I have long wanted to use technology to improve the immersiveness of model railroad operations. This tool does just that.
TrainCrew allows you to simulate the tasks performed by a train crew while performing their duties but haven't traditionally been modeled by model railroaders, or able to be represented while operating model train layouts.
Represented tasks include work with airbrakes (performing brake tests), handbrakes (setting and releasing), locomotives (inspections and tests) and combinations of those.
Each of the represented tasks includes interactive elements that replicate the real actions that railroaders perform with form elements, count downs and sounds. By including countdowns to replicate the time taken, model railroad operators are forced to slow down and better mimic the pace of real railroading. Timing generally represents a 4:1 fast clock, which does a good job of slowing things down but not boring operators.
This app started with the ideas from Lance Mindheim's "How To Operate a Modern Switching Layout" book. I then found a great example in the PDC BNML Conductors App, which has been extended and genericized.
There are two ways to use this tool. The first, and easiest, is simply to visit this website on your device (computer, smartphone, tablet, etc...). This site will generally be up to date with the latest version of the app and the features that the owner (Ed) finds useful for his ops session.
Alternatively, you can download the source code for the app from its Github repository, and set it up in your own web hosting environment.
TrainCrew is intended to be an "open" project that involves a community of users and contributors to make it as fun and useful as possible.
If you use TrainCrew, and you experience a bug or have an idea for improvement, you can add an "issue" to the Github issues page with your idea or issue.