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Thread: how to improve smal towns in trainz?

  1. #1
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    Question how to improve smal towns in trainz?


    I want some advice on how to improve (NOTE THESE ARE JOINTED RAIL ASSETS)

  2. #2
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    My advice is to do some benchmarking (see and replicate and/or improve what you are seeing) with pictures available and if possible with google Maps in order to achieve the most realistic results possible. A smalltown of for example 1000 inhabitants can be as long as 1 km (around 0.62 miles). Hope this helps a little.
    Last edited by ajrf; January 7th, 2022 at 11:08 AM.
    No longer in Trainz anymore.

  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by ajrf View Post
    My advice is to do some benchmarking (see and replicate and/or improve what you are seeing) with pictures available and if possible with google Maps in order to achieve the most realistic results possible. A smalltown of for example 1000 inhabitants can be as long as 1 km (around 0.62 miles). Hope this helps a little.
    thanks for the advice dude! im trying to make it as realistic as possable

  4. #4
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    Small towns in North America usually do not have such a narrow street in their downtown area. Many towns layed out in the late 1800s in central and western USA and Canada have very wide downtown streets because the promoters had visions of greatness. Try this for a downtown street: 2 or 4 lane street, diagonal parking on either side, then the sidewalks, then the buildings.

  5. #5
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    Quote Originally Posted by schweitzerdude View Post
    Small towns in North America usually do not have such a narrow street in their downtown area. Many towns layed out in the late 1800s in central and western USA and Canada have very wide downtown streets because the promoters had visions of greatness. Try this for a downtown street: 2 or 4 lane street, diagonal parking on either side, then the sidewalks, then the buildings.
    To add to this, many of the downtowns also had and still have brick streets in their downtowns. I saw this while traveling through parts of Oklahoma and Kansas.
    John
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  6. #6
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    Another suggestion: In many towns, the railway came first and settlers and towns later. The railway right of way would usually be much wider than what you have - I don't know the exact number but maybe 100ft/30m would be a good guess. So move the buildings further away from the tracks.

  7. #7
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    And don't forget the industries! Most small towns have some industry or industries that keep them alive, so a grain elevator or two on a siding or sidings, or some kind of factory where people work, that ships in raw materials and ships out finished products, maybe a warehouse or two. And don't forget schools! elementary schools with playgrounds and junior and senior high schools with playing fields of various kinds. And the street stores look good, but most have a drive-in somewhere for a burger and shake, and a grocery store with parking lot. Most towns have a town square or at least a municiple park. Maybe a motel or two, and at least a health clinic. And of course, houses, some on streets in town, others scattered around close by with large lots or small acreage, with outbuildings. Just use your creativity!! Here is a typical midwest small town with rail service: https://www.google.com/maps/place/Br....7509366?hl=en
    Last edited by Forester1; January 7th, 2022 at 07:08 PM.
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power then the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

  8. #8
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    Repeating what was said above about using google! Find 10-20 towns of the size you want to replicate and "walk" them in street view. Of course, you may have to make adjustment for time period.


  9. #9
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    Hi PivBoi --

    How to improve? Lots of fiddling, improvisation, mixing and matching, ... plus some determination.

    This uses several of the JR buildings, with other assets. Best watched full screen and at 1080p:



    Hope this helps,
    Phil

  10. #10
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    I forgot to add a feed and farm supply, maybe with gas and diesel pumps out front if there is no other gas station.
    "When the power of love overcomes the love of power then the world will know peace." Jimi Hendrix

  11. #11
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    From the pictures that I'm seeing, you have buildings too big for the size of the town you have with no transition between suburbs to town center. I think, if you space out your buildings, add alleyways, backyards or parking los that will instantly improve the realism of your town. Also, think about the type of buildings your using. If it's a really small town, you're never gonna get buildings over 2 stories. A bit bigger town would have maybe 3-6 story buildings, and so on. If you have a tiny town with 10-20 story buildings, then it just looks odd. Lastly, every town is built in the same gradual increasing way - more or less. If we take a plane over a decently sized town from the far outskirts straight to the center of town, you would first see maybe farmland and sparsley spaced houses. Then, houses more and more close together. Then, some businesses, and finally the town center - with higher buildings and loads of tightly packed businesses. The smaller the town, the lower the buildings and vice versa.

    And (like everyone else) I can't stress enough how helpful, educational, inspirational and good for reference Google Maps is. (Ok, I just made it sound like it's more than it is, but you get the point)

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by kaw4014 View Post
    From the pictures that I'm seeing, you have buildings too big for the size of the town you have with no transition between suburbs to town center. I think, if you space out your buildings, add alleyways, backyards or parking los that will instantly improve the realism of your town. Also, think about the type of buildings your using. If it's a really small town, you're never gonna get buildings over 2 stories. A bit bigger town would have maybe 3-6 story buildings, and so on. If you have a tiny town with 10-20 story buildings, then it just looks odd. Lastly, every town is built in the same gradual increasing way - more or less. If we take a plane over a decently sized town from the far outskirts straight to the center of town, you would first see maybe farmland and sparsley spaced houses. Then, houses more and more close together. Then, some businesses, and finally the town center - with higher buildings and loads of tightly packed businesses. The smaller the town, the lower the buildings and vice versa.

    And (like everyone else) I can't stress enough how helpful, educational, inspirational and good for reference Google Maps is. (Ok, I just made it sound like it's more than it is, but you get the point)
    Yes! Google Maps, especially street view, topographic maps, and historic maps and photos.

    For my US routes, I've been referring to www.historicaerials.com which combines topographic maps, aerial photos, and atlas type maps.

    There are some small towns, which I've seen while traveling throughout the Midwest and Northeast US that have some of the downtown type buildings he has on his route. They're not 20 stories tall but are 3 or four with a store down below and offices upstairs, usually a doctor, dentist, or an accountant. Sometimes, the buildings are shorter such as the ones you have in Australia, and they'll fit right in at the same time. The thing is there's usually only a small square with a few of these buildings then that's it. The town does peter out as you say into fewer and fewer buildings. In these towns, the center with the bigger stores and buildings is centered around the crossroads on the main drag.

    Here's a town I grew up in:

    https://goo.gl/maps/nRnKPMh5Yd3qBziU8

    The outskirts, starting from the west go from nothing to bigger fancier houses, some Victorian mansions, a few colonials from the 1700s, and eventually more that have smaller and smaller yards (gardens) then there's the center of town. The same as we continue east up the hill outside of the center and north off the center. The downtown has a grange hall, townhall, other stores, a firehouse located in what was once the trolley barn of the Haverhill and Amesbury tram line, then there's nothing but a few restaurants and gas stations. Today, the town is quite a bit more built up than it was when I lived there 50 years ago, but it's enough to get the gist. I recommend doing a street view on this to see the full effect.

    The other thing that's needed for a town is a purpose. If there's the railroad, then there needs to be some kind of industry. Merrimac, the town I lived in, had some textile mills like many New England towns in the region. This wasn't a big operation like Lawrence or Lowell, but a small complex located on Cobbler's Brook. There was once a stub-ended railroad branch that came in from Newton, New Hampshire. There as a small yard, not much, maybe a track or two to hold the freight cars for the mills. The station was a small wooden station, now long gone. Other towns had a feed mill, or some other small industry and a station located on a siding for the passengers and freight. There were many such operations in my area, sadly today long gone as companies switched to faster and more reliable trucks.
    John
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    Hi John,
    Thanks for posting the info on Merrimac, MA
    This prompted me to look at the house where I lived on Church St almost 20 years ago. It was the RR nostalgia from waking that trail behind the cemetery following the old spur that started me on the original TRAINZ at that time.
    T:ANE Standard SP2 to SP3
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  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by philskene View Post
    Hi PivBoi --

    How to improve? Lots of fiddling, improvisation, mixing and matching, ... plus some determination.

    This uses several of the JR buildings, with other assets. Best watched full screen and at 1080p:

    Hope this helps,
    Phil
    Great job on your route and video, Phil !
    T:ANE Standard SP2 to SP3
    TRS 2012 build 61388

  15. #15
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    Quote Originally Posted by JimDep View Post
    Hi John,
    Thanks for posting the info on Merrimac, MA
    This prompted me to look at the house where I lived on Church St almost 20 years ago. It was the RR nostalgia from waking that trail behind the cemetery following the old spur that started me on the original TRAINZ at that time.
    Just think if you never lived near the branch, you never would have found Trainz either.

    I used to go down Church Street to the Red Oak grammar school. We were the first class in there in 1967-68. Unfortunately, Merrimac isn't such a quaint town any longer. The town has succumbed to NIMBYs condos, and super-sized mc mansions. We used to go sledding up on Popular Hill, we called it "green hill" at the time. The farmer that owned it used to harvest the hay on one side and graze cows on the other. The short grass side was always green which faced our street, thus the name "green hill". It was about a mile walk to there but as a kid it seemed a lot longer, but what a nice ride on the sled after trekking up to the top. Today, a housing development of $600K-plus houses occupies the top of the hill and that sadly detracts from the view. The developer never bothered to plant any trees around them either and they're stuck on the top of the hill like they were planted there. I discovered this not long ago when I was heading to the Lahey Clinic over in Amesbury for a B-12 shot when I took the backroads from Haverhill instead of I-495. My heart sank when I saw that!

    The railroad tracks were still active when I was a kid, but not very. The mills at the end of the line took a boxcar or two every month or so. I remember seeing a freight or two in the 7 years I lived in Merrimac. The engine was probably a GP-7 or GP-9 pulling its short consist with a couple of boxcars and of course a caboose on the end. This was the same with the Amesbury branch which at the time also had passenger service that I never knew about. That lasted until the bridge got stuck open in 1969.
    John
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