Comments: What the Users say...in their own words
December 4th, 2005, from the users' run ProTrak chatlist: "email@example.com"
We concluded our ops session today. Basically, everything work well. Specifically, ProTrak was flawless.
I called extra the locals that had run in the first part of the ops session. Although there were no pickups to be made by these trains, they did move more cars from the yard to on-line customers. There are lots of cars spotted at the on-line customers.
Before my next operating session my goal is to build the basic engine terminal in order to get a place to store the locomotives and cabooses out of the way of the yard crews.
I have not yet updated the railroad from this ops session, as I want to look and make certain that I have reported all trains to completion.
My crews are getting more and more familiar with the switchlists and Spot codes. The most common remark I hear is about not having to fool with car cards.
In all in, these was a very enjoyable operating session. I supplemented by schedule with some extra run through trains. This helped to keep the crews busy while the yard crew were building trains.
November 24th, 2005, from the users' run ProTrak chatlist: "firstname.lastname@example.org"
Andy and friends,
Back on 31 Oct 05, you asked "who's doing operating sessions with ProTrak?" ......I was initially interested in replying but I waited ...... so I have finally decided to venture in.
The Great Lakes & Northern will on Dec 6 have completed 70 operating sessions using ProTrak over 4 years.
The GL&N is a mid-sized+ layout based on steam in the mid 50s with a 325 ft mainline and two branches, a mid-layout divisional point, several staging yards, 700+ freight cars, operates over 50 trains. I also monthly go into Ottawa and operate on a larger more modern-era layout using car-cards either as an engineer or yardmaster. I like the diversity the two layouts present.
The GL&N is operating very well now. Most track is in, proof operated although some trackage still cause difficulties. I use large steam engines, mostly old brass that is a bugger to get to run on ~36'' curves even when re-motored and center flange is blinded, .... so reliability can be an issue. We use DCC (Digitrax) with only 1 5A supply and may have 6-7 engines on the go at one time. For dispatching I use a metal board with magnetic engine tabs that can be moved as the train progresses but often I just do it verbally "of the top" for a smaller crew. Our crew consists of a few regulars of varying experience and occasional repeat guest. We start at 7 PM with a short chat, operate steadily for approx. 2 hrs and have a pop & donuts and chat before departing for home at 10 pm and usually a 3/4 hr drive home.
ProTrak is NOW working VERY WELL for FREIGHT operations as I have slowly gained knowledge of the system and the process behind the scene.
I met Jim years ago when he lived in Ottawa and Richard Dickinson and myself use to travel from Renfrew to Jim's house to operate his large layout ... It was my first exercise at group operations. When Jim moved to the US, we joined with another Ottawa group to operate via car-cards.
So over the years, I have had increased exposure to ProTrak mainly for my RR primarily thru the website. I print out some of the messages and put them in a binder to act as a written resource to supplement the existing documentation. Lately, John Mitchell and I have been sharing ProTrak info as we try to improve the operation on our RRs. John and I were your guest last spring in Lansing ,,,, Thank you. I did not enter into the post - Lansing discussions but when take as a macro I agree with the conclusions. I wish you all the best in your 2006 clinic.
I periodically update to the latest build 2 or 3 times a year, I keep hard copy ( for a few weeks ) of changes I make while I modify my ops, I keep a hard copy folder called "latest" with customers, WBs & CC, car/caboose/engine inventory, switching trains, train line-up, etc.....
I am glad I am using ProTrak, but to anyone who has been a serious student knows, it can be a hard road to follow and requires commitment. We had times when making it work were difficult, I didn't know enough, I made technical errors, I was seeking something the program had not yet dealt with, etc. I appreciate the chat line, I appreciate greatly Jim's ability to respond to my urgent cries for help, I like where it is going, ...
I'll quit now as I am getting long in the mouth ....... I can get enthusiastic at times
The Great Lakes & Northern
"Protrak is the most comprehensive and accurate program available. ProTrak has a significant advantage over other programs I tried because of the prototype data and information already contained in the program. All you need to do is input information about your layout and the program helps you think and operate prototypically. If you are going to operate, ProTrak is the only way to go." Mark Nolan, Clarksville, Tennessee
It is hard to believe, but even I have finished the first 60+ sessions and have to report that ProTrak _is_ really a magnificent piece of software. As it turned out, all problems I have had are purely mine. Mike, Vienna (a programmer)
ProTrak is a fine piece of software made even better by its affordability. Doug, Athens, Georgia
I have installed ProTrak and love the new interface. Steve, Tulsa, Oklahoma
I really like how this works, ProTrak seems (so far) to be much more intuitive than - Alan "I'm having a ball with ProTrak " Anderson, Salt Lake City, Utah
I think ProTrak is going down the right track of mingling hardware-based control with operational software. - Alan Anderson, Salt Lake City, Utah
As always, thanks for the quick tech support. And from the time in on my email from you, the early tech support. Jeremy Reese, U.P. Michigan
"Great service." - Howard, Pickens, South Carolina