Total Operations Processing System (TOPS)

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Johnmallard

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Hi all.
Do anybody know if there is Total Operations Processing System (TOPS) can be accessed online for free, or where I can find a website with TOPS on :D

Many Thanks


JOHN
 
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GB

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It is only accessible to those that have login details and even then it can only be accessed from a railway PC terminal. (or a PC that can dial into the railway network)
 

Shunterboy

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Hi all.
Do anybody know if there is Total Operations Processing System (TOPS) can be accessed online for free, or where I can find a website with TOPS on :D

Many Thanks


JOHN




Tops is a dos based application and not available on the web as it links directly into railway it networks. I have tops on my laptop but need to connect via my companies VPN for it too work
 

Joseph_Locke

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Tops is a dos based application and not available on the web as it links directly into railway it networks. I have tops on my laptop but need to connect via my companies VPN for it too work
The system itself isn't even DOS; the terminal window you see is though. It originally ran on an IBM 360 mainframe (does it still I wonder) and is written in its own programming language, TOPSTRAN, which means no-one will dare (currently) to re-write it: that and just about every train related system uses TOPS data and it'd be a nightmare to change now!
 

rf_ioliver

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The system itself isn't even DOS; the terminal window you see is though. It originally ran on an IBM 360 mainframe (does it still I wonder) and is written in its own programming language, TOPSTRAN, which means no-one will dare (currently) to re-write it: that and just about every train related system uses TOPS data and it'd be a nightmare to change now!
Quite a good article on wikipedia about TOPS:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/TOPS

A classic example of "if it ain't broken, don't fix it". What generally happens with these older systems is that they are ported to newer hardware via emulators - so in effect you could find TOPS running on some modern machine somewhere (potentially 1000000s of times faster than the original) but under emulation. Though I expect in this case to find TOPS if they really are still using the original S360 software probably running unmodified on some z-Series mainframe :)

There are alternatives to TOPS, but as the article mentions these haven't really supplanted the original.

t.

Ian
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
This is excellent reading too:

http://www.les-smith.com/software/tops.htm

Ian
 

brianthegiant

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is written in its own programming language, TOPSTRAN, which means no-one will dare (currently) to re-write it: that and just about every train related system uses TOPS data and it'd be a nightmare to change now!
wouldn't be that hard to replace, at the end of the day it's basically a database, and by modern standards a very simple database (stores only numbers, dates and text). Furthermore, the difficult bits of development like adopting a standard numbering system were done long ago & the simple integer based numbering would be relatively easy to use as the index for a new database.

I suspect the complexity of modern fault diagnostics has long superseded TOPS for modern stock, and that alternatives are being used by TOCS, ROSCOs and depots already albeit not in a standardised manner.

migration to a more modern system would allow multitude of new features (ability to store graphics, CAD drawings, etc, etc). but could include the same fields as the old tops, and have a NEWTOPSLITE interface which would be accessible using existing client software.
 

Poggs

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wouldn't be that hard to replace, at the end of the day it's basically a database, and by modern standards a very simple database (stores only numbers, dates and text). Furthermore, the difficult bits of development like adopting a standard numbering system were done long ago & the simple integer based numbering would be relatively easy to use as the index for a new database.
I think that's a gross oversimplification. If it were that easy, it would have been done already.

It's not just TOPS here - TRUST is tightly integrated with TOPS, so that interface would need to be retained. It's not even a particularly modern interface - TOPS thinks that all its inputs are on punch-cards, and all its outputs are on teleprinters. (I am not joking).

VSTP schedules come out of TOPS. TRUST SDR feeds timings in to TOPS, as does SMART. TOPS and TRUST both have interfaces with other systems, and a whole heap of business rules coded in them that are just too frightening to replace.

TOPS, TRUST and the other mainframe-based systems run on supported hardware and perform their jobs well. Don't assume that because they are accessed via what seems like an "antiquated" user interface that they're not fit and proper systems.
 
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TOPS, TRUST and the other mainframe-based systems run on supported hardware and perform their jobs well. Don't assume that because they are accessed via what seems like an "antiquated" user interface that they're not fit and proper systems
Unfortunately they're not fit and proper systems. When TRUST displays a train it shows the most recent amendment even when the LTP underneath is amended for a train that is STP overlaid. As a result, Christmas day 2008, VT ran a full Euston - Manchester service according to TRUST! There are always plenty of cancelled trains that are shown running which causes obvious distress to the passenger when they find they can't get to where they want in time.
 

DaveNewcastle

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To add to Poggs' apparent respect for the old but effective systems, which is a view I strongly support (for technical reasons, rather than sentimental bias), the remarkable feature of older database interfaces is their speed.
I'm always amused at the combination of an experienced operator and basis text-based database on a terminal-based interface. The screen refreshes in a blink while the GUI users nearby on some other high-throughput graphic-laden interface ae staring at static screens waiting for them to update (and sometimes apologising to their colleague/client that 'the computer is slow today').

The reason is simple. Legacy databases were lean on bandwidth and efficient in response. Porting them onto emulators on modern platforms still makes them faster than anything that I'm aware of that the native platform could achieve.
 

GB

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Let's not forget TOPS2000. It uses the same core stuff as "back screen" tops but has a much friendlier GUI.
 

The Informer

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Its a perfect example of if it aint broke then don't fix it. Apparently the TOPS and TRUST systems will never crash in their current form that's why it aint been modernised. Its simple,basic and it works.
 

GB

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Unfortunately they do crash. Not all the time but enough for when it does happen to cause a large amount of chaos!
 

The Planner

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Unfortunately they're not fit and proper systems. When TRUST displays a train it shows the most recent amendment even when the LTP underneath is amended for a train that is STP overlaid. As a result, Christmas day 2008, VT ran a full Euston - Manchester service according to TRUST! There are always plenty of cancelled trains that are shown running which causes obvious distress to the passenger when they find they can't get to where they want in time.
That's nothing to do with TRUST, that is just human balls ups and not sorting the schedule uploads properly.
 

Joseph_Locke

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It's not just TOPS here

Yes, as I said, all the "downwind" systems would have to interface with the new system, which would have to switched on and working in about 12 hours (Christmas day). To my memory, the list of related systems is something like TRUST, TRUST DA, ACTRAFF, GEOGIS (indirectly), PALADIN, POIS, CTT, TSI, TSIA, ERIC, GEMINI (indirectly), RAVERS, RSL, ITPS and SPINNAKER.
 

33056

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They are given the "class number" of 89, then the power classification then (usually) the last two numbers of the actual loco so D1023 is actually 89424 (because 45123 / D123 already has 89423). Other examples are D9000 (89500) and 40145 (89445).
 

jopsuk

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There's a similar arrangement with Steam locos isn't there?
Edit: ah yes, class 98. With ships being Class 99
 
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