interchange defines which interchange in the shipper’s division will be the interchange that will be used on the selected route. If you are using MLO, then the interchange is where the cars will be set out. The preferred interchange is not used for Consignee routing at this time.

Shipments that are auto-generated have number of the format 9nnnnnnnn. What is the significance?

MRRM allows you to create shipments from scratch so to speak. You create the cargo route by defining the route legs and other shipment information. You can use any shipment number you choose except those in the format 9nnnnnnnn or nnnnnnnnn9nnnnnnnn. The latter format is used for MLO order/shipments across layouts.

 When I create a report, the filtering feature gives me columns names but not possible values as I get when I use the tabpage filter tool. What is wrong?

The report tool does not have access to the possible values for each report field. However, if you type in the value of the field to be filtered, the filter feature works as expected.