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Collection of useful digital tools for heritage railways

Discussion in 'Heritage Railways & Centres in the UK' started by Railboy, Jun 2, 2019.

  1. Railboy

    Railboy New Member

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    Here we can collect useful and state of the art digital tools, which bring a classical heritage railway to the 21st century.

    One of the possibly most important current digital Trends (it's my favourite) might be the use of QR codes (easy to make and easier to read).

    These can be used in all brochures, where the visitors can immediately be redirected to the inserted website.
    Secondly, boards with appeals for funds should also generally have a QR codes printed on. Therefore interested people can easily donate through the linked website.
    Thirdly, QR codes provide the basis for online based museumdesigned quizes in heritage centers for the public.
    All in all QR codes could surely be used for many more applications and they pose to be a technology with a huge potential.

    Let us know your use of QR codes on your heritage railway and which helpful digital tools should be added in this list.

    Cheers
     
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  2. lil Bear

    lil Bear Member

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    B1 61264 Trust have a magnetic sign they fit to the cab, with a QR code that takes you to their website if used with a mobile.

    At CVR we've used QR codes on our advertising posters to direct people to the website (and booking system).
     
  3. CH 19

    CH 19 Member Friend

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    Pray, what is a QR code?
     
  4. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    One of these:
    [​IMG]
    You scan it with your phone and it typically directs you to a website, or reveals some text or something. Can't say I've ever found it much harder to type in a web address personally, I still can't quite get beyond it being a bit of a gimmick, but others will disagree I'm sure.
     
  5. CH 19

    CH 19 Member Friend

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    Ah gotcha and thanks. I've seen a lot of those around but did not get the concept, will see what my phone can do, but like you I just look it up on t'internet, simples :).
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Part of the furniture Friend

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    Middleton started using these a good few years ago - the thing for the future - then abandoned them as no one seemed to bother with them. As you say, a bit of a gimmick.
     
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  7. 5944

    5944 Well-Known Member

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    They are a very good idea, and very simple to use, but like you say, have never really taken off for some reason.
     
  8. richards

    richards Well-Known Member

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    "Point your camera, remember your phone's camera doesn't do QR scanning on its own, download another app, open that app, point the camera, scan the code, and end up on some corporate website that's not even optimized for your phone."
    https://www.wired.com/story/the-curious-comeback-of-the-dreaded-qr-code/

    Difficult to access (for non-techies), poor integration, and little value from the information when you eventually get access to.
     
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2019
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  9. goldfish

    goldfish Part of the furniture

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    Great way to con people into visiting scam websites too. I would avoid visiting any website if I can’t see the url first.

    Simon
     
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  10. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    A couple of "digital tools" from me.

    For a few years, in my spare time I've been writing a timetable editing and formatting tool, with two aims: firstly, to generate a train graph easily, so you can quickly see if the timetable you've been given has any obvious conflicts; and secondly, to be able to output timetables that look as if they could be genuinely heritage, and haven't just been put together as a spreadsheet.

    It's open source, and you can download the latest version from: https://github.com/willsalt/simple-timetable-editor/releases/latest

    It's written in C# and currently uses .NET Framework 4.5.2, so should be installable and runnable on all recent Windows computers - download the .MSI file from the above link if you want to install it. It has its quirks, it's not at all documented, and it can be quite tedious to enter large timetables, although I am slowly adding more features to make entering and editing data easier. The features are very much focused around what I want, rather than what I think other people need, so if you find yourself asking "but why doesn't it do X" the answer is probably "because I don't particularly want to be able to do that with it". However it's fully open-source, so feel free to create your own fork and submit modifications.

    The second thing is a bit older and maybe a bit more restricted in who might use it. Have you ever wanted to become a signalman/signaller and been frustrated by all the bell codes you have to learn? Well, try my bell code testing tool. It has two modes: either it will ask you "send Train Entering Section" and expect you to do it, or it will ring bells at you and wait for you to select the right answer. It's also written in C# but is still using .NET Framework 3.5, off the top of my head. Go to https://github.com/willsalt/bellcode-tester/releases to get it.
     
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  11. flying scotsman123

    flying scotsman123 Resident of Nat Pres

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    Ah I remember you mentioning the timetable one a little while ago, I look forward to having a play with that later!
     
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  12. Forestpines

    Forestpines Well-Known Member

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    Let me know when you find bugs or if you have any questions! If you are using it from scratch the first thing to do is to input all the locations along your railway and their mileages (well, you can make up the mileages, but then the graph won't be to a consistent vertical scale)
     
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