View Full Version : A few newbie questions regarding signalling and speed limits.

April 12th, 2010, 03:44 PM
I'm working on my first route, and I'm having some trouble with signals. (trains running under caution for unnecessarily long stretches, trains locking up in place, etc, etc.)

I've gone through the various tutorials at http://trains.0catch.com/tutorial.html but there are a few topics that they do not cover.

Question 1) Are signal boxes required, or can I get away without them? If so, how are they used?

Question 2) How should I signal a one-way double track crossover? (See picture)

Pictured is a crossover, mirrored on the other side of a trackside coaling tower, designed to allow trains on both tracks to enter and exit the industry.

Since the traffic on the siding only flows one way, I've used 04 signals on the converging points of track, while omitting 02 or 02L signals on the diverging ones. Will this work properly?

Question 3) How should I signal the run-ups to these crossovers? Under certain circumstances, trains run for long distances under caution. Would a block-style signal system along the entire line fix this? if so, how should I go about implementing it?

Question 4) I'm using the USRA steam locomotives from Subpar Productions, which seem to have a much longer braking distance than other trains. I've resorted to adding severe speed reductions (15mph) to all possible signal positions. Otherwise, the trains inevitably brake too late, and roll through the signal as they try to stop. Is there a better way to achieve this, without reducing mainline speed unnecessarily at every junction?

Question 5) Using invisible speed signals to reduce speed as described above, trains sometimes react to the upcoming speed limits FAR too early (picture 1-2 miles out) Placing intermediary speed limits in-between doesn't seem to have any effect. Has anyone else run into this problem, and how did you fix it?
EDIT: Further testing has shown that running the train up to speed manually and then activating the driver command will cause him to drive normally. However, the driver only accelerates to a very low speed if the order is given from a stop. Signals indicate green, but is he running under caution for no reason?

April 12th, 2010, 04:22 PM
You don't say which version of Trainz you are using, but TS2009 and up have much better reaction between AI drivers and signals.

To increase the overall track speed, use intermediate signals.

I for example have the following type of setup:

Start with Signal type 02 for the split to double track. The 02 signal faces the single track side since I use direction markers for most of my double track, I don't use the double signal setup you see in the tutorials. The route that faces the split, and goes to single uses a stop or type 04.

The intermediate signal is a Type 05.

So here's the basic schematic:

02, 04, 05...05...05....02.

02 facing < \-----------05--------05--------05----04---/ 02 facing >

I have found there are two ways to do cross-overs. One way is similar to what you are doing. Only I use one signal in both directions. I think you may have too many which are confusing the AI.

The other way, which works good is to place a type 02 after the cross-overs on both sides.


I have found that with TRS2004-TRS2006 that the simpler the signalling, the better. What would be prototypical doesn't always work because the AI get confused. TS2009 and up have better signal-AI scripting and is more realistic.

The speed-control is better in the later versions as well, but with TRS2004 and TRS2006, I used to scale down my speed as I approached junctions so the AI wouldn't blast through the junctions, and try to stop at the last moment. With the current version, the AI are even more polite and will actually anticipate slow downs before the next signal. They seem to read ahead more than one signal at a time, or so it seems this way.

If you're wondering how far apart to place your signals, use the longest consist as a sliding ruler. I place my starting signals down, then place the intermediate signal at the front of the consist. After that I then slide the consist along then use the next head as placement for the next one. When I get to major junctions, I fudge the spacing a little so it makes sense. This may not be the correct way, but it works with the AI the way they are.

I noticed that you are using the built-in signals. There are some better looking ones out there by NorfolkSouthern. His Search Light signals are by far very realistic in both looks and operations.

I hope I was helpful. Signalling and speed sign-placement can be a bit tricky in Trainz.


April 12th, 2010, 04:29 PM
Thank you very much. I take it that signal blocks are built into the signaling system, and thus, I don't need to add any signal stations to control them? The semaphore tutorial at UK trainz seemed to refer to them extensively.

Also, is there any reason to use 05 "permissible" signals for block signaling, since AI trains will simply stop at them anyhow, making them functionally identical to an 04?

April 12th, 2010, 05:15 PM
Update: To see if the speed signs or the signals were the cause of my slow-running trains, I removed all speed limits from the route. The driver's speed increased from 17 mph to 24 mph, but he still stops accelerating well below the speed limit. He has clear signals ahead of him, so I don't know what's causing this behavior.

Another update: On a hunch, I moved the locomotive back along the track a bit. Starting the scenario, the driver accelerated to 40 mph, and cruised at speed, even through the "problem" area. Moving the locomotive back again, the problem resumed.

Further testing and experimentation with the initial placement of the locomotive reveals that the engine will accelerate normally until passing a certain signal, at which point the driver cuts the power and maintains whatever speed he's moving at. He doesn't reduce his speed to half of the limit, as he would with a caution signal, simply maintaining his current speed. As the signals ahead all indicate clear, for several blocks, this problem has me completely and utterly stumped. The grade does not seem to be the issue, as it does not change, and manual control allows the train to easily climb through 70mph. It would seem that for whatever reason, the driver is simply refusing to step on the gas.

April 12th, 2010, 06:19 PM
MustanGrande, I know you mentioned the trains.0catch.com web site, but will make special note of the http://trains.0catch.com/Sometimes 35 is faster than 60.pdf (http://trains.0catch.com/Sometimes%2035%20is%20faster%20than%2060.pdf) document, from what you've written, is soundling very similar so might be worth having a (re)read.

April 12th, 2010, 06:43 PM

You've disovered default track speed, which is 40 mph and the signaled section. Once the engineer "sees" a yellow, he will slow down to half the speed of the track. Try spacing out some more signals along your line so that they will continue to show green. The other thing too is to ensure that the driver has green all the way including through junctions. So you might have to jump ahead and set the switch lever for him. Junctions will make the track ahead into a red block, so any block before that will be a yellow, which will cause the driver to go slower than the speed limit.

The UK signals are something I'm not too familiar with. I do know that the semaphores require special handling, and thus the signal boxes that go with them. What the British call a signal box, is a signal tower to us in the US.

Hope this helps.


April 12th, 2010, 07:24 PM
Thank you both for your replies, and thank you John, for the clarification on the semaphore signals. The engineer has 3 or 4 green blocks ahead of him, and I've set all of his switches to give him a clear path to his destination, so he shouldn't be operating under caution. Something seems to be placing him into a caution state, however.

To test this, I reduced the speed limit on the track to 35 mph, in order to see if the driver would run at full speed. (Since cautions don't reduce speed if the speed limit is that low) The results of this experiment are as follows:

Prior to movement, the driver has 6 green 04 signals ahead of him, followed by a yellow 04, followed by a red04, which is simply inactive and turns green when the driver begins his approach. Beyond this red is a red, inactive 02 signal, indicating a right-hand divergence into an industry.

The driver accelerates to 24 mph rather than the 35mph speed limit, despite having a green. As he proceeds at this low speed, passing the first few signals in his path, the inactive signals far down the track come online, turning first yellow, then green. Once the second signal has turned green, the driver finally steps on the gas and increases his speed to 35mph. Why is this driver paying attention to signals that are a full 8 blocks ahead of his current position?

April 12th, 2010, 08:03 PM
I took some minimap screenshots, in hopes that they'll shed some light on the situation.

This first image shows the locomotive's starting position on the westbound track, as well as the conditions of the switches ahead of him. Note that the first caution on the line is quite a long distance away at point B, with numerous green signals in-between.

In this image, the locomotive has passed the first two signals, and signal C has come online, clearing the caution at B.

As the locomotive continues down the line, the caution at C clears, and D comes online.

In this final image, the locomotive has advanced even further. The caution at D has cleared. The locomotive driver finally sees fit to accelerate.

It would seem that the last signal on a section of track before its next switch or junction is setting a caution along the entire length of track, overriding the green signals in between. Is this how the system is supposed to operate?

It's also worth noting that starting the locomotive several blocks back from its current position results in it holding its speed throughout the entire section shown. The locomotive doesn't decelerate as in a caution. It simply holds whatever speed it was at when it passed signal A in the above images

April 13th, 2010, 12:19 AM
The caution and the final red get cleared because the driver has set his own path according to his driver commands. If you were to go ahead and set the path ahead of him long before he gets there, your driver will travel at the full speed you have assigned him with the speed signs.

The reason I say this is because I've had this happen all the time. I have a 60mph stretch of track where in one direction the dirvers will move at 60mph, but going the opposite way, they will go along at 60mph then drop back to 30mph. When they reach the junction, they pick up speed again after they've set their route. So to get around this, I play dispatcher and go ahead of the them and set the switch lever for he driver so he'll travel at the correct speed.

I do this through the in-game map. It's too bad that there wasn't a dispatcher plug-in or mode so that we can control the drivers instead of them needing to stop and switch their own levers like trolley or tram drivers do.


April 13th, 2010, 06:09 AM
Ah, thank you. So it's pretty much just something I need to deal with, then. lol