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It's been 18 months since I did anything with the Branch. The COVID-19 epidemic is providing lots of free time so I've started a general overhaul of the route and sessions in T:ANE to improve appearance and try to improve performance.

  • Alignment and track are not involved so existing sessions will continue to operate. The only track change to date is the Mayville Metalworks spur. The 60-lb rail previously installed is invisible so has been replaced.
  • All portal consists have been removed from the route itself and sessions will be modded to comply.
  • Portal consists have been reviewed and will be updated with new and hopefully error-free assets. Majekear has given me permission to correct the few of his cars that throw errors, where I can. Some have already been uploaded to the DLC.
  • "Trees Are Thousands" was the title of an article in Model Railroader. Boy, was that right. I'm going through and replacing the old ghost and mirror trees with modern assets, largely clam1952's billboards with a leaven of newer speed trees. This has already improved performance significantly. We're down to Nasbro at this point, having started in Fond du Lac.
  • I may replace some of the shrubbery with newer more subltly-colored assets. We'll see.
  • Some signals will be updated at Iron Ridge. Unlabelled signals will be given mileage labels.
  • Mileposts will be corrected, or at least rendered less incorrect.
  • Some sessions will have added features, with more defined endings.

Once the sessions currently in T:ANE have been overhauled I can start thinking about porting some of the others to keep the story coherent.

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20 May: The reforestation project is as complete as it will get. On Clam1952's advice more speed trees have been put in to keep performance up. I have gone through the shrubbery and made some changes, but the assets are limited. The shinier ones have been replaced but even so there are some mirror bushes. "Trees Shrubs" look better at a distance than up close, so the trackside ones have been replaced with a mix of splines and speed trees. The further ones look OK. Conversely the non-reflective shrub splines look better close up than at a distance.

Next step is to overhaul the mileposts, then number the signals. With the JR and related searchlight and Safetran signals defective (they only respond to locos moving forward, not reversed) this will not be as extensive as planned. The JR signals have been replaced. Happily there is a nice set of revised Auran signals under CDN that are perfectly suitable.

When that is all done I'll put the revised route up.

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20 May: Mileposts have been redone. I was a quarter-mile off on the original; don't remember doing it but must have done some earlier research. Today internet search located a Wisconsin DOT report on rail bridge condition that put the Iron Ridge underpass at 132.5 on the WSOR, so we're continuing with that, assuming WSOR used the CMStP&P miles. Originally the mileposts were installed by using the ruler and a measuring train asset; this time I used the Track Scanner asset. Came out about 0.72 miles difference overall. Be working on signals again tomorrow; Iron Ridge's are done, Downtown and the line still to do.

Hurray! I am downloading Fond du Lac for T:ANE right now (if that is the right place to start). My dad was a signal maintainer on the Milwaukee Road from 1953 to 1992, and my uncle was the maintainer at Horicon in the 1970s and 1980s. So I know the area and I love it dearly. I eagerly look forward to encountering it again on Trainz!
I hope the route lives up to your expectations! I've done the best I could with available assets, working from Google Streets and various maps. I've never been closer than I-90 but my ex-daughter-in-law is from Menomonie and I've been through Appleton on US 10. The new revision looks a lot better but I'm still working on performance. Hope to have it up in a week or two -- everything takes longer, as they say.

If you go to Content Manager and open the route in Explorer, there is a readme text file with notes on the route and its reconstruction.

My Granddad Nate Jones was a trainman on the Western Extension working out of Spokane. He took me on a couple of runs to Couer d'Alene and one to Deer Lodge and back on the Hiawatha. His father was chief timekeeper on the Coast division here in Seattle.

I'm sure it will be fantastic... whenever it's done downloading! =) Growing up in the Milwaukee 'burbs, I envied my cousins who got to grow up in a small town like Horicon. They considered it boring as hell. The oldest cousin now lives in Chicago, the middle cousin lives in the Milwaukee 'burbs, and the youngest cousin in the Twin Cities.

I also have at least some idea of your labors: a few years back, I did a DEM map-based version of the Mississippi Valley between Winona (my parents' hometown) and LaCrosse, which is still my favorite stretch of railroad to this day. I spent a lot of time working on it but I accidentally forgot to transfer it to my new iMac back in 2015. I blame it on all the vodka. But now I am back with Trainz 2019!

I only got to take the train through Washington state once: the EB Empire Builder in December, 2016. I was asleep the entire time, of course. I'll bet you never forgot those rides with your Grandpa! Thanks again for continuing his tradition of keeping the Milwaukee Road alive!

The Route and Basic Session went up yesterday with Morning Connection

The trees & shrubs took about two months 4-5 hours/day. It started going quicker once there were enough larger woodlots to copy from. Started using mostly clam1952's billboard trees, but on his advice started using a lot more speedtrees in the mix to keep up performance. Shrubs were less tractable - JVC's older versions are either ghosty or have mirror reflections. Some of the newer ones look well but it took a while to pick those out.

The signalling did not change much but in the CTC area at Iron Ridge the number-boarded permissive signals were replaced by absolute versions. Somehow the SM1N1 signal at the Military Rd. crossing got replaced with an unlabelled one and the ASB control went west. Found that on the Route and in the Basic Session. Corrected there but must check each session for it now. To expedite that the ASB Controller now resides outside the shed. In 2012 you could actually hit it with the cursor through the grating, but not in T:ANE. (?) Oh, and crossing signals were installed at Willow Grove Rd., but I forgot to shut the bell off on one side and it's loud.

Revised the portal consists successfully and have put the revisions up on the DLS. These only pertain to the Quick Portal Manager though, the sessions may or may not have built-ins which must still be reviewed. I've already uploaded the fixed versions of majekear's cars that showed errors. Thanks, Rene!

Still haven't installed that speeder turntable at South Byron - didn't think of it. And there are at least two Trees Mixed splines lurking in the underbrush that I overlooked or ignored. So there's still stuff to do with the Route.

So, on to the sessions, existing TANE ones first.

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I just finished downloading FDL - it took forever on my crappy connection. But it doesn't show up anywhere on my Trains 2019. What am I doing wrong?
Joe, I'm sorry for your trouble, but I don't have 2019 and know nothing about it, at least not to help. You don't want the current version (4) of Fond du Lac anyway because it's got a defective crossing that will be corrected as soon as I've tested it.

If you ask your question in the Trainz 2019 Forum I'm sure you'll get some knowledgeable help.

28 May 2020. Fixed the East FDL crossing controller - the others all got labelled correctly with the download. Had to upload the fix as :5, though. Replaced the Trees Mixed splines previously noted. Went ahead and replaced the mess of invisible track & junctions at South Amboy speeder shed with bendorsey's invisible_speeder_turntable. It seems to spin visible speeders too.

Reviewed Monday PM Odd Jobs, renewed the artwork and tested the ending routine. Much nicer. Uploaded.

Morning Connection works fine.

Now working on Rock Train to provide more and better directions for the driver. That found out a couple of oversights in two consists which have been corrected and uploaded. The session needs artwork too.
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