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How do you keep track of your trains???

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  • How do you keep track of your trains???

    I've noticed across various rr forum boards, members will mention they bought an item only to discover at some time later on they'd already purchased that item years earlier (stored it away only to forget about it.). For those of with extensive or even modest size collections (possibly even of different gauges), how do you keep track of all you have to avoid needless duplication? Do you use a simple spreadsheet you've created for yourself or a commercially available program? With so many commercial inventory/collection programs to choose from, which one best suits your needs and why? Is a listing of item, condition,model and manufacturer all you keep track of, or for insurance or ther reasons, do you require more such as when and from whom you got an item, how much you paid and possibly even include photos you taken of that special engine or car? And what about other things like buildings? Which commercially available inventory program is you favorite "can't do without" one?

    How do you feel about having a inventory of what you have? Do you inventory your collection?

  • #2
    I don't inventory my collection. Normally if I buy something, I wouldn't mind buying two of it - so if I pick up a second (or at times third), I don't mind too much. Once they are completed - they get put in the layout or on display shelves (granted right now - everything is still packed away from moving).

    However, if I were to go ahead and inventory my model RR stuff - I would use a program like Data Crow (free).

    We use it for music, books and movies as well as keeping track of other household items for insurance purposes. It allows you to create custom fields and what not which would make it handy for something like Model RR collections and you can store images and the like - which should make it easy to find what you are looking for.


    • #3
      I take Inventory every couple of years but don't make a list or anything. I've only duplicate purchased once.
      It's only make-believe


      • #4
        This is what I use. Its free and has a lot of features. You can sort the records in different ways and generate different reports. I think it works well and the price is right:


        • #5
          I keep track two ways..In my head and I have a note pad record that I keep updated.


          • #6

            Originally posted by LandNnut

            This is what I use. Its free and has a lot of features. You can sort the records in different ways and generate different reports. I think it works well and the price is right:


            Thanks! I downloaded it and started playing around, it's easy to use and makes printing a list to go shopping with easy.

            Living in Colorado,

            home of the Rio Grande


            • #7
              You're very welcome. Glad I could help.

              L&N nut



              • #8
                I was keeping track of stuff in my head but over the past few months I've had trouble remembering things so I've been writing stuff down into a little notebook.
                Scott, from the wilds of Carroll County, Ohio


                • #9
                  I built an Access database to make car cards and waybills for operations. Its easy to inventory my stuff. Of course, buying "duplicates" is easy since in my era nobody sells RTR stuff I can use and pretty much anything I buy is either a kit or will be kitbashed or stripped and repainted, so duplicates aren't a problem.
                  Dave Husman

                  Iron Men and wooden cars

                  Visit my website :


                  • #10
                    JMRI (free) has a car database in their operations section. Print that out before heading to a swap meet / train show and no duplicates.

                    A friend of mine that runs regular operating sessions has a number of duplicate cars on his layout (purchased long before multiple road numbers were popular). He just took some dry transfer letters to the top corner of each car, and labeled them A, B, C, etc. So for car movements, you have to pay close attention to the suffix for some cars, but it works!