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Thread: Tracklaying Curves: It Shouldn't Be This Hard

  1. #1
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    Default Tracklaying Curves: It Shouldn't Be This Hard

    Insert splines, move spline, delete spline. move some more, try again, rip it out, try again. Ughh.

    Read a lot, watched videos, try again. To be fair, lots of the routes I've seen seem to have some of the same problems. or break all the curves with straight sections. The flex always wants to fly somewhere else. All I'm trying to do with this right now is to have beautiful, smooth high speed curves with 2 mile radius. Using rulers, advanced tools...what am I missing?

  2. #2
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    Curves are painful and always have been, but there are ways to tame them.

    1) Think of the curves as having a beginning spline point, a point in the middle, and an end spline point.

    2) Drag your splines in the direction of travel. I have found that when laying track that keeping the track in the direction of travel makes curving the track easier as well as placing track-objects such as signals and speed limit signs.

    3) Line up the spline points of one track with the spline points on another.
    Lay one track however you need it. Lay the second track in the opposite direction and place the spline points in exactly the same position and then line them up. The spacing between the tracks is 4.5 meters and is about where the spline circle touches the edge of the ties on the other track and if looked from above at the intersecting spline points, it appears to be a football shape.

    There are spacer template objects such as track spacers that can help keep the track spaced apart if you need them.

    <kuid2:45324:38100:1> 4.5m Track Spacing Template

    This is a built-in object, according to my install. This is a fixed-track object (like a scenery object). You connect the track to it and this keeps the track spaced apart. You can remove the object later and connect the spline points.

    These work similarly and are from the DLS, I think.

    <kuid2:55396:39001:1> djb_Track_Spacer_4m
    <kuid2:55396:39000:1> djb_Track_Spacer_5m

    And this one too.

    <kuid:106916:10328> PRR Track Guide
    John
    Trainz User Since: 12-2003
    Trainz User ID: 124863
    T:ANE Build: 94829
    TRS2019/Trainz-PLUS: 105100

  3. #3
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    Constructing most of my curves involve, I extend my 2 straightened tracks very long, so that they form a huge "V", and were the 2 straightened tracks intersect each other, I measure back @ 500', on both straight tracks, using the Trainz ruler.

    At those 2 locations, I place track spline points, 500' foot back, from the intersecting straightened tracks convergence.

    Then I connect an un-straightened track, connecting from one 500' distant track spline point, connecting it to the other 500' distant track spline point.

    The curve should be very smooth, and superb looking.

    Then I delete the 2 un-needed straightened track that are intersecting each other in the "V".

    Sometimes a straight track, becomes un-straightened, and you must re-straighten them.

    Some super broad sweeping curves, I measure back on the intersecting straight tracks @ 2500', or even 5280'

    I have an added method of making the 2 curve ends, into 2 gentle sweeping "transition curves", but that is another story, which involves laying additional track spline points (as many as 3, or many more additional track spline points), in the curve.
    Last edited by MP242; May 5th, 2020 at 07:53 PM.
    My apologies to all. I have decided that in these horrible current events, we all need to stick together as a Community

  4. #4
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    There are even some curve guide tools on the DLS - my favourite is "r100 r300" by james73 <kuid:69518:39002> - just put a spline point at each guide point and your curves will look perfect!

  5. #5

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    One way, maybe not the best, but I have used it. I would set an arrow 2 miles from the point of the start of the curve. That is the center. Then set another arrow 2 miles straight out the other way from the center, that is the end of the curve if you are making 180 degrees. Then draw an arrow up from the center at a 90 degree angle for 2 miles. That is the mid point of the curve. If necessary you can do 45 degree arrows as well, but I have found if I hit the beginning, middle and end points the curve usually smooths itself out.
    “We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend.” - R.L.S.

  6. #6
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    Thanks for the tips. I will check out the guides. I remember measuring out angles with HO flex-track for transition curves...don't want that Atlas snap-track look.

    I'm utilizing rulers, but was unable to get a satisfactory look on the largest curve, and kept messing with spline points and only made it worse. The plan is learning how to super-elevate, but the squirrely track is a trick to master first.

    After a few months of operating on other folks' routes, I thought I would learn how to make my own. Some of this is frustrating, but accomplishment holds its own rewards.

  7. #7
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    C_ --

    Templates.

    My favourite -- "90d_100-400m Template", kuid2:37522:9994:2

    It's what I consider as "really useful". I've used this on just about all the routes I've ever uploaded to the Download Station, the latest being "Deepwater":

    https://forums.auran.com/trainz/show...ilroad-Company

    I used "Curve Radius ... ", kuid2:142427:300xx:1, for the more sweeping curves in "Rivercide":

    https://forums.auran.com/trainz/show...de-Railroad-Co

    Phil
    Last edited by philskene; May 6th, 2020 at 05:02 AM.

  8. #8
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    I have learned how to lay perfect curves, perfect turnouts, and perfect yard ladders, all without using ANY "GUIDES", or SPACERS", and I find track laying to be an absolute joy, with great satisfaction, as it is very simplistic! as Trainz track basically curves itself fantastically in almost all cases.
    Last edited by MP242; May 6th, 2020 at 04:39 AM.
    My apologies to all. I have decided that in these horrible current events, we all need to stick together as a Community

  9. #9
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    I will experiment with every one of these suggestions. Thanks again.

  10. #10
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    So the guides were a revelation, and especially useful with multiple tracks. Future and more serious planning will use these as anchors while laying out from critical points.

    I also went back and re-did big sections of what I was trying to do using different techniques and had big fun. The biggest thing was not to fight the program and over-do the spline points. Some of the transition curves work great, others...

    Since this is still early days for my tracklaying skillz, I very much appreciate the guidance.

    Regards,

    Blabsky

  11. #11
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    I use the built-in FT Tracks as guides lay you tracks over the FT, avoid placing your track ends over the FT splines.

    John

  12. #12
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    I used to use FT Tracks, and FT Turnouts, but then I mastered laying complex yard ladders, complex interlockings, sweeping smooth curves with gentle "in" and "out" curve easements, perfect subtle gradients, and I now find that track laying is an absolute breeze, that is my main means of relaxation.
    Last edited by MP242; May 10th, 2020 at 11:06 AM.
    My apologies to all. I have decided that in these horrible current events, we all need to stick together as a Community

  13. #13
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    Still not having the best visual success at getting the kinks out. The other post about attempting to cut turnouts on curves was also informative, as after getting some big curves reasonably smooth I wrecked them by trying to get junctions cut in and had to redo them. They needed some improvement anyways.

    No curved turnouts; that seems like an object that could be made (hey, I've only been here a few months).

    In further work, I've determined that serious looking trackwork takes serious planning. Showing the wire works, using rulers, and measuring as close as possible makes a big difference. A curve to turn over 90 degrees seems to take on extra wiggle.

    I still seem to miss something as far as hammering down the spline points exactly where I want them, if that is even possible. They always want to flare out at the end.

  14. #14
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    C_ --

    It ain't all that difficult -- provided you use the templates, as I suggested in my post above.

    I'd suggest downloading one or two of my routes and then going into Edit. This will show the spline points and where I've used the straighten track tool. And that I always use a straight section of track for switches and where the curve radius changes.

    Post #4 in this thread might also be useful:

    https://forums.auran.com/trainz/show...light=fourword

    Keep at it. It becomes a little easier after a while.

    Phil

  15. #15
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    They always want to flare out at the end.
    Add an extra short track segment after the end of your curve and use the straighten tool on that segment. This removes the "kink" that occurs before the termination spline point.
    Tony Hilliam

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