Bear Creek & South Jackson - progress reports - Building a Mountain Railroad (1080p)


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Bear Creek & South Jackson - progress reports - Building a Mountain Railroad (1080p)

Hi all,

I've been at work on the BC&SJ doing some scene detailing heading east out of Junction City toward Bear Creek since I posted the thread Junction City is taking shape on the BC&SJ.

I got almost 3 miles of track and surroundings detailed. Here are some screen shots of the results (which I thought turned out fairly well) :)

Train 202 has just left Junction City (visible in the background)

Shortly after the previous shot...

Lower Bear Creek in the foreground as 201 passes an abandoned barn...

Bear Creek (the creek, not the town!) and the tracks have been gaining elevation as our train proceeds railroad east.

Trains and road parallel the creek here. I'm still trying to figure out how to make realistic rapids. The animated water fall just doesn't cut it from a realism perspective. I'm trying to use rocks to model an area where the water rapidly changes elevation. An alternative would be to try spline-based water which I'm trying up in the mountains. However, I've not made enough progress there for a verdict, yet.

Another angle of the previous shot (is using the 'pause' key cheating for taking multiple shots of the same scene?

Looking from the four-corners in pretty much the middle of nowhere (but with cafe and gas station) toward a grade crossing. I'm staggered by how much traffic appears on roads in TRAINZ. Is there a way to reduce the number of vehicles spawned? (I'd also like to eliminate certain vehicles - the '59 caddie in freakomatic green and the garbage truck!) I actually managed to get the gates to close and the traffic to stop (and looking over the tender I can see there's a LOT of stopped traffic on the other side of the tracks!)

200 is crossing over a tributary creek here...

I dunno about you guys, but I think wide open vistas of a train with the scenery seeming to extend forever behind it are really cool!

A big problem with this scene is that when driving past it, there are so many cows that their "moos" overlap each other and apparently overwhelm the audio drivers in TRAINZ resulting in a bunch of "clicks" when a "moo" is aborted. Bad "moos" indeed...

I guess that's about it for now. The scene detailing didn't get to Bear Creek, but it did make it about half way. Of course Bear Creek itself is still very much under construction - the yard tracks aren't even in place yet and the major TerraForming [tm] ain't done either.

Hopefully I'll have more screen shots in a few more days (daze).
Audio can be an issue, moat assets with sound are far too loud, it can be fixed fairly easily, open your cow asset for editing and select and open your cow wav file in an audio editor then drop the sound right down, I recently had this problem with a flock of sheep, you could hear them about a mile away , l dropped the audio about 10 dB and now they are about right .
What grass splines/objects are you using? They look really nice.

That appears to be the procedural grass plus some JVC splines here and there to add to them. The procedural (Turf-FX) grass looks to be Long grass 10 seasonal, which I just used on one of my routes.
Scenery Reaches Bear Creek! Citizens Celebrate! (part 1) (1920x1080 images)
I spent the afternoon doing screen shots of the second half of the route between Junction City and Bear Creek yard.

Picking up from where I left off in the previous set of screen shots...

And about 1/4 mile further down the track.


I was amazed to find a nice high-quality model of a Ledgerwood (spelling?) log skidder in the DLC. So I felt obliged to model a clear cut. There are a number of textures suitable for such a situation and I found a couple that were dark enough to match the other textures I was using. I think I went overboard on the TurfFX here - by the time this much grass had grown, the Ledgerwood would have been moved on to the next defoliation site.

Looking at the clear-cut/logging scene from another direction.

More trees and hillsides and creek...

Repeat as needed...

Somehow lots of trees seem to be appropriate for a route in the Oregon Willamette valley...

Going under a highway bridge...

Going 'round the bend with the highway bridge in the background.

Railroads should be dwarfed by their surroundings. An impossibility with a model railroad, even in N scale. But virtual railroads are a different story...

Stay tuned for part 2 (but I gotta go cook dinner).

Thanks for looking,
Part 2 - Scenery Reaches Bear Creek! Citizens Celebrate!

Back again...

Live near Portland, Oregon. Right now, when I look out the window it's snowing. I find it a trifle ironic that the weather on my Oregon-based railroad is much nicer. Makes me want to spend more time in virtual-land where the weather is more controllable.

Continuing with the remaining screen shots on the way to Bear Creek yard, it appears that one of the local timber barons (or some other rich type people decided to build a house on a hill with a sweeping view of Lower Bear Creek. I suppose they're probably also rail fans since they have a good view of the BC&SJ mainline.

Leaving the house and it's rail fan occupants behind train 201 rounds another of the seemingly endless curves...

More trees and hills and track...

The roads and stop sign offer proof that this is not entirely the middle of nowhere.

Just beyond the stop sign our train is faced with crossing yet another creek. I like the good assortment of lush vegetation available in the DLS - part of the st_ family.

Crossing the bridge. Sigh, I think the structural engineers got a bit optimistic with the length of the bridge's span. Time for another bridge pier to keep it from eventually collapsing.

A better view of the bridge perhaps?

From across Bear Creek one gets a view of some of the bottom land beyond the tracks around the tributary creek.

Having crossed that bridge, 201 is now getting very close to Bear Creek (the yard, not the creek),

I wasn't kidding about the proximity of the train to Bear Creek yard. I also wasn't kidding when I mentioned the incomplete state of the yard!

The mountains in the distance beyond Bear Creek yard are an obstacle the railroad will need to surmount. Tracks have made it to the summit, but not down the other side yet. Scenery up there is mostly in its earliest stages but there is still and abundance of gray checker board. Bear Creek is a division point on the BC&SJ and will require quite a bit of work. Not to mention there should be a town to house all the people who work in the yard and those who support them. However, it remains to be seen what the railroad's construction crews will tackle next.

I hope you enjoyed these screen shots. I'm hoping to produce a video or two but this afternoon I discovered that the GeForce experience video capture was no longer working. Sigh. Time to reinstall install that software.

Types of grasses I'm using

What grass splines/objects are you using? They look really nice.

JCitron is right. The grass objects are a combination of JVC grass (and shrub) splines and Turf-FX grass using a combo of seasonal 4 and seasonal 10 for the effect of some grass gone to seed while some is still green (it takes two passes to add mixed grasses). Amazingly, all the Turf-FX grass didn't totally kill the performance - at least not as much as a show bunch of tree/shrub splines or building a huge yard with detailed track.

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Sneak Preview of the Bear Creek area!

I've been spending less time on Trainz and more time with my wife so progress hasn't been as rapid as in the past. However, scenery has made it into Bear Creek which is in imminent danger of becoming a real town (and yard) and my wife is happier.

There are still a LOT of things on the To-Do list for this area (vehicles in parking spaces, more fire hydrants, street signage, traffic lights and stop signs, people, and invisible road splines to name a few...). However, it's far enough along I thought I'd share a few sneak preview screen shots of the Bear Creek area.

1) Compare the image below with the last image from the previous screen shot post to see what's changed in Bear Creek.


Changes include:
  • Rearranged the near end of town (tracks, creeks, roads, and hills)
  • Yard tracks are in place
  • Streets & buildings for Bear Creek are in place
  • Started swapping out the douglas-fir splines for much nicer trees

2) The JR track splines I'm using don't behave well as they get further away from the viewpoint which makes it hard to see all the trackage in the yard at Bear Creek at once. There is a dual track passenger station on the left of the yard and some industry stuff to the right with an engine facility (with turntable) in the lower right. Yard tracks from left to right are:
  • passenger sidings 1 & 2,
  • main track,
  • arrival/departure tracks 1 & 2,
  • 8 class tracks,
  • thoroughfare track,
  • ice tracks 1 & 2


3) As you can see here, I've replaced the (turnout) switch stands at this (east) end of the yard with something more suitable for the US. Still to be done are guard/wing rails for the turnouts & crossings (and I haven't started the east end of the yard yet).


4) A view of metropolitan (lol) Bear Creek and its passenger station. Trains will need to ascend the mountains visible in the background when after leaving Bear Creek heading westward. Actually, I'd like to use mostly 2-story buildings with only a few taller than that, but I haven't found ones that would be useful. There sure is a lot of parking space in Bear Creek!


5) The view from the east end of town. This end features empty car tracks and clean out tracks as well as the east end ladder for the 8 class tracks. Two switch crews can work the yard simultaneously. The two arrival/departure tracks and separate switch leads (one east, one west) let trains arrive and depart without blocking the east and west yard switch crews from getting their work done. Obviously the paving crews aren't finished yet.


6) Old man Fithers built himself a country hideaway on a nearby knoll. If you look careful like you can see him riding a horse down the driveway with buddy Behl Ringher, one of the railroad's engineers.

Building the patio area for the gazebo was what prompted me to post in the suggestion boxcar that it would be nice to set the non-spline objects to a specific height (like is possible with track and splines) and if non-spline objects could be marked to NOT follow terrain height changes (which drove me nuts while I was trying to tweak the ground to match the patio. I'd get the patio fixed up then tweak the ground just a tiny bit and all the patio stones would move. Argh!


7) The tracks (and road) leaving town to the east and heading up into the mountains (on my model railroad I refer to them as the "plaster peak mountains"). The creek needs more detailing and somebody (no names here) got a bit sloppy with adjusting terrain under the roads so drivers get to negotiate a dirt slide (which strangely doesn't seem to give them any trouble at all).


Well, that's it for now. In addition to Bear Creek I've also been working up in the mountains to the east of Bear Creek. Major TerraForming[tm]. I tried non-level water in the creek using water splines. The set the levels I ran some (disposable) track where I wanted the creek to go, set it to a gradient, then adjusted the water splines height to match the track after which I dug out a bit under the splines and voila! A creek that's not on the level. Good news is the tracks and (at least rough) terrain have made it to the summit tunnel. There is a LOT of ground to be finished up there! Yikes, what have I gotten myself into?

When things are more finished I'll post some screen shots (and maybe the video I've been talking about, too).

Just dropping in here to see what's new and kicking, and your Route looks really good, I see you mentioned something here, that tripped a memory on Routes I have seen over the years?

"I dunno about you guys, but I think wide open vistas of a train with the scenery seeming to extend forever behind it are really cool!"

I suppose it has to do with the individual mindset of the author,

I have seen terrific Routes done in Strip Style, Jigsaw with single Tiles end to end for enormous distances, the trick being, can you hide the drop off edges with hills trees, backdrop Scenic Photos........And probably what size Route their Computer can handle etc......

And I have seen others that have huge areas of interest, but not much contrast in the use of Textures other items........

It all depends on what your trying to make, and what type of Story line you follow, for me, I like wide open areas when I can pull it off.

Your Route looks so natural and inviting to Run Trains on, when you look at the terrain, details, layering of hills, space of Towns, Rail Yard Structure, everything comes together in Lock Step with copious added Details to make one want to walk into Forest to see where that path leads too, or catch the next Train going by so we can continue the Route

And maybe engineer makes a quick stop at Gas Station, Sandwich Shop to catch a quick Soda Pop, etc, I used to see both Local and long hauls stopped at Red Signals, and it just so happened, they knew how long, and where the local Grub Stops where in proximity..........Hey everyone has to eat if there going to Work Hard....... Coffee only fills you to a point.......LOL........

And the Cool Tranquil lake Waters looking like there could be Bass or Rainbow Trout Fishing just waiting to be caught for tonight's dinner.......

Sorry, I got carried away here, what I mean too say, you just keep doing what your doing, it works for me......

And finally,

Happy Wife, happy life, mine has told me, she feels like a Computer Widow sometimes!!!!!..........And you know, I needed to make some time for her..........If I knew what's good for me..........

Keep those Naturalistic Photos coming.............
... breathtaking shots with mindopening inspirations .. chickenskin reality like your realtime modeltrack ... respect for your skills and creativity .. thankz for sharing ...
Bear Creek - the creek comes to life

I made enough progress in Bear Creek the town and Bear Creek the yard that I rewarded myself by starting to detail Bear Creek the creek.

Here are some progress shots.

1) Lets start at the uphill end (furthest from Bear Creek the town/yard) and show a more modern version of the BC&SJ's trains alongside the newly detailed creek. If you look carefully, you may notice the distant creek bed is not particularly detailed.


2) Now we're down into the fully detailed area.


3) Ditto


4) I don't like the way these conifers fade in the far distance. The color reminds me of the puke green they painted on lots of stuff when I was in the Navy years ago.


5) Hey Mabel! There really are bears in Bear Creek. Go figure...


6) Lots of curves in here...


7) Ditto...


8) I didn't know they had drones in the '80s? Otherwise the dern idjiot photographer musta clumb up a tree...


9) Getting down toward the bottom of the grade


10) Heading toward Bear Creek (the town/yard in the distance). The Bear Creek airport is visible over the the first two tank cars.


Hope you enjoyed the screenshots (and the creek). I'll be posting some screenshots of the more finished Bear Creek (town and yard) soon.

I made enough progress in Bear Creek the town and Bear Creek the yard that I rewarded myself by starting to detail Bear Creek the creek.


You've done an amazing amount in a very short period of time and it looks really good. Rendering realistic rivers and water sources has always been an issue with Trainz and you've done a good job , where the software falls down is in creating really narrow waterways or seasonal creek. i have dozens on my route and the creek splines are all ineffective and its hard to make a watercourse that's much narrower than the width of the terrain tool. Nobody seems to have come up with a really effective narrow creek spline so far.
Thanks for your kind words Dan. I noticed that you seem to be narrow minded. About 20 years ago I was all hot and bothered to build an On3 South Pacific Coast layout, but in the end the lack of SPC stuff persuaded me otherwise. Perhaps in the future I'll give it a try with Trainz - if I can figure out how to use blender to make steam locos... (lol).

I'm retired so I can put two or three 2 hour shifts in most days on the route. That helps get things done. I also racked up some insane number of hours in Planet Coaster using their TerraForming tools.

Sometimes I think that routes get build despite the Trainz toolset, not because of it.

From the BC&SJ archives

No, they're not screen shots. They're from the various BC&SJ HO scale layout over the years.

From the first BC&SJ. This was a photo contest entry way back in (1999)


From the second BC&SJ (2001)


From a diorama I built to experiment with outdoor photography using full scale backdrops (2004)


The third BC&SJ (2011)


So it should be obvious the virtual BC&SJ is just a continuation of layout/route evolution.

Bear Creek - detailed creek shots

The previous post reached its limit of photo attachments and I still had a couple of creek shots left...



And now for some shots of Bear Creek - the town and yard...

Bear Creek - the town and yard (part 1)

The tracks have progressed westward down out of the mountains and our train is getting set to enter Bear Creek (the yard)

1) Crossing over highway 58



2) Our train (right) passed the east end yard switcher as it bangs cars into the yard's class tracks.


3) Our train is on the main track through the yard heading westward. The cars in the foreground are in the empty car yard. Visible just above them is the yard office. A string of reefers is getting iced (on the left) in preparation for delivery to some place that will load them. Today the class tracks aren't very full - a sign of an efficient yard. Railroads don't make money by having cars sitting in a yard. The town of Bear Creek is behind the yard.


4) The GN passenger extra ("borrowing" BC&SJ tracks) is sitting on track 1 in the Bear Creek station as our train passes. Given that this is supposedly a location in the central Oregon Willamette valley, I'd prefer to use two-story buildings in town. In the '50s this area was more podunk than a city-scape. However, I couldn't find many so I'm using what I could find. Another thing I'd like to find are ice dock extensions so more cars could be loaded at a time.


5) Our train has made it most of the way through the yard to the west end ladder tracks (the turnouts in the lower right).


6) This view shows that there are a number of industries on the south side of the tracks at Bear Creek. The engine service facility is on the far right. I experimented dropping the height of the sidewalk to near pavement level to make "driveways". They're not perfect, but I think they're better than abruptly stopping the sidewalk for a driveway.


7) Our train is leaving the yard on the main. The track in the center of this shot is the west end switch lead. Bear Creek (the creek) is visible on the left.


8) The view of main street from the west end of town.


9) There is a "fancy pants" estates at the west end of town where the rich folks live behind walls to keep out the riff-raff. I'm not sure what happened with the road. It looks like Trainz got confused about where the road ends the adjacent terrain starts while rendering this scene. Guess I'll need to replace the road with a different spline.


Stay tuned for more in part 2!