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Thread: NSW Great Northern Railway

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Australia, NSW, Sydney
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    Default NSW Great Northern Railway

    After a recent trip up the New England Highway and visiting some of the historic railway stations which are now museums or information centres Ive decided to build a section of the (once) NSW Great North Railway now the Main North Line. The line is still open to Armidale but north of the city has been gradually closed since about 1988 and has fallen into disrepair.
    My build will start at Armidale and run the ~220Km distance to Wallangarra. This section of the line has some of the highest stations in the country as the line passes through the high sections of the Great Dividing Range. Many stations are well above 1000m elevation.

    Thanks to TransDEM and Google Earth Ive built the route with track, fences and roads roughed in and will take the next few months working with the Curve and Gradient data and UTM tiles to get the route looking reasonable and realistic. Ive done the first few Kms to Dumaresq and now comes about 10Km of steep line at about 1:50 grade as the line climbs up the ranges.


    Should be interesting and I hope to have something on the DLS by Christmas (2020 !).
    PG
    Win10-64bit, Intel I7, 32GB RAM, TANE on SSD, GTX1050Ti.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Australia, NSW, Katoomba
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    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PGibbons View Post
    After a recent trip up the New England Highway and visiting some of the historic railway stations which are now museums or information centres Ive decided to build a section of the (once) NSW Great North Railway now the Main North Line. The line is still open to Armidale but north of the city has been gradually closed since about 1988 and has fallen into disrepair.
    My build will start at Armidale and run the ~220Km distance to Wallangarra. This section of the line has some of the highest stations in the country as the line passes through the high sections of the Great Dividing Range. Many stations are well above 1000m elevation.

    Thanks to TransDEM and Google Earth Ive built the route with track, fences and roads roughed in and will take the next few months working with the Curve and Gradient data and UTM tiles to get the route looking reasonable and realistic. Ive done the first few Kms to Dumaresq and now comes about 10Km of steep line at about 1:50 grade as the line climbs up the ranges.


    Should be interesting and I hope to have something on the DLS by Christmas (2020 !).
    PG

    Sounds like a great project. It is very satisfying to preserve in Trainz the memory of the now lost railways of rural NSW.

    If you could have something on the DLS by (this) Christmas you would be the total champion of route building !!!
    Phil
    "WeddinNSW: South lines to the Lachlan" now available on the DLS. Uses only included and DLS content.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Australia, NSW, Sydney
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    Phil, sadly there are too many Km's of closed railways in NSW.

    Slowly plugging away at getting the track alignment and grades as near as possible to the C&G Diagrams. There are some serious grades to set down (1:40) so this is a challenge. Thanks to Dennis (DeRiCo) Ive got detailed plans for the main town yards and station areas so happy with that sofar. Just finished to Glen Innes, around 100Km, hoping to get 10-20Km a day if my arthtritic RSI hands can keep hold of the PC's mouse !.
    TransDEM UTM tiles built from good resolution Google Earth images are a great help in all aspects of laying scenery and track, to the point of showing where each tree, fence building, etc is located. Also using StreetView to get an idea of what the scene looks like in more detail.
    After track is laid I'll start on scenery and ground textures.
    Still aiming for a DLS release by Christmas (2020).
    PG
    Win10-64bit, Intel I7, 32GB RAM, TANE on SSD, GTX1050Ti.

  4. #4
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    Good luck with your 'Great Northern' route PG. Make sure you massage plenty of Voltaren into those arthritic hands, and you'll achieve it.


    I look forward to seeing your layout when it is completed.

    Cheers mate,

    Roy
    Roy

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Update on progress.
    After getting a fair amount of track laid down I decided to re-visit the latest NSW DEM data availability. Most of NSW is now available as 5 meter resolution with some areas at 1 meter. A few experiments made me realise that the 5m DEM produced way more realistic ground files (via TransDEM) than the NASA based STRM files Ive used previously. So I built up the DEM for the whole rail corridore from Armidale to Wallangarra then re-started the project which is now up to Glen Innes.

    This also took TransDEM to its limit I suspect as the DEM files are quite large. I had to break up the DEM into 2 sections – Armidale to Deepwater and Deepwater to Wallengarra. I built the two routes then merged them in Surveyor - all good.

    The ground files are certainly more realistic especially through the highest parts of the route with lots of detail showing, cuttings and embankments are readily seen as well as creeks dams etc. This is particularly good in the steep gradient sections (1:40) where the line winds down the escarpments and valleys and laying in the track results in gradients and curves very close to the documented data. The route includes the highest section of track near Ben Lomond at 1377m elevation with Ben Lomond at 1367m.

    The only drawback seen sofar is that the route is about 3 times larger than the earlier version built from STRM DEM’s, so takes longer to open and save. I can live with that ! The 5m DEM and 5m Surveyor grid are responsible for larger ground files and thus longer load times.
    Maybe this route will now be ready mid 2021 as Christmas is rapidly approaching.

    I’ll post some screenshots once I get into some serious scenery worth showing off.
    PG
    Win10-64bit, Intel I7, 32GB RAM, TANE on SSD, GTX1050Ti.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Australia, NSW, Gosford
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    Having completed the Blue Mountains route from Penrith/Gosford to Sydney using mainly Google earth I understand time frames from start to anticipated finish. It actually took me over a year to complete. Roy knows that all too well as he was my guru at the start. Getting the layout right was a tad tricky and did use some artistic licence in the creation. What I found, and still do, is detailing to represent some kind of authenticity. It gets monotonous and is quite time consuming. Then came the signalling, that too had me in twists and turns but eventually got it somewhat right.

    Currently I am re-working the route for TRS19 which gives me more advance detailing work. All a labour of love.

    I wish you well with your project but do not be disappointed if it all takes longer than you anticipate.
    Cheers,
    Val.
    Creator of Blue Mountains Line > Southern Region - Brighton Line > LB&SCR [London Brighton South Coast Railway routes.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2011
    Location
    Perth, Western Australia
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    247
     

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by PGibbons View Post
    Maybe this route will now be ready mid 2021 as Christmas is rapidly approaching.
    Wow, I just saw this thread, what a terrific little project to undertake ! I spent the early years of my life in Glen Innes and still remember the original livery XPTs rolling through town. Only later in life I discovered that this route originally went all the way to Queensland. I'll be downloading this one when it is done.

    There aren't many places in Australia where it snows regularly. I have a picture of tiny little me building a snowman in Glen Innes. I won't get another such picture in Perth!

    Good man, I hope the build goes well.
    Current Work-In-Progress: Updating DSEPR01 The REAL Black Forest to TANE SP4 standards, including superelevation hopefully.

  8. #8
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    Apr 2011
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    Perth, Western Australia
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    Quote Originally Posted by PGibbons View Post

    Thanks to TransDEM and Google Earth Ive built the route with track, fences and roads roughed in and will take the next few months working with the Curve and Gradient data and UTM tiles to get the route looking reasonable and realistic. Ive done the first few Kms to Dumaresq and now comes about 10Km of steep line at about 1:50 grade as the line climbs up the ranges.

    Speaking of Google Earth, I just Streetviewed Wallangarra, and the two different gauges serving the old station (Queensland uses narrow gauge of course - state rivalries know no bounds apparantly) are still in place and can clearly be seen. Interesting, but not great for rail transport speed or efficiency having to transload passengers and freight at the state border.

    Thanks PG, I'm really looking forward to this one. Good choice! Please keep us updated on your progress. Thread subscribed.
    Last edited by anathoth71; October 30th, 2020 at 07:20 AM.
    Current Work-In-Progress: Updating DSEPR01 The REAL Black Forest to TANE SP4 standards, including superelevation hopefully.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2013
    Location
    Australia, NSW, Armidale
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    8
     

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    I have just come across this thread. In a pipe dream sometime I had thought of building this route, but having no experience route building it was just a dream.

    However I am so excited about someone actually building this!!!!! I live in Armidale, and any help I can offer I would gladly give. Although having no route building experience I can travel the actual route and take "on the ground" photos of the existing remains. Lots is still there. Wallangarra is 2.5 hours and there is a great counter lunch available in Tenterfield - so a good day trip

    Let me know if I can be of any assistance.

    Cheers
    Steve


    P.S. My Mac has 80GB of RAM if this helps with doing some raw grunt stuff like merging.
    Last edited by Sjcampbell; March 29th, 2021 at 05:18 PM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2006
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    Australia, NSW, Sydney
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    Default

    Thanks for the comments .
    I'm nearing the end of the build and at the moment just trying to get the scenery looking realistic (mainly forest) and cleaning up the various towns & villages. I've decided to use some of the older 'billboard' trees as background in TANE which seems to work well especially as distant scenery, However I will also do a TRS2019 version and update all the trees. Frame rates in both versions are good. Ive also just used some poetic licence in building the various town scenery areas and just keeping the higher detail to areas close to the rail and which can be mainly seen in 'cab view' in Driver. As I said I travelled through the area in 2020 and took plenty of photos of railway infrastructure. I will also experiment with trimming some baseboards to reduce the load time which is about 30-40 secs currently. I will signal the route with modern signals as if it were still in operation today (which it should be ). I'll also make sure this route can be merged with the Warwick to Wallengarrah route if desired.
    Hope to get something available in a month or so.
    PG
    Win10-64bit, Intel I7, 32GB RAM, TANE on SSD, GTX1050Ti.

  11. #11
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    Nov 2006
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    Built in TANE SP4 (105776).A TS2019 version will also be uploaded and both should be available on the DLS 'soon'.
    Opened in the 1880’s the railway was the original route from Sydney to Brisbane via the New England region in northern NSW. Opening through to Wallangarra Qld in 1888 where the standard gauge NSW section met with the narrow gauge Qld from Brisbane at the unique Wallangarra station. Qld narrow gauge on the western platform and NSW standard gauge on the eastern platform. The rest of Wallangarra is from a 1920 dated track diagram.

    This route covers the 220Km (approx) section from Armidale to Wallangarra which was finally closed in 1988 which is a crying shame. Track plans for most of the towns were supplied by DeRiCo (Dennis) and are generally dated around the period from 1915 to 1940 when the line would have been at its most active. Information was also gathered from Rolfe Boziers NSWrail.net site and from my trip to the area in 2020. Although the route is based on historical data I've set it as it might exist in more modern times if it were still in operation - modern signals etc. This also allows for good AI operation which works well in testing I've done so far.
    The ground file for the route was built from 5M resolution DEM data, freely available on the ICSM ELVIS (elevation.fsdf.org.au) web site using TransDEM. I also used TransDEM to lay out the track and scenery using UTM map tiles created from Google Earth images. General track orientation and grades are from the NSW Curve & Gradient diagrams. There are some long sections of very steep grades (1:40) as the line passes through some of the highest areas of the Great Dividing Range. Ben Lomond at 1363 meters and just to the south the line reaches 1377 meters, the highest in NSW. This made the building process longer and more exacting so I'm determined to make my next route building project somewhere very flat - I'm thinking far western NSW (watch this space)

    I've used some of the older ‘billboard’ style trees to cover the heavily forested areas and distant scenery and the usual poetic licence for other scenery. I havnt done a detailed layout for towns but it's good enough to get the general idea from the Drivers view. Feel free to swap the trees out if you feel your system can handle the load, especially if using TS2019 where the billboard trees look very daggy. The TS2019 version has some billboard trees replaced already. All content is (or should be) either Built-In or on the DLS. Ive also created a couple of billboards to add local colour.


    The route is large at about 450Mb and it takes about 40 seconds to load in both TANE and TRS2019, however it runs well in Driver with good frame rates apart from the occasional stutter. Load time is most likely due to the 5M Surveyor Grid and 5M DEM which results in more than double the size of the files.
    Enjoy and thanks again to all content creators.



    PG
    Win10-64bit, Intel I7, 32GB RAM, TANE on SSD, GTX1050Ti.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jul 2013
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    Meridian, Idaho, USA
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    Wow! You made great time on this route, way to go! Will be exciting to see this historical route.
    “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.

  13. #13
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    Apr 2011
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    Perth, Western Australia
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    Yep, I second that - that was pretty good time for a route of decent length, well done. Getting gradients right can take up a lot of time, even on a "flat" route let alone in the hills. I was spawned in Glen Innes and had family with a small farm at Ben Lomond, I can now relive some of my childhood over again, albeit in the 70s era.

    Thanks for your efforts PG.
    Current Work-In-Progress: Updating DSEPR01 The REAL Black Forest to TANE SP4 standards, including superelevation hopefully.

  14. #14
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    Nov 2006
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    Australia
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    downloaded and installed in 2019.. now to make Armidale look little more like i remember it in the mid 70's, before they knocked the engine shed down...

  15. #15
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    Hi Peter,

    I just installed this into TANE SP4 and I have two missing assets. One is by Steve123 kuid2:208722:22459:1 and another by a bloke named pgibbons kuid:68830:40004 which appears to be a billboard. I looked on the DLS and steve123 only has one item uploaded and it is a different KUID. Maybe you can contact the pgibbons fellow and ask him to upload the billboard, please.

    William

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