View Full Version : Does size matter!? Questions on modelz railways

November 18th, 2016, 08:09 AM
So I have downloaded & TMR17 - and it has a set of well created layouts. However I could not but help notice that one 'layout had 19 boards of which 10 were used for the actual layout, and another had 21 boards of which 16 were used for the actual layout. And it raised a question for me, at what size does it cease to be a 'modelz' railway?

In my own 4 creations, (Yorkshire Modelz Rly Centre), I restricted myself to 2 boards. At the moment I am working on 2 layouts, one of which is a single board and the other 4 boards. I do have some reservation about the latter, it is based on a design I did years ago in Trainz 2006 and was then 6 boards. I wonder, does simply putting walls around a layout and creating an operating/viewing well constitute a 'simulated model railway' no matter how many boards are used. Of course Trainz/TANE is an open platform and there are no rules as such. I for one don't wish to proscribe what is acceptable and what isn't. I would be interested in others views on this. I remember reading a blog by Ray Whiley on this theme of rules and he suggested that a 'Model Trainz layout shouldn't have moving traffic - and I could see the logic to his argument. My own feeling, for what it's worth, is that I shouldn't exceed 4 boards, but generally restrict myself to 2. I can imagine how my first layout (Callingworth) could be extended to 3 boards and givea longer run to what is essentially an 'out and back' system. But I just feel I would be going against the spirit of creating a simulated model system.

On an unrelated issue, I realised last night as I looked at the routes provided, there is quite a wealth of additional worthwhile & interesting content. Realised that if I start making my Modelz Rlys in TMR17, it will obviously disenfranchise those who don't have either the stand alone version or the later to be released extra package for TANE (they would have missing content). So if I want to keep any future layouts availble for everyone - I should continue to create them in TANE, and then port them over to TMR17 for my own use. This could potentially see the separation into two communities - One mainstream and one for the Modelz scenario. I think that would be a bit sad really!!


November 18th, 2016, 02:24 PM
A good question. A single board in HO scale represents a room about 28ft square, hardly a size you will find in Britain. I notice from Model Railroader that many Americans have large basements and can go up to twice this size but to go larger one would be modelling a club layout or one of a rich man.

I notice Yorkshire that you say there is content in TMR17 that is unique to it. Can you give us some idea of what that is, since at the moment I cannot see much in it for me as I am not interested in the layouts provided, my interest being more in the more normal UK sized layouts.

November 18th, 2016, 03:37 PM
Hi John

There appear to be some new buildings that I haven't seen before in the 2 UK themed layouts, there are also some new trackside objects that enable you to label tracks in Surveyor mode - such as Route 1 - rather like you can name some signs. I will find that useful. New buffers and low relief buildings. haven't explored it in depth yet - but looks OK. Also life sized objects for the room - though there were some available previously - more have been added. Surprised that the UK authors didn't use procedural junctions, for me they make a visual and operational difference - especially when manually shunting.

Decision for me is to whether to extend my initial Callingworth layout in TMR17 - and thus exclude some from getting a full download as they will have missing assets if I use some of the new ones - or do it it TANE & keep it compatible for all who might be interested! Like you, I am basically interested in the UK scene, although I think the programme could have benefited from a Swiss Mt style Rly - Europe as such only seems represented by the UK!


November 18th, 2016, 04:17 PM
Hello Yorkie :p,

I'm one of the guilty parties having created 'Appen'.

It was a 2 year project and was well underway before TANE and procedural junctions became a reality.

All of the assets I created for the route (buildings, inset track, track labels etc.) should be available from the DLS (username 'Itareus'). N3V have added a few bit's and bobs but not anything critical, they have also built the sessions.

As to the thorny topic of what constitutes a 'model railway', as John has rightly said the norm in the US when building a house is to put a bloody great big basement in and then (if so inclined) to fill it with a bloody great big railway layout ! As we poor UK citizens know we could never aspire to anything on that scale unless it was a club layout or we won the lottery.

Personally anything more than one or two boards is big enough for me as I like including a level of detail not normally seen and I think custom assets really add to this.

But none of us can dictate what does and does not constitute a 'model railway' or a 'real route' - we can, and should, just do what we enjoy and forget the 'rules' since the 'rules' don't exist.

Hope you enjoy this release.

Chris M

November 18th, 2016, 04:52 PM
Hi Chris

Thanks for the clarification and no criticism intended. Years ago I had an attic bedroom measuring 10'x11' dedicated to 00 gauge. Teenage son wanted penthouse attic floor and after short negotiation with my wife - it was sold! Never got on with N gauge and my favourite TT gauge had bitten the dust. my salvation came through Trainz! I actually really like the new idea of TMR and wish it well - and will probably end up spending much more time in it than TANE - but then I have come to enjoy the smaller layout - both operationally and in creating. I will probably limit myself to 3 boards; 4 absolute maximum! but mainly 2!

I think the two UK layouts are very good - so well done for your creation - they inspire me to push my own standards in scenery creation. Callingworth needs an overhaul and face lift - that's my next project.

Oh by the way - I spent the first 8 years of my life in a small town right between Leeds & Bradford - it is called Pudsey and tonight features as Pudesy Bear with Children in Need. We lived overlooking Pudsey Lowtown station - sadly closed through Dr Beeching. So your layout has a ressonance with me!

Kind regards


November 18th, 2016, 05:38 PM
Hello Yorks,

I'm half West Yorkie as well, the village my grandparents and mother lived in (before she was married just post war) Roberttown was on top of too big a hill and too small to warrant a station ! Although I was born and brought up in London I 'moved back' to Roberttown and lived there for some years before moving to the city of York for a new job in the ER railway control office.

If only TT had taken off, it was to me the ideal size compromise, compact enough for most houses but not so small that we can't see to re-rail a loco !

My concept for 'Appen' was, and still is, to have the 'autopilot' generate (realistic) trains from the fiddle yard to the station and then it's the operators job to act as signalman & controller to turn them round to timed departures with the correct stock and a suitable locomotive, largely by the use of commands. I would be interested to know what you think of the idea.



November 18th, 2016, 06:34 PM
Hi Chris

Yes that's a good idea and one that I will use. My method will be to create a series of consists in the hidden sidings, arrange a timetabled departure sequence - and the operator's role is to prepare for dispatch. This is the way I used my Callingworth layout except that instead of hidden sidings I used Pguys portal manager to send consists - either timed or occasionally as I required. The problem I discovered was that the sequences I created in Portal manager cannot be saved in an upload as part of the session. Had a couple of frustrated Trainzers asking me why no trains were emerging from the tunnel! At least with your arrangement you can set up consists that will be available to the session. I'll work your passenger session this weekend and perhaps create a session for myself. Will let you know how I get on.

Bye for now


November 18th, 2016, 07:09 PM
It will be interesting to see your sessions Yorks, looking forward to them.

Bear in mind that the release sessions were created by N3V people who can't be expected to know about 1960s UK train formations and operating practices.

If you check on the DLS you should find some of my suggested consists (User Name 'Itareus' Keywords 'C+' and type 'consists').

Hope you enjoy the Route / Layout, keep in touch.

Chris M

November 19th, 2016, 05:09 AM
Hi Chris

Have PM'd you re: Passenger session.


November 23rd, 2016, 11:34 AM
Hello Yorkshire

Since I've been mentioned above ...

To me (and as always this is a personal view only) a virtual model railway must be within the bounds of possibility. Here in the UK a room about 31 feet square is big (for an average house or bungalow) and is roughly the useable area available in a bungalow I once owned. So my philosophy is, what could I have done in that space if unlimited cash was available? That area is thus my ideal.

Two boards would be like a small hall - church room, perhaps - and that could be the setting for a club layout - 64 feet long (I'm thinking in 1:76 scale.) Bigger still might be a school hall - which could contain more than one layout, an idea I would like to try, especially if some of those who are good at creating human beings in Trainz could be persuaded to make some spectators 76 times normal size!

You mentioned my suggestion that locos on a layout set in the past would not emit smoke. I go further than this. I enjoy creating a layout theoretically constructed in the early 1960s. So no moving vehicles, automatically closing level crossing gates and certainly no little people magically appearing and disappearing on station platforms. A personal ideal, yes, but part of the pleasure is trying to achieve realism within set parameters like this.

My way only! To each his/her own!


November 23rd, 2016, 05:33 PM
...My way only! To each his/her own!...

Absolutely Ray, some people on this forum can only see Trainz as they want it to be and to hell with everybody else.

I've toyed with 'realistic' routes including filling the gap in the S&C route between Skipton and Leeds. Worked on it for months before I realised that it would take an unrealistic amount of time to get the route right (this was in pre LIDAR days) and it took ages to work out the correct gradients and pouring over OS maps to work out cuttings and embankments. (If you know this stretch of railway you will realise that it is mostly cutting/embankment or tunnel).



You should have a PM reply from me (with Tony Hilliam's response), if you could help with the other (invisible track / buffer) issue it would be appreciated.


Thanks and best regards both,

Chris M

November 23rd, 2016, 05:43 PM
Hi there

PM received and I have booked the weekend to look at those issues Chris - sorry can't do it before with diary/family commitments. Thanks for sending on the feedback from headquarters - I'll have to see if I can get that 5th star. I got a lot of food for thought out your musings on modelz railways Ray, at least I have stopped the traffic in my own!! I agree with you on board size and so far have not gone beyond 2 boards. I will make 3 my absolute maximum, started work on a 4 board room but felt it was going against the grain - so have ditched it! I'm not saying others shouldn't - it just doesn't feel right for me!

regards to all


November 23rd, 2016, 06:56 PM
Hi Chris

Test results in PM - had another late night!