Inventory software is a great idea for several reasons.  It can help avoid buying duplicates, keeps an accurate want list, forms the basis for insurance valuations, keeps track of where your items are at and their condition.  The following is a survey of model train inventory software.  If you know of others, please add it in the comments below.

All Aboard Data Express by Tayden Design – “A new, innovative database software that was specially designed for Model Railroaders! This new inventory software is based on recent database technology, especially for model railroad equipment!”  Adobe pdf Data Sheet.  Tayden also offers separate programs to track maintenance, simulate layout operations and inventory literature and documents.  Dowload or CD from retailers. USD: $30 includes 2 years of upgrades, OS Windows XP, Vista & 7.

Easy Model Railroad Inventory by RCL Software, Inc. - “is designed to inventory all of your model railroad rolling stock, locomotives and cars, the structures, electronic equipment, book collection . . . there are many ways to view, query, report, and graph . . . functions to operate your railroad using a variety of methods” General specs page. This EMRI is a complete, integrated solution.  It tracks the locos, cars, MOW, including DCC info, structures, books, videos tools and does operations.  Tip: turn on Maintance History for an item by checking the “Do Maintenance Check” box under the Routing/Operations tab.  Update announcements and tutorials at MRH blog.  Download USD: FREE – Donationware, OS: Windows.  Current version 6.0 dated October 2012.

MiTrains by ShenSoft – “an inventory program specifically for model railroaders and rail fans. One that eased the burden of typing wherever possible” Includes database of N-scale Micro-Trains series.  MiTrains is highly customizable and regularly updated.  Integrates with Waybills program for switching and operations.  Download – USD: $50.  OS: Windows, Vista & Win7 with MS patch.  Current version 6.5.0 dated March 2011.

RailFanExpress- “An easy way to keep an accurate record of your entire model railroad inventory. Catalog every item, with its cost and even include a photo. The numerous report options make Railfan Express excellent for insurance purposes.”  USD: $20.  OS: Win95 to WinXP.  Not compatible with Win7.  Current version 5.1 dated July 2009.  Website down Aug 24, 2011.  Version 5.0, description and reviews available at download.com.

RRTrains 2000 – “is a small program used to create a detailed inventory of your model railroad collection.”  USD: FREE.  OS: Win95 to Vista.  Win7 unstated. Current version 2.7 dated July 2004.

SofTrack – “is the easiest to use and most complete solution for managing your collection of railroad equipment. It is designed for use on Macintosh or Windows computers with Filemaker Pro®.” USD: $60, OS: Mac OSX and WinXP, also requires Filemaker Pro database. Current version 2.0 has can be run without Filemaker Pro.  As of October 2012, this software is no longer available.  They are providing support and updates for the Apple Lion OS.

TrackMyTrains – “is a comprehensive database system designed especially for model railroading enthusiasts and collectors. Our subscribers keep their collection databases on our website with complete control over how it is organized and who can see their information.” USD: $30/year, Web Application.

TrainMinder – has optional paid modules adding Lionel and American Flyer images, data and prices.  Price data is updated with eBay and other pricing.  USD: $40-85, OS: Win98 to Win7.  Current version and last update unknown.

TrainTracker - offers very extensive optional  modules including, MTH, K-Line, Pre, Post and Modern Lionel and American Flyer data.  USD: $29-130, OS: Win98 to WinXP.  Vista and Win7 not stated as working.  Latest version 5.5 last update not stated.

YardOffice -Tracks motive and rolling stock with custom notes, photos and DCC codes.  Registered version allows printing of labels and reports.  Free limited version or registerd USD: $27 w/ 1 year updates.  OS: Win98 and up.  Also works in iMac Windows partition.  Latest version 3.08 dated August 2009.

In the comments that follow, I have made some suggestions and expressed some personal opinions.  However, my likes and dislikes should not scare you off from looking at all the software.  From looking over the software, I think all of the inventory programs are good.  There are two programs that are no longer supported.  One, the website is down, the other is supported, but no longer providing updates.  I would choose a program that is currently supported and verify it has not been years since the last update.
Much of this is personal taste, interests and the look and feel of the software and your tastes are probably different than mine.  Please use this post as a starting point, do the research and then pick out a couple of programs to try out, most offer a demo.  Actually entering some of your collection into the programs will tell you if they do everything you need and want and if you like how the program operates and if it works well on your computer, operating system and printer.

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47 Responses to “Model Train Inventory Software”
  1. Robert Costos says:

    What about “Trainminder” sofeware? Do you have an opinion as to which is the best available?

  2. Robert, thanks for pointing out Trainminder. I have added both Trainminder and TrainTracker to the list. Personally, I have been looking for software that works on a WinXP desktop/notebook _and_ a Windows Mobile PocketPC. The closest thing I have found is an Excel workbook on the WinXP desktop/notenook that can be read natively on the PocketPC using Softmaker.de Office 2008. It lacks the convenience of a packaged solution, but allows me to keep the inventory with me and updated at train shows.

  3. Modulator says:

    After more research and trying things, I like Yard Office. The free version is very functional. The registration of $27 price is very hobby friendly. The registered version allows me to export an Excel spreadsheet to my PocketPC. This allows me an easy way to keep track of what I have/want when I am traveling or at a train show using the PocketPC. I wanted an inventory program, so if you want operations and switch lists, then another option might be better.

  4. How about All Aboard Data Express by Tayden designs? Toy train Heaven is an authorized dealer for the CD $27.55 (list $29.95), or Tayden has a downloadable version available direct. Still trying to find price for this.

  5. hi!
    Thanks for info, but are there no new software? All seem to be last updated when XP was new..? I was hoping for something for Win7? What kind of software do you use now?

  6. Andreas, Most of the Windows programs will work with Vista and Win7. A lot of hobbyists seem to lag behind in computer technology. I have been using Yard Office and am generally happy with it.

  7. Which inventory program will log Lionel, Williams and K Line?

  8. Jeanette, TrainMinder and TrainTracker both offer add-on software modules specific to K-Line, Williams and Lionel. If you don’t need these features for the extra $$$, any of the programs will track K-Line, Williams and Lionel.

  9. I am looking for a program to inventory K-line, Williams, and Lionel. I want it to register the following: train type, train number, Road line, if upgraded to Command control.
    ie: Lionel F-3 B #14557 Western Pacific Command Control
    Which would you recommend?

  10. Modulator says:

    Jeanette, I would try the Yard Office free version first to see if it does all you want. It looks like these two screen offer things you mentioned.

    Main page – http://www.musicmixradio.com/yardoffice/ScreenMain.htm
    Details page – http://www.musicmixradio.com/yardoffice/ScreenDetails.htm

  11. Modulator says:

    I found Easy Model Railroad Inventory in a post on MRHmag.com in June 2011. This looks like a very nice program. It allows you to keep a complete inventory of rolling stock, structures, books and electronics. It also allows the printing of car cards and switching lists based on NMRA operating SIG recommendations. If I was looking for inventory software, this would be the first software I would check out.

  12. Bob Highley says:

    Do I have to have Microsoft Excel installed on pc to run Yard Office or Easy Model RR Inventory? If so, would the free OpenOffie also work?? Thanks

  13. Modulator says:

    As far as I know, none of the programs require Excel. Most programs will export to an Excel spreadsheet format or a format that Excel can read. This is nice because you can put the spreadsheet on a portable device, like a PDA, iPhone, iPad, SmartPhone, and take it to shows and on trips. This would allow you to avoid duplicates or specify what you are looking for.
    Yard Office has a maintenance page for entering dates and details of maintenance and repairs. Easy Model RailRoad inventory does not have a maintenance feature, yet.

  14. Hello,
    This is a very useful site for checking into the various model train collection documentation software. I was wondering if there are modules for MARX and IVES?

    Also can you provide any information on grading trains, and understanding their rarity? I need to understand this as I am about to embark on cataloguing a 50+ year collection in my family.

    Based on my research, I am leaning toward TrainMinder, as it has direct links to TCA valuations.

    Thanks in advance for your help,
    Mike

  15. Mike, Thanks for the questions and complements. TrainTracker and TrainMinder look like the best choices, as they have or include options for the valuation of model trails. Unfortunately, I don’t see Ives or Marx values specifically listed. My main interest is HO and modules and I wanted to be able to take an inventory to train shows to avoid double purchases. So, I am not going to be much help on the grading and pricing of pre and post-war O-scale trains. I would contact the TCA for more information, or a local dealer or collector could actually look at the collection, where you could learn and understand the nuances of grading. There are also books about values, but I am not sure how the market has changed since the books have been published. Best of luck on your cataloguing project.

  16. Thanks Modulator,
    I will report back on how the project goes from time to time. Keep up the good work on this blog.

  17. Version 4.0 of Easy Model Railroad Inventory has been released by RCL Software. Among the new features is a maintenance log and schedule for rolling stock and locomotives. See the list of all changes here: http://easy-model-railroad-inventory.rclsoftware.com/history/history.htm

  18. Has anyone tried to get on to Trainminders’ web site today. It keeps comming up that it can not be displayed.
    Are they still in business? What is going on with Train Minder?

    Thanks

  19. I would give it a day or two. Could be the earthquake on the east coast. Could be the webhost is having problems. Could be the site is self hosted and the computer died.

  20. A new version of Easy Model Railroad Inventory is now available for download.

    Version 4.3 10/14/2011
    1. Added Wish List checkbox to parts record.
    2. Added Wish List field to all parts reports.
    3. Added Priority field to Project record.
    4. Added structure report listing with photograph.
    5. Redesigned parts list box window to make photo larger.
    6. Library resource type changed to free form field with “Book” as default.
    7. Added 20 character field to structure file called Type with “Structure” as default.
    8. Added Query Option Dialog to the front end of all reports.
    9. Added a tool tip for many of the list box columns to make data more easier to understand.

    Thanks and enjoy.

  21. Any recommendations for a Mac user? I only saw one on your list that specifically said it would work with a Mac. Thanks!

  22. Sorry, you can either use SofTrack or try WINE and the windows software on you mac.

  23. I use Yard Office myself, till something better comes along and meets my wants. Y.O. is a good program, but still needs some improvements. I want to be able to list Coupler numbers, also wheel types and sizes. I know to some these are not issues. But keeping track of all things added, changed, and replaced is a big issue to me. Years ago I had a program by a company called Scottsville Business. Out of Scottsville, NY. Was one of the best programs I ever used. But it was DOS only and they at that time has no plans to make it Windows Compatible. From the best I know they are no longer in business. But still hope someone will come up with a excellent program on of these days. Till then I will use Y. O.
    I do hope the guy who took over Y.O. really starts taking time to refine and make major updates.
    We just had a big talk about Inventory software at our recent show. And all agree it’s time for a Ultimate Model RxR Inventory Software Program.

    Just my thoughts; Bob

  24. I would very much appreciate it if you would take a look at DASH (www.collector-modeltrains.com) which we just launched last week at York PA at the Model Train show. We built DASH based upon the passion of collectors and their interest in sharing their knowledge, enthusiasm and collection with others like them, and I’d love to get your feedback on it. I think it has the potential to be a ‘game-changer’ for many model train enthusiasts.

    While there are many places to buy, sell and trade model trains, lots of sources to value items, a variety of software or spreadsheets to manage ones collection, and lots of ad hoc ways to showcase a collection, there is no dedicated community delivering all this … until today.

    DASH is an FREE online community site that meets all the needs of the model train collector small or large. The collection management functionality is built on top of the best 90,000 item Catalog across all gauges. There are already more than 300,000 photos of items on the site! Browse or search and click “Add to Collection” and “Add to Wanted” to get going. That’s it. Register for free and start clicking. All of the other standard collection management functionality is there too (adding your own photos, condition, grade, acquisition cost, etc.) But it goes way beyond that…

    Because it’s internet-based, your collection is automatically backed up in the “cloud”, and it’s available anytime, from anywhere. Even from your mobile phone! But beyond that, if you want to sell an item, you put a price on it and click “List for sale.” It is now available in the DASH Marketplace and all users who want that particular item are notified. If you buy an item, it automatically shows up in your collection, recording the date and cost of acquisition and even imports all of the photos of that item. Every collector gets their own showcase page, where they can share their collection with others. They can even post photos of their collection and videos of their layout in action. Finally, we have an integrated values guide on the site. Our values guide is based on actual historical sales, both from the DASH Marketplace and our partner, Trainz.com. Because it’s all integrated again, collectors can get a complete report of their full collection and its overall value.

    If you want to see how Collector-ModelTrains works, you can see our video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C-EQQLP_hZo&feature=youtu.be

    There is more to it than I’ve summarized here, but we’re literally only a week into our public launch, so we’re ramping up our marketing. Please take a look at the site and share it with your readers/friends. Please drop me an email at “steve at collectordash.com” if you have any additional questions or comments. (We’ve offered a special promo code for people to get half-off the “premium” features on the site, so let me know if you want that code to pass along to folks.)

    Thanks

    … Steve

  25. If you use an iPhone or iPad, I would recommend looking at the ModelTrainDB at http://www.modeltraindb.com/

    ModelTrainDB is the ultimate app for anyone that collects and/or enjoys running model railroad trains. The app allows you to track information about all of the unique items in your collection, and your current inventory.

  26. I have aproximately 900 units of rolling stock and locomotives that I have acquired over the past 5 years. I am looking for a very simple inventory software that I can use to catalogue the items. What can you recommend that will provide the very basic information for me?

  27. Ken, I would try Easy Model Railroad Inventory. It is free. It has more features than you probably want. At some point you will probably want to do more and the program will be ready. This is much easier than starting over with a new program and re-entering all your data.

  28. I have Train Tracker by Bang Zoom software, that company no longer exists. I wouild like to be able to “upload” from either version 3 or 4 …I have both… to a new supported database software. My collection includes Lionel, American Flyer, Marx and British Railways. Fat fingering ALL that information into some new database looks to be daunting. I would also be interested in how the software provides and tracks value.

    Suggestions?
    Thanks,
    Don

  29. Don,
    The big question is can Train Tracker export its data to an ascii text file or Excel spreadsheet format? If not, you may have to open the database files and see if they are basically text files. If they are encoded or otherwise not readable, I don’t have any suggestions.
    Most of the inventory programs offer the ability to import and export data as ascii text, Excel spreadsheet or other file types. Be sure to verify the is included, several mention this is a “coming soon” feature. One mentions that the expected date for data export will be Christmas 2009, and I am writing this October 2012!
    I think all the programs offer the ability to enter purchase price or “cost” valuations. If you want updated pricing for American Flyer and Lionel, that limits you to TrackMyTRains (data export coming soon), TrainMinder and TrainTracker.
    I am an HO guy, so I don’t know much about the utility and accuracy of the valuation catalogs of these programs.
    Let us know if you find one that works for you. Thanks, Rob

  30. For years I used OFFIX software for my brass collection during the DOS years… No longer around, but it had a form maker that I could use for specific items lilke brass locos, brass cabooses, brass passenger cars, RR books and such. What was neat about this program is that I could print out each form as a page for the 3 ring binder of that category and/or do a spread sheet based on say locos base on wheel arrangement, or Railroads collected….
    So the question is… is there a software that allows me to do this kind of record keeping?
    Thanks
    Bob

  31. Bob, I think any of the programs will allow the data to be exported as either a text file or as an excel spreadsheet. I think all of them will allow you to print various reports. Your personal preferences will indicate which programs report formatting you like best and those you don’t like. Some of the other features, like valuations for collectible Lionel, or the detail level of the repair logging might become more important as you look at the programs. Thanks, Modulator

  32. I use a product called ‘HanDBase’ by DDH Software (web link http://www.ddhsoftware.com/ ) which is PDA based. I started on a Palm phone, upgraded to a Windows based phone and now to an Android based phone. It allows you to create your own database containg data files, pop-up tables, etc. It is very reasonable and sync’s with a desktop version of your database on any platform. The only short coming so far is the lack of a picture taker/storage/link in the Android phones (available on all other platforms). Otherwise it is a great product and I am enhancing my database again for the umpteenth time to include new options which is very easy to do. The changes can be made on the phone or desktop and will sync to the other on the next sync process.

  33. I have a very simple need. First, I’m a live steamer, so many of the items regarding electronics, etc. are not needed.

    My wife will not/cannot open a spreadsheet or software package to search for information, SO, a 3-ring binder is the chosen way to go. I envision 1 loco, car, building per page. A typical spreadsheet, although nice for me to have, is not necessary.

    What I would like to do is prepare and print out a basic inventory for estate planning purposes. As my wife says, “I have no idea what you have or what it’s worth. Without help, I wouldn’t know where to start.”

    I’ve taken digitial photos of each item and would like to import the photos [generally 2, 1 of each side] into a page for each item. Data I would like to include is: Equipment type [Loco, Pass. Car, Description, Manufacturer, Cost, Estimated Value and Inventory No.].

    This may be repetetive, but extreme amounts of detail such as with the NMRA supported software is unnecessary.

    What would you suggest?

  34. I’ve really enjoyed using http://www.collector-modeltrains.com/dash/home/ for tracking. They had everything in my collection on the site, all I had to do is find it, then click to put it in my collection. Everything is right there, a lot easier than how I used to do it, that’s for sure!

  35. My husband has model railroads of various kinds. I have no idea which ones or how many there are. I’m looking for an easy cataloging instrument whereby I can sort by many categories into Excel, or something similar. I don’t look forward to typing all that information. Is there a portable scanner on the market that will transfer the information into an Excel-type format?

  36. I don’t know of any scanner type device. You don’t say what scale your husband’s equipment is. If it is Lionel or N, you might try the programs that come pre-populated with data.

  37. I would just use a word processor to create the pages in the format you want. It sounds like the format of the page or report is more important than having a computerized database.

  38. I have HanDBase too. It is a good product. If you have the time, knowledge and skill, you can create exactly what you want with HanDBase. Creating and maintaining the database program can be a very enjoyable part of the hobby.
    I have went both ways and my personal preference is for a program maintained by someone else. Lets me do more trains.

  39. For a FREE train collection management solution that offers a solution for 2013 and beyond, you should check out http://www.collector-modeltrains.com. Collector-ModelTrains offers an on-line collection management solution with on-line catalog and photos, pricing, and more; comprehensive collection management; collection showcase, and much more for free. You can also buy and sell within the community for less then you can on eBay or Amazon. You can upgrade to a premium membership get an on-line values guide, collection reporting, trading, and a full native iPhone, iPad, and Android mobile app to bring your collection and showcase with you everywhere you go. Please check it out.

  40. I have used the free version of Yard Office for several years now. I find very friendly and easy to use. I have about 2000 items in inventory with no loss of usage functions or response within the software. There are also many hidden features within the software that I have discovered over time. One useful feature is the ability to re-name labels on the input screens. Just double click the existing label and a rename window opens up. Pretty useful tool. The fee version will allow downloads to Excel and the addition of more than one photo. I have not gone this route yet, but I see that as useful down the road.

    I particularly like the road name icons and manufacturer icons that pop up in the inventory sheet on entry. If there is one not shown for either you can add manually to the data base by pasting in your own jpg image. This is a handy tool if you have a private road name with your own custom logos.

  41. Modulator says:

    Editor’s note: The upgrade from a “basic” to a “club” member is $60/year.

  42. It’s time for me to inventory 40+ years of collecting. Have lots of G-scale and a bit of scale O and HO. What is the best inventory system for G-scale?

  43. Dale, I don’t know of anything specifically for G scale. I would try out Easy Model Railroad Inventory and Yard Office to see which you like better.

  44. Do not use TrainMinder. It has bugs and is not supported. TrainTracker was great but the authors dropped it and never made any updates to it, so it will not run on any version of windows past XP.

  45. I ordered and paid for train minder and I couldn’t import train tracker 5.5 into the program. I sent 2 emails for support and no response I’m using Windows 8. rain tracker is in Win XP. Any suggestions? What about MI? Does it support American Flyer? No response from them either.

  46. John Westenberger says:

    I was keeping all my information in Excel spreadsheets, and updating prices of the trains and accesspries every year manually. After reading everyone’s comments above, I gave Yard Office a try. I catalugued about 600 mostly Lionel pieces by modifying the drop down menus to show only the information I wanted to see and use. Model numbers, road numbers, logos, coupler data, remote control information, etc can all be inserted into the database. Coordinating a single phot for each item was simplicity itself. It worked flawlessly in setup, and the reports are easy to see and navigate. The “freeware” version sacrifices little functionality, but after getting the whole database up and running, I am looking forward to paying for the software to unlock the rest. $27 for a fully working version is certainly cheap enough.

  47. Regarding Yard Office…..I still like this software and find it very utile for what I do. I do want to note that I have not been able to contact them regarding info on added features for payment. If there is anyone out there using this software I would suggest the free version only unless you can make contact ….Just FYI

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