Timetable planning: How to/software

Discussion in 'Allocations, Diagrams & Timetables' started by 03_179, 6 May 2015.

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  1. 03_179

    03_179 Member

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    Hi all,

    I was wondering if anyone know what software is used to plan trains timetables ?

    Also a How to pdf guide on how to plan trains along a line?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    Software is available but you'll need very deep pockets.

    It is possible to do simple-ish timetables by creating train graphs in Excel. This is a time-distance graph where each train appears as a line so it is reasonably easy to tell where they pass, overtake, try to use the same track, etc. It does get pretty complicated once junctions are included though, and Excel wasn't really designed to do this so it takes quite a few bodges to make it work.
     
  3. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    There are many different types of software in use around the world, but they are all specialist bespoke systems depending on requirements and how they interface with other systems. Nothing to cater for the 'enthusiast' market so far as I am aware.

    In the UK leading systems are NR's TPS (imaginatively titled Train Planning System) for timing, VoyagerPlan, used mostly by TOCs for timing and resourcing, and TRACSIS who supply resource planning systems.
     
  4. 03_179

    03_179 Member

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    Thanks for the info gents.

    Looks like it's the excel version for me.

    So:
    the Vertical axis is the stations?
    the Horizontal axis is the time?
    Train1 is a line stating at the bottom left hand corner and is a line going up to stations in the time allocated?
     
  5. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    Simplistically yes. Train 1 could start in the top left corner if it is coming in the opposite direction, you can graph both directions on the same graph.

    If you want a bit of practice, a good example would be to try to graph the East Suffolk line from Ipswich to Lowestoft. The working timetable is available on the Network Rail website, but for simplicity it may be easier to use the public timetable. You'll see how trains pass at Beccles, and don't pass on the single line sections (obviously ;) )
     
  6. greatkingrat

    greatkingrat Established Member

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  7. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    Excellent example, and lots of good stuff elsewhere on the site. Learnt a bit about the old Harwich - Hook ferry Avalon too :)
     
  8. 03_179

    03_179 Member

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    Superb.

    Thanks a lot guys. I hope to put something together and when I do I will post what it looks like. Gimme a few weeks though lol



    Sorry to ask chaps.

    When I have a train that stops for a couple of minutes (i.e. Battersby where there is a reverse) how would I show this?
     
    Last edited: 6 May 2015
  9. 306024

    306024 Established Member

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    That would simply be a horizontal line for as many minutes as it waits there.

    It is helpful to give some thought about the scale you wish to use for the axis, otherwise your graph will look too wide or too tall.
     
  10. 03_179

    03_179 Member

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    I will do all the stations (and major points that are listed in the WTT) and acrss I will do 30 minute spells to start with.

    Thanks :)
     
  11. edwin_m

    edwin_m Veteran Member

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    If you're using Excel you need to start out with an X-Y scatter graph and work from there. I have produced one myself but unfortunately can't circulate it as it is the property of my employer. Plus people have to have a couple of days training before they can work it!
     
  12. JRM

    JRM Member

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    For fifty years I have been playing fantasy timetables, using computers for the last 40. Never finished anything! Lots of scraps in long-forgotten computer languages.

    I'd be interested in sharing ideas with anyone who wants to develop home-brew software.

    In particular, I'd love to get hold of digital gradient profiles. Does anyone have any? I have half-finished software to scan graphical gradient profiles and digitise them if anyone wants to encourage me / help me to finish it. Although this is less relevant now, when modern trains have enough power and kinetic energy to flatten all but the longest, steepest climbs.

    Anybody else out there interested?
     
  13. The Planner

    The Planner Established Member

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    Gradient isn't specifically used in timetabling software. It is considered when calculating running times which are either derived from old TRATIM tables or calculated via Railsys, VISION, and empirical data such as stopwatch or OTMR.
     
  14. Doctor Fegg

    Doctor Fegg Member

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    I'm regrettably too busy to help, but I think that'd be a fascinating project.
     
  15. 03_179

    03_179 Member

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    What languages have you been working in?
     
  16. JRM

    JRM Member

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    I work mostly in Excel/VBA and Delphi now. I am only an amateur, but I've been programming since 1968 and have worked in more languages than I can remember.
     
  17. 03_179

    03_179 Member

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    I have produced a lot in Excel over the years.

    Wondering if it is possible in Delphi, java, VB etc.

    My lad is a bit of a whizz at computers I could ask him.
     
  18. rf_ioliver

    rf_ioliver Member

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    I wrote mine in Prolog so that I could let it do much of the calculation. I even wrote a route finder as well :) The problem here is that the libraries to interface with other languages were pretty poor.

    The actual timetable is relatively easy once you've sorted out the data structures and the level of detail you want. Forget any SQL vs NoSQL debate, this is good old fashioned computer science, E-R modelling stuff.

    I did this for one of my Train Simulator routes...actually, it was setting up the routes in TS to get the timings at stations and certain points, e.g.: junctions is the p**a.

    t.

    Ian
     
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