My first route - the Castle Peak & Pacific

Yet another update without pictures, sadly. Anyways, I came down with the sick on Monday, alongside the whole family, so nothing much has happened this last week. Thankfully, during the few days right before that, I managed to do a decent bit of work, and was able to mostly fix the errors caused by the HD update that I've found so far. Along with some fixes and other changes/additions, I'll hopefully be able to post some screenies soon, as I think I am starting to get better now, and I think I'm ready to begin working on new parts of the layout now that the fixes are complete. My first tasks will probably be working on the tunnel portals and building the town of Muley Gap, which has been sitting around as a near-empty space with just a mine and a station for quite a long time now.
Thank you for the kind words, Forester. I'm still taking it easy as you said - I'm still a bit sick, after all - but the worst seems to have passed and I feel like I'm on the mend, so hopefully soon I'll be feeling back up to snuff.

In other news, I have plans to attend the train show in Kanab, Utah this February. Which day it will be is unclear yet, but we'll make it work. I'll make sure to post an update somewhere regarding my time there, though hopefully I'll have some work on the CP&P to show you all before then.
I would love to head down to Kanab for that, it would be a lot of fun. I am sitting here in Boise getting over a head cold and cough that is over two weeks now but getting better. I did not test for COVID but have avoided going out or being near people anyway. No one wants a cold either!
Ah, sorry to hear - I can't imagine how it would feel to be sick for so long. I've had the fortune of being gifted with a pretty healthy immune system, so I think the longest I've been sick for myself is about a week at most. Hopefully you get well soon, would love to see you there. I have a CP&P logo shirt my dad made me, I'll see if I can't wear it to the train show to help people recognize me if they have a chance to go.
Hey, I'm not dead! LOL. Anyways, I've been slowly working on the layout here and there, mostly motivated (as previously stated) by a free 3-months of Trainz+ membership after I purchased a copy of Trainz 2022 Platinum Edition in early December. The version of the route I'm working on now uses HD terrain. This shot shows the new handcar set out and its shed, something that has been replicated at each station along the line. I may add a coal pile near the tail track for topping up the locomotive tenders, but otherwise this scene is looking relatively complete.

This shot shows the new rock work I've done to complete the northern portal of Tunnel #1 (the end of the tunnel right next to Gothic). The wooden tunnel portal is a great asset, but has a few flaws - the primary one being that it lacks a face on the back, so you end up being able to see through the back of the model when driving through the tunnel, at least on the sides. I would love to get a version of this tunnel portal that fixes that in future, but I'll just have to deal with it for now.

This view shows off the trees that I added to the mountainside above Gothic. I still need to add brush, grass, rocks and deadfall to complete the look, but at least you can kind of see how it's supposed to look in future once it's more finished.

This screenshot shows off one of the major benefits of the new HD terrain system - the smaller brushes allow me to simply paint my roads onto the terrain, instead of needing to use a spline and deal with all of the hassles they can create (especially when they are old or not well made). I have, in fact, shifted over almost entirely to painted roads, doing away with the majority of my road and trail splines.


With the upgrade to HD Terrain, I had to make some changes to the route, as the upgrade messed up some of my previous design decisions. In the case of the road bridge at Aspen Ridge, the original small stone abutments were no longer matching up properly with the terrain, so I instead replaced them with these larger wooden abutments. Though to be fair, I actually think that I might like the look of the new abutments better than I did the original ones, to be honest.
This is the location of the new handcar shed at Thunder Valley, located near the far end of the yard lead. The wooden handcar set out is actually a standard gauge asset, but I was inspired to use it after seeing it used on the Rio Grande Southern model railroad that was created by Ricomon35. Maybe someday, I can try my had at making a narrow gauge version, if I ever get around to learning how to 3D model. To the left on the mainline is the standpipe, which was placed so that locomotives could take on water without needing to enter the service track leading to the engine house. I may, however, remove it - the main reason being that it seems like it's a bit redundant, and the secondary reason is that I'm actually unaware of when standpipes were first introduced in the US, so it may be an anachronistic feature for a late 1880s route. Also, the model is rather low quality, and is based on a prototype from the 1900s, so it may be better to remove it until I can find something better anyways.

Another bit of newness on display here is the switch stands - I've gone back and replaced them all with new, modern assets created by Pencil42. I've also moved them all (all of the ones on the CP&P trackage, anyways) to a position more appropriate for a stub switch. The advantage to this is that, since I can't seem to shrink the trigger size on these switch stands, it helps make the trigger zone just a little less obnoxious to deal with.

This is the new structure for Hatterson's, an updated version of the original released some time ago by MSGSapper. Hatterson's Co-Op is essentially an agricultural supply cooperative, helping local farmers and ranchers to get access to livestock, animal feed, seeds, fertilizer, tools, and other supplies.

It's been so long now, that I can't remember if I've ever shared an image of the new Thunder Valley depot before now, and I'm too lazy to go back and check, so here ya go! I have added a few details to the platform near the baggage and express carts, as well as a set of gas lamps to light the platform at night. I also added a large clock with an ornate wall-mounting bracket for a little extra flair. On the right of the picture, along the back of the station platform, is the local telegraph office, which is larger and more well-appointed than any of the other offices on the line due to Thunder Valley's size and significance.

This is a little scene I added to the banks of the Crystal River just a little to the west of the wharf at Spencer's Landing. Two fishermen have pulled their boat up onto the shore in order to spend some time relaxing in the reeds while they cast their lines in hopes of catching some fish for supper. The river has changed as well, as I am now using the Surveyor 2.0 water effect layers in place of the older water system.

The Coon Gap log pond has also been upgraded with the new water effect layers. Eventually, I want to add a flume running between the log pond and the upper part of the Crystal River above Crystal Falls, which will carry water down to the log pond. It's likely to be a very unique and visually striking feature of the logging line once it's complete.
As with all the other water on the layout, Tanglefoot Lake has also gotten an upgrade, and now the ducks can enjoy a glassy calm lake as they paddle around!

The approach to Painted Canyon is now much better looking, as the use of HD Terrain has allowed me to sculpt a much better looking riverside ledge. Once I finally get around to reskinning different assets for the layout, I'm thinking of changing the ballast fill spline beneath the track so that it matches the texture of the surrounding terrain.

This view, shot from a spot above the CP&P's lower crossing of the Crystal River at the mouth of Painted Canyon, shows the new cliff splines I snapped up from Ricomon35's asset collection. I've used them to replace the old cliffs and stone fill splines, and in my opinion it's a vast improvement. Granted, the color is entirely wrong for the Painted Canyon section, but that's an issue for a later day...

Just recently, I've taken a bit of time to re-texture the walls of Painted Canyon. This overview shows the north side, from Crystal Falls to about midway down the canyon. To the left of the photo, the canyon transitions to a lighter, more tan color of rock, before transitioning into a more reddish-brown color as it moves eastward down the canyon.

This is a look at the south wall of Painted Canyon. To be fair, I'm not nearly as happy with it as I am with the northern side, as the texturing just doesn't seem to have come out right on this side like it did on the other. I'll probably come back and try to redo it at some point in the future, at least once some of the other big ticket projects are out of the way.
For a while now, I've wanted to shorten the western end of the steel trestle in Painted Canyon, and I finally got around to doing it. Compared to previous pictures, you should be able to tell that the end of the trestle closest to the viewer has had the abutment moved closer to the supporting truss. Overall, it makes for a much more believable appearance than the old arrangement did, and I'm definitely very happy with the change.

I've decided to remove the cliff splines from Muley Gap, which results in a much wider canyon. My original intention with this spot was to create a slot canyon very similar to the ones seen in Arizona and Utah, but Trainz makes that very difficult to do with just the terraforming tools, and I would need a custom-made cliff spline to really make it happen. Maybe someday, but for now, it will remain like this. Perhaps I may consider adding a stream running along the bottom at some point in the future.

This view of the yard at Thunder Valley shows what a dramatic difference a bit less spacing between the tracks can make. I've gone through most of the route and narrowed the track spacing as much as possible, a change that I chose to make after spending some time looking through my collection of historic narrow gauge photos. With the reduced track spacing, I could probably fit a fourth track into the yard quite easily now.

Another change at Thunder Valley is the coal dealer replacing their original kerosene storage with a much larger tank. Since Thunder Valley is a much larger settlement than the other ones on the layout, it felt appropriate that it should get a much larger kerosene storage tank. I also added a coal pile underneath the trestle, which was lacking beforehand. The railroad crossing sign (a Pencil42 asset) is serving as a placeholder for now - once I get around to making reskins, I want to use it as the basis for creating a number of signs for local businesses along the line.

The engine facility at Petticoat Junction hasn't changed much overall, but there has been a bit of rearranging going on. The shop buildings have been moved around a bit, and I think I'm a fair bit happier with this new arrangement than I was with the old one. Everything feels much more compact, crowded, and busy, something that will hopefully only be enhanced once more details can be added to the scene. My only complaint right now is that I've just realized that I completely forgot to add an ash pit, and going back to add one now is more than likely going to be a real pain in the butt.
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Back again, folks. I’ve been working on Petticoat Junction for the most part lately, trying to get it to more of a semi-finished level so that it doesn’t look as utterly barren as it used to when compared to the rest of the route. I’ve also gone around other parts of the route here and there to change or fix a few things, though there is still more to do – mostly redoing some texture work and adding new grass and turfFX. I do still have to build the town of Muley Gap, but I’ve been putting it off for some reason I can’t explain. Also, want to let you know about my new rules for updates here on my end. First, I am now using Postimage for my screenshots instead of DeviantArt, as the latter downsizes my images (Here is a LINK to my gallery). Second, I am going to limit each of my posts to five images max. Thirdly, I am now going to only upload one post per day, rather than multiple posts with all of my latest screenshots, allowing me to pace myself a bit better. Now, on with the show!

First up is a shot of the new coal texture at the Castle Peak coal dealer. I wasn’t happy with the previous texture, as it was very clearly a 2D texture and I want to try and use exclusively PBR/FX textures on this route if I can manage to do so. The new texture looks a heck of a lot better than the old one did, but sadly, the bulk update/replace tool seems to no longer function on HD terrain, so I have to replace all of the coal textures individually. Really hopeful that Surveyor 2.0 will receive a similar tool sometime soon.

I fiddled with the textures at Castle Peak in a few other areas as well, adding a worn-down path area around the dock, shed, and loading pens of the livestock enclosure. It was only after doing this that I realized a crucial error I made – I didn’t include any way for the livestock to get into the pens, or for the cowboys to leave! Oh well, something I’ll have to fix later if I can remember to do it…

This shot shows off the new road bridge crossing the CP&P’s mainline at Aspen Ridge. In previous shots, the road bridge was a long wooden pony truss, but I found this one on the DLS recently and it stuck with me. I finally tried it out as a replacement and decided to keep it – this bridge is more visually striking than the original was, so it makes for a more aesthetic set piece. I also replaced the abutments and moved them back a bit, which required me to adjust the terrain around the abutments, but it turned out pretty well. I have toyed with the idea of adding a small flagstop station here, along with a stairway leading to the hotel at the top of the ridge, but I may save that for a future rendition of this scene on a larger version of the CP&P that I’ve been dreaming of.

Now we come to the work being done at Petticoat Junction. Starting with the engine facility, I moved the handcar shed beyond the yard office to make room for an ash pit just in front of the turntable. I also moved the bunkhouse and section house to a new location behind the engine service track – they were originally located to the right of the picture, where you can see the ends of the new yard (more on that in the next image). You can also see some of the new roads and paths that I’ve added, since I’ve been starting to define a road network around the area.

This image shows off the new five track yard I added. The original was a much larger four-track yard with a pair of arrival/departure tracks, but it’s location beyond the engine facility on the branch line was awkward and not one I enjoyed in any way. This new yard is admittedly smaller and has only a single arrival/departure track, but its placement is much more central to the operations. I tried to design the yard in a way that would allow me to easily convert the leftmost yard track into a second arrival/departure track if necessary, but I believe that such a future change would still involve a fair amount of work to make it fit properly (unfortunately). Still, the yard is well laid out, giving the switcher a long drill track, a track where trains can arrive or depart the yard without interrupting the yard switcher, and the yard engine also has easy access to the caboose and passenger car storage tracks.
Been busy these last few days, so I'm a bit behind on updates, but oh well. As a side note, I'm still trying to figure out some of the nuance to posting images from a Postimages gallery. I know that some forum users have managed to find a way of posting an image here that links directly to the original on postimages, but I can't figure it out - anyone know how to do that?

Anyways, first picture! Here we get a look at the drill track/yard lead behind the depot. The switch at the bottom of the photo leads to the yard and the arrival/departure track (to the viewer's right and left, respectively) behind the camera. For additional flexibility, the yard lead is connected to the main line at the far end, rather than dead-ending as I originally designed it. Again, you can see more of the initial road network that I’ve laid out in the area. Across the yard lead from the depot, I’m considering the idea of using the space for part of the town.

You can’t have a location on a railroad called Petticoat Junction without having a Shady Rest Hotel, now can you? To be fair, the hotel on my layout doesn’t look like the original, but that’s because I’ll need to make or commission a custom model if I want to replicate the original structure. The Shady Rest on my layout is also a bit larger in terms of facilities, as I have added a small stable and intend to add a small wagon shed as well – my version of Petticoat Junction is a fair bit larger and busier than the one from the show, after all. I do want to see if I can redo the road up the hillside so that it takes a shorter route – after the super steep grades on my wagon road over the ridge, I wanted to use a seemingly more realistic maximum grade of approximately 5%. I want people to be able to walk up to the hotel, but I may need to simply add a separate pedestrian path with stairs for that. My intention is to try and create a scene that mimics the hotel’s location in the show as I continue my progress, and I’ve collected several reference shots for just that purpose.

The dairy has now received a cattle race and a stockyard for holding the dairy cows. The two gray buildings are a pair of 4-stall milking sheds, while the white-painted one is where the whole milk is separated into milk, cream, butter, and cheese. The railroad is responsible for bringing in the occasional load of milk cows and shipping out the dairy products.

With the river being as large as it is, it made little sense for there not be some kind of activity on it. In fact, this river is large enough to support steamboats easily, but I’ve chosen to refrain from adding them for now. Instead, this small dock with a rowboat, a local fisherman, and a post with a lantern for light provides a hint of this possible activity.

This shot gives an overview of the small sheep ranch on the riverside in Petticoat Junction. Much of my time on the route since my last update has been dedicated to the creation of the farms that dominate Petticoat Junction, where farmers grow fields of barley and sugar beets. Huge shout out to MSGSapper, as I’ve used a number of the excellent barns and storage sheds he released last year to flesh out these farmsteads.

Minor compromise on my 5x pics per post rule, as this shot pairs best with the previous. This view shows the living quarters of the sheep ranch more closely. To the left is the family house, to the right of it is the stable and wagon shed, and beyond that is the bunkhouse for the hired ranch hands.
This next shot shows off the smallest of the farms in Petticoat Junction, a result of its location being sandwiched between roads on all four sides. The living area is in the background, to the left of it is an animal enclosure, and in the fore is the farm field.

Viewed from the opposite side, we can see the windmill and storage tank (along with a pile of manure). Each of the farms has a windmill and a storage tank for water supply, and I was picky enough to position all of them (along with the ranch windmill) so that they were facing in the same direction.

Here we see the first of the larger farms, this being the living area with farmhouse, wagon shed/stable, and a bunkhouse for seasonal workers on the right. Behind the farmhouse is the animal enclosure, and to the right of it is the field.

Again on the same farm, here we see the storage barns used for storing tools, plows, seeds, animal feed, harvested crops and other supplies. Both of these structures are from MSGSapper’s farm collection.

This is the third farm, which is also the one farthest from any of the tracks, so it’s likely not going to receive as much detail as the other farms will as a way of saving on performance.
Thanks Forester. I haven't done much of anything new for the past few days, as I've had to copy everything into a new copy of TRS22PE after my free Trainz+ subscription expired at the end of February. I will have to shell out for a Trainz+ subscription at some point, at least for a little while, in order to finish all of my terrain and texture work on the route, but for the moment I think I can save some money and get by without it.

As far as updates beyond this one, I have a couple more pics to share before finishing with the current progress update. The only thing I've done since Post #70 was to go through the route and work on the Right of Way signs. I managed to get my hands on some materials regarding the Denver and Rio Grande's use and placement of them recently, so I went back and moved them around so that as many of the signs along the RoW as possible would line up with the prototype practices. That ended up being quite tedious, and managed to put me off of working on it for a bit, but hopefully soon I'll have more progress to share!
Thanks for the sentiment, Forester!

Anyways, quick progress update. I've been taking a break, though I have been doing some work here and there. The latest version of the route is currently using 5m terrain again, as for some inexplicable reason my textures on the route got messed up when I transitioned back to TRS22PE. I also still need to do some terrain editing in different areas, and I am not yet willing (read: desperate enough) to shell out for a paid subscription yet just so I can gain access to the HD terrain system. I do like the HD terrain - despite the texture limit, you can really do some amazing things if you know how to use your textures wisely, and the upgrade to the visuals for parallax/PBR textures is amazing. Even better, using the HD grid doesn't affect performance near as much as I feared. That said, I'll stick with the 5m grid for the time being, and once I get the route to a relatively finished state that's close to a final release point, I'll go back and convert it to HD terrain - and probably do a full overhaul of the textures on the route, as well.

I still have a few pictures to show from my last photo set of the work at Petticoat Junction, but I'll save that for tomorrow. Work done since then saw me adding a new river and some bridges, and moving around my signposts along the Right of Way. I got some info for the placement of the D&RG's Right of Way signposts, and went back to move everything around to fit most of the prescribed placements. Also, much of my time spent not working directly on the layout has been spent doing research - collecting photos and reference materials, and reading articles and books about a variety of subjects related to my route. I also, just a bit earlier tonight, started experimenting with a new upgrade to Thunder Valley (I have a separate copy of an earlier version of the route that I am using as a testbed for things I want to try, without needing to worry about messing up the current version). I'll have more to share on that front in a few days or so.
@rogueranger1993 - Been watching your progress since you started, and I can see your route building skills improving the more you work on the layout.
You're getting the hang of PBR blending, and you're starting to fill in your scenes with details. Just like one would do on a real model railroad !

Kudos, my friend and keep on keeping on 😊 (y) 🍻

If you give me the kuids of my cliff splines that you're using, and the kuids of the PBR textures you're using near them, I can reskin a set (or sets) and up those to the DLS.
If you have links to any reference pics of rock type/color that would also make it easier to complete the reskins.

Hey, thanks for the offer, Rico! I'll send you a PM with some of that data later today if I can make some time for it. Also, thanks for the kind words!

Regarding updates, these are the last of the screenshots I took from the farm update in Petticoat Junction. This shot is showing off the fourth and, at least so far, final farm. This photo is focused on the living quarters, showing the two bunkhouses on the left, the wagon shed in the right foreground, and the farmhouse behind it. Beyond the farmhouse are a trio of storage sheds, and the barns in the animal pen can just be seen in the very back (one is hidden by the smoke from the bunkhouses, the other is the dark red building above the bunkhouse in the foreground).

This shot gives a good view of the fourth farm's large field, and a better look at the two barns in the animal pen. The crop field extends out to a point close to the tracks, near the far end of the transfer station where the CP&P's track cuts off and the D&RG tracks begin. I'm uncertain if I want to leave the farmland on the hillside as is, or if I want to level the hillside to keep the field on even ground, but that can wait for a time in the future - as I said in my last post, I'm working on a project in Thunder Valley at the moment, which I hope will provide a real upgrade (both visually and operationally) to the industrial side of the town.

Here we can see the edge of the fourth farm’s field on the left of the photo, but that’s not our focus. Instead, this image was shot in order to show you the tracks at the transfer station. To start with, I’ve extended the two tracks on the left of the station, and then I added a third track looping around the station’s right side. There were a few ideas for doing so – the first was to have CP&P trains use the tracks on the left side while the D&RG used the track on the right. Another potential usage was to handle freight on the left side and passengers on the right. I’m still working out the full operations scheme for the layout, so this area is one that may see changes in the future as those plans are further refined. In terms of location, this is where the CP&P connects with the D&RG's Crested Butte branch - that branch was laid to narrow gauge and never converted to standard gauge, so the two railroad's can actually share tracks rather than needing separate or dual-gauge tracks to facilitate trans-loading of materials. It also means that the two lines can freely interchange their rolling stock, rather than trans-loading freight from one car to another, so a transfer station might actually be unnecessary, but I wanted to have a transfer/interchange facility on my line, so this is what I came up with.
Interesting bit of info, Forester, thanks for sharing! I guess I'll be leaving the hillside farm field as is - it certainly adds some visual interest to the farm, and now that I know it won't look too unbelievable, I feel better about leaving it alone.