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dragonharh
May 10th, 2015, 11:37 AM
Good Afternoon gentlemen

The Title says it all i'm looking at how others build routes in hope to get a few new ideas so feel free to share ideas and facts yopu use wen building your route, Your prolbey wanding why would someone like me who already knows how to make maps would ask this well the saner is simple I'm looking at how others place items to see if its something i haven't tryed. This post coude also help noobs get started think of it that way in a snits.

BlackDiamond1964
May 10th, 2015, 12:32 PM
I've been at it a long time and this is what I've found so far...

Top of the Line Route- These routes are historically accurate with the research backing up all the details. These are the hardest and most time consuming to do. I've had one of these in the works for the last 8 years!

Basic Route-These route are based in facts but a lot of fictional liberties have been taking to finish. Most routes I believe fall into this category.

Fictional Route-These route are basically to take a Trainz board and start building. When you finish one board you move onto the next, building what ever tickles your fancy.

Modular Route- These are route parts that will hook up to each other creating your own unique route.

Model Railroad- these routes are based off of model railroad layouts.

Model Trainz- These are the newest group I've seen. These layouts are actually layouts that are set on virtual table tops. Quite interesting to look at.

Yard Route- This layout just basically includes a working rail yard and it's surrounding areas...good for the operational type of Trainz user.

Feel free to add to this list as I'm sure there might be some that I missed.

cressjl
May 10th, 2015, 03:20 PM
I am interested in Historical Routes. This is particularly applicable to routes designed to capture historical accuracy, not just an "era." In other words, I want to take old pictures, and make the entire area surrounding the train operation as close to the past as possible. This means that the houses, buildings, sidings, and environment are as important as the railyard and lines.

The goal would be to support a historical society capture all their pictures in a virtual reality simulation. This seems different from "era" routes, where they aim for the typical rather than true historical accuracy.

Here's an example goal from wvbike.org:

http://wvbike.org/tan/pics/tan-douglas-1918-m.jpg

The train line is at the bottom of the upper photo. Here is a good example of the engine that did the work:

http://wvbike.org/tan/pics/tan-thomas-engine-1920-m.jpg

Vern
May 10th, 2015, 04:21 PM
Most of my project ideas arise from reading about an interesting subject on line. or perhaps seeing something on the TV or it just happens to take my fancy. Therein lies my first big problem these days as it is so easy to get distracted, my infamous list of the "ones that got away" I posted a few months back, refers.

Anyhow the first thing to do on deciding a particular project is for me, is to research the level of information available. I work with Transdem, so reasonable quality DEM and mapping is an essential pre-requisite. How much technical data is available? Can I get track diagrams and ideally a gradient profile to work from, also signalling and speed charts. As much of my interest lies in reviving closed routes this is not something that can always be gleaned by looking at current maps, Google Earth etc.

Is it going to sustain my interest or am I likely to get distracted after a couple of weeks. Many projects start with great enthusiasm, "this is the one" etc. but fizzle and burst after a short period of time. Am I building this primarily for myself, or because I want to put on a show for others?

Then and only then is it time to lay down the base for the route in Transdem and import the base terrain and mapping into Surveyor.

Past doctrine was to push on and lay all the track first before doing anything else but really that's a hangover to the old MSTS Route Editor where doing anything else before finishing track and roads was likely to trash the database. These days, I prefer to lay track over about 8 - 10km then go back and apply the main scenery, Reasoning there being, if you do lose interest at some point, you may still have a viable route to release. Signalling and speed limits etc I do generally still do last as, while Surveyor is much more robust than MSTS in that respect, you don't really want to be disturbing links or virtual "track circuits" swapping out splines at that stage.

Once the signalling is in, time for a last run through the route adding fine detail, lamposts, traffic signs, little dioramas etc to provide the finishing touch.

Finally, testing, testing and more testing until satisfied the finished route is not going to cause embarrising issues.

The most important thing to remember and I really keep intending to make this my signature as a reminder, is that 1. Good routes aren't built in a couple of weeks and, 2. You can't build it all.


Basic Route-These route are based in facts but a lot of fictional liberties have been taking to finish. Most routes I believe fall into this category.


Agreed. My current project largely falls into this category in that I have found a system of narrow gauge lines (now converted to greenway or cycle paths) in Spain for which it is virtually impossible to find exact technical data.

http://www.viasverdes.com/en/principal.asp

However armed with clam1952's narrow gauge resources I intend to follow the profile while letting my imagination run riot and no apologies if parts of rural Valencia end up looking like North Wales!

Roy3b3
May 11th, 2015, 03:09 AM
I think what gives me the greatest pleasure in route building, is to look for obsolete, scrapped or abandoned train routes on my good old friend 'Google Earth'.

If the route happens to be a scenic one or it had a significant place in history, then that interests me, so I'd take a few photos, stitch them together and commence building from scratch.

A good example was the Plymouth to Turnchapel line in Devon, England. This was a "London & South Western Railway" single branch line route which opened in 1892 and closed completely in 1961. There were only three intermediate stations From Plymouth Friary Station to Turnchapel Docks. Plenty of scenery in between, including the bridge over the River Plym, limestone quarries, Hooe Lake swing bridge, and of course some cliff top views of Plymouth Sound. Turnchapel played an important role when an armada of ships left there one day to participate in the WWll Battle of Normandy in 1942.

Modelling this was a pleasure, particularly after we did a trip to the UK and took in the history of the Plymouth region.

Another I am having some fun with at present is the Bermuda Railway which was discontinued in 1948. This is a work in progress but will be scenic, scenic and more scenic.

With these types of routes, I like to add a helicopter flight to give an aerial view of highlights that could be missed if you were in the cabin of a loco.

Cheers,
Roy3b3

wva-usa
May 11th, 2015, 05:14 AM
I am interested in Historical Routes. This is particularly applicable to routes designed to capture historical accuracy, not just an "era." In other words, I want to take old pictures, and make the entire area surrounding the train operation as close to the past as possible. This means that the houses, buildings, sidings, and environment are as important as the railyard and lines. ...

Building historically accurate routes is an very interesting topic. In general, I think they're difficult to do, which is probably why there aren't that many of them!

As much as I love the concept of recreating the past, achieving 100% historical accuracy would probably be impossible in most cases. Even the best documented areas will likely end up having quite a few "holes" that have to be filled in with a "best guess." The further back in time you need to go, the more spotty the documentation gets.

For about fifty years, I've been trying to collect photos, documents, maps, etc. for a region I've wanted to model since I was a teenager. When I started, people who actually worked on the rail lines and lived in the area during the era I wanted to model were still alive, so I could seek them out and ask questions. Now, almost all of them a deceased. If a new "grey area" is discovered, now there's no one alive who knows the answer. The Internet has certainly made research easier than ever before, but unfortunately you often have to shift through the "bad data" to discover the real story. And no matter how many vintage photos you track down there always seems to be pieces of the puzzle that are missing or incomplete. Even trying to figure out the operational aspects of a given rail line or small section of a line can be a challenge.

In most cases, duplicating the track arrangement and trackwork, adding the historically correct landscape and terrain, and filling in the area with appropriate flora and fauna will probably be the easiest things to do. Although trying to model something like a narrow gauge logging railroad might be a challenge, since the route the tracks followed were largely temporary and very itinerant.

Even trying to recreate a few tiny villages and the area traveled by a tiny short line would take a great deal of effort and research, etc., and I don't think you'd ever be able to achieve 100% accuracy. If we had Google Street View in 1915, it would make it much easier to recreate a 1915 town, with a high degree of detail. But even then, we'd likely end up having to create 99% of the houses, buildings, industries, and structures "from scratch," not to mention almost all of the locomotives and rolling stock, if we want things that are completely accurate to their prototypes. I'd be difficult for one person working alone to create everything. It could easily take decades to complete such a project.

So I suppose the best approach is to aim for the highest degree of accuracy that reasonably possible. And then too, even historically routes can be built in "stages." Stage #1 might just be "close", but Stage #2 would come "closer", and Stage #3 would achieve even more accuracy, etc. It's just something that would take some time...

oknotsen
May 11th, 2015, 06:36 AM
Maybe not what you asked for, but still interesting (or interesting for others reading this topic):
http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?6105-Tips-and-Tricks-Surveyor

cressjl
May 11th, 2015, 07:10 AM
Building historically accurate routes is an very interesting topic. In general, I think they're difficult to do, which is probably why there aren't that many of them! ... So I suppose the best approach is to aim for the highest degree of accuracy that reasonably possible. And then too, even historically routes can be built in "stages." Stage #1 might just be "close", but Stage #2 would come "closer", and Stage #3 would achieve even more accuracy, etc. It's just something that would take some time...
You are quite right. My lofty goal will probably end up somewhere at the level of the current Cass-Spruce Knob layout at best. To build such historical routes would, I think, be a most noble goal, indeed, but also one that few but the best will ever achieve. I will be developing my skills in preparation for the task, then probably seek collaborative assistance from others who might be interested once I can contribute content of value!

wva-usa
May 12th, 2015, 02:25 AM
You are quite right. My lofty goal will probably end up somewhere at the level of the current Cass-Spruce Knob layout at best. To build such historical routes would, I think, be a most noble goal, indeed, but also one that few but the best will ever achieve. I will be developing my skills in preparation for the task, then probably seek collaborative assistance from others who might be interested once I can contribute content of value!

Don't sell your talents short, cressjl. ;) I didn't mean to sound discouraging. By all means, strive for perfection! A historically correct route is certainly "a noble goal." They're rare in the Trainz world, and should be encouraged.

BTW, I replied to you other thread (http://Hendricks, Douglas, and Thomas,) about the Hendricks, Douglas, and Thomas, W.Va. railroad area.

cressjl
May 12th, 2015, 07:20 AM
...A historically correct route is certainly "a noble goal." They're rare in the Trainz world, and should be encouraged.
I know of museums and visitor centers that would love to have such train simulations in their exhibits. In fact, I stumbled upon such a simulation (earlier version of Trainz) in use by a town's visitor center, but now I can't remember where I saw it. I think this would be a great opportunity for Trainzers to contribute content of value to their communities. After all, only so many railroads are going to be preserved physically. Rails-to-trails are going to ensure the loss of much history for future generations that can, even now, only be captured virtually.

Falcus
May 12th, 2015, 03:16 PM
@dragonharh
Well, as others have essentially pointed out, it really boils down to what your end goal is. The answer to what you've asked will widely change what tips we could give you....

@Everyone else,
I would break up the "Historically Accurate" to Prototype/Proto-lanced. The former being based on the Real Life Accurate to detail inch to inch attempt to recreate identically whatever was there at whatever time period you're shooting for. The latter otoh being merely "based" on the prototype. The latter also being the majority of, if not inclusive of all, modeled recreations, for recreating true prototype down to the nth detail is about impossible... It also happens however to be a very big grey area. I don't know of a single finished & Released "DEM Representation" Of an area that can safely claim 100% true to prototype (Though a few get very very close).

@cressjl
I used to think and feel the same way you do about Rails to Trails programs, things to the effect of "Bloody preppies and short sighted home owners, Enjoy the Wait time in Traffic once the Rails are gone!".... Until that is, someone pointed out to me that, at the very least, Rail to Trails projects preserve the R.O.W (Generally speaking) in near to one big piece.... As a for instance, google the "John Wayne Memorial Trail of Washington State" (Dumbest name for a trail ever...)..... Thats the Former MLW Mainline extending from Renton WA and you can actually follow it out to Montana somewhere.... Much of the R.O.W. is intact.... Before the trail was "Dedicated" there were definitely (And have been since) some projects in some towns to build things on the former R.O.W, but Much of its there, for the taking of any future railroad with the capital and interest to do so (Not that I think the Former MLW Main will ever seriously be used as a Transcon again). So for the time being, I'm less galled to see Rails to Trails projects then I used to be.... And certainly there are LOADS of State and Local Governments that would love to see Rail Service return if they could.....

-Falcus

wva-usa
May 12th, 2015, 05:52 PM
... @Everyone else,
I would break up the "Historically Accurate" to Prototype/Proto-lanced. The former being based on the Real Life Accurate to detail inch to inch attempt to recreate identically whatever was there at whatever time period you're shooting for. The latter otoh being merely "based" on the prototype. The latter also being the majority of, if not inclusive of all, modeled recreations, for recreating true prototype down to the nth detail is about impossible... It also happens however to be a very big grey area. I don't know of a single finished & Released "DEM Representation" Of an area that can safely claim 100% true to prototype (Though a few get very very close). ...

Well, like I said earlier, the tracks and terrain are probably the easiest to recreate, but even then, a good bit of research is normally required if you're trying to duplicate a historical era. Tiger only provides contemporary data and historical topos only provide limited detail. You'll probably need historical track charts plus some time spent researching the area.

But more often than not, most, or perhaps all, of the houses, structures, industries are largely just whatever is available. The better routes, that strive to be prototypical, usually at least build the more iconic structures/facilities/industries "from scratch" and attempt to find "typical" structures to fill in the gaps.

Space limitation was the big factor that usually prevented model railroads from being 100% prototypical. Trainz has (pretty much) conquered the space problem, but yet it rare to see even a single industrial scene modeled to the nth degree.

Falcus
May 13th, 2015, 01:48 AM
Well, like I said earlier, the tracks and terrain are probably the easiest to recreate, but even then, a good bit of research is normally required if you're trying to duplicate a historical era. Tiger only provides contemporary data and historical topos only provide limited detail. You'll probably need historical track charts plus some time spent researching the area.

But more often than not, most, or perhaps all, of the houses, structures, industries are largely just whatever is available. The better routes, that strive to be prototypical, usually at least build the more iconic structures/facilities/industries "from scratch" and attempt to find "typical" structures to fill in the gaps.

Space limitation was the big factor that usually prevented model railroads from being 100% prototypical. Trainz has (pretty much) conquered the space problem, but yet it rare to see even a single industrial scene modeled to the nth degree.

Agreed, pretty much in entirety.

I was thinking of Dermmy's Routes specifically as well as a few old MR Articles on Protolancing when I wrote that. Derrmy's stuff is incredible, but he says straight up on his pages that hes taken liberties and generally shorten distances. And yet his is some of the best most interesting and highly detailed routes available for trainz period, and probably about the best freeware routes.....

Having had my experiences with Seattle, where I am legitimately trying to include every bloody inch of rail, its easy to see why so many give up on it, and so few actually finish a route.... Particularly as a single person working on it....

-Falcus

CaptEngland
May 13th, 2015, 01:39 PM
One thing that I enjoy doing is taking a existing route and joining it up with another route of the same style or author. Also I like to have a route and back date it or forward date it with assets. This is one thing that is very easy to do if you are into British railways.

The only downside to this is of course you should only do this for your own use (and never pass on to anyone else), unless you can get permission with the original author(s) to upload what you have done. Some people give permission, some people are more (This is my art!) and quite rightly so will not let you upload. Always respect other peoples wishes or else WE old un's will call you out for misuse of others pride and joy!

As for me, if T:ANE is stable and I don't spend most weekends waiting for a data base rebuild, I will at last upload some routes which I hope will be on people's download lists for years to come. My routes will be free to edit, except for Brony use, as I think that adult men into Bronies are as dodgy as a British DJ in a sport suit at a all girls school disco .:eek:

Regards.
CaptEngland

JCitron
May 13th, 2015, 01:41 PM
@cressjl

A fellow Trainz user (steamboateng) is doing such a project for a local museum. I've been involved off and on with the project. It's quite an undertaking and very, very time consuming. He just got back with some interesting stories and had an opportunity to visit parts of the route where most people can't get to. The people from the local historical and railroad history society there have been helping with research information, supplying photos, books, and other information. The author of "A pinprick of light", Carl Byron, has been more than helpful with this project. He's a member of the B&M Historical Society which has exemplary archives located at UMASS Lowell. In the end, the project will depict the Hoosac Tunnel route at the steam, electric, diesel era which ended in 1944 once the B&M purchased it's early EMD FTs. The electrics ran from Hoosac Station (Rowe, MA) to North Adams to shuttle the steam engines through the 5-mile long tunnel, once the longest in the world. The service ran from 1910 until 1944/45. Much of the area has changed considerably, which I mentioned in another thread, so having

@Falcus,

I do a lot of proto-lancing as you called it. I use a DEM and relief maps from a region, make use of the actual ROW on the printed map, but here's the twist: I then add my own branches where no railroad ever ran. A good example is the Sandy Point branch on my own route. The Sandy Point branch is located off of the prototypical Maine Central mainline up in Bangor Maine. Where the mainline makes a sharp right up to North Maine Junction, I put a line in along the Penobscot River, which runs out past Searsport and then out to sea. This line follows the river then heads inland until it reaches Sandy Point located on the end. In order to get the track properly graded, I put myself down at eyelevel in Surveyor. I then followed the landscape and placed brightly colored billboard trees as markers. These stood out like surveyor's beacons and game me navigation points to lay the track to. As I ran the tracks, I put in crossing where the tracks crossed the real roads, and then at Sandy Point, I fit in a yard, station, and small branch down to the waterside. I have a whole story made up on this branch which I can share with you at some point if you wish.

Another line, off of the MEC mainline, after it rounds the bend, once ran up to Bangor International Airport. Sometime in the 1980s, probably during Guilford's ownership, the line was abandoned. I put the tracks back in and made this area into an industrial park, wooded area near a lake, and then a small terminus with an engine facility. This line is the South Bristol Industrial since I call Bangor Bristol on my route. Again, to fit the various features I wanted, such as the lake, houses, and industrial buildings, I had to fiddle with the topography to get some semblance of order and reasonable grades.

On the same route, up on the North Maine Junction BAR line north, I have a branch that comes off and serves an industrial and commercial area. This area has big box stores with the rail branch running along the road in front of them. There are numerous crossings an switches as the branch serves the industrial park in the same area. I recently extended the line farther down towards Bristol and connected to an close branch of the SBI line. This line is modeled similar to what I used to see in Salem, New Hampshire. The old B&M Manchester and Lawrence (M&L) branch used to follow Route 28 between the two cities. Up in Salem, one side of the road is stores and apartment complexes while the other side had big stores and smaller houses. Today, the branch is a path as the commercial property took over the area, but when I was a kid it wasn't uncommon to see an old SW900 pulling a few boxcars and hoppers as it switched the industries along the line.

The thing is all we need is a bit of Imagineering and we can do anything we want. In the more recent times, I've now included a bit of Amesbury MA. There are pictures of this area in the Surveyor's forum. The thread is called A little bit of this and a little bit of that. It's all about putting together industries from bits and pieces... http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?119130-A-little-bit-of-this-a-little-bit-of-that-to-make-an-industry

But back to this here, I added a tunnel under Amesbury off of the original Amesbury (Salisbury Point RR) branch. This line lasted until about 1980 when it was pulled up. The railroad once served the many carriage and early trolley car manufacturers that were once located here. There was a substantial yard and even a passenger station, which saw business until 1968. Today the mills are Yuppie condos and the railroad is a trail. In my world, I put the yard back and then ran the line under one of the more substantial hills in Amesbury. This line then connects up to the rest of my route at "Amesbury Junction".

John

MeowRailroad
May 13th, 2015, 03:58 PM
I am interested in your route, can we see pictures? I think you haven't posted your route pics very often, and I want to see them.

steamboateng
May 13th, 2015, 11:03 PM
Yes I am quite involved in this Hoosac Project, and have recently returned from a week long stay in the Northeastern part of Massachusetts, only two or three miles from the New York border; and thanks for the plug, John.
The local history buffs up there are fairly sure they have found Herman Haupt's (later to be the Chief Engineer of railroad construction during the American Civil War) original dig, started in the mid 1850's, which failed due to soft rock encountered on the west side of the mountain. Spring thaws and rains has resulted in a collapsed area on the roof of the old cut (which was eventually used to carry off spoil, once the soft rock issue was solved and the tunnel was dug in earnest). This is rather exciting news, as Haupt's cut was buried over at completion of the tunnel in 1878. No one's seen it since. I was guided there by the president of the North Adams Historical Society, a gray hair close to my own age, huffing and puffing and tripping across rock strewn trails. I just a few minutes ago sent him the pix I took.
If you wish to do a 'historical' route, be prepared for a lot of work, especially in organizing the data you collect. I must have 600-700 pix just of the immediate area we wish to model for the Historical Society,covering probably no more than 5 square miles!
A reliable digital camera is a must.............preferably one that doesn't talk back, if you get my gist. I use Google Earth too, but that misses a lot and it only goes back to the 1960's. I have fond that old 'historical' topo maps provide a lot of detail, supplemented by one's own photos of stations and freight houses, long since disguised as restaurants, antique shops, real estate offices and the like.
I would consider TrainzDEM as the most reliable and easiest way to map terrain. It's accurate and easily allows overlaying of period topo maps with accurate georeference data.
Access to period photos can be difficult But public libraries, as well as university library collections hold a wealth of that sort of data. And don't forget relevant historical organizations, which may hold complete collections of particular railroad data, including track maps, signaling details, and railcar details.
In the end, you get to meet a lot of nice folks with interests as your own, most willing to help and guide you to your goal.
Good Luck.

Vern
May 14th, 2015, 01:17 AM
One other very important point I've learned over the years is never, ever, announce or make reference to a project you're working on (oops, well I did as an exception earlier in the thread) until it is well on the way to completion. It only leads to disappointment amongst potential end users and a reputation for vapourware from the poster. Worst of all are the ambitious kiddies who come on and announce they're working on some 600 mile mega-route, then post a picture of one flat baseboard with a couple of un-straightened splines = epic fail!

steamboateng
May 14th, 2015, 02:55 AM
There's wisdom in those words, Vern. Within two months of starting, we were sidetracked by this new program called TaNE!
Explained the delay to the various persons involved..........but I'm not so sure they bought the story.
Still waiting for its public appearance.
TaNE.........oh TaNE!...........Where are you.........

Falcus
May 15th, 2015, 01:00 AM
One other very important point I've learned over the years is never, ever, announce or make reference to a project you're working on (oops, well I did as an exception earlier in the thread) until it is well on the way to completion. It only leads to disappointment amongst potential end users and a reputation for vapourware from the poster. Worst of all are the ambitious kiddies who come on and announce they're working on some 600 mile mega-route, then post a picture of one flat baseboard with a couple of un-straightened splines = epic fail!

Eh, I both agree and disagree..... I agree that a too enthusiastic approach in the form of an "Announcement" is definitely a probable call for "Watch me fail guys!". But I've rather enjoyed seeing the "Ripples" of talking about Seattle as I've worked on it. Just tonight I have learned of yet ONE MORE person (Bringing the total to 5) that has made a serious attempt at creating Seattle with-in Trainz. Also, by talking with people, I learn about assets, and points of view, I hadn't contemplated before. Its been really a learning experience from not too long after I posted it.... I think I would have straight up been discouraged enough to have told myself "I entirely give up" several times already by now if it weren't for interest from other people. As it is, I plod along as and when I can, and use other people's interest as a support or crutch if you will to help me through the "lean times", lol.

I will also say though, that one of the dissapointing things in having made the thread I have, is that I was hoping to get more direct help with it, which has never really materialized. I have even had straight up discussions with a couple folks from N3V about what I would need to finish it in any given length of time (Which, if anyone cares, is primarily more decent City-Scape buildings of varying descriptions). Ultimately I have found it sad and funny at the same time that the community is so quick to harp on its own value to this particular franchise whenever something unpopular amongst it comes along, and yet we're so reticent to actually sit down and actively help each other most of the time in many situations, up to and including "Well, I just don't want to deal with this, or maybe what I say won't be liked, so I just won't even post", which is probably the saddest part of the whole gig.....

Anyway, enough sidetrack.

@John/Steamboat
You two know I'd love to see your route as well. And as another route builder fighting with the "Foibles of *A New Era* of Trainz", If you ever want to discuss it, feel free to PM or otherwise.

-Falcus