Concept

TOPS

Summary
Total Operations Processing System (TOPS) is a computer system for managing railway locomotives and rolling stock, known for many years of use in the United Kingdom. TOPS was originally developed between the Southern Pacific Railroad (SP), Stanford University and IBM as a replacement for paper-based systems for managing rail logistics. A jointly-owned consultancy company, TOPS On-Line Inc., was established in 1960 with the goal of implementing TOPS, as well as selling it to third parties. Development was protracted, requiring around 660 man-years of effort to produce a releasable build. During mid-1968, the first phase of the system was introduced on the SP, and quickly proved its advantages over the traditional methods practiced prior to its availability. In addition to SP, TOPS was widely adopted throughout North America and beyond. While it was at one point in widespread use across many of the United States railroads, the system has been perhaps most prominently used in the Unit
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