Ship It! Version 9

A realistic, non-random switchlist generator - make your layout come to life!

Put Your Railroad To Work!

Let Ship It help you operate like the prototype.

Car movement is never random with Ship It! Just tell Ship It! what products your industries ship and receive, and it will create car movements between them, even across divisions. Never create another operating session by hand! Get rid of all the paperwork except the switchlist. Give your trains a reason to roll!

Simulate, Then Optimize Operation On Your Layout

 Use Ship It!'s reports to gain insight into what's going on on your layout. The Industry Status Report lists each industry in turn and contains information about each car located there. Because Ship It! tracks all information through time, it can tell you whether a car is loading or unloading, what product is involved, how many hours until the loading/unloading is completed, or whether the car is an available load or empty. Also given is the car arrival time (what session it arrived in and the clock time). If the car is being routed across divisions, the next destination and final destination is also given. Empty Request and Load Request Reports detail exactly what each consignee is calling for in terms of AAR Type, product, and amount. This information allows you to optimize your operations and eliminate bottlenecks.

On Time Delivery!

You control how often and how many cars are delivered to each industry by product. You determine how many carloads an industry can ship by product. You set up the parameters, but the layout acquires a life of its own, because of the many tests each shipment must pass before it is okayed. See the Consignee and Shipper Browse/Edit window displayed in the main app frame image.

Duration is the time that it will take a car to unloaded (shipper) or unloaded (consignee) after delivery. The car will then become a load (shipper)or an empty (consignee).
Amount represents the number of cars that will be requested for a consignee.
Empties represents the number of empties a shipper wants to have on hand for loading.
Frequency is how often (in hours) the consignee wants to receive loads.
 Priority allows you to weight the importance of the delivery.


Ship It! supports both accessible (fiddle) staging and hidden staging. When loads arrive in hidden staging, they are automatically converted to empties. When empties arrive in staging, they are converted to loads. The type of load is determined by the program, which cycles through various shipping industries previously set up. The correct type of load is matched to each car. Each train arriving in staging leaves with the same cars, except that each cars lading has changed. Both types of staging supports off-line divisions. Expand your layout beyond the confines of your basement or spare room!

Local and Through Trains

Ship It! supports local and through trains, along with the transfer of cars from one to the other through interchanges. Through trains can also pick up and drop off cars if you wish.

Support for Multiple Locomotives

You can have as many locomotives as you wish on a train. Develop helper service by scheduling the pick up and drop off of locomotives. Ship It! helps you determine the number of locomotibves required by calculating the number of cars leaving each town. Cabin cars are also supported.


Ship It! contains over 24 different print-outs. Included are: Switchlists (includes Conductor and Engineer instructions, along with locomotive and caboose information); Industry Status Report (lists status of all cars at industries, including lading and time information); Yard Arrival and Yard Departure Reports; Train Length Report (lists number of cars on each train as it leaves each town); Car Diagnostic Report (lists locations of each car during and through multiple sessions); Loco/Caboose Location Report (aids in set-up and development of helper service); Car Starting and Ending Location Reports (aids in set-up); Empty and Load Request Reports, and print-outs for every database.

Starting Out

Ship It! comes with the ability to start out mid-stream in an operating session. It will tell you where to initially place your cars (it determines lading based on the industries there). From there, it will track the location of your cars whenever you generate a session. You can restart at any point, or you can perform a version of Start Fresh where session history is cleared and car lading is refreshed, but your cars do not need relocated. This makes system changes painless.

For The Novice

Let Ship It! help you set up your first operating session. Ship It! provides you with a framework to build your operating sessions around. As you fill in the database, you are describing your layout as it exists. You will define each industry, along with every product it ships and receives. You will define each train that you want to run, along with it's schedule. When you are finished, you will have push-button generation of realistic operating sessions. Your layout will take on a life of it's own as car traffic ebbs and flows realistically between your interchanges, yards, and industries.

Ship It! 9 Feature List

Manage Database Folders
Manage Backup and Restore
Custom Train Instructions
Layout Car Capacity Report
Siding Capacity Percentage Full Report
Diagnostics Window
  • Ability to download updates via internet until next major version update
  • Improved car movement
  • Improved Backup and restore
    • Auto backup
    • Restore your database or create a new one based on your old database
    • Backup to and and restore from external drive
  • Improved blocking
    • Auto blocking during session generation
    • All switchlists and yard reports are blocked
    • allows for custom blocking
  • User interface improvements
    • Sort browse windows by clicking on column header
    • Filters available on browse windows (limit cars by reporting marks or AAR codes, limit industries by town, limit shippers and consigness by town, industry, or product, etc.)
    • Add new cars user interface improved
  • Scheduler (string diagrams) is built-in and free
  • Custom train instructions can be added to switchlists
  • New report previewer - allows you to print any single page if you wish
  • Start Fresh Improvements
    • Reduced cases where Start Fresh is required
    • Better starting car locations
  • Session History
    • Navigate forward and backward through your sessions
    • Ability to print switchlists and yard reports from any session in your history
  • Improved integration with Car Cards
    • Car movement from all or individual sessions can be directly printed onto waybills
    • Switchlists and car cards can be used both together in an operating session, as the movement matches exactly
  • Better integration with Railbase and Scheduler (they have icons on Ship It! toolbar)
  • Diagnostic Improvements
    • Layout Car Capacity report (includes analysis feature)
    • Orphan Car report
    • Siding Capacity Percentage Full report
    • Layout Car Capacity report (includes analysis feature)
    • Improved car rejection reports
  • Store your databases in a custom location
  • New Message panel
    • Tracks session generation
    • Tracks start fresh
    • Tracks deletions
    • Tracks errors
    • Warns when start fresh is needed
  • Ability to export most data back into Ship It! 8

Magazine Reviews

The following review appeared in the October 1996 issue of Model Railroading:

Larry Puckett gave Ship It! the highest rating of 5.0 for all categories (User Friendly, Technical, Application, Value, Documentation) in his monthly Computer Applications review and said, " It isn't very often that I rate a program 5.0 across the board, but Ship It! really deserves it! If you really want to get your layout operating like the prototype, then Ship It! may be just the program you are looking for."

Computer Applications In Model Railroading

by Larry Puckett

Ship It!--The Best in Operations for the Serious Model Railroader

Ship It! Version 2.0

Operations, inventory and game programs are the bread and butter of model railroad software developers and we've seen a lot of all three over the last six years. For about the last year a new program, Ship It!, has drawn a lot of interest if for no other reason alone than the amount of advertising the developer has been doing. I've gotten several requests from readers for more information on the program, in particular wanting to know if it's really worth the $89.95 price tag. Let's take a close look at what it can do and I'll let you be the judge. Ship It! is a true blue Windows application with all the requisite drop-down menus, popup windows, data-entry templates, and automatic support for Windows default printers. The value of this is that if you're a Windows user (sorry again Mac users) you should feel right at home as soon as Ship It! starts. Also, as I've pointed out many times over the last few years, having standardized data-entry templates with popup Windows to make your selections from, speeds the process in the long run and reduces data-entry errors. This is very important when it comes to advanced programs like Ship It! that have to make a lot of comparisons among car types, commodities, industries, trains, etc.--one small data-entry error can cause big problems. Well, I've already gotten ahead of myself so let's go back for a general description of just what the program does. Ship It! is designed to make operating your layout, particularly switching operations, as close to prototype as possible given the limitations of space, time, and reality. The big difference for Ship It! is that unlike other operations programs no car movements are random. Everything follows a prototypical scheme based on shipper and consignee requests for cars and merchandise--more on that later. In addition, the program supports off-line staging, routing of cars across divisions through interchange tracks, multiple movements of the same car during an operating session, scheduling of empties and frequency of shipments to industries, and switch lists with train schedules and instructions for conductor and engineer. To make things even more prototypical, version 2.0 added the ability have trains reemerge from staging areas as either the same or a different train number, local and through-train routing of cars, car routing for specific consignee industries, yard switch lists, assignment of specific shippers to consignees, and more reports (20) than I have room or inclination to list. In other words it includes just about everything but the kitchen sink.

Harry Bonham gave a very postive review of Ship It! in the article "Computers and the modeler, 6.0" in the September 1996 issue of RMC.

Six different programs were reviewed, and a nice screen shot was given for all of them. Here are some quotes from the review: "I've been using an older DOS-based program for several years now, and I keep looking at each "new" idea as it comes along, waiting for the ultimate in operation. This program goes a long way toward reaching that goal.", "Ship It! is a well conceived operations program, made for modelers who enjoy the intricacies of moving goods.", "I like this program and recommend it highly.", "Special mention must be made of the excellent support given by Albion Software", "This program is well thought out, and it carries out its functions very well", and "It has the best manual I've come across for this type of program..."