TOPS Reporting in Hellfire

Hellfire includes the ability to obtain TOPS reports similar to those which bashers used to obtain valuable information regarding the whereabouts of locomotives.  The following information relates to the TOPS facility on Hellfire.

TOPS (Total Operations Processing System) was a computerised system in use during the early 1980's by British Rail.  The system was originally designed to maintain records on freight wagons in real time, but was expanded in the late 1970's to include locomotives.  Details such as location, allocated workings, operating status and maintenance schedules were continually updated from a network of terminals  located at major railway installations around the country.

In order to access the TOPS system in Hellfire, you need to be at a station with a TOPS office.  Many of the larger stations in the game have a TOPS office, and attempting to visit the TOPS Office when at any station will let you know if you are at a location with a TOPS office.

As any basher will be aware, simply being at a station with a TOPS office did not guarantee that gen from the TOPS office would be forthcoming. If the TOPS clerk was too busy, or was not sympathetic to the requirements of bashers, then you would be left in no uncertain terms that your presence was not welcome.  Each TOPS office in Hellfire works a 3 shift pattern, with staff changeovers at 6am, 2pm and 10pm, so if you are unsuccessful in obtaining gen at a particular TOPS office, you can come back when a different clerk is on duty and try again.  Another feature of TOPS office staff was that you were more likely to obtain gen if you knew the staff involved, and vice versa.  This means that the longer you have been bashing, the more likely you are to be able to obtain gen from a particular office.  In Hellfire this means that the more locos you require, the less likely you are to be able to obtain gen from any particular TOPS office.  It is simply a matter of trial and error to find a TOPS office which will supply gen until the next shift change.

Once you find a TOPS office which is willing to supply gen, you will be able to run the following reports:

  1. E3 1 Report:

This report returns the current location of a locomotive, together with any allocated workings.

TOPS E3 1 Report

The above is a report on locomotive 55012.

The loco is shown out of service at her home shed of York.  The fate of Crepello has been sealed, since the locomotive has been assigned "N/ONE", meaning that she has been withdrawn from service. In real life, this locomotive had been withdrawn by July 1981, but an option in the game settings can allow such locomotive to be returned to traffic. In this case, the option to reinstate stored locomotives has not been enabled, so Crepello awaits her grim fate.

Below is a report on 40002, which is shown arriving at Haymarket on 6Z02, on 01/07.  Every loco which has not been previously allocated to a train in the game will be shown as arriving at its location on a light special freight (6ZXX).  40002 is available for traffic, and can be allocated to work at any point.

TOPS E3 1 Report

The following report, for 47492, shows the loco allocated on 1D02, the 0223 Crewe - Holyhead.  In a real E3 1 report, the locations are displayed as the five-digit TOPS codes, but the Hellfire version gives the actual locations for ease of use.

TOPS E3 1 Report

The report for 50036 shows the locomotive to be working the 'Down Midnight' from Paddington to Newton Abbot (it will probably work through to Plymouth but a limitation of Hellfire means that it won't be shown as working through until the train is closer to Newton Abbot).  The approximate location of the train is also given, in terms of the estimated time of arrival.

TOPS E3 1 Report

  1. AB ALLOX Report:

This report returns the locomotive allocated to, or working any train currently active in the game.  Locomotives are usually allocated about two or three hours prior to departure.  The AB ALLOX report for 1A00, the Barrow - Euston sleeper shows that 85002 is in charge of the train.  This report is slightly less friendly in that some knowledge of TOPS location codes is required to work out that the loco is allocated from Preston (30120) to Euston (72410), and its last reported location was Crewe (42140).


  1. TV Report:

Colloquially known as a 'power report', this was a complete listing of activity for any location.  The report is best exemplified by looking at a Power Report for Aberdeen.

TOPS TV Report

Just as in a real power report, there is a lot of useful information to be gleaned here.  Reading down the report, we can see that 26008 is out of service with an electrical fault (N/500), and is due back into traffic at 0800 on 16/07 (which is 'Thursday' in the game).  27003 is currently shown at Inverurie, working 4N06 (Mails to Elgin), and is further allocated on 2N08 (Elgin - Inverness).  There is plenty of spare power at Aberdeen, with 27008 allocated to 2N13 (to Inverness), 47435 to work 1C86 (Carstairs), and 47149 booked for 1T14 (Glasgow QS).

In the section on Locos Allocated to Arrive, 27003 is again shown, since Elgin is included in Aberdeen Power Reports.  Aberdeen will be expecting 40164 from Inverness, and various 47's on trains from Kings Cross, Dundee and Glasgow.

Eventually it is hoped to add features such as Exam schedules and fuel hours, etc in future versions of Hellfire.

Click here for a list of TOPS location codes used in Hellfire.

Any comments etc on TOPS reports in Hellfire can be posted to the discussion forum.