IPad apps


I have read through some of the discussions about the iPad and it's use in model railroading. What are the latest and greatest apps for the iPad?

I am looking at any aspect though I don't have any need for the DCC type apps since I have a layout designed for a single engine.



Hobo Al's picture


There are not that many good railroad apps for the iPad. I've seen some "reference" apps and dictionary apps. The only one that grabs my interest is Trainz, which is an excellent railroad simulation program for PCs.

If the Trainz app is anything close to the Trainz program for PCs, it would definitely be worth trying the app, which is $3.99 for the iPad.


Scarpia's picture

Just the basics

I find just the basic apps the most useful  - specifically the web browser and PDF viewer.

I find it a very convenient tool to have near me during construction (modeling) to refer to forum posts, online instructions, etc - and while you can do that with a laptop, the tablet is smaller and more convenient in my opinion.

I also use SwitchList for Mac, and export the lists to the iPad to be paper free. Combined with the Wii Throttle (which  I know you're not interested in), it's become a very useful tool in the train room.

I do have Trainz as well, some bugs, but well worth $4.

HO, early transition era www.garbo.org/MRR local time GMT +4
On30, circa 1900    


ModelTrainDB App

I have the Trainz app as well, and have found it to be fun to play and well worth the money.  The only downside is that I wished the controls were slightly larger, they are a bit small for my fingers on the iPad.

I have also just published my own iPhone/iPad App for model railroad collectors to help track their inventory.  I was tired of using Excel spreadsheets, and most of the other available options out there were older, outdated PC based programs.  I really liked the fact that I can have my inventory and purchase history with me as well when I am out at a train show or the local hobby shop.

Feel free to check it out on iTunes, or have a look at our website.  We are also signed up as a new upcoming MRH sponsor/advertiser.

joef's picture

MRH app store?

Would there be any interest in an MRH railroading app store? My thought is to make the apps a little cheaper than Apple or the Android Marketplace, and to give modelers a one-stop-shop for all apps train-related.

Not only would it include the obvious train-related apps, but some of the less obvious ones like the grade / level calculators - apps that could be useful to model railroaders but may not be specifically for model railroaders.

What do you think?

Joe Fugate
Publisher, Model Railroad Hobbyist magazine

Joe Fugate's HO Siskiyou Line

John C H's picture

Scarpia: Switchlist Exports

Hi Sacrpia

I am assuming that you have WiFi, what with an iPad. Have you tried running the webserver from within Switchlist then connecting to all the lists from your iPad Browser? It saves the hassle of transferring to your iPad, which you hint at doing. It is much cleaner viewing as well as you are not looking at a PDF of the printout. As the lists are all HTML generations, you can easily create custom lists to display what you need. Robert's tutorial on templates is very informative.


John H

Collingwood, ON

N Scale, Canada 

dmitzel's picture

SwitchList on a PC?

I understand this software was developed for the Mac, but I've yet to find a better work order management and switchlist generation tool out there as a COTS product. Problem is, I have PCs at home - nary an Apple product to be found.

I may just have to run the Mac OS on a VM session on my PC to get it all to work. Being a modern (post-1980s) modeler the PICL format is right up my alley, and the tool perfect for a small switching layout operator as myself.

D.M. Mitzel
Oxford, Mich. USA
Visit my layout blog at http://danmitzel.blogspot.com/

RE: MRH App Store

Hi Joe,

Sure, that sounds like an interesting idea, as it would be nice to have one place to review, purchase and download railroad related apps.

Unfortunately, there current is no way to distribute an iOS application without going through the iTunes App Store.  I can do ad hoc distribution for testing, but that is limited to 100 devices max and would expire after a period of time.

Hobo Al's picture

MRH app store


Yes, please.



jfmcnab's picture

SwitchList PICL Format

Being a modern (post-1980s) modeler the PICL format is right up my alley, and the tool perfect for a small switching layout operator as myself.


I'm glad it's working for you.  I was grateful that Robert allowed me to develop the format, with A LOT of questions from me to him, for SwitchList.  The original PICL format was based on forms used on the Iowa Interstate and it has served wonderfully as the traffic generator for my IAIS Grimes Line layout.

This is off topic, but I highly recommend any smaller, switching style layout owners who are interested check out the application at http://www.vasonabranch.com/railroad/switchlist.html


Iowa Interstate Railroad Grimes Industrial Track - HO Scale


Woodland scenics has just come out with a handy iOS app that lets you convert measurements into and out of any scale. Handy for scratch building! And the best thing is that it is free. :)
It's called ModelScaler.

Modelling in N

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