Thoughts On Intersections & ATL


Active member
[FONT=&quot]There are very few roads that match the available fixed intersections for width, height and texture, and vice versa. Some combinations that worked in 2009 don't work in 2012. Even the LP series have developed mismatches in height.[/FONT]
[FONT=&quot]Solution? I'm going through Fond Du Lac replacing many intersection objects with self-spline intersections. Appearance of foreground intersections can be greatly improved and unusual road patterns are better supported. It doesn't take that much longer to insert a piece of road, straighten it and add invisible road if turning traffic is wanted. That should cut down the load on resources, too.
[FONT=&quot]Where an intersection has signals, lights and signs, I think it better to use one of the YARN-compatible objects, particularly in the middle distance. I've become quite fond of Maddy's YARN with STreadway's additions and have recently discovered the AASHTO series. Wish I'd started with that, although it comes in a little low when connected to the YARN junctions. The GF series looks great, but floats high. It matches the built-in Xings well, though.
[FONT=&quot]In laying roads it all comes back to the scene's grade/level crossing(s). The road has to match for the scene to look real and that restricts the choice of roadways throughout the scene.

[FONT=&quot]With ATLS, crossing signals are only noisy when they're active, a blessing in urban areas. At the same time, it's difficult to set them up where there's switching in progress. The move must completely clear the trigger in one direction before reversing. Otherwise the crossings clear at inconvenient moments.
[FONT=&quot]Solution? Still working on that. At Brownsville and Knowles, the triggers are set beyond city limits a bit over a train-length so that switching doesn't trip them. Tried them in West Yard but found carz piling up between signals, so only the SOO main is protected. Downtown's five crossings are covered by four controllers. Picking spots where moves are not likely to stop has been tricky. I think it's OK now but we'll see. Trigger radii have been cut down to 5 M or, in one case, 2 M.
[FONT=&quot]ATLS Correctors, unlike their ASB cognates, don't save to the map well and should be installed only to a session. Tried them out in West Yard and all went well for a while but eventually a corrector would glitch and leave the SOO crossing stuck down. Once there was a red bug that put me on to that but mostly it's silent death.

  • Have to say, ATLS amounts to the dial-a-crossing I've wished for!
[FONT=&quot]Now wishing for a one-way traffic stopper since TRZ12 carz don't run through very often.[/FONT]
ATLS Correctors, unlike their ASB cognates, don't save to the map well and should be installed only to a session. Tried them out in West Yard and all went well for a while but eventually a corrector would glitch and leave the SOO crossing stuck down. Once there was a red bug that put me on to that but mostly it's silent death.

Can't say that red bug was in the corrector after all. The crossing stuck shut last night on the fourth train through with no correctors at all. So I have rebuilt the installation, replacing the Controller, Slave and Triggers. A re-run of the same session produced no errors, so I may have corrupted something in my experimentation with a 4-track crossing.

The thought occurred to me that it might relate to having a train across both triggers at once so the triggers have been set as far apart as the situation allows. However, the 40-hopper 5-unit grain train ran through and there were no issues, so that might not be the case. More testing follows.

1. After the rebuild I ran a consist back and forth 8-10 round trips and finally the scheduled SOO ran through both ways. No issues.
2. There were no cars parked on tracks 1, 2 or 3.
3. Running several sessions with yard work or arrivals, the issue recurred every time. There were cars spotted on track 1 and 3 not far from the triggers though on different tracks. Such nearby cars do not seem to affect the downtown crossings, however.
4. Reinstalled correctors on the SOO. No change.

So at this point (version :6, not published) the ATLS has been entirely removed and replaced with a 1-track crossing on the SOO and a dummy flasher on the west side of the crossing. No issues noted so far.

Channel 4 was used at this crossing for all the attempts. The original installation included triggers on each MILW track as well as the SOO. I moved, placed and replaced various triggers and correctors in trying to get it all to work. I am wondering if there are "ghosts" on channel 4 as a result. This is the only one of the ~20 crossings to have this issue. If I get up the energy to try again, I shall use a different channel and see what happens.

Yah. If you don't like the program, change the channel. Friday/Saturday I reinstalled ATLS on the West Forest St crossing (above) using channel 23 instead of 4 and everything came up roses, at least on the SOO main.

Have been trying atilabarut's My Level Crossing-3 on a test route and very pleased. Signal/stopper behaviour is better than ATLS in that a train can stop on the crossing trigger and reverse out and the crossing will work as you'd expect. Only one trigger per track. HOWEVER, I rebuilt W Forest with triggers on the 3 yard tracks and found that starting a session with cars in the zone closes the crossing, which is no better than ATLS. DANG! So I put the ATLS chan 23 back.

This crossing is jinxed. When I tested the reinstall in QuickDrive it came up with a red bug script error. The crossing worked correctly though and when I tried a couple of other sessions there was no error. Happily I had been working in the default session so was able to delete it and create a fresh one with no error. Grrrr.
So far the W Forest Ave crossing continues satisfactory. I'm half-way through testing each session; so far there has been one noticed instance of the crossing opening early and one instance of it sticking closed, although that eventually cleared itself. The crossing gets four or more trains each way during a 2+ hour session. Tried again to apply Atilabarut's level crossing system with various settings but still cannot park consists in the zone without closing the crossing. Too bad, because:

Having torn out all the ATLS equipment downtown, I put back the traffic stoppers and signals and set up Atilacrossings according to the earlier plan. Turns out there's enough room that a 50-meter trip and 25-meter release work great, and with minimum activation speed = 0 it all works like for real. Pull a cut into the zone, stop and reverse and the bells and flashers go until you're finally clear. Hurrah!
-- 30 --