• 3. Operations Questions

    TrainSim.Com Train Simulator FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions About MSTS

    3. OPERATIONS QUESTIONS

    
    CAN YOU COUPLE/UNCOUPLE CARS YOURSELF, OR IS IT DONE BY THE SIM?
    
    
    You can couple and uncouple cars yourself. Uncoupling is done by
    selecting an option in a dialog box; you view a simplified image of
    the train and double click between the two cars you want uncoupled.
    Cars will couple automatically if pushed together.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU THROW SWITCHES YOUSELF, OR IS IT DONE BY THE SIM?
    
    
    It depends. If you are running an activity using switching or if you
    are in Free Mode, then you can throw switches yourself. On activities
    involving a haul along the main line, then the switches may set for
    you.
    
    When throwing switches yourself there is a pop-up box that shows the
    setting of the one closest switch in front and in back of your train.
    A keypress lets you change either of these two switches. If you are
    too close to a switch, even though you seem clear of it, the switch
    may not change.
    
    
    
    HOW WILL YOU KNOW DISTANCES WHEN BACKING INTO A SIDING OR MAKING UP A
    TRAIN?
    
    
    Different views are available which depict the train from almost any
    direction. You can just select a view which shows the back of your
    train, and you will see what you need to see, all while you're still
    driving from the front of the train. In addition, the coupler cam
    view displays the distance to couple numerically.
    
    
    
    CAN YOU USE A JOYSTICK WITH MSTS?
    
    
    The sim does not directly support use of a joystick. Some people have
    been successful using programmable joysticks, where the stick, top
    hat, buttons, etc. can be programmed to generate the keystrokes that
    the sim is expecting.
    
    Some users have found "JoystickCursorTool" useful. It can be found here:
    
    http://www.deinmeister.de/jct_e.htm
    
    It allows a joystick to generate keystrokes
    
    
    
    WHEN I TRY TO RING THE BELL ON THE GP38-2 IT ONLY RINGS WHILE I HOLD THE
    "B" KEY DOWN, BUT ACCORDING TO THE MANUAL IT'S SUPPOSED TO TOGGLE ON AND
    OFF. HOW DO I MAKE THE BELL STAY ON?
    
    
    To get the bell to ring continuously, press the "B" and hold it down.
    Then press and hold the Shift key, release the "B" key and finally release
    the Shift key. The bell will now stay on until you hit the "B" key again.
    
    
    
    ON THE DASH 9 THE BRAKE RELEASE EARLY AS SOON AS YOU START TO PULL BACK
    THE LEVER. HOW DO YOU FIX THIS?
    
    
    In the Dash 9 .eng file there is a line that looks like this:
    
      Notch ( 0.3 1 TrainBrakesControllerGraduatedSelfLapLimitedStart )
    
    It should actually be:
    
      Notch ( 0.3 1 TrainBrakesControllerGraduatedSelfLapLimitedHoldin  gStart )
    
    
    This is in the EngineControllers section.  Notice the word "Holding"
    is missing from the first statement.
    
    With this fix the brakes do not release and the air system does not start
    to recharge until the automatic brake valve handle is placed all the way
    back to the release position, which is how it works in real life.
    
    
    
    HOW DO I MAKE THE GP38-2 THROTTLE WORK PROPERLY WITH 8 NOTCHES?
    
    
    There is a mistake in the GP38's .eng file. Open the file
    
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\TRAINS\TRAINSET\GP38\gp38.eng
    
    with WordPad (important; do not use Notepad). Look for the line that
    defines the throttle, it looks like this:
    
    Throttle ( 0 1 0.125 0 0.
    
    There is an extra zero and period on the end that is preventing the
    throttle from working properly, using 8 notches. Remove it so the line
    looks like this:
    
    Throttle ( 0 1 0.125 0
    
    Save the gp38.eng file and the throttle will now work properly.
    
    
    
    CAN I GET A HEAD OUT THE WINDOW VIEW ON DIESELS, LIKE THE VIEW THAT THE
    STEAM LOCOMOTIVES HAVE?
    
    
    Yes. It involved adding one line to the diesel's .eng file. For example,
    to change the default GP38-2 use WordPad to open this file:
    
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\TRAINS\TRAINSET\GP38\gp38.eng
    
    Look for the line that defines the cab view file:
    
    CabView ( gp38.cvf )
    
    After that line, insert this:
    
    HeadOut (1.8 3.7 5.1 )
    
    This new line adds a head out the window view, and defines the coordinates
    where you are looking from. The three numbers are the x, y, z coordinates
    from the center of the locomotive and can be adjusted if desired.
    
    
    
    HOW TO I REFUEL A DIESEL LOCOMOTIVE?
    
    
    On the GP38 the refueling point is just behind the engine's center fuel
    tank. If you center the GP38 in front of the Whitefish fuel pump and hit
    the "T" key, nothing happens even though this is what the manual tells you
    to do. Through experimentation it's been found that the point on the
    engine is just behind the tank. This would be the side of the tank closest
    to the rear wheels.
    
    Move your engine very slowing toward the back of the center fuel tank. Do
    this while holding the "T" key. At some point the fuel will begin to flow
    into the GP38. To confirm refueling you might hit the F9 TRAIN OPERATIONS
    KEY displaying your engine, then double click the engine and it will show
    the total amount of gallons of fuel onboard. In the refueling operation,
    if you have found the right spot next to the tank, the number of gallons
    reading will begin to increase. You can also hit the F5 key twice to
    display the fuel load in the HUD display.
    
    
    
    WHAT DOES "SELF LAP" MEAN AS IT APPLIES TO BRAKES ON THE TRAIN?
    
    
    Self-lap is a feature in the 26L and newer generation brake valves.What
    happens is as follows:
    
    In the control stand, attached to the air brake system is an equalizing
    reservoir (ER), a small device that contains air at the same pressure that
    the brake pipe is set to. When an engineer wishes to make a brake pipe
    reduction, he/she uses this device to measure the amount of air to take
    out of the brake system in order to apply the brakes. Because this vessel
    is so small, an engineer can make accurate reductions which are then
    reflected in the brake pipe. So, the engineer moves the brake valve to the
    desired postion using the equalizing reservoir for measurement and the ER
    then exhausts the amount of air that the brake valve has been set to. The
    brake pipe (BP) will then exhaust its air according to the ER reduction.
    Inside the brake valve and ER there is a diaphram that moves back and
    forth according to air pressure. When the BP is higher than the ER, air is
    exhausted out of the BP to the atmosphere through an exhaust port until
    both are equalized. When this point is reached the diaphram has moved
    closing the exhaust port so that no more air is discharged from the BP,
    at this point the air has lapped. 
    
    In previous generations of air brakes (24RL, such as found on old GP9's
    and F's) the engineer would move the brake valve to set the brakes (still
    using an equalizing reservoir for measurement) but there was no diaphram
    feature. Instead there was a lap position on the brake valve itself that
    the engineer would have to pull back to in order to stop the air from
    exhausting from the BP after the desired reduction had been made. (Closing
    the exhaust port "manually").
    
    So with the newer generations of brake valves you move it to the desired
    position and the diaphram automatically cuts off the BP exhaust when that
    point is reached, hence the term "self lap".
    
    
    
    DURING THE MIDDLE OF AN ACTIVITY OR AN EXPLORE ROUTE SESSION CAN I CHANGE
    FROM DRIVING ONE LOCOMOTIVE TO DRIVING A DIFFERENT ONE?
    
    
    No, this is currently not possible.
    
    
    
    WHY DO I KEEP GETTING ACTIVITY OVER BROKEN COUPLE IN THE MARIAS PASS ROUTE?
    
    
    There is a problem at some places in the Marias Pass Route.  This can be
    cured in two ways:
    
    1.  The couplers as they come have a value of 1.7e7N or something close to
    this.  These values can be changed to prevent the broken coupler syndrome.
    The general recommendation is to the value to 5.1e7N, which takes a
    nuclear explosion to break.  A value of 3.7e7N for is also used by many,
    you will break the couplers with really bad train handling. Engmod 1.4
    from the download library, can be used to modify the coupler values on all
    the rolling stack at once verses doing it one at a time in Wordpad.
    Though you need to be careful because some of the files have the read only
    attribute turned on, these can be turned off in the file property screen.
    All of the autorack's have this.
    
    2.  You can delete the bounding boxes for the #10 switches/turnouts
    
    Just edit the following four files using Wordpad, found in
    
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\GLOBAL\SHAPES
    
    A1tPnt10dLftMnl.sd
    A1tPnt10dRgtMnl.sd
    A1tPnt10dLft.sd
    A1tPnt10dRgt.sd
    
    Delete the ESD_Bounding_Box line in each of the files. Do not leave a blank
    line where you deleted the parameter.
    
    
    
    WHAT IS THE GOOD OF THE DYNAMIC BRAKES?
    
    
    Dynamic brakes are best suited for maintaining a speed on a downgrade.  The
    cannot be used as a "parking brake" as they are only effective when the
    train is moving.
    
    What happens in dynamic braking is that the power to the traction motors is
    cut. The traction motors continue to be turned by the wheels, but act as
    generators. The electricity they generate is passed into resistor grids,
    where it is converted to heat, which is dissipated by fans.  In the process
    of acting as generators, the traction motors put out a resistive force to
    the wheels, which helps slow the train, or at least keep it from
    accelerating.
    
    When dynamic braking is active it releases the automatic brakes on the
    locomotive, since both braking systems would result in too much resistance
    and cause the wheels to slide, which would cause flat spots and shells on
    the wheels. The exception is blended braking, which is used on some
    locomotives to make braking even more efficient.
    
    Blended braking is controlled by computer and will use some automatic brake
    while in the lower range of dynamic braking. The greater amperage the
    dynamics generate the less automatic brake cylinder pressure is used. In
    full dynamics the automatic brake will still be completely released.
    Blended braking is tied into the wheel slip and tractive effort monitoring
    subroutines in the locomotive computer systems.
    
    The use of dynamic brakes greatly increases the life of brake shoes.
    
    As far as dynamics being "locked out", to engage them, you must reduce the
    throttle to zero, then wait anywhere from 10-20 seconds, before trying to
    engage the dynamics. If you try to engage them too soon, they simply won't
    engage.
    
    
    
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