A route building idea.

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A route building idea.

Post  j3801 on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 4:02 am

Hi everyone,

I apologise up front if this is long winded but I wanted to get this idea out in the open.
(I know I’d probably get shot on UKTS for bringing up this idea.)

For about a year now I have been think about a few things that seem to constantly pop up in the route building threads: ‘I like the route but it isn’t in the era that I like’, ‘I want to run this route when it didn’t have OHW set up’ and ‘it is too hard to make the route change eras’.

Now I know that most people are quite happy with track layout compromises, different signals etc, but tend to get grumpy in regards to scenery if there has been a major change take place such as station modernisation, bridge works etc.

Now this got me thinking, the main issue here is a simple shape & texture swap and you could easily go from a warehouse to a car park to a housing lot, if the models footprint was kept the same size as well as its name. Same for a bridge, wood to brick to steel.

All it would really require is era specific shape and texture folders, then you could actually have an evolving route. All it would require is a simple folder name change (ie shapes1920 would be renamed to shapes to run the route in the 1920’s) and you could quickly go from the 1920’s to the 1980’s. You could make the different eras available as a separate download pack.

OHW shapes could be set up as a place holder shapes that could become ‘activated’ in later years and be ‘taken back down’ just as easily. As for the wires themselves, MSTS already has the ability to hide/unhide them built in.

I know this actually works as I have done it to EB’s ECML, I successfully ‘got rid’ of the OHW gantries by changing all the gantry shapes to a tiny invisible triangle, and then turned off the OHW in the sim. In about 10 mins I had gone from a modern electric route to one where even a steam engine could look at home on. No files were deleted to enable the change.

Now having thought about this, another issue came to mind: route authors don’t want to have to make 7 or 20 different versions of the one shape to suit everyone, nor do they have the time to do so. And this brought me to the main idea, what if you had someone/a group specifically do the route building work with place holder items and then separate ‘era teams’ work on the scenery so that different eras could be covered so that one person isn’t bogged down trying to do all the work.

Basically a community built route that a lot of people could enjoy. Activities wouldn’t be an issue as the TDB would not be changing, just the scenery.

Now I am in no way suggesting that this is the right way/wrong way to go about this, I am just after input to the idea.

Personally I would like to get involved in something like this, I know I’m pretty good at laying the track work down and I do happen to have the whole of the UK mainland DEM data, but I personally struggle beyond basic scenery as when I try to tackle the whole thing on my own I lose faith in myself. I am great at individual large projects but not so good when it comes to a ‘monster’ like trying to do everything for a route by myself.

What is everyone thoughts on this idea?

Justin


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Re: A route building idea.

Post  gswindale on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 1:15 pm

Hi Justin

It is certainly an interesting concept & seems perfectly reasonable.

In fact, it seems to be an extension to what myself & Dave Corfield did with the Dorset Coast route. There we ojnly played with the signage at the stations.

I think Making Tracks did some work on something along these lines for Greater Eastern, but don't think it progressed beyond testing.


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a route builing idea

Post  mikehendle on Sat 19 Jan 2013, 6:06 pm

Hi Justin,
If you have a look at Thames-Mersey that has a kind of era switcher,you can switch between steam/diesel or electric/diesel era's,by switching from electric all the overhead gets swichtched and also I think the signals do as well.

Mike Hendle
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Re: A route building idea.

Post  casperdog on Sun 20 Jan 2013, 4:09 am

Hi Justin,
An interesting idea.
One thought straight away was stations. Different models could be built to reflect different eras, closed using your small polygon idea, or new ones opened by starting with the small polygon.
One complaint about my Thames Trent route was there was too many stations, or some missing, to run modern era.
Signalling might be a problem, but someone may think of a way around that.
I'm busy with my own route, but if the idea gets off the ground, i could help with model making.
Cheers
Clive


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Re: A route building idea.

Post  ShortNorth on Tue 22 Jan 2013, 6:50 am

Hello Justin,

Firstly, although I'm not 'totally' an LNER fan, I really appreciate the effort you've put into the excellent new range of LNER carriages - just right for running interchange services on my LMS routes. Congratulations also to Darwin for the massive amount of excellent LMS carriage stock recently released.

Anyway, back to topic. If you see my introduction topic elsewhere, my main emphasis has been on NSWGR. Sydney had three major routes extending out into the country - the Main North, the Main South and the Main West. The Main West extends over the main barrier of the Blue Mountains (Great Dividing Range). Originally Sydney ran an electrified service only in the suburban areas as far west as Parramatta, traffic over the Blue Mountains was only steam (or early diesel). A decision was made in the early 50's to electrify from Parramatta to Penrith (for suburban purposes) and then over the Blue Mountains to Lithgow in expectation of massive growth in coal traffic (which didn't eventuate).

One of the 'pioneer' Australian routes in MSTS was a version of the line over the Blue Mountains in later electrified days, but with most of the 'heavy rationalisation' of sidings and yards stripped out by NSWGR. I decided to build a 'new' route 'Short South + Short West' (see steam4me website for details) , that would take into account the 'change-over period' - i.e. from around 1955 (not electrified) to around 1960 (electrified). This set me thinking and I came up with a plan similar to your idea.

However, my route was just a little more complex - I wanted to do the 'early' route with electrification only to Penrith, and the 'later' route with full electrification to Lithgow. It was one thing having a set of 'swap-over' shapes for electrified or non-electrified, but the suburban electrification had to stay in both eras. I finished up making 3 sets of electrified shapes - those for the suburban section which would not be swapped, one set for the visible electrification over the mountains and one for the invisible shapes. The invisible shapes were easy, I just made a set of small triangles with the same point of origin (but lowered slightly below track level) with the exact same names as the visible ones - I made the suburban electrification shapes with a X in the naming so the 'swap file' would not change them out. Two simple batch files copies either the visible or the invisible shapes from sub-folders into the route overwriting whatever is currently there - so, it is easy to run in pre-1958 un-electrified or post-1958 with the electrification place.

As part of the electrification shapes, I also made the electrical infrastucture (section huts, substations, etc.) change from visible to invisible, as well as other structures that changed between the two eras.

If you're interested in how I made it work, maybe download the Short West + Short South from steam4me, and install it - no need to download heaps of NSWGR rolling stock, your existing British stock will still run happily on it, albeit not to prototype - then examine the methodology, it's not too hard to implement a working era changer - it just takes a bit of time and careful checking that you only swap the relevant shapes.

Anyway, the idea works, so why don't you give it a go and see how it pans out !

Regards, Brian





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Re: A route building idea.

Post  j3801 on Thu 24 Jan 2013, 2:20 am

Hi Brian,

Yes, I do know about your work. Whilst at the moment I am "Mr LNER" with my work, living in Sydney I have been brought up around the railways.
I do happen to have (I think) all your routes and rolling stock for the old NSWGR. Infact my first personal models were of NSWGR origin.
I had forgotten about the OWH bit on the Short-South+Short West.

It would appear that there is significant intrest in the evolving route idea that I will make a start on a test route to try out these ideas.

I know I have a personal list of things that I want to include, any one else have suggestions?

My list so far:

  • Harbour Interchange for both passenger and freight.
  • Goods yards (small and large).
  • A farmers market served by rail (possibly I can lose this one).
  • A least 1 major terminal station.
  • Engine and coach sheds and related items.
  • The long overdue mail bag pickups.
  • It could be a major branch line or a minor mainline so that all types of engines would be seen.
  • Various industries that rely upon the railway to move there items such as a coal mine, logging, manufactureing plants.
  • The all important 'community workshops'.



Justin


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a route builing idea

Post  mikehendle on Thu 24 Jan 2013, 10:27 am

Hi Justin,

If it is a UK route the mail pick ups were only on the main lines not branch,the other alternative would be a UK preserved Railway like the Nene Valley or the Great Central at Loughborough,both use large loco's and have Mail Pick Up apperatus,which they use on special days.
The Nene Valley have 2 loco;s a Standard 5 and 4F in use and a Battle of Britain under repair,the Great Central have loads of big loco's in use.it is also double tracked
Another route could be Newcastle to York,you could have Tyne Dock for the harbour, 2 mainline stations,yards,and in pre 1970 line side sidings, also Mail Pick Up apperatus so you can use large loco's and of course your Gresely Teak Mail Coaches

Mike
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Re: A route building idea.

Post  j3801 on Thu 24 Jan 2013, 10:44 am

Hi Mike,

As it would be a test route and thus partially fictional, I'm sure I could keep things withing the bounds of logic.

As for the routes that you have mentioned Shocked ,errr I may be good when it comes to building rolling stock but I admit that I'm below arverage at route building. Looking back at my one "sucessfull" route, I still think I could do a lot better but I just ended up getting angry with myself and give up.

I just need to learn how to hold on to my temper with myself and I could probably do ok, maybe.

I am definately not promising anything beyond a "flat block of land with some track and a house with a tree" Laughing Laughing

Justin


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