My first route - the Castle Peak & Pacific

Thanks, Forester! I believe that it has both animation and sound effects - IIRC, it's one of Pencil42's assets that he made for his Virginia & Truckee route.
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So, I'm back with some more screenshots of the Castle Peak! I've also changed my building process a little bit. Previously, I tended to jump around to different areas of the layout and work on whatever caught my interest at the time. Now, I've decided to try focusing on one area of the layout at a time, and working on only that section until I feel that it has reached a reasonable state of completion. I've chosen to work on Gothic first, and I already feel like the new method is paying off, as I feel like I've made more progress on the CP&P than I have in a while. So, be prepared to be seeing a lot of Gothic for the next little while as I work to get it to a mostly finished state!

That said, onto the pictures. This shot shows the oil refinery in Gothic, which I cobbled together using a set of tanks, a pair of smokestacks, a Standard Oil Company building, and a boiler house made by Pencil42. I also added some hoses and oil spills, along with a pair of tanker wagons. In reality, there were oil refineries in the 1880s - their main product was kerosene at the time - but they wouldn't have looked anything like this. If you want to know what they really would have looked like, do a search for the Pioneer Oil Refinery in California, a real 1880s oil refining facility. I would vastly prefer to build a facility modeled after that one on the layout, but there are no Trainz assets available that would allow me to do so. I do have a set of plans and several photographs (both the real thing and models), though, so I could make a model of it myself. Unless someone else takes up the task, however, that will have to wait until after I finish building the CP&P with the assets that are already available - while I am interested in creating several custom assets for the route, I want to wait to do so until after I have gotten the CP&P to a reasonable stage of completion.

Based on the information I have, most lime kilns had an on-site barrel making shop (also known as a cooper) where wood planks would be delivered, then shaped and assembled into barrels right there on-site, though that didn't mean that barrels were never shipped in. This was important, because lime had to be stored in watertight containers - if lime got wet, it initiated a chemical reaction that caused it to heat up tremendously, and that had a very nasty habit of lighting things around it on fire. So, I added an old west cooper shop to the facility, along with a large number of barrels waiting to be filled with lime. I also added a large door to the warehouse loading dock, along with several workmen and a new sign. In reality, the barrels used to hold lime would be more akin to the smaller barrels shown here in terms of size, but I needed a large number of barrels and the large barrel rows laid out on beams helped to fill in the scene quickly - if I get around to creating custom assets for the route (or can find some people who are willing to do so for me) I'll probably replace those large barrels with smaller ones that are more appropriately sized.

This cooper shop, located behind and between the brewery and dynamite factory, serves both the town residents and does some contract work for the brewery. I've added a number of barrels out front of the shop, along with a flatbed wagon loaded with barrels. I've also added a freight wagon to the back of the brewery, and on the left of the image you can see a little bit of the details that I've added to the loading dock on the dynamite factory.

This shot, taken from the other side of the brewery, shows more of the details added. A pair of workmen are chatting on their break next to some barrels and a tanker wagon. On the far right, the coal dealer goes over his inventory checklist, while his wagon waits next to the storage shed before heading out to make todays kerosene deliveries.

For quite a while, Gothic had a large empty space behind the coke ovens. This has now been filled with the street scene shown in this image. Known as Workman's Row, the houses on this street were built from logs and rough-cut timbers during the early days of the settlement. Nowadays, they house most of the poorer workmen in town, most of whom work the coke ovens and lime kilns.

This shot, taken from above Workman's Row, shows the ore wagons I added to the coke ovens facility. These sturdily-built wagons would help ease the process of moving large amounts of material around the yard and can also be used to make deliveries both local and along the toll roads. The rates aren't as cheap as the railroad can offer, but for some towns, it's the only option available.
This second shot of Workman's row, taken from the roof of the railroad tool shed, shows us the western end of the street. On the corner of the street's northern side (to the left in this image is the house belonging to the man (currently unnamed) who owns one of the larger industries in town. His is the finest private residence in town, even if it may not be the largest one.

This shot shows the details that were recently added to the Lytum & Hyde Dynamite Factory (credit for the name goes to Thunder Mesa Studios, do check out his awesome YouTube channel!). I've added a few workmen, a foreman giving them directions, and also some crates - presumably filled with the explodey goodness known as dynamite!

This shot gives a nice overview of Gothic as it currently stands. I actually had quite a lot more room to work with than I initially thought when I started, so Gothic has ended up becoming one of the larger towns along the line. I'm not sure whether Gothic or Thunder Valley is bigger, as the latter is somewhat hampered by the large industrial area on it's eastern side and the Crystal River on its western border.

My mother, who is often the first to see and comment on my work (bless the woman's heart!) mentioned to me that the buildings in Gothic looked as though they were brand new due to the lack of weeds and grass growing in the nooks and crannies near their bases. Seeds and small rocks get caught here naturally, so I decided to try following her suggestion. Alas, I can't find any splines that match what I need, so all of this work had to be done by hand. This is the first part of my attempt to fill in this bit of detail, and so far, I like the way it looks. The only issue is that I have to place each of these grass assets by hand, which will be time consuming and tedious. I also worry a little about the possible performance impact that this might have, but so far, I'm willing to put up with the tediousness and possible performance impact due to the sheer improvement to the appearance.

So, new progress update! While working on Gothic, I took a break one day to run some trains as a way of testing what I had built while also having a bit of fun, and I realized that the current setup for getting into Gothic was not ideal. Trains coming from the northern end of the layout (from the track on the left) could just throw the switch and drive right into town. However, trains coming from the south (the track on the right) had to pass the siding entirely before backing into the town - like I said, not ideal. So, I did some experimenting, and I managed to fit a wye track into the design, vastly improving the operational ability of this part of the layout. Admittedly, the curve is quite sharp, reaching a minimum radius of 21 meters, but I wasn't able to fit anything bigger without needing to carry out a major overhaul of the town, so it will have to do. I also added a set of guardrails at the diamond, though the lack of curved guardrails means that the pair on the curved track overlaps at either end with the rails, but there's not much I can do about that without new assets. I also had to move the freight depot further down the siding it was on, eliminating the grade crossing that used to exist between the freight depot and the coal dealer, which necessitated further changes, as you'll see later.

With the existence of the wye at the entrance of the town, the turntable at the end of the sidings was a little redundant - after all, once trains are done with their work in town, they can simply use the wye to turn around before coupling back onto their train and heading to the next station. So, I ripped out the turntable and replaced it with a switch and a tail track so that locomotives can use the siding to run around their trains. This is where having a digital layout can really be a benefit compared to a physical one - all of these changes would have been time consuming, messy, and likely expensive on a physical layout, but with Trainz I can change things with a minimal amount of fuss whenever I feel the need to do so! Back to the layout, I used some of the new space to add a small handcar/speeder shed (seen on the right), and I've also added some junk, a pile of rubble, and a stack each of ties and rails to the small facility here. I've also been adding more grass and other ground cover as well.

I recently replaced all of the lampposts on the layout with the new Victorian Lamppost assets that were just recently released by the Huntington Shops. These are very good looking models, and they work much better than the older assets I was previously using.

This image shows off the progress that I've made so far on the grass and weeds that I've been adding to the route. This part was done entirely without TurfFX, though that was more due to my not having a small enough TurfFX brush - I've used TurfFX extensively on this layout in other areas. While this small section is pretty much done, I still have a lot of work to do just in Gothic alone - adding weeds, grass, bushes and flowers in various places, especially along the edges of buildings and sidewalks where seeds would naturally get caught and start growing. This can be a time-consuming process, since I don't have any splines to easew the process, textures can't be laid down in a small enough area without the HD Terrain feature of Trainz 2022 (and even then, it's still in Trainz Plus beta testing), and TurfFX doesn't seem like it would really help here either - as such, all of these assets need to be individually hand placed.

Here you can see a bit of my modelling philosophy. I have always enjoyed the super detailed scenes that exist on many physical model railroads, and I want to capture some of that in my own modelling. Here, you can see a small 'mini-scene' at the local post office in Gothic - the postman is catching up on the news in the paper before he bopards his wagon to start making deliveries, while a local handyman puts a new coat of paint on the post office. These little scenes are designed so that when viewers look at them, they tell a subtle story that helps to add a bit of life to the world around the trains, which are used as narrative portals through which we get to travel through and view this fictional setting.
This scene shows more of the weedwork and details that have been added to Gothic so far. Here at the Red Garter Saloon, we can see piles of trash in the backalley area, discarded newspapers in the street, and even some broken bottles. You can also see ow much realism is added by the weeds growing in the cracks at the foot of the buildings and sidewalks, especially when you compare it to the more barren look on the opposite side of the street.

Originally, Main Street and 2nd Street in Gothic were connected at either end. The addition of the wye forced the removal of one of those connections, so I deided to remove the third saloon in town and use the area it previously occupied to create a new street that would connect the two thoroughfares. This also added a bit more reason for the existence of the crossing between the brewery and dynamite facroy, which previously only existed to serve the local cooper's workshop.

The coal dealer at Gothic was missing an icehouse, so I added a small one behind the coal bins. There is enough room behind the bin to the left that a wagon can back up to it and be loaded, but coal has to be moved from the other two bins on the right before it can be loaded into the wagons of customers. The icehouse also didn't have easy access to the tracks, which is important when you're trying to move big blocks of ice. To help with this, I added a door to the back of the icehouse and a ramp between the coal bins and the freight depot - this setup allows the train to park a reefer next to the ramp, and the local workmen can then slide the ice blocks down the ramp and through the door to the icehouse interior with little fuss.
I am loving how this route is shaping up. I am getting some serious nostalgia from it as, Wow, about 14 years ago :O i made a similar route. I was so inspired by the announcement of the game "Red Dead Redemption" i made a wild west themed route that ended up too large to cope.

I am loving all the details. how did you find a model of someone with a white paint brush to paint a white house :clap:
Thank you for the kind words! The painter was a bit of a happy accident, as I had the figure in my collection and placed him in the post office scene without really thinking about the color of his brush! IIRC, it's one of Elvenor's older figures - I'm using a large number of their figures, so it wouldn't surprise me.

I'm also considering moving on from Gothic for the moment, despite the detail work in that area not being fully complete yet - there are several areas on the layout that need work much more desperately. I'm considering the idea of getting the layout to a point where at least all of the major elements are all in place so that I can release a v0.1 of the route to the public, and only then going back over the route to complete the finer details that I want to have in the final product.

So, I feel that I've made some reasonable progress since I started working again, but I've hit a bit of a down period this past week - I'm not sure, but I may be starting to burn out again, sadly. So, not much work has really been done over the past week or so, though I did do some work before the dry spell hit, so I may upload images of that later. Currently, I am taking a small break while considering where to go next when it comes to working on the layout. I have a couple of good options, but I'm not really sure where to start. Listed below are the next tasks on my to-do list:

1: Begin terraforming, texturing, and general construction in the Junction area.

2: Add trees and ground cover to the mountainsides above Muley gap, Bendaire, and Castle Peak.

3: Return to Painted Canyon and replace the old textures, finish necessary terraforming and rockwork, and perform other detail work.

4: Begin work on getting the layout set up for operation - this would involve getting industries up and working, laying down a signal block system and possibly an interlocking system, adding track marks and triggers where needed, running testing sessions, and generally getting the layout prepped and ready to support AI trains and sessions.

I am sorely tempted to start working on number four first - that way, I can make sure that everything on the current trackplan works as intended before putting in scenery that may interfere with any necessary changes - but I honestly have no idea where to start on that job. After all, this IS my first route, and it's most definitely the only one to make it far enough into the development process that I need to start working with signals, AI control, and session elements.
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Definitely work on whatever you feel like working on - or nothing at all if you feel you need another break! But whatever you do, back it up and save it. I did some major work on one of my routes, putting a huge amount of time into some large yards and all the trackside items that went along with the scenes, and got burned out and somehow deleted the whole mess. Now I have to start again from scratch and it is costing me all those hours all over again!.
So, I figured that you guys desrve an update on what I'm doing. In regards to the CP&P route, I haven't started working on it again yet, and there are a few reasons for that. First, I needed the break to recharge. Then I got sick, and while it wasn't too serious, I just didn't feel up to doing anything during that time period. I actually still have a hacking cough due to my body trying to expel the last of the gunk from my system, and while decongestants are helping, it's still causing issues. Lastly, I also need to upgrade the storage in my laptop pretty desperately - I have a lot of data for Trainz on my system, nearly a full terabyte of data, and my current drives are at full capacity - I only have 15GB of space (now down to just 11GB at the time of writing this) left on the drive I'm using for Trainz! I'm hoping to get a new storage drive by sometime next week to help alleviate the problem, and then after installing a few items I'm saving for that time, I'll need to make a new backup of all my data. Until then, work on the CP&P has been halted so as not to excacerbate the problem and to prevent any potential loss of work that might occur from not havbing enough storage for the latest save files.
No worries, Vince! Take your time. We love to see your progress, but not at the expense of your health or your equipment! Best wishes!
So, I got a new 4TB SSD a few days ago, and once I moved everything to the new drive I was ready to go. I spent a few days working on missing/faulty assets for some of the routes and sessions I've collected, but I'm slowly starting to progress on the CP&P again. As for the sick, I'm definitely better now, though I do have a lingering cough that seems intent on not going away, though thankfully it isn't serious.

The town of Junction has been renamed to Petticoat Junction. This change happened for a few reasons - first and foremost, I wanted to name this town something more creative than just Junction. Secondly, I also wanted to avoid confusion with the IRL town of Junction, CO, which was connected to the D&RGW narrow gauge network at one time. The name finally came to me when I found an article talking about the model train used in the making of the Petticoat Junction TV series, and from there I became quite enamored with the name. And yes, the Shady Rest Hotel will make an appearance.

This image shows off the most recent work on the area - namely, the terrain work. I had initially desired to work on adding signals, trackmarks, and other session necessities to make sure everything worked, but that got frustrating pretty quickly, so I chose to scrap that work and continue working on finishing the layout's visual and scenic aspects. I also added the track belonging to the D&RG(W) railroad, which lead to a portal tucked away near the edge of the route where it is safely out of sight during normal operations.

This shot shows off more of the initial terrain work being done. The CP&P operates a short branch line that loops behind the hills to serve an oil drilling operation and a limestone quarry, and the railroad's main yard is also located at the entrance to the branch.

This is a view of the yard at Petticoat Junction. The main line is furthest to the left, the next two tracks to the right are the yard's arrival/departure tracks, and the four stub-ended tracks are the yard tracks. Beyond the arrival/departure tracks is a drill track so that the local yard switcher can operate without fouling the main. This yard may actually be too large, but I won't actually know whether or not that is true until I get around to testing everything to see just how many locomotives and cars are going to be moving around on the route. It's actually easier to downsize the yard if I need to, as opposed to expanding it, so it'll remain like this until I know I need to downsize.

The engine facility at Petticoat Junction is the CP&P's main facility, and it is here that their shops are located as well. Starting from the left with the water tower, there is a large coal bin, a yard office, the sand house, then a toold shed, the hose shed, and a handcar shed across the track from it, followed by the boiler house. The turntable and roundhouse are next. Beyond the roundhouse are several structures serving a variety of shop functions. Just beyond the roundhouse on the right is the car shop, and to the left of it, the large wooden structure is the locomotive shop.

The oil drilling operation is located midway along the CP&P's branch line out of Petticoat Junction. The facility includes a drilling derrick, a loading platform, a set of storage tanks, a bunkhouse and a foreman's house, and a building for storage and sampling.

Not much has been done here, but the basics have been laid out. At the end of the branch is a turntable for turning locomotives so they don't have to run backwards when heading back down the line. The spur at the right of the shot is the loading track for the quarry. Regular operations will see a train of empties brought up and spotted on one of the passing tracks to the left of the spur. The engine will then uncouple from the train of empties and move the loaded cars on the spur to the other leg of the passing tracks, before spotting the empty cars on the quarry spur for loading. The engine will then proceed to the turntable and be turned around, before moving around the train of loaded cars to couple up and proceed back down to Petticoat Junction.
The logging railroad's highline above Gothic has seen some improvements recently. I deleted the mine that was previously placed here and replaced it with a long passing siding so that trains headed uphill can pass trains headed back down to the sawmill and coal bins. Also, I chose to rearrange the track so that it curves around the mountain to slip through a pass, rather than tunneling through it. This is good, as most logging railroads had no tunnels - it allowed them to move outsize loads, and it was also vastly cheaper to go around a hill rather than through it. The latter was almost always the primary motivator, as logging lines were built on the cheap, since they may only be in operation for one or two cutting seasons before the owners needed to rip up the track and move to another section of timber.

This is the source of the water in Tanglefoot Lake - a narrow waterfall fed by a mountain spring. The Elk Mountain Coal & Timber Company's highline crosses the falls on a wooden deck truss as it snakes along the mountainside to reach the verdant timberlands and rich coal mines beyond the pass.
Rougeranger1993 Looking good if its so steep a water tower at the passing loop might help the locos?

Just a suggestion

Hey y'all, not much to say here, just giving a quick status update. After taking a long hiatus again, I've been able to start working (albeit slowly) on the CP&P again. It is, sadly, a common theme in my life - I tend to get intensely involved with and passionate about a certain project, only to eventually burn myself out after a while, and thus need to take a break and focus on some of my many other hobbies for a time before returning to the project.

Anyways! I have begun slowly working on the route again this December, as I had some extra cash to spend and picked up a copy of TRS22PE. I also, entirely without knowing about it, got to take advantage of the free 3 months of Trainz+ offer from N3V, so that has helped to motivate me. Since my last update, I have tinkered with my Trainz setup a bit, installing two copies of TRS22 - one for personal use where I can download all of the routes and sessions I want to try, and a second copy specifically for route building, which will hopefully make the task of identifying and using only built-in, DLC, and/or DLS content easier to manage. I have since spent a fair bit of time moving the CP&P onto my new Construction Setup and redownloading assets I intend to use. I have also made a copy of the route that has been converted to use the new HD Terrain system! I personally am having a blast using Surveyor 2.0, and despite the 16-texture-per-baseboard limitation, I am also enjoying the added flexibility that the HD Terrain gives me - not so much for terraforming purposes yet, but mostly in how much control it gives me over my textures and other brushes. I'll admit, however, that having access to sub-5m brushes has helped me deal with any PBR texture issues I've faced so far, and that is very nice, as I hope to build the CP&P in a way that will take full advantage of these new features. The new interface has also made it much easier for me to separate the objects on my route into different layers when necessary, making it much easier for me to add or rearange things when needed (I had a horrible habit of forgetting to switch between layers in S1.0 - whoops!). I may just have to subscribe to Trainz+ once my free period ends - despite my dislike of subscription software in general, the newer features being pushed out on the service really are nice to have.
Nice to see you back at it. Sometimes an extended break is needed. Just don't do anything stupid like I did and dump a lot of hard work only to come back later and not be able to find a backup of it anywhere. Ouch!
You've made some great progress but have no fear we all take breaks. You need them in order to recharge the brain. Sometimes, you may even work on the project mentally while you work on something else. I do that all the time with my piano projects.
So, another quick update. Family life has kept me away from the route for a bit, but I was able to fit in some time to work on it today. On a whim, I took a quick fly-through of the route, and discovered that the update to HD terrain broke quite a few parts of the route. As a result, I am actually going to be stuck doing repair work on the existing part of the route for some time, rather than working on new sections like Petticoat Junction and the Elk Mountain logging tracks. On the bright side, it does give me an opportunity to work on some of the areas where I had to make compromises due to the limitations of the original 5x5 terrain grid - the new upgrades are likely going to be most noticeable in Rainbow Canyon and Muley Gap, as the new system will allow me to replicate a visual aesthetic similar to the cliff side-tracks seen on different parts of the C&TS and D&S.