Re: Computerized Freightcar Inventory Database Programs

Steve Sandifer <jssand@...>

You can use nearly any computer program these days to do this. I started mine in the MSWorks database years ago. However you could do the same thing in Excel or even in Word using the tables, but that is less flexible. Before you start, you need to decide the fields you want to include. When actually listing them, you don't want to have to look at every car several times. My fields include:

a.. Cat(egory): Pass, Frt, NonRev, MOW, (whatever you want)
b.. Grade: A-F. Grade A is a contest model. Grade C may be a car that is in non-prototype paint or a club car or an old Athearn. Grade F is on my RIP track but I want to keep up with it. As I get more Grade A and B cars, the grade C, D, & F cars should fear for their ebay lives.
c.. State: RTR, Kit, RIP
d.. Notes: resin car, wrong number, Rework as NC&StL prototype, replace brake staff, save for kitbash, etc.
e.. Mfg: Athearn, Roundhouse, P2K, etc.
f.. Mfg #: Mfg model # not the car #
g.. Type: Gondola
h.. Sub-type: War Emergency Mill gon
i.. Class: GA-61
j.. Blt: built year stenciled on car
k.. Rebld: Last date stenciled on car
l.. ID: reporting marks
m.. #: car number
n.. Length:
o.. Doors: 6', 8', Dbl, end
p.. Billboard: Chief, Super Chief, etc.
q.. Paint: color scheme
r.. Return to: For my layout, where the empty car needs to go empty for interchange
Of course you can add as many as you want. A database allows you to determine what fields to print and in what order. If you have a lot of cars, it is nice to take your latest printout ot the train show to see if you already have that car and that number. If it has a value listed, it could assist your heirs in determining the value of your collection (might cause a divorce in absentia!). If you keep up with your repairs, like wheel replacement, tracking problems, detection resister installed, kadee or McHenry couplers, or even weight of the car, you can have fields for that sort of information.

If you print your own car cards, you can use this data with merge mail to print them.

One note: if you plan on using a program like RailOp for your operations, start with it as your database. It will not import from other databases and you will end up having to enter everything twice - a job begging for mistakes.

J. Stephen (Steve) Sandifer
Home: 12027 Mulholland Drive, Meadows Place, TX 77477, 281-568-9918
Office: Southwest Central Church of Christ, 4011 W. Bellfort, Houston, TX 77025, 713-667-9417

----- Original Message -----
From: Beckert, Shawn
To: STMFC@...
Sent: Monday, March 07, 2005 1:56 PM
Subject: [STMFC] Computerized Freightcar Inventory Database Programs


At the Sunshine Models meet at Buena Park this weekend,
Ted Culotta did a presentation on "Computers in Modeling".
One of the subjects he touched on was using a computer
database program to make an inventory of the freightcars
in our collections, showing a variety of useful information.

The poor guy was harassed unmercifully when it became obvious
how many cars in his fleet were still in unbuilt condition,
though nobody else dared say their closet looked any different!

A question for the listmembers: Ted is solidly a Macintosh user;
are there any PC-based inventory programs out there that could
be used to construct a database of our freightcar fleets? I'd
like to know about the more "user-friendly" programs; I'm not
that concerned about cost at the moment.


Shawn Beckert

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