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My present spreadsheet method for inventorying my locomotives, rolling stock and accessories is showing its limitations, especially at 400+ lines.  I don't feel like playing software developer to create my own database and then deal with clearing up any inevitable errors or problems.  (Been there, done that, didn't enjoy it years ago.)

I reviewed the software manual for the Microsoft Access-based inventory application from the Lionel Operating Train Society (LOTS), but I'm not quite sure that's the best way to go.

What commercial software are you using for inventorying your trains, rolling stock, accessories, etc.?  What do you see as the pros and cons of that software?

Thank you.

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My present spreadsheet method for inventorying my locomotives, rolling stock and accessories is showing its limitations, especially at 400+ lines.  I don't feel like playing software developer to create my own database and then deal with clearing up any inevitable errors or problems.  (Been there, done that, didn't enjoy it years ago.)

I reviewed the software manual for the Microsoft Access-based inventory application from the Lionel Operating Train Society (LOTS), but I'm not quite sure that's the best way to go.

What commercial software are you using for inventorying your trains, rolling stock, accessories, etc.?  What do you see as the pros and cons of that software?

Thank you.

This topic comes up from time to time on the OGR Forum. Here’s a link to a recent thread. The forum search function may yield others.
https://ogrforum.ogaugerr.com/...f-your-trains?page=1

I use the a registered version of Easy Model Railroad Inventory and love it, but I don't think you can obtain it anymore.  Another great looking one I recently downloaded is called "Yard Office".  I was very impressed with its ease of use and its capabilities.  Very user friendly I thought.  The author and contact info is below.  You can download it from various sites as well.

Yard Office Model Railroad Inventory Software

copyright (c) 2005-2009

Software by Jack R. Carter

1327 W. Abriendo Ave.

Pueblo, CO  81004

email: yardoffice@musicmixradio.com

Attachments

Images (1)
  • yard office

There are many excellent 3rd party programs and relational data bases that can do the job quite well. The big issue to consider is what is the purpose and end goal of having such a data base.

In my case, a huge consideration is that my family--following my untimely passing--will have the inventory to use as the basis for an estate sale and to easily identify personal items my daughter might be interested in retaining. Thus I want the inventory easily transferable and usable by my wife and daughter. 

Hence, Excel !

I just  use Excel.   I have had it for years and know it pretty well.

I divide mine  up into "workshheets" for diesel, steam, boxcar, hopper etc.  son none get to 400 lines but some are pretty big. 

I can access anywhere in the workbook from anywhere else and thus can run totals or counts or whatever when I need to.

I used a software program for a while but it was tiresome.  Then I decided that I did not care.  Rarely have I purchased a duplicate by accident.

I now consider my trains as a IQ Test for my kids.  If they are not very smart or plain lazy, they get very little in return from my purchases.  If they make an effort then their ROI will be enhanced.

The third option my wife and I discussed is to brick up the entrances to the building when we die and recreate the Egyptian model of burial.  Who knows, maybe in a few generations these things might be worth what we paid for them.

@Bruce Brown and @prrjim,

I agree wholeheartedly.  In my former life I was a software developer in oil exploration and wrote GUIs and designed relational databases containing numerous keys and literally millions of entries for mission critical stuff.  I can't imagine using that for a personal train collection.  I have an Excel spreadsheet with numerous tabs containing related info, each tab has no more than 100 entries currently, although I'm hoping for more!  In any case, that is perfect for my needs.

I agree with using a spreadsheet program.  If you have Excel, great.  I use Google Sheets.  I tried OpenOffice but it would crash a lot.

I was a programmer for over 32 years.  I never had the desire to create a database with a gui interface.  Too much work, and I thought the use of one would become burdensome. 

I see some have columns in their spreadsheets that I see as excessive.  I'm not going to catalog each piece that I own like it's an historical artifact!

When my collection started getting bigger than what I had on my Excel spreadsheet I started looking for something better.

Found several databases but each had their pros and cons. And none had all the fields I wanted to have in the database so I created an Access database for it and used fields from each,.

This is what I ended up with - on my LibreOffice Calc (spreadsheet). I make the entries there as I receive items and then occasionally will add them to the database.

Seq # (so I can sort any way I want)
Cat No
MA (I check this column once it's entered in Access)
Description
Color(s)
Series / Set
Manufacturer
Scale
Group (my own classification)
Road Name Code
Road Name Description
Road Logo
Reporting Mark
Cat (from Yard Office with some additional items)
Type (from Yard Office with some additional items)
Min Curve
Length
Built
Status (used in box, new without box, etc.)
Config (ready-to-run [used], etc.)
Years Cataloged
MSRP
Purch Date
Sold by
Purch Price
S & H / Tax
Calc. Total
% MSRP Purch Price
Item Cond
Best Value
% MSRP Best Value
CY Greenberg Value
% MSRP CY Greenburg Value
MITrains Value Date
MITrains Value Price
% MSRP MITrains Value Price
Qty
Box Type
Box Cond
Images (up to 8)
Notes

Granted it's not the most efficient database, but it works for me.

I'd love to figure out how to create tables so when I make an entry - say in the Cat field (which is a 2-character code) when I run the various reports, Access would print what that cat description is.

@paulp575 posted:

When my collection started getting bigger than what I had on my Excel spreadsheet I started looking for something better.

Found several databases but each had their pros and cons. And none had all the fields I wanted to have in the database so I created an Access database for it and used fields from each,.

This is what I ended up with - on my LibreOffice Calc (spreadsheet). I make the entries there as I receive items and then occasionally will add them to the database.

Seq # (so I can sort any way I want)
Cat No
MA (I check this column once it's entered in Access)
Description
Color(s)
Series / Set
Manufacturer
Scale
Group (my own classification)
Road Name Code
Road Name Description
Road Logo
Reporting Mark
Cat (from Yard Office with some additional items)
Type (from Yard Office with some additional items)
Min Curve
Length
Built
Status (used in box, new without box, etc.)
Config (ready-to-run [used], etc.)
Years Cataloged
MSRP
Purch Date
Sold by
Purch Price
S & H / Tax
Calc. Total
% MSRP Purch Price
Item Cond
Best Value
% MSRP Best Value
CY Greenberg Value
% MSRP CY Greenburg Value
MITrains Value Date
MITrains Value Price
% MSRP MITrains Value Price
Qty
Box Type
Box Cond
Images (up to 8)
Notes

Granted it's not the most efficient database, but it works for me.

I'd love to figure out how to create tables so when I make an entry - say in the Cat field (which is a 2-character code) when I run the various reports, Access would print what that cat description is.

The amount of work required for this database is exactly the reason that I quit recording information about my purchases.  My enjoyment revolves around acquiring trains that I want, not spending most of my time recording info about them.  To each his own!

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