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Fort Kent to Eagle Lake


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#1 rgarber

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 06:28 AM

Well..., time to go back to work. Obviously this forum needs a good dusting, open the blinds and a check to make sure the office chair is good and comfy. Vacation is over! If you didn't know I had a small hand in the making of the Castlerock route for RW and that was a cram and a half with a wedding, a root canal, music tunes, whew! Wore me out! Not to mention I've been playing to death this game called Age of Pirates 1 and 2. Great game. I love the old wooden sailing ships. And I just installed one of them Nvidia 260 cards. It's a great card. I'm running FSX at much higher settings than normal and the action is very smoothe. But that's not why you are here, right? You want to know what in the world is Fort Kent to Eagle Lake. It's my next route! Situated way up north, and I mean WAY UP north and at the very northern tip of Maine and just south of the Canadian border. Nosebleed country I guess.

The actual run appears to be about 16 miles but it branches off in every which way direction and I haven't decided which branch to include just yet. Nor do I have any idea how far if there's even a terminating point available. So for now, this is a pretty small route. And I have to add, we're just in the planning stages. Let's take a look.

Attached File  overview.jpg   112.49KB   250 downloads


In my list of to-do routes, I have always wanted to do a route somewhere in New England. I didn't anticipate something in Maine and nor this high up. But this route follows a river all the way down to Eagle Lake where at times the water edge seems just a few feet away from the tracks. If all dems well this should be a neat little route. As far as I can tell there's not much switching on it (but we can fix that!). Scenic seems the word to describe it. I could extend the route farther south so it's a fifty mile route (to Ashland). Except, there's nothing but trees! And for miles around. The route should be an interesting drive for its twisty nature. The water on one side, light urbanization on the other, I think this is going to be great!

If you'all know any good info on this route (like who even runs these tracks), I'd appreciate all the info you can give. Pictures of homes in Maine would also be appreciated. This is the very begining, I have no idea when this route will be done - you will be kept informed. This will be for RW, of course, just figured I needed to say that.

Rich G
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#2 LooseCannon17

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 06:51 AM

Rich,

Nosebleed country? That's north of 60 in these parts devil.gif The snow's all melted, hockey season is over, and we can wear shorts, if only for a few weeks. Once the NHL starts up in September, our summer is over and winter begins. laugh.gif

Maybe some old Alco's if you can find them for RW would be the way to go. They were a mainstay for most of the northeastern routes, as well as Geeps and SD40's. Look at the Boston and Maine and Delaware and Hudson railroads for a good idea of what runs up round these parts.

Looks interesting. smile.gif


#3 nbeveridge

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Posted 23 June 2009 - 02:57 PM

QUOTE(LooseCannon17 @ Jun 23 2009, 8:32 AM) View Post

Maybe some old Alco's if you can find them for RW would be the way to go.


Dick has an RS3 cookin'.


#4 L&N

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 09:48 AM

This is the Montreal, Maine & Atlantic, which took over the bankrupt Bangor & Arrostook and runs all the way from Fort Kent to the Atlantic Ocean below Bangor. They also have an ex-Canadian American xx-CP branch which runs off the main and goes to Sherbrooke, ONT.

Jay

#5 Hack

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 06:23 PM

New England, huh? Perhaps I should think about dusting-off my own MEC project...

I can't let you to have all the fun! tongue.gif

Cheers!
Marc

#6 dcarleton

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 07:46 PM

QUOTE(rgarber @ Jun 23 2009, 9:09 AM) View Post

If you'all know any good info on this route ....


To do that route correctly you are going to need a BL2.

That was the Bangor and Aroostook (reporting mark BAR). They had Geeps and F3s and their 'new' engines were GP38s. But the BL2s stole the show, since they were the last ones left.

Passenger train service ended early. But the BAR once had E7s, some 'American Flyer' cars including the only Baggage-RPO 'American Flyer' cars ever built, and even some stainless steel streamliner cars built by Pullman.

Passenger train service was replaced with busses operated by the railroad. They published timetables which looked like railroad timetables, for the Bangor and Aroostook bus!

The BAR was so poor that after they stopped running passenger trains they contacted EMD about converting their E7s for freight service. EMD gave the BAR several suggestions for changes to the running gear which made the E7s functionally equivalent with the F3s and Geeps. Other railroads subsequently made similar conversions to their E units.

Into the 1970s the BAR had a very heavy seasonal business hauling potatos every autumn. The railroad would have miles of boxcars set asside for the rush, and the schools would close for three weeks so that the children could help with potato picking.

I will say this much about Ft. Kent - It's one of the few places I've been where it was almost necessary to check things like currency and postage stamps and flagpoles for reassurance that we were still actually in the United States. There are no words to adequately describe the remoteness of that region. And yet there is substantial population right across the river in Canada, including many French speaking villages.

For scenery you need to have rolling hills, potato fields, and pine trees.

David Carleton



#7 rgarber

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Posted 24 June 2009 - 08:05 PM

Appreciate the info L&N and Dave. Thanks much! smile.gif

BL2: if Dick C has one he can import of if you can convince him to do one then be sure to post a pic of the railroad's paint scheme if you got a pic or send it to me or him directly. The one thing I am doing differently is not trying to provide content like rollingstock with my routes. Dick C has his own business now and I would like to support him in his endeavor. And his prices are very affordable. I'm glad you mentioned this Dave, I'm hoping Dick will look take you up on it.

Rich

#8 pensfan

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 03:15 AM

QUOTE(rgarber @ Jun 24 2009, 10:46 PM) View Post

The one thing I am doing differently is not trying to provide content like rollingstock with my routes. Dick C has his own business now and I would like to support him in his endeavor. And his prices are very affordable.
Rich


Rich,

I would much rather pay extra for your routes and include the great work of Dick's rollingstock. This way all the scenarios included in your routes will have/use Dick's rollingstock without the need of the user to edit the scenarios. BTW, having recently purchased your R&N route, I have been considering purchasing the FLC Pack but have no idea how to include Dick's pack into R&N's scenarios. Sorry for this being off-topic, but is there an easy way to switch out rollingstock in RailWorks. I've been putting off buying the FLC Pack because of this.

Al

#9 plethaus

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 04:26 AM

QUOTE(pensfan @ Jun 25 2009, 3:56 AM) View Post

Rich,

I would much rather pay extra for you routes and include the great work fo Dick's rollingstock. This way all the scenarios included in your routes will have/use Dick's rollingstock without the need of the user to edit the scenarios. BTW, having recently purchased your R&N route, I have been considering purchasing the FLC Pack but have no idea how to include Dick's pack into R&N's scenarios. Sorry for this being off-topic, but is there an easy way to switch out rollingstock in RailWorks. I've been putting off buying the FLC Pack because of this.

Al


I agree with you Al.

#10 rgarber

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 05:26 AM

Unfortunately Al, there's just no easy way to do that unless you alter the hard disk file itself as far as I can tell. All the instructions for that train are with the engine and if you swap it out you lose the instructions.

As for Dick and myself, we've always worked independently though in the past we were able to coincide our releases together. With RS Dick has much more work to do making a model and is able to show off his professional modeling talents much much better than he was able to do in msts. Plus there's a learning curve that just can't be gotten around so like in the example of the FLC, there was just now way the pack would have been ready by the time I released the C&N. And I released the C&N probably a week sooner than I should've but I was given the task to partly do the Castlerock for RW and I had to start right away. But the important point is not since Canton and even during Canton were Dick and I really what you would call partners. As I noted each time Dick graciously donated his talents for my projects as he did for others.

One of the nice things about RW, for me that is, the default equipment is good enough that it allows me to showcase the route I just released. But that's all I prefer to do as I have always thought the success of a route is users building their own scenarios and uploading them. I appreciate that there is a content issue for RW but there's no possible way for me to alleviate that situation all by myself. If I waited until I could solve that problem for even myself, you guys would have a couple less routes to run.

Eventually the content problem will be solved as well as RW's issues and things will get back to normal. What you guys can do in the mean time is learn to create your own scenarios. It's real easy!

What made the strength of the msts community was the large number of developers that evolved in the beginning. Back then there wasn't any suppliers of anything and most people were bored with MSTS within the first month. That's what happened to me. I didn't come into this with any modding experience at all. The most I ever did try was build my own courses in Jack Nickleson's gold and wasn't that around like in the 80's? Early 90's? Something like that. My first question like most people at that time when I first started was, what's with all the white (i.e. the white void issue)? And very few people knew the answer to that, back then. In fact, where I first asked the question was at Avsim, a flight simming forum which had a small train forum. They told me to go check out this train-sim.com thing and when I got there, there was only a few pages at best of posts there. Everybody had to become a developer back then. There was nothing to 'just' use. So I would encourage you to try to make your own scenarios and become the future for RW. Scenario builders just like any other developer played a useful part in msts growth. And RW makes this easy. Well, there are some tricks you'll need to learn and the guides could be better documented and you can always ask.

We desperately need people to get involved. I mean we desperately need people who can take on a challenge without bellyaching every step of the way like we're seeing. I did the 22 scenarios for C&N in roughly a week's time. I didn't include AI traffic, that's true, but then I've never been that big on AI traffic either. And I would suggest minimizing AI traffic until we got a handle on how it works anyway.

Rich


#11 pensfan

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 05:37 AM

Rich,

Thanks for the response. I never thought about making scenarios, too intimidated I guess, but your post makes me think 'why not'? I'm going on vacation next week, but after I come back I'm going to take up this challange. Are there any other programs other than RailWorks needed to make scenarios? Actually looking forward to the challange!

Al

#12 L&N

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 06:41 AM

Also, if my memory serves me right, the B&A was famous for running a unit tank train from the port to Bangor. It has been a long time since I have read anything about it but you might want to check it out if you intend to go that far South.

If you build this route you need to get a moose to spawn. Maine is famous for them.

Jay

#13 rgarber

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 06:43 AM

Good for you Al!

There is a secret I use to do scenarios and I've been doing this as long as I can remember with msts activities. And you see it in action in both the R&C and C&N scenarios. I'm new to RS/RW too and it takes a while to become proficient at all the things a route builder had to do to build a route. So incrementalism is the key. Note how in each of my scenarious you do a little more than previously? That's because I'm learning as I go how far I can push the scenarios. With R&C I was under the impression that RS/RW wasn't anywhere near as powerful as the msts activities. And I still think that to some degree making allowances that I don't yet know everything there is to know yet about RS/RW scenario editing. That's another tip btw. Always leave yourself room to be be wrong. blush.gif

I assumed that starting with the first 9 C&N scenarios but starting with 10 or 11, I began to push the scenarios capability a little harder. Now to you guys, you're probably thinking "Garber's getting a little rough with us lately..." (which I do like to do... devil.gif ) but really in fact I'm taking an incremental approach to learning the scenario editors. Unfortunately from one project to the next I tend to forget the big lessons I learned and have to start all over after I finished the next route. So you'll see the same pattern repeat again except I'll be quicker to catch-up and get tougher devil.gif much sooner.

So how does one do this incrementally. Well, first you have an idea of what's likely to be the toughest thing to learn. Obviously, AI. So that comes last. You build foundations by doing what you can do the easiest first. So lay out simple paths with little to do. Then add switching because invariably you'll run into signal issues with the automatic and manual switches. A lot still depends on how the route is laid out though I've seen RS/RW handle this better than MSTS did though with MSTS you got to manually place Reversing Points whereas RS/RS do this automatically. It's less for you to do but you'll need to be keen to watch out how these buggers work. They almost seem inconsequential at times.

I like that RW adds user placed markers. That's a game changer for me as a route builder. There's just no possible way I can anticipate all the things you guys as your own scenario builders might come up with. For a while it seemed that wasn't a big issue since it seemed nobody wants to build scenarios for my payware routes. But now that they added that feature that's a relief for me. The relationship between markers and route is very big. And that you guys can now add your own is huge. Kudos for RS.com for thinking of that. That's something you'll appreciate eventually as you won't be confined to the route author's idea how the route should be ran.

Start with simple scenarios. That's a must. Then gradually add in the switching. Then gradually add in the mainline running (cause you're dealing with signals and...), then AI traffic. I've seen this for years with MSTS where folks jump in and overwhelm themselves trying to do advanced stuff too soon. Learn to walk and then run.

Then comes the really hard part. And nothing in RS/RW compares to this. Customer service. wacko.gif blink.gif

Rich


#14 kcjones

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 07:46 AM

BL2 ????? That sounds rude!!!!

I HAVE got the trucks for one but that is about as far as it goes. It was a project I always intended to do in MSTS but never did. Weren't they returned F units? BL for Branch Line?

let me finish the RS3 and I will think about it flowers.gif

The FLC pack has been recently updated and the is a nice bright yellow Chessie pack there too.

Dick

#15 dcarleton

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 11:13 AM

QUOTE(kcjones @ Jun 25 2009, 10:27 AM) View Post


I HAVE got the trucks for one but that is about as far as it goes. It was a project I always intended to do in MSTS but never did. Weren't they returned F units? BL for Branch Line?

Dick


The BL2 was EMD's first attempt to create an engine that would do menial jobs on the railroad and not just through passenger and freight trains. They were trying to get away from the perception that the diesels were mostly for publicity and not for actual work. The early E-units and the streamliners really were put there mostly for publicity, and EMD believed that too many people both within the railroads and on the outside would equate the F-units with a modern image but not necessarily as something that could replace steam in every corner of the railroad. So they wanted to make something obviously different than an F-unit.

They came up with the BL2 (identical to the BL1). Unlike an F-unit it could lead with either end. But it was really a modified carbody locomotive. It did not have walkways. All servicing had to be done from the inside, and the carbody was tapered so that there wasn't much headroom. On the other hand, it had basically the same machinery as the usually reliable F3. It was just expensive and awkward. There were just 58 BL2s built between 1948 and 1949 (and one BL1).

In 1949 EMD tried again, and this time the result was the GP7. Dick Dillworth designed the body. It contained essentially the same machinery as the F7, but this time under a removable hood. Much easier to work on, and suitable (in the minds of the executives) to run into every corner of the system. Production of the GP7, GP9 and GP18 totalled nearly 7000 over the years 1949 through 1963.

So the BL2 was the 'great almost' for EMD. One of the few fleets to survive intact was on the Bangor and Aroostook, and given the very low production totals for that model they were quite a curiosity.

Several decades later EMD tried to market a new model, the BL20. They already had the GP38 in their catalogue, so it's difficult to understand any need for a new model. In fact they only ever built three demonstrators. No orders materialized.

On the Bangor and Aroostook they had the F3, the BL2 and the GP7. For most of their careers they were painted blue, fairly dark but not quite navy blue, with gold (yellow) lettering. That's the look you'd want to go for on Eagle Lake to Ft. Kent, because by the time that the ownership and the paint began to change the railroad in that area was in serious decline.

David Carleton



#16 rgarber

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 12:23 PM

Great post Dave, thanks for the info! So is the line there today? I just assumed seeing it in GoogleEarth that it was still there.

Rich

#17 nbeveridge

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 02:32 PM

QUOTE(rgarber @ Jun 25 2009, 7:07 AM) View Post

Unfortunately Al, there's just no easy way to do that unless you alter the hard disk file itself as far as I can tell. All the instructions for that train are with the engine and if you swap it out you lose the instructions.

Rich


Rich,

I am pretty sure that if you use Mike Simpson's RWTools to substitute stock, the instructions stay. I did this with several of your C&N scenarios in RS, using the older RSTools_Pro. I think the capabilities of RWTools is the same, if not better.


#18 rgarber

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 05:43 PM

Good point Norm, I forgot about that! You're right, RS/RWtools would do that very easily. Thanks for reminding us!

Dick did write me an email he'll look into the BL2 as well. But it sounds like I need to make this a 50's route and not a modern route.

Rich

#19 dcarleton

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 06:40 PM

QUOTE(rgarber @ Jun 25 2009, 3:04 PM) View Post

So is the line there today? I just assumed seeing it in GoogleEarth that it was still there.

Rich


Haven't been to Ft. Kent in over 30 years so can't say for sure, but it appears that Ft. Kent - Eagle Lake is part of the line that they kept.

The BAR once covered the eastern portion of northern Maine like a spiderweb, but much of that is gone.

David Carleton



#20 pensfan

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Posted 25 June 2009 - 07:47 PM

QUOTE(nbeveridge @ Jun 25 2009, 5:13 PM) View Post

Rich,

I am pretty sure that if you use Mike Simpson's RWTools to substitute stock, the instructions stay. I did this with several of your C&N scenarios in RS, using the older RSTools_Pro. I think the capabilities of RWTools is the same, if not better.


Just downloaded RWTools and it does a good job of substituting rollingstock.

Al