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Thread: TrainCrew App -- simulate all that other "stuff" when running ops

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    Default TrainCrew App -- simulate all that other "stuff" when running ops

    Did you ever have such a great idea that somebody else has already done it?

    When I read through Lance Mindheim's blog posts on operations, one thing jumped out at me... "Wouldn't it be really cool to have an iPhone app that allowed you to simulate all the other "stuff" that comes along with operations? Handbrake sets, air brake tests, switch wrangling, train inspections, etc.?"

    Well, guess what. It already exists, and was inspired by the same thing (Lance's theory on operations) I was.

    Check out "TrainCrew" by Ed Kapuscinsky!!

    I spotted this when watching some YT videos on the "Central Jersey Conrail in N Scale" channel... It's a web app that runs in your browser... basically a bunch of buttons associated with various train crew actions. Click on a button, and two things happen: (1) a delay timer counts down the time "spent" doing the action, and (2) a sound effect plays to simulate the action.

    For example, click "Set Handbrakes", and for 9 seconds you are regaled with the sound of a rusty handbrake wheel being turned.

    Watch some of Joe's "Operations Blowout" (from aforementioned "CJ Conrail in N scale" channel)videos to get a feel for how it works in action.

    It's simple, and because it's actually web based, it's instantly cross-platform (iOS, Android, PC, Mac, Linux, whatever).

    The actual web app is here: http://traincrew.conrail1285.com/index.html

    My hat is off to Ed for developing and sharing this. Well done!
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    Wonder if the app simulates what train crews spend much of their time doing -- waiting?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Paul Schmidt View Post
    Wonder if the app simulates what train crews spend much of their time doing -- waiting?
    Apparently, no... but we could put in a feature request

    I mean, it will simulate charging the air lines for whatever length train you have, so there's that... but sitting in the hole waiting for the dispatcher to get back from lunch... no I don't see a button for that.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    but sitting in the hole waiting for the dispatcher to get back from lunch... no I don't see a button for that.
    Yep, until that gets added, and it can simulate your PTC kicking off, or you have to call the mechanical desk because a trailing unit won't load, well, it has a ways go!

    Just joshin', it sounds like a neat idea!

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    Dead FRED battery... radio failure... hot box detector... customer forgot to unlock the gate for you and has to drive in from home... crew van is stuck in traffic...

    ETA: seriously, an obvious addition would be simply walking the train... at (let's say) 2mph walking pace (rough ground, looking for stuff, not just strolling), that's 30 seconds per boxcar... each way...

    He did say that right now all tests "pass" but he's working on adding random failures, which would add the need for things like walking the train looking for a broken air line...
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    Dead FRED battery... radio failure... hot box detector... customer forgot to unlock the gate for you and has to drive in from home... crew van is stuck in traffic...
    Oh yeah, all of that as well!

    I'm surprised more operators don't include things such as Form A slow orders, Form B restrictions, and Box 1 stop-and-protects or Box 2 slow orders for grade crossings. Common, everyday stuff out there. Most model railroads I've operated on -- and even the well-known ones -- are too sterile, devoid of much of anything except meet this train here and set that car out there.

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    I operated on a friend's On30 logging layout for a while... he had a spot where the tracks "forded" a pond. You had to go slow or the loco would get "stuck". The same spot was also periodically used as a tender watering spot. Very realistic, and simple to implement. You would just stop at that spot, hit the F button for "fill the water tank", and wait for the sound effect to end before proceeding.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    I operated on a friend's On30 logging layout for a while... he had a spot where the tracks "forded" a pond. You had to go slow or the loco would get "stuck". The same spot was also periodically used as a tender watering spot. Very realistic, and simple to implement. You would just stop at that spot, hit the F button for "fill the water tank", and wait for the sound effect to end before proceeding.


    Great idea, and just what the real logging railroads would do.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    ETA: seriously, an obvious addition would be simply walking the train... at (let's say) 2mph walking pace (rough ground, looking for stuff, not just strolling), that's 30 seconds per boxcar... each way... He did say that right now all tests "pass" but he's working on adding random failures, which would add the need for things like walking the train looking for a broken air line...
    Never mind 30 seconds per car -- your smartphone accelerometer can count your steps. Get out of the basement and walk twice around the block before you can move your train!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Chicago View Post
    Never mind 30 seconds per car -- your smartphone accelerometer can count your steps. Get out of the basement and walk twice around the block before you can move your train!
    My doctor would really like that feature!
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    I found out about this from the same source, "Central Jersey Conrail in N Scale" . The program is great. It really adds a new dimension to operating the locomotives. One problem I have is that it is Internet based. If you don't have web access, you can't use it. I would love a phone app. On the other hand any updates are automatic. You don't have to update it on your phone, tablet or laptop. Mr. Kapuscinski has done those of us who like realistic operation a great service in creating this program. I do worry that if it gets too popular, his server may get overwhelmed or the response could be affected.
    Cheers.
    Maurice
    Attempting to apply the K.I.S.S. principle to Model Railroading.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Maurice View Post
    I found out about this from the same source, "Central Jersey Conrail in N Scale" . The program is great. It really adds a new dimension to operating the locomotives. One problem I have is that it is Internet based. If you don't have web access, you can't use it. I would love a phone app. On the other hand any updates are automatic. You don't have to update it on your phone, tablet or laptop. Mr. Kapuscinski has done those of us who like realistic operation a great service in creating this program. I do worry that if it gets too popular, his server may get overwhelmed or the response could be affected.
    Cheers.
    Maurice
    The source HTML is available on Github, and Ed has released it as Open Source. You can download it and run it from a web server on a local computer. It takes a little bit of work (depends on your computer) to do that, but it's not terribly hard. Macs, for example, have a built in web server that you just turn on, and it will serve up pages from the "Sites" folder in your home directory.

    I am currently investigating how I might integrate TrainCrew into JMRI so that JMRI can serve the app as one of its web pages. So far the biggest problem appears to be administrative -- how to handle version updates (do I just grab a snapshot of the latest each time JMRI releases?). Actually I lied the biggest problem is that I don't have the sound effects working yet. The second biggest problem is version management.

    ETA: Sound works just fine when the page is viewed in a normal browser, being served up by JMRI's web server. The sound issue appears to be in WiThrottle's embedded browser.
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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    Quote Originally Posted by TwinDad View Post
    You can download it and run it from a web server on a local computer. It takes a little bit of work (depends on your computer) to do that, but it's not terribly hard.
    Unfortunately, my computer training had to do with punching holes in cards, feeding a stack of cards into a terminal to send to the actual computer miles away and getting a paper print-out back. I might be a wee bit out of date to pull off something like that. LOL
    Maurice
    Attempting to apply the K.I.S.S. principle to Model Railroading.

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    Stay tuned...
    Never mistake a guy who talks a lot for a guy who has something to say...

    CH&FR Site and Blog: http://www.chfrrailroad.net and http://blog.chfrrailroad.net
    Appalachian Railroad Technology: http://www.apprailtech.com


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