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johnndeanna
September 30th, 2016, 01:51 PM
Hello all,

I have been looking at videos of Trainz for the last couple days and I am thinking I am about ready to make the decision to purchase or not. I love model railroading but simply do not have space for anything larger than a small shelf layout. I am in the process of designing an On30 layout for the space I have and have considered using Trainz as my go to platform for modeling a nice short line or similar. I am big into flight simming but this will be my first endeavor into train simming.

I was really looking to replicate on the PC the feel of a model railroad, but the extra effort to make it seem like a table top railroads seems like it isn't worth it. I am thinking having a go at designing a regional railroad or short line to replicate the operations of a real railroad. In doing so, I wonder how one goes about determining how much traffic the route generates.

Can you operate a Trainz route similar to the way an HO railroad operates. i.e. generating a list of empty cars to deliver and loads to pick up. And can you generate specific car numbers on rolling stock so that you can use switch lists.

I'm not sure of the locale I want to model, but I'm a big fan of the Milwaukee Road and FEC (hometown railroad). I am hoping I can scratch my operations itch on the PC while scratching my actual model building itch on the real layout. Any suggestions or comments are welcome.

oknotsen
September 30th, 2016, 02:03 PM
Hi and welcome to the Trainz community.

The same reason you have is what got many of us into this hobby: Lack of space and/or money to build a real scale rail layout. So I think you are about to make the right choice ;) .

What your layout can handle is limited by how much time you are putting into it. Some (of not all) of the rolling stock can get numbers, you can give trains orders with all kinds of rules, or just drive yourself.

The Milwaukee Road (or at least part of it) is built-in in the Delux version of TANE.

Note that TANE does require a decent, relatively recent PC. If you are still running Windows XP, this is not for you (a 64bit OS is required). Just like when you still are using a 5+ year old laptop with integrated graphics card. Be sure to check the specs before getting yourself a disappointment.

martinvk
September 30th, 2016, 02:10 PM
Welcome to the world of train simulation and Trainz specifically. In here you will be able to create routes as simple and complex as you want. As well as creating, you could also just download existing routes made by others and run trains in them.

The DownLoadStation, DLS, is where most of the extra content you want can be found. Since it has been in existence for a long time, the quality of things in there run the gamut from barely adequate to extraordinary. Thanks to a lot of creative people, the number of assets on the DLS are constantly increasing.

One of the big differences between model railroads and Trainz is that you don't have any space constraints. If the railroad you want to simulate is 10's or 100's of kilometers long, no problem. No running around in circles. You can also have as many different routes as you like in the computer at the same time. Try that with a physical model.

Be sure that your computer is capable of running the version of Trainz you want. You'll want to be comfortably above the minimum requrements unless you like to watch a slide show. All versions have always put a strain on the graphics system and the latest is no exception.

If you have any questions, ask. There are lots of people here who will help you get the most from your choice.

wilts747
September 30th, 2016, 02:18 PM
Trainz is all things to all persons basically only limited by your imagination. You can drive it as a simulator, design any asset as an engineer, write software to aid the simulators operation or as I do model as I did sixty plus years ago and many others do at a fraction of the cost and space. Subject to your interest there is even frequently the opportunities to influence future Trainz development. With the latest T:ANE version of Trainz you can actually make your modelling look like a real model railroad built up on trestles running round the walls of your home but alternatively you can and many have modeled the real thing in a multitude of scales. As for operation you can choose to personally drive your model, have artificial intelligence drive it for you or a combination of both.

If you are or have been into model railways enthusiast previously Trainz is a winner and perhaps at times a bit of a time waster but so was model railways if I recall correctly and what better way to occupy forthcoming winter evenings in this part of the world. Peter

johnndeanna
September 30th, 2016, 02:18 PM
Hi and welcome to the Trainz community.

The same reason you have is what got many of us into this hobby: Lack of space and/or money to build a real scale rail layout. So I think you are about to make the right choice ;) .

What your layout can handle is limited by how much time you are putting into it. Some (of not all) of the rolling stock can get numbers, you can give trains orders with all kinds of rules, or just drive yourself.

The Milwaukee Road (or at least part of it) is built-in in the Delux version of TANE.

Note that TANE does require a decent, relatively recent PC. If you are still running Windows XP, this is not for you (a 64bit OS is required). Just like when you still are using a 5+ year old laptop with integrated graphics card. Be sure to check the specs before getting yourself a disappointment.



Well my PC is only about 4 years old but runs Windows 10 well. 8 GB memory and a decent GeFore graphics card. The biggest reason for me wanting to do this is operations. I can model with the space I have but for good operations you need space, something I don't have. Heck, I've even considered replicating some of the well known model railroads in Trainz at full size, like Tony Koesters NKP, Joe Fugates SP, Lance Mindheim CSX downtown spur. The variety of model railroads to build in Trainz as if they are full scale railroads is staggering. Could be a blast.

John

oknotsen
September 30th, 2016, 02:22 PM
This topic might be interesting for you:
http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?109038-Model-Railroadz

johnndeanna
September 30th, 2016, 03:52 PM
That thread is fantastic. I'm not keen on the whole benchwork thing, but if there were a way to make the layout look like a model while keeping the modeled portion limited to say 500 feet either side of the ROW with eveything outside of that black, much like a stage where the action is confined to a small area with the proscenium arch and everything else black and unseen. There is a real model railroad called the Totterhoe Mineral Railway that does this and the effect is striking. I really don't want backdrops and all so I can focus on the trains and the operation. Sort of a shelf lit up by spotlights with the rest of the world off into nothingness.

John

ish6
September 30th, 2016, 04:41 PM
Welcome to the world of trainz -- ;)

Have fun trainzing ...

Kind regards
Ish

JCitron
September 30th, 2016, 06:52 PM
That thread is fantastic. I'm not keen on the whole benchwork thing, but if there were a way to make the layout look like a model while keeping the modeled portion limited to say 500 feet either side of the ROW with eveything outside of that black, much like a stage where the action is confined to a small area with the proscenium arch and everything else black and unseen. There is a real model railroad called the Totterhoe Mineral Railway that does this and the effect is striking. I really don't want backdrops and all so I can focus on the trains and the operation. Sort of a shelf lit up by spotlights with the rest of the world off into nothingness.

John

Welcome to the forums, John from another John here. :)

You can achieve that affect very easily by lowering the area outside the edge of the track and coloring it black and using backdrops. And yup we have those too along with about 400,000 different assets. What this cutting back does is cut back your land to makes the usable area a lot less. You can also forego the above and use closely placed objects, backdrops, and limited camera views to achieve the same thing. There is no need to paint the areas outside the areas you want to see, or you can just paint them a simple color. The variations on this are nearly unlimited.

I have always thought of Trainz as a gigantic model railroad with the capabilities of prototypical operations. What you'll find interesting is Trainz its self was once envisioned as a virtual model railroad and then moved towards the prototypical direction. When building routes, we lay our tracks on baseboards. There are 3 baseboards to 1.3 miles, and each baseboard 720 x 720 meters based on the default 10 meter grid. The scale is 1 to 1 which means and there are provided scale rulers to give you the measurements you need for your model railroad to allow you to use this to import route plans and use those to place your track on.

An experiment I did a number of years ago was quite interesting. I built the Atlas Scenic and Relaxed N-gauge route from their Nine N-Scale routes book. I actually had this layout for real at one time setup in my bedroom and used that as a base for a much bigger layout. When I built the route using the scale plans, I had similar track spacing and height issues that were present on the physical layout. The biggest difference was there was no mess and no wasting of materials.

narrowgauge
September 30th, 2016, 07:04 PM
At last! someone else confirms it. Thank you, John.


interesting is Trainz its self was once envisioned as a virtual model railroad.

Prior to Christmas 2001, local television ran advertisements for 'Trainz-Model railway Simulator', that got me hooked and as far as I'm concerned that is what it is to this day.

Peter

Stationbeem
September 30th, 2016, 07:12 PM
Try this link. It is safe.
It will let you know if your computer can run Tane.

http://www.systemrequirementslab.com/cyri

Just enter the name of the game/simulator to find out.

Regards Dave.

martinvk
September 30th, 2016, 08:19 PM
Every so called simulator that is affordable is just a model railroad. Some might look better while others work better. Only if you go up to industrial simulators that real railroads use could realism be achieved but then you're not sitting in front of your computer at you desk anymore either. You'd be in a full scale cab with full axis motion and suroundsound. Just a bit pricey though. On the other hand, I don't know how much fun they really are and making new objects and creating your own routes is probably not as easy either.

philskene
September 30th, 2016, 08:27 PM
Hi John --

" ... but the extra effort to make it seem like a table top railroads seems like it isn't worth it."

Well, the "extra effort" is basically how you decide to do it.

Dig holes are a real pain; partial height fascias and, in particular, supporting legs are time consuming. The quick and easy alternative is to form the floor by terra-forming - once you get the hang of it.

This layout for example:

http://forums.auran.com/trainz/showthread.php?131786-New-layout-the-Klozett-Railroad-Company-a-NG-Model-Trainz-layout&highlight=klozett

The additional time to convert it to a model train layout was, what, maybe two or three hours.

Phil

ray_whiley
October 1st, 2016, 09:16 AM
Sorry, Phil, I can't agree that digholes are a pain. I find them quick and easy to use and that it's possible to cover - I mean get rid of! - a large area very quickly. I always keep them on a separate layer, of course. A baseboard edging spline is equally easy to use, also a backdrop spline. Just my preference - to each his/her own.

johnndeanna - you can see my thoughts on Virtual Model Railways/railroads on my web site. Click on Dukes Denver Designs (in blue) - below.

Ray

johnndeanna
October 3rd, 2016, 04:22 PM
Well I decided to go ahead and get the software. I'll be downloading from Steam tonight after work. Thanks for all the help thus far.

johnndeanna
October 4th, 2016, 10:33 AM
So, let's say that I intend to do a route with a 100 freight car roster, much like a model railroad with limited rolling stock Can I choose each car an assign a specific car number to it that actually displays on the car so that if I'm switching I know which car or cut of cars goes where?

I sort of feel that initially I will be using the route much like a staged model railroad, no portals, etc, with each train driven by me. One night I might run a road freight from staging to staging across the railroad and make interchanges at key points of dropping off cars at yards for the local. Next time I might decide to run a switcher and do some yard sorting of those same cars for the locals. Next I might do a local. I want to experience each facet before I move into AI trains and portals and such. Doing this seems that I would require a session to be saved so I can pick up from where I left off. Can this be done?

Just trying to gauge its possibilities in my head.

John

JCitron
October 4th, 2016, 11:46 AM
So, let's say that I intend to do a route with a 100 freight car roster, much like a model railroad with limited rolling stock Can I choose each car an assign a specific car number to it that actually displays on the car so that if I'm switching I know which car or cut of cars goes where?

I sort of feel that initially I will be using the route much like a staged model railroad, no portals, etc, with each train driven by me. One night I might run a road freight from staging to staging across the railroad and make interchanges at key points of dropping off cars at yards for the local. Next time I might decide to run a switcher and do some yard sorting of those same cars for the locals. Next I might do a local. I want to experience each facet before I move into AI trains and portals and such. Doing this seems that I would require a session to be saved so I can pick up from where I left off. Can this be done?

Just trying to gauge its possibilities in my head.

John

Hi John,

You can do that. There is what is called ARN or Automatic Road Number. This is a script which has a starting and ending range in it so if you place a boxcar starting at 100050, the next one will be 100051, and so on up to the limit specified in the asset's config file. This is also available in many locomotives as well so you can have, for example a handful of CSX YN SD70ACEs sitting at your engine facility and each one has it's own road number. With some of the better-quality locomotives, but RR-Mods or even Jointed Rail, you can even fiddle with the textures by clicking on sliders so you'll end up with rust spots, dirt, and graffiti on the locos. Some even have doors and windows that operate so you can leave these open as well.

You can also do that too. While a session is in driver, the part where you actually operate a route, you can save periodically and pick up where you left off. It's quite necessary on really, really, long prototypical and semi-prototypical routes because it's quite difficult driving for a very long time without needing to do other things like make dinner. :)

I know you mentioned doing the manual operations first, but once you get the hang of that, what you can do is setup a session with AI drivers handling some trains, like the main line running the loop(s) while you do the switching and local work. I do this now on my much bigger semi-prototypical routes. I have several portals spitting out trains from various branches. While they're running from point A to point B, I'll make an operating session of handling a day's operation on one of the branch lines, or making up freights in one of the yards. On one particular route, I have a section which is mostly coal mines with big breakers. These require a local to go up and fill the hoppers and return the full hoppers to the main line. The branch might be quiet operating with a lazy 10-20 mph run with a few cows and houses along the way, but when you get to the mainline it may require waiting for an Amtrak through train, or a through mixed freight to pass first before I can take control of the switches and crossover into the yard. I'll repeat this operation until my mine on that branch has "depleted" and then line up the coal consists for transfer on to other places.

What is definitely a nice feature here is you can take control of any train, whether it's sitting at an engine house or operating on the main line. Keeping this in mind, what I've done with coal and other through freights is switch out the freight cars and then continue my AI drivers on their schedule wherever that maybe. In these scenarios, I will stop and AI-controlled train uncouple the locomotive, and instruct the driver to head to the engine house for servicing. I do this by inserting a drive-to track-mark command for the engine house track.

Once the driver is out of the way, I busy myself with switching out his incoming freight, put in other freight cars, and once the train is setup, I'll then instruct the AI driver to couple on to the head of the train and continue the schedule where he left off.

You'll find that the operations can be nearly limitless and the number of hours that pass will be beyond comprehension. It's not unusual for some of us to work on a route and find ourselves still working on a route several hours later!

John

johnndeanna
October 5th, 2016, 07:17 AM
Thanks John. That answered several of my next questions as well. I think for me the biggest reason to operate each train manually at first is really to make sure that the railroad operates as I intend. Nothing find flaws more than running a train into somewhere to do the job only to find you are missing a runaround or a crossover or some other track work that is needed.

I really think that I will go semi-prototypical on this. Being a HUGE Milwaukee Road fan I am going to do my first route based on that. I'm looking at routes in Montana in grain country versus mountain routes. I was stationed in Great Falls for 3 years and there was a lot to offer between MILW and GN railroads. I'm thinking I am going to do this as if the MILW still existed and the BN had not taken over the area along with MRL. There are a half dozen large grain elevators in town, as well as several other rail-served industries. I could literally spend a week of evenings switching all of them. There is also a nice refinery on the north side of the Missouri River as well. West of town there is a mid-sized yard and several other industries. Google Earth still shows track layouts and the old roundhouse footprint, which I will include as still standing. From great falls the line heads northeast across the Missouri River to several smaller towns and one large grain elevator operation. West from town it heads towards Helena MT southwest and Glacier National Park northwest. I'll stop the route west of town about 5 miles out and east of town at the large co-op there.

Overall I should have quite a bit to get done initially. I'll use what assets I can find to flesh it all out. It will be interesting to see how it turns out.

John

JCitron
October 5th, 2016, 10:52 AM
John,

Your method is not unlike the one I use when I build a route. I will drive the route myself with various consists to check track conditions and ensure things are right. One of my peeves is floating track and roads, and I will go through great lengths to fix that. A manual drive also ensures trees and other objects are not in the way as well and signals are working properly. Once everything appears to work fine, I will then start introducing AI drivers and bring things up to speed. Being mostly a route builder and less of a driver, I use the "Easy" controls which are like DCC controllers for a model railroad. In fact this was once called DCC control in the game options. And yes, your reason as well is a valid one, though with Trainz you can always go back and modify the route and then drive the session again. You'll find you'll be doing this more than once on some days, and in the process the hours will whittle away to the wee hours the next day. :)

I highly recommend starting slow and building up from there. Trust me it's like taking on one of Beethoven late piano sonatas and expecting to finish it in a month. (I say this as a pianist!). You'll find that you've only scratched the surface at this point and will continue to fiddle with this route forever just like a gigantic model railroad. I know this might be a bit advanced, but I do recommend a program called TransDEM for your project. http://www.rolandziegler.de/StreckeUndLandschaft/startseiteTransDEMEngl.htm This is a payware program that costs about $30 or so, and will more than pay for its self with your project. This program will allow you to import USGS DEM files, match up topographic maps (new or historical) right in place, and then export the package as a Trainz route ready for track laying and asset placing. It's quite fascinating, by the way, to see historic topographic maps align nearly perfectly on current day DEMs. It's amazing how accurate their measurements are considering the tools they used! There's a bit of a steep learning curve, but people have created tutorials in addition to the excellent documentation which comes with the program.

I'm familiar with Great Falls some of the lines up in that area. In July 2013 I was up that way storm chasing with Roger Hill. We saw no big storms that year, but I saw quite a few trains on the former Great Northern through Marias Pass and some in and around Great Falls. We stayed a couple of times in Great Falls and came into the city a couple of times from the south via US 87. We had made our way up to Lewistown from Forsythe via Roundout on US12, which follows the old MILW ROW for their Pacific Extension. On another trip we headed across from Great Falls to Havre and followed the old MILW line out past Fort Benton, which now ends at Loma. The Havre end was used to store well cars, and were put there pretty recently at the time too, and another time we headed north and west up to Shelby and beyond.

John