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Rail Traffic Control Simulations on Handheld Computers

German version

Gemini PDA

Some regular visitors of my homepage might still remember my former Psion pages where I offered railway glossaries for download in the Psion database format. As a passionate user of handheld computers, I never stopped looking for a successor for my Psions. Finally, in early 2018, British company Planetcom came up with the Gemini PDA, which combines the clamshell design with modern technology. My Gemini runs Adroid, which enables me to run railway simulation developed for DOS in the Android DosBox. The picture shows an interlocking simulation with a user interface as used in the control centres of German Railways. The laptop in the background runs a British signal control simulation from www.simsig.co.uk, which I also used for illustrations from the 2nd edition of Railway Operation and Control

Sharp Netwalker

When looking for a successor for my Psions, I tried the Sharp Netwalker, which became available in 2009. The Netwalker runs Ubuntu Linux. A DOS emulation is also available for Ubuntu. The picture shows another control screen from the same control district as in the photo of the Gemini.

The next photo shows the simulation of a Swiss-type mechanical lever frame. This program is a Java application that also runs unter Ubuntu.

Samsung Galaxy Tab 7

While I have always preferred the clamshell design with a real keyboard, I never got fully accustomed to the Netwalker. Despite the nice size, the mechanical quality of the keyboard was far behind the Psion. Also, the Ubuntu desktop is not an appropriate user interface for a small mobile device. Hardcore Linux lovers may think different about this issue, however.

Due to the lack of alternatives, I had no choice but buying a tablet. I picked the 7 inch version of the Samsung Galaxy Tab. Fortunately, due to the Android DosBox it can also be used for DOS rail traffic control simulations. The picture shows the same user interface as on the Sharp Netwalker. Operation is a little tricky, however. When entering control commands, the command line and a big share of the track chart is hidden below the on-screen keyboard.

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