View Full Version : Route Building questions

November 25th, 2006, 03:16 PM
When doing a route based to whatever degree on a prototype, do you ever use the Straighten Track tool? I tried laying track on a route blank trying to follow the center of the HOG lines. Sometimes it looks like I should make the track straight but I am also wondering if I should just let the track laying tool follow a more "natural" method and simply move spline points to get centered. Here's 2 examples of what I mean using the same area.

This pic is unstraightned track.

Here's the same area when Straighten Track is used on the middle section, as you can see the spline points had to be moved closer together to get a more centered look.

Also, how do you know if a line uses double or single track when you cannot see the area? I noticed, as seen from the pics, that the HOG line is over twice as wide as a single track.

When comparing a Route Blank to the actual route, what do you do with HOG lines that don't represent actual track? Example, the Route Blank I am using has a couple of areas when cyan lines are for track but the article and maps I am using for information shows those areas as abandoned.

November 25th, 2006, 03:52 PM
I personally like the straightened look. As far as whether it's single or double track. If you can find the area on google earth and the resolution is clear enough, you might be able to tell what it is. On the cyan lines, these could be abandoned lines, so you could use some seriously overgrown track or some abandoned track bed.

November 25th, 2006, 03:58 PM
I would certainly do the second and straighten the track, and not the first option. The TIGER data is not all that accurate, just a reasonable guide to where the tracks should go.

As to double vs single track, that is often shown on USGS maps in the US, or their equivalent elsewhere. I always work with a USGS map of the area in which I am working. On a big route I print them out and keep them in a looseleaf notebook. NASA's Worldwind is a good source to use. Also track charts if they are available can give you even more detailed information.

November 25th, 2006, 04:20 PM
I prefer to use the Straighten Tool: I think for technological reasons it was in reality easier (and cheaper) to built straight forward tracks. Curves need more time and money to be built. So as long as straight tracks are possible, these are used in reality. I think your two pictures illustrates this well: The second seems to me nearer to reality. This is not a matter of aesthetics or style, but of money and construction technology.

November 25th, 2006, 06:04 PM
Second what both leeferr and gfisher said. I use the straighten tool, plus I work with topo maps. I prefer the actual paper maps, but it depends on what I'm doing. If you don't want to have to buy them, you can use http://terraserver.microsoft.com/ instead. B/W aerial views plus topo maps there. You can get a reasonably accurate idea of what's single and what's double track, although, like HOG, the USGS map data has a margin of error, too, and placement of mains and sidings (especially sidings) alter with time. If it really matters to you to get it right, an in-person visit is best, if possible.


November 25th, 2006, 07:51 PM
how the heck do you get the lines to show up they never for me.

November 25th, 2006, 08:20 PM
Straightened track is more prototypical as rr's are designed and built using straight (tangent) sections and circular arcs. Transitions curves usually are used to connect the two - they're normally short sections of cubic spirals.

To see the the TIGER line data that's textured on boards created using HOG you need the HOG ground textures installed on your system. If the old forums were available it would be easy to point to instructions but they're not that difficult to install. The textures come with an older version of HOG - hog100.zip. They are also available on a few 3rd party sites.

Bob Pearson

November 26th, 2006, 12:55 AM
Here's where I got a zip file of the HOG textures from fishlipsatwork's site:

November 26th, 2006, 04:44 AM
Second what both leeferr and gfisher said. I use the straighten tool, plus I work with topo maps.

Me too. Online maps which (mostly) show double/single track are available from Topozone (http://www.topozone.com/viewmaps.asp).

Andy :)

November 26th, 2006, 05:14 AM
Map clippings available from topozone and TerraServer USA are USGS 1:24k, also called 7.5 min DRG (digital raster graph). 7.5 min is the extent of each sheet in printed form. I always found TerraServer easier to deal with. Larger view areas and instant coordinates. Anyway, these maps are excellent quality. And you probably don't want to build a prototypical route without them.

TIGER data accuracy on the other hand is given as 160 meters. Compare with DEM accuracy which should be 30m or even 10m. Hence these two data sources in my opinion don't really fit together. The reason that you still see a lot TIGER in use for Trainz is the simplicity of processing the data with MicroDEM and with HOG afterwards.


November 26th, 2006, 09:22 AM
Because of the resolution of the tiger data neither is probably correct. Try pulling back as far as possible, you'll find the line llooks almost straight. this is the correct track alignment,

I had this same problem on my EP&SW route until I looked at google earth and could see the location where the tracks had run, unless they were really dhanging direction or were located in the mountains RR tracks went straight!

November 26th, 2006, 10:31 AM
Of course, straight is a relative term.
I've been on lines that had a jog where there was no obstruction to avoid. Possibly an obstruction was removed or a line realigned, and the jog was never shifted to match.
Also, while it is cheaper to design a straight than a carefully calculated curve, in real life the terrain kept getting in the way, and a number of sweeps and wobbles crept into the construction as the ground surface got in the way of the mathematical purity of the flat paper map.
The straighten track tool is a valuable friend in the war for neatness, but I say try not to overdo it. And NickMikado is right when he suggest pulling back a ways to lay track. Surveyer won't let you paint a straight line on the diagonal, so the line may be straighter than it appears when you zoom in too close.

:cool: Claude

November 26th, 2006, 11:35 AM
Google Earth is kind of handy, too - if there are hi-res photos of the area you're interested in.

November 26th, 2006, 11:48 AM
There are also some railroad societies out there that offer some good maps of roads. The L&N Historical Society offers a great set of books that offer very good plans of different divisions of the road. I plan to start one of the divisions at some point, just haven't decided which one.

November 26th, 2006, 11:58 AM
Where do you install the hog textures?

November 26th, 2006, 12:15 PM
There are also some railroad societies out there that offer some good maps of roads. The L&N Historical Society offers a great set of books that offer very good plans of different divisions of the road. I plan to start one of the divisions at some point, just haven't decided which one.

That reminds me - http://trainsite.8m.com/. For Class I's you should be able to find just about anything. Best thing to do is download the whole catalog (pdf) and then you can search it.

November 26th, 2006, 01:19 PM
where can you download hogs?

November 26th, 2006, 01:54 PM
C: program files; auran; trs2004; world; custom; ground.

you have to create the folder "ground"

November 26th, 2006, 10:42 PM
I use actual railroad track charts, railroad valuation maps, and Sanborn maps to get the layout fully prototypical. But getting these kind of maps of the line your interested in can get expensive.

November 27th, 2006, 04:01 AM

In TRS04 unzip them to the folder C:/..../TRS 04/World/Custom/Ground the 'Ground' folder does not exist - you will need to create it first.

In TRS06 unzip the HOG textures to any convenient location - a folder on the desktop is fine - fire up CMP, navigate to the unzipped folders and use CMP to 'Import' and 'Commit'.

Andy :)

Edit - appologies to TGV - still coming to terms with the new forum: I scroll down, come to the 'quick reply' box and assume the end of the thread only to find nope - end of page 1 :(