NS Buffalo Line WIP (large images!)


Bump on a log
It has been a very long time since I have gotten bit by the Trainz bug, but I have finally been bitten once again. After a three year absence from the game, I've gotten the urge to play again, and man do I wish I never left.

So, on to the topic of the thread. Back in 2012, I asked a favor of inprr to create a transdem of the Susquehanna River valley between Harrisburg and Sunbury, PA (I never truly thanked you for doing this, sorry about that, hopefully you're still a part of the community), along the Norfolk Southern Buffalo Line which runs from Harrisburg to Buffalo, NY. For a few months I slowly chipped away at small parts of the route but never really got anywhere and eventually quit. Fast forward three years and, by means of my new laptop which I use to run Google Earth with its fantastic ruler tool, I finally have a way to accurately and enjoyably model the route.

Anyway, here's some of the progress I've made over the past week, because let's face it, what would a screenshot thread be without some screenshots, right?

A loaded stack train headed by two ES40DCs and a C40-9W crawl out of the Harrisburg intermodal yard.

If you want a place to see some yard action, the bridge just off I-81 in Enola is a fantastic place to watch some switching.

A northbound mixed freight crossing the Rockville bridge turns onto the Buffalo Line.

The same train only looking from route 322 towards the river.

Since this a WIP thread, here are some pics of the route in broad daylight without the environmental effects (I used the fog to cover up some ugly baseboards; unfortunately they're everywhere).

I only have a small portion of the Harrisburg/Enola part of the route completed, but now that I have found the time to work on the route progress should become visible soon, especially since this is the most populated and complicated part of the route until Sunbury.

The newest part of the route which I have been working on over the past week, and the only work I have done since 2012, is the Harrisburg intermodal yard. It hasn't been quite as a nightmare to make as Enola but after making it, I never want to see another trailer again. It's hard to capture the sheer length of this in one picture so more from here at a later date.

The wye at the eastern end of the Rockville bridge.

The approach of the Enola yard. I have been having some difficulty finding the right assets to fill in the small tunnel that runs under one of the other tracks (visible by the dig holes in the picture). I would greatly appreciate it if someone could give me a suitable way to cover it up nicely.

Finally, some of the northern ladders of the Enola yard, and the one of the main reasons why I gave up on this.

Now I know that this line isn't one where railfans would flock to seen the mere ten or so trains a day that run the section I'm modeling or has any major historical prevalence, but since I'm a local of the area, I thought it would be nice to create the line that I grew up next to. However, because of this, I believe I am going overboard with the amount of detail I am putting into the route and don't know how to stop, especially around Harrisburg. At the rate I'm going, by the time I reach Sunbury the route probably won't even load. I could be wrong, but regardless, if any of you route-building experts out there have any tips to keep performance up while keeping things realistic and detailed, please, by all means, throw them at me.

Very nice work. Looking Forward to seeing more. I am a bit suprised I haven't thanked Dan either for making my Bozeman Pass DEM yet, so if you see this thread Dan, just wanted to say thanks, sorry for not saying it earlier! But of course a good looking route, keep it up!
I am currently working on Columbus, Oh (using DEM's for most of it). Populated, urban post industrial area's are very tough. Keeping it as simple as possible while maintaining visual impact is the hardest part. My method is the
time tested "only model what can be seen from the cab" philosophy. I only deviate from this in areas that demand it. Looks good so far though, welcome back and keep it up!
Looks great !

Will this be connecting to Willamsport ?

Of so ... All we need is the line from Williamsport to Tyrone ... Then we will have complete line(s) Harrisburg/Enola to Pittsburgh, and the Rockville to Williamsport/Tyrone ... Looking forward to working with you on these route(s).

Do you have all of Enola yard laid ? I have been tracing the Enola yard on Google Earth in great detail as it is on my DEM, as well as most of the Harrisburg Rutherford yard

Skype: cascaderailroad
Nice! I've been slowly working on the other end of the line in the Buffalo Terminal area. Sloooow going though. Especially now that I'm back to work. Makes for a lot less free time.
Will this be connecting to Willamsport ?

Do you have all of Enola yard laid ? I have been tracing the Enola yard on Google Earth in great detail as it is on my DEM, as well as most of the Harrisburg Rutherford yard
As much as I would love to take the route up to Williamsport, as it stands now with as many trees and such that are going into the route, I don't believe that most computers, including mine, would be able to handle the extra 30 miles. Maybe if I get around to making a second route I can take it farther northwest.

As for Enola, no, I don't have the whole yard laid out. The tracks stop just short of the maintenance facilities. I've been watching a lot of Blender tutorials lately in hopes that I would be able to model the structures since I haven't been able to find a suitable stand-in. It's one heck of a complex.
I will help you with Enola, as I have traced out the entire yard, trying to replicate it with the roundhouse, and all of the tracks that were there prior to 1970. I think they tore out all of the EB Classification hump yard years ago, but I will be putting them all back in, as it was from 1900 onward.

I do track, curves, and gradients only, and use blank gray baseboards ... then place buildings, trees and grass at a later date, as I consider all that stuff fluff, and filler ... if the track is not right, all the other stuff just helps comouflage all the imperfections of a route.

I have millions of trees downloaded, and I will only use low impact framerate ones ... I generally use textures (like the great Mezzoprezzo does) @ 100' distant the tracks, and Forest1 and Forest_1 seem to replicate dense distant forests, rather than placing zillions of high poly trees.

Modeling Harrisburg Rutherford/Enola yard to Williamsport yard would allow terminal to terminal operations, where trains have a real destination to tie up in inbound yard tracks. I do not know where the tracks split off, and went onward to Binghampton NY ?

Both routes are only @ 87 miles long, so it would not be way too many baseboards for Trainz.
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