SwitchList Icon

Running an Operating Session with SwitchList

To use SwitchList, just follow the following steps:

  1. Start SwitchList.

    Before an operating session, start up the program and open the SwitchList document for your layout.

  2. Check cars are in correct locations.

    To double-check that all cars are in their correct locations, print out an Industry Report to list where the cars are supposed to be. Double-check all cars are in their correct locations, and reposition cars (or change where SwitchList thinks the cars are) to fit.

    All the reports for printing out the state of the layout can be generated by selecting one of the menu items in the Reports menu. All display a window containing the report; you then use the Print command from the File menu to print out a physical page.

    Don't forget you can also use view car positions on your iPad or phone with a web browser.

  3. Tell SwitchList to Start a New Session

    In the Overview window, press "Start New Session". This does three things. First, any freight car at its load's source is marked as loaded, and is ready to proceed towards its destination. Second, any freight car at its load's destination is marked empty, and ready to return to the car's owning railroad or reused for another load. Third, the new loads to be shipped today are randomly chosen from the set of cargos you've defined, and assigned to available and appropriate empty cars.

  4. Optional: Generate some extra loads if you want today's operating session to be busier than usual.

    Pressing the "Generate x more loads" buttons will randomly choose an extra set of loads from the set of cargos, and assign the new loads to available freight cars. You can press this button multiple times, and the extra loads will be created each time.

    This button should be rarely needed, but if you haven't quite gotten cargo rates set correctly, this gives you an easy way to crank up the number of loads that will be moved.

  5. Print a switchlist.

    Select a train, and press "Make switchlist" to see which cars were assigned. (You can also double-click on a train to have the switchlist appear.) Cars are sorted in the order they'd be picked up. Print the switch list by choosing Print from the File menu.

  6. Get your yardmaster sorting to prepare any trains in yards or in staging.

    Print out the Yard Report listing which cars are assigned to each train. Set up your trains in staging, or give the report to yard crews so they can make up each train.

  7. Operate your model railroad!

    Run trains, switch boxcars, and get those cars to the right destinations!

  8. Clean up.

    When the train finishes switching, select the train name and press the "Train completed" button to remember that the cars have been moved. Remember to save your layout description so car positions will be remembered the next time you run!

Related Topics:

SwitchList Styles

User Interface: Overview Tab

Detail: View Switchlist on iPad for details on checking and resetting car positions via iPad.

Reports for details on the Yard Report and Industry Report.