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MSTS: The Hobby


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#21 jbshay

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Posted 13 December 2006 - 07:45 PM

Hello all,

Count me in as another frustrated model railroader that became satisfied train simmer courtesy of MSTS. I've got enough kits, track, engines and rolling stock to build a logging layout, but not the space nor the time to build my empire. I've belonged to clubs that never quite got to the operation (switch list/timetable) stage and became a venue to run a favorite train around the room until someone else wanted to run something. A lot of potential but short on execution.

As was pointed out earlier, it was the message that counted, not the medium. I love to run trains. Period. Fire up the 'puter after work and unwind by running trains and watching them snake across the countryside. I try to help all developers by buying their product and have a good selection of routes to choose from. And have less money tied up in software than the cost of a good brass engine.

The A&O tops my short list of what I run most often. Design and execution are outstanding: a roller coaster of a line that makes you stay on top of what you are doing. I once had a cut of cars start rolling while doubling a train into Urbanette. A couple of handbrakes were set, but the cars started rolling when I didn't handle the slack quite right while uncoupling. I finished setting out the front half, then took off for the back half that I had watched slowly rolling away. When I finally found them, they had rolled clear through Freeman and finally stopped at the first grade crossing north! blush.gif

As for activities, I'll second the call to check out Activity Generator and they already have a template for the A&O. It's easy to set up, fills the world with railcars, and prints out a switch list. I'm currently working one that has taken me two hours to get to Junction, heading for Urbanette!

I'm here for the long haul (short lines, too) as long as guys like Andre are willing to spend their time building stuff that would take me forever figure out and build.

Thanks for your time,

Jim


#22 mdeming

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 06:01 AM

A few words on MSTS. I got it when it first came out and I still enjoy it today. I am like Mr Campbell, in that I am a historian ( or try to be ) in a specific place and time period. MSTS does that in an easy way whereas to do that in any other scale would be cost and space prohibitive. MSTS Bin has been a great addition to the program, making it a lot more realistic to operate in my opinion. For me its a way to preserve a bit of my childhood, when I would sit and watch long freights rumble past my house, and also to preserve a bit of a mostly forgotton and abandon route.
Mike

#23 shawnbecher

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 08:16 AM

I'll chime in here too biggrin.gif

When I first started out in MSTS, I was grabbing as many things as I could, routes, rolling stock, activities, and whatnot. My MSTS install was up to around 60GB, and my folder of downloads was close to 30 GB. The thing I got fed up with was errors. I spent about 3 times as much time running ConBuilder fixing errors and tweaking sounds and cabs and whatnot as I did actually running. What a pain!

Then I decided to whack everything (except my downloads folder) and start over fresh, slowing putting things back on as I decided to use them, of course having to go through the exercise of fixing all the errors again - didn't like that either.

I'm now on my 3rd clean install of MSTS. All I have installed besides all the default stuff is my 3 MLT routes, the LTV/Erie Mining route (which needs some serious rehab), MLT's BN Heritage pack, and my own WCRR route and equipment (available over at www.train-sim.com - what a shameless plug laugh.gif ). I'd also like to pick up SLI's Scenic Sub (as it traverses some of the same territory as my own WCRR), and the A&O, but funding is short for me at the moment, and I'm actually in progress on two prototypical routes. I'm having much more fun running the trains and building routes than I was fixing all those darned errors. When I release equipment and/or routes, I try to make sure that they are as error free as possible (but then again, everyone makes mistakes), and I do that just so the people who are installing and running my routes and equipment don't have to spend hours fixing the things I should have caught.

I think the one thing that would have helped the MSTS hobby is if everyone would have agreed on some sort of standarization when it comes to file naming and organizing, because sometimes you just can't ID a piece of equipment by it's filename - they're almost cryptic and easily confused with another piece of equipment. The only way to do that now would be to start completely over. The other thing that I find to be a major pain is when searching for new activities, it's hard to tell what route a lot of the activities are for. The activity designers need to be more specific, not just to the route, but to the version of the route that the activity is for.

Sorry for the book blush.gif I just got on a roll laugh.gif

#24 atsf37l

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 04:38 PM

QUOTE(jbshay @ Dec 13 2006, 6:26 PM) View Post

Hello all,

The A&O tops my short list of what I run most often. Design and execution are outstanding: a roller coaster of a line that makes you stay on top of what you are doing. I once had a cut of cars start rolling while doubling a train into Urbanette. A couple of handbrakes were set, but the cars started rolling when I didn't handle the slack quite right while uncoupling. I finished setting out the front half, then took off for the back half that I had watched slowly rolling away. When I finally found them, they had rolled clear through Freeman and finally stopped at the first grade crossing north! blush.gif

Jim


OK, Jim, grab your rule book and keys and drop 'em on the Super's desk. You're on the street for 30! laugh.gif

#25 laming

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 05:38 PM

Really good input, guys! Thanks a bunch.

Jim: LOL! Gotcha! I'm sure you know this, but for the sake of all, there is a way to emulate "bustin' the air" on a cut to be left on a grade in MSTS:

1. Once stopped, apply a heavy train brake set (or, "draw'em down good 'n tight" to use the hillbilly nomenclature we often use around these parts).

2. Uncouple where desired. (Uncoupling stops the airflow in MSTS.)

3. Release and ease forward with the cut you're going to hold onto.

The cut will stay put... like busting the air on the prototype! Of course, on the prototype, you still have to crank down sufficient brakes if the cut is to be left unattended for a prolonged period. Not so MSTS, as I recall.

Mike Deming: How is your CGW route project coming along? Haven't heard hide nor hair from you in ages. FWIW: While loaned out in Winfield KS last month, I saw a nicely preserved 36' covered hopper in service STILL lettered for the CGW!! Believe it or not, sitting there in the cab watching that car roll by... I thought of you and your CGW route!

Andre

#26 mdeming

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 09:53 PM

I think I have seen that hopper as well, it seems to appear in the Dekalb area every so often in a string of covered hoppers that I guess are used in ballast or mow service. Also if you keep a sharp eye out there are stilla couple of the CGW NE style cabooses being used, one I See every now and then on a crane train. As to the CGW project, well its an ongoing thing, trouble is real life gets in the way as I have software project that are more demanding and since they bring in money I devote the lions share of my time to them, so MSTS has taken a real back burner.

#27 SeanK97

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Posted 14 December 2006 - 10:10 PM

Sorry to drop in unexpected like but in case you don't wander around here too much you may have missed my post here and the pic's I posted of a CGW tanker I saw in November in West Chicago Illinois.

Just braggin' a bit but it pertains either way. Which leads me to the question of the day,...

"Any pictures of this old stuff besides mine?????"

#28 jbshay

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 02:01 AM

Andre,

Yeah, I had set the air, but the train rolled backwards and once you couple, the air is restored(?) and be'ins how F9 was still open, I uncoupled again. Oops. I never thought they would go so far and kept waiting for a derail end-of-game!

Herb,

Can I just sit in the corner for a while?

Jim

#29 atsf37l

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 12:37 PM

QUOTE(jbshay @ Dec 15 2006, 12:42 AM) View Post

Andre,

Yeah, I had set the air, but the train rolled backwards and once you couple, the air is restored(?) and be'ins how F9 was still open, I uncoupled again. Oops. I never thought they would go so far and kept waiting for a derail end-of-game!

Herb,

Can I just sit in the corner for a while?

Jim


Oh all right. But slap yerself a cupple times. laugh.gif

#30 wmalder

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Posted 15 December 2006 - 09:19 PM

I got a copy of MSTS shortly after it came out and I ran the original routes fairly extensively but I admit that it was MLT's KHP that got me hooked. I lived in Western Canada most of my life and I spent many hours travelling through the Rockies. I've always loved the mountain routes and over the years I combined my love of trains with a love of history and much of this came together in MSTS. I messed around with downloaded stuff for a long time and slowly decrypted the internal workings of .eng and .wag files, learned how .ace files could be generated and modified and over time acquired the tools to start making my own models.
There are many great models out there but often these haven't been of things I was interested in. I finally decided to make my own models and I tended to do things that I felt were historical and/or rare. I have tried to do things that noone else has done where possible and that was where the UA Turbo Trains and the Port Stanley Terminal Rail GE 25t came from. Or I've wanted a model of something that had been done but wasn't quite right for what I wanted to do leading to my CP/CLC/Fairbanks-Morse models. And of course people have asked me to do a model of something and it has peaked my interest such as some of my GP9s.
The one thing I've really not been able to do yet is make my own routes. The RE defies my understanding and patience. One day I will either figure it out or I will do what I want in another sim. I had been hoping for the Trainmaster sim but now I'm contemplating KRS. Who knows what I'll end up with. I have been hoping to build even a little part of the Kettle Valley Railway and I've done a lot of preliminary work on the Coquihalla Sub but I have yet to get past the terrain generation and some markers.
Meanwhile I have at least made the main locomotives for that area and one day I hope to run them on those long gone tracks again.

#31 atsf37l

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 11:47 AM

The Kettle Valley is a fascinating piece of railroad. I'm sure someone will do that one in due time. That is one of the beauties of this sim thing, you can run on long gone routes and really see what it was like. My adventures on the Rio Grande Southern fit that pattern and are very rewarding. tongue.gif

#32 pnrailway

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Posted 18 December 2006 - 06:01 PM

Man, I go out of the country for a week and look at what I miss. This is a very interesting thread that Andre has started. Like Herb, I have had a love affair with the iron horse for 58 of my 62 years. During that time I have spent time with the prototype, even got close to working for the Western Maryland shortly after I got married, but didn't want to move. I have also spent summers in my late teens firing a steam locomotive for a tourist road every weekend. biggrin.gif

From a young age I was interested in model trains, starting with O Scale and then over time going to S, HO and finally N some years before relocating to Florida 16 years ago. Each change was to try and get more railroad in the all to small amount of available space. Florida is a NBNA (No Basement - No Attic) state and as a result I tried to negotiate with the Superintendent of Right-of_Way (the wife), the use of part of the garage. crying.gif Once the negotiations were over I started the planning of a new layout (N Scale of course to get the most out of a very limited amount of real estate) that never came to fruition. sad.gif Instead I found MSTS and almost immediately realized the advantages of yet another scale change, this time to V Scale. wub.gif Think of it, a 150 mile long mainline with no selective compression, plus countless other railroads, TOC, Trolley, Narrow Gauge, and on and on in less than 6 square feet!!!!!!!!!!

From an early age I had a love affair with two class 1's, the Best & Only, (B&O) and the Wild Mary, (WM), but my main love has always been the little short line with loads of atmosphere, the Maryland & Pennsylvania RR..
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I always seem to be drawn to the short lines over the class 1's, perhaps part of the reason was because the Ma&Pa ran past the back of my yard for a few years before we moved and it was the north bound train every morning that served as my alarm clock every morning. Perhaps also because an uncle work for the Ma&Pa and my grandfather worked for the local trolley system that the railroad bug bit early and hard!! The Ma&Pa as long as I knew her struggled through in an air of gentile poverty and was more like a 12:12 model railroad than many of today's short lines, with grades and curves that were in a number of places steeper and more severe than the Colorado Narrow Gauge roads and readily showed the Ma&Pa's narrow gauge roots.

MSTS gives me the ability to model an entire shortline, end to end, without any selective compression, something impossible on even the largest of model railroads. My MSTS installation is divided up between a main installation that contains the mainline routes I like along with a few Payware routes that have caught my interest, (this installation is run by Train Store), and also a series of mini installs that are made up of:
1. Andre's two excellent routes.
2. Wayne Campbell's L&PS.
3. One for several narrow gauge route.
4. One for selected trolley routes including some not released.
5. One for my shortline Piedmont Northern.
6. One for several routes being tested and modified.

I have many of the same interests as both Herb and Rod and a severe time constraint that limits me to about an hour or so of selective activities, (train running, repainting, route alteration, etc.), as time permits very early in the morning. For picture taking and operation I like the ability of Train Store in simple mode to use the static consists and even AI traffic from any activity of that particular route I have chosen that day to be used in explore mode. Allows for some nice picture taking opportunities and especially some very interesting operation with the player consist of your choice. This allows me to indulge in one facet of physical model railroading that I came to dearly love - prototype operation emulation. Then there is also Activity Generator that can generate endless varied activities for any given route that a template is available for and the consists generated for these activities can also be used by train store. A great program in my way of thinking, third after Conbuilder and Route Riter.

So, what does all this do? It makes making a choice of what to do on my hobby time all the more difficult, that's what!!! But it does allow me to have quite a variety of choices depending upon the mood I may be in when it is time for hobby activities. So, to me MSTS is the best of all model railroad scales, and it is one scale that I doubt that I will ever switch from again.

Paul

#33 atsf37l

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 01:02 PM

QUOTE(pnrailway @ Dec 18 2006, 4:42 PM) View Post


So, to me MSTS is the best of all model railroad scales, and it is one scale that I doubt that I will ever switch from again.

Paul



Bingo! tongue.gif

#34 wacampbell

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Posted 19 December 2006 - 01:33 PM

But then again, the London Yards of the L&PS would make a great little 12 x 20 switching layout ... help me be strong and resist the temptation!

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#35 atsf37l

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Posted 20 December 2006 - 10:35 AM

I was looking at a great little portable HO traction layout at the latest train show here in San Diego a couple of weeks ago. If anything would ever deter me in this hobby it would be building wire in the brass and plastic scales! What artistry in bronze and brass! And it worked flawlessly.

But they still had to turn around at the end of the room! laugh.gif

#36 rgarber

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 01:27 PM

Hey Wayne,

Is the track layout screens from 3rd Planet?

Rich

#37 wacampbell

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 03:49 PM

Hi Rich

The 'layout' images are MSTS screenshots. Its a 'micro-route' I have been experimenting with to represent a potential model railroad layout in MSTS. A bit of a reverse scenario from the normal MSTS application but it is fun to evaluate how a potential layout might work.

Wayne

#38 rgarber

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 08:39 PM

Ya got me on that one Wayne. But isn't all that white a bit blinding when you're driving in the sim then? Or do you plan to put up some kind of backdrop? Cool idea though.

Rich

#39 wmalder

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Posted 21 December 2006 - 09:13 PM

I think his idea is to translate the MSTS version to an actual model railroad layout. At least that's what I understood. It's a great idea for those who'd like to see what their layout would look like before spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars putting a layout together. I suppose I might try something like that myself when the time comes to build my garden railway.


#40 atsf37l

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Posted 22 December 2006 - 11:10 AM

QUOTE(wmalder @ Dec 21 2006, 7:54 PM) View Post

I think his idea is to translate the MSTS version to an actual model railroad layout. At least that's what I understood. It's a great idea for those who'd like to see what their layout would look like before spending hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars putting a layout together. I suppose I might try something like that myself when the time comes to build my garden railway.


And just think, if they see what their layout will look like in the sim they will also see the possibilities of the sim and will probably convert. huh.gif blink.gif ohmy.gif laugh.gif