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SantaFebuff

A Small Slice of False Realism.

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If you want a fictional railroad, but don't want it looking fictional. There are many solutions. Now, although that may sound a bit off, let me explain. Fictional railroads are usually based off prototypes. Or maybe they are a fantasy railroads, but either way, you want them to look like they would be real railroads. So, to do small railroads just remember these things:
  • Money is something railroads don't like to spend.
  • Power comes at a price, so don't say your railroad started off with brand new SD70ACes (for example) when it's a shortline. In real life, a shortline would likely get second-hand moderate horsepowered units. (i.e. Geeps, Leasers, etc.) Still want SD70ACes? Just say they acquired a government grant or wealthy subsidiary.
  • Call them all. Signals are expensive, so make sure if you have really new signals, you can back it up with a reasonable explanation. Want Searchlights? Go ahead, those are old signals and would be up kept by small railroads through contracted signal maintenance companies. (I know because my friend works for one as a maintainer) However, you could also use the government grant or subsidiary excuse. (i.e. TP&W shortline in Illinois has brand new crossing signals in some areas, but old wayside signals)
  • Old is awesome. On of the reasons I love shortlines: They don't replace things. Now, call me stupid, but that's a great aspect. You can see old signals on (for example) the Kankakee, Beaverville, and Southern from the New York Central era just because it's really expensive to get new systems in the area. Since KB&S runs seasonally, there's no need since the old US&S system works alright. (government grants can be used... once again)
  • Little traffic? Good? Bad? For me, it's great. My computer, being lower end cannot hand your 100 or 200 car freight trains some people can just shove through a high detailed route. So, the fact that a lot of shortlines run local trains and small freights make it very appealing to those who have lower end computers. Also, it gives you this old-town feel. Kind of like walking back to a simpler time. You don't need to worry about HEP, DPU, grades, computer systems, or getting there ahead of Amtrak. Just you, a train, a cut of cars, a location to drop off, and a track. Take the throttle, and go.
  • Big time names don't have to be sacrificed. How much of the money does KB&S make come from actual delivers? A lot, actually, but a good chunk comes from keeping everything circulated. Circulated? Why yes. KB&S makes connections to CN in my local city, Kankakee. (shocker) Connections to UP, NS, and TPW are made in several other areas. These add for amazingly neat locations on your route. You can everything from "Y" junctions to diamonds. A whole wonder of possibilities opens up when you make one connection. Connect to CN and suddenly your fictional route can see CN trains with IC, GTW, EJ&E, and BC rail locomotives running just by how things where assigned.
  • Be reasonable. Don't run a bunch of BC rail locomotives and be super happy. Run a plain CN train from time to time. More than likely, CN wouldn't send a lot of old equipment that way. If any. So, make your pictures display that whenever. Of course, it's your line. So do whatever, it's just what I've seen. It's reasonable, and what I do. Of course, I'm the kind of person who isn't sick of the UP paint being the same 3 colors for the last century.

That's a good start. Agreed? Now, get out there, and get working on that route already! Why are you still reading? Aren't you inspired to make routes? Fine! I'll show you what I'm basing the IM&E off of, maybe that will get you inspired:



Thanks for reading everyone, leave comments to make your additions, and input your opinion!

If you want, I can work on my IM&E stuff and get pictures.

Cheers,
Joshua
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  1. Wessex_Electric_Nutter's Avatar
    Thats great, sounds about right, but what about if you are into passenger services? Trains are not often loads of cars in surburban situations, but more like shorter trains and far more of them. One thing I like to simulate is a branchline service from a major to minor destination, which the traffic gets dense (therefore challenging) along with lots of station stops until you get away from it all and go down to one track.

    Although, it all depends on several variables. In the UK, lots of train operating companies (old and new) have to deal with lots and lots of passenger traffic to which the timetable is quite manic to say the least, particular example is Basingstoke to Southampton, with regular freight trains and regular passenger trains, from several companies (3 freight, 3 passengers).

    As for replacing stuff, you are right unless the railway is government owned, in which case, you have to deal with a lot of disruption, like placing an extra line (because it increases capacity), rerouting line (likewise), flyovers (likewise), etc. Its Trainz, you can play it how you like
  2. SantaFebuff's Avatar
    Quote Originally Posted by Wessex_Electric_Nutter
    Thats great, sounds about right, but what about if you are into passenger services? Trains are not often loads of cars in surburban situations, but more like shorter trains and far more of them. One thing I like to simulate is a branchline service from a major to minor destination, which the traffic gets dense (therefore challenging) along with lots of station stops until you get away from it all and go down to one track.

    Although, it all depends on several variables. In the UK, lots of train operating companies (old and new) have to deal with lots and lots of passenger traffic to which the timetable is quite manic to say the least, particular example is Basingstoke to Southampton, with regular freight trains and regular passenger trains, from several companies (3 freight, 3 passengers).

    As for replacing stuff, you are right unless the railway is government owned, in which case, you have to deal with a lot of disruption, like placing an extra line (because it increases capacity), rerouting line (likewise), flyovers (likewise), etc. Its Trainz, you can play it how you like
    Great points! I will do more of these explanation. I will get to passenger service when I do. Thank you for your comment, I usually feature US-based advice and point of views, but it's always a refresher to see another perspective. Don't get me wrong, I know plenty about UK railroads. The only problem with that in American railroading is that you'd have to do that pre-1970, being that Amtrak (government ran) took over all passenger service. By the early 2000s, they dropped a lot of the branchline trains.

    Most lines today that exist are main connections or connections that still bring up enough money and usage to be worth keeping.
  3. HLJames's Avatar
    Another thing that should be considered is that shortlines aren't likely to buy massive amounts of power, they might only acquire a handful. As an example: the SD40-2's would make sense for a shortline to perhaps pickup about 8, while acquiring over 50 of them isn't likely at all. Another example of this can be if there's only 55 engines in existence, the shortline won't pickup nearly all of them and instead might only get a handful, like 3 of them. Just something else to think about, since I've noticed this with some fictional shortlines at JontedRail