Classification yard switching lists


New member
Hi everyone,

Does anyone here use a computer program to help with classification yard switching lists? I recently added escd84's Bellevue hump yard module to my railroad and it's great. I finally got manual junction switching to work so I can decide where the cars go as they go down the hump rather than the default random mode (which is all well and good, but I'm too OCD for that). Now I'm trying to decide how to help me determine how to switch the cars.

Currently I have sort of a physical waybill system set up where each railcar has a half-sized index card, and on it I write the car's next loading destination, if any, along with where that load is headed. Loading and unloading destinations are either on my railroad (or one of the two smaller interchange yards built, along with industries connected to them) or interchanged to other railroads (represented by staging yards/tracks). Unneeded empties are sent back to home roads. All this is randomly determined pre-session with help from a random number generator. A little cheesy and cumbersome, I'll admit, but in theory it works for now.

However, I run with modern-day prototypical train lengths of 100+ cars or so. A couple of these trains need to be classified at Bellevue every "day," not to mention re-waybilling of cars on trains sent to interchange (staging yards). Trying to do all this with a physical waybill system is doable, but tedious. If I could find a program to help me automate and digitize a lot of this, it would be great.

The best I've seen is JMRI. It will automate the waybill process and even prints out switch lists for locals, but I don't see where it can generate switch lists for classification yard jobs. (I'd be happy to be proven wrong!) All the switch lists I've seen for locals instruct the driver to pick up cars from like 13 different tracks in the yard and then do the industry switching, where I would like to have this train all ready to go on one track after a yard job breaks down the trains that arrived.

If anyone has any ideas I'd be happy to hear them! Unless I'm not making any sense, which is very possible lol. I'm probably trying to do too much...
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Some of the owners use this:

JMRI-Operations is free and popular
 Recommended, especially if starting new
 Runs on many platforms
 Some folks have moved from RailOP to JMRI-Operations
Unless your layout is huge, I would consider using Excel. You can write macros or basic programs to run on the sheets, or just manipulate by hand.
Model Railroader has a "Car Control Spreadsheet" available to subscribers for download. I have used it on a 30-mile branch with a respectable number of interchanges and industries but have found myself getting confused and making errors with it. I would not recommend it for your application. One of the commercial products would probably be worth the money.