• 9. Miscellaneous Questions

    TrainSim.Com Train Simulator FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions About MSTS

    9. MISCELLANEOUS QUESTIONS

    
    MUST I KNOW A LOT ABOUT LOCOMOTIVES TO USE TRAIN SIMULATOR?
    
    
    MSTS is designed for all levels of interest in trains, from the child
    who loves to look at trains, to the casual hobbyist who knows a
    little about trains, to the professional railroad engineer who knows
    everything about every system in a real locomotive.
    
    The sim includes tutorials and beginners activities to get you
    familiar with the basics of train operations.
    
    The manual includes information on how to operate realistically, so
    even if you are not a die-hard train-buff, you will be able to learn
    how to run the trains in a realistic manner, if you so choose.
    
    There are also realism options that can be turned off to make train
    operations easier for beginners.
    
    
    
    WHAT IS A VIRTUAL RAILROAD?
    
    
    A virtual railroad (VR) is an online group which tries to simulate
    the operations of a real railroad using MSTS. The exact details of VR
    operation still need to be ironed out, but similar activities have
    been popular with flightsims and we expect virtual railroads to be
    popular too.
    
    For more information, read our article Introduction To Virtual Railroads.
    
    
    
    HOW TO I SUBMIT MY FILES FOR THE DOWNLOAD LIBRARY HERE?
    
    
    For complete details on uploading and a whole lot more
    that you need to know to prepare your file before you upload it,
    please go here:
    
    Developer's Release Tips
    
    
    
    WHERE CAN I FIND OPERATING MANUALS FOR REAL LOCOMOTIVES?
    
    
    There is quite a large collection manuals for real locomotives available
    on the Web. Go here:
    
    http://gelwood.railfan.net/manual/manual.html
    
    
    
    WHY CAN'T I POST MESSAGES TO THE MSTS FORUMS HERE?
    
    
    The most common cause for this sort of problem is firewall software that
    you have set up on your computer. The firewall prevents large messages from
    being sent out by your computer to the server--things like forum posts.
    
    One user fixed this as follows:
    
    "I set a rule for trainsim.com so the referer would not be blocked.
    This fixed the posting problem."
    
    Another user reported that he had to disable Norton Internet Security
    2002 and then everything worked fine.
    
    
    
    WHY CAN'T I REGISTER FOR THE MSTS FORUMS HERE?
    
    
    Again, the most common cause for this sort of problem is firewall
    software that you have set up on your computer. One user reports the
    following fix for Norton Personal Firewall 2002:
    
    Train simmers using Norton Personal Firewall 2002 like I do may have
    been frustrated by the inability to register to use the TrainSim.Com
    discussion forums. It took me a couple days of experimenting, but I
    finally discovered how to access the forums without totally disabling
    the firewall.
    
      Bring up Personal Firewall, and access the Privacy Control window
      Click on Custom Level
      Uncheck the box Enable Browser Privacy
      Click OK
    
    That's it! You're in like, well, like me! And when you're done on the
    discussion forums, you can go back and turn Enable Browser Privacy
    back on. You do not have to disable the firewall completely.
    
    
    
    WHY IS THE RAIL GAUGE IN THE U.S. 4 FEET 8.5 INCHES?
    
    
    In the United States the standard railroad gauge (distance between the
    rails) is 4 feet, 8.5 inches.  That's an exceedingly odd number, so why
    was that gauge used? Because that's the way they built them in England,
    and English expatriates built the US railroads.
    
    Why did the English build them like that? Because the first rail lines
    were built by the same people who built the pre-railroad tramways, and
    that's the gauge they used. Why did "they" use that gauge then?  Because
    the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they
    used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing.
    
    Okay! Why did the wagons have that particular odd wheel spacing? Well, if
    they tried to use any other spacing, the wagon wheels would break on some
    of the old, long distance roads in England, because that's the spacing of
    the wheel ruts.
    
    So who built those old rutted roads? Imperial Rome built the first long
    distance roads in Europe (and England) for their legions. The roads have
    been used ever since. And the ruts in the roads? Roman war chariots formed
    the initial ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying
    their wagon wheels.
    
    Since the chariots were made for Imperial Rome, they were all alike in the
    matter of wheel spacing. So the United States standard railroad gauge of 4
    feet, 8.5 inches was derived from the original specifications for an
    Imperial Roman war chariot.
    
    So the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's
    ass came up with it, you may be exactly right, because the Imperial Roman
    war chariots were made just wide enough to accommodate the back ends of
    two war horses.
    
    Now the ironic twist to the story... When you see a Space Shuttle sitting
    on its launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides
    of the main fuel tank. These are solid rocket boosters, or SRBs.  The SRBs
    are made by Thiokol at their factory at Utah.  The engineers who designed
    the SRB would have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had
    to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railroad
    line from the factory happens to run through a tunnel in the mountains.
    The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than
    the railroad track, and the railroad track, as you now know, is about as
    wide as two horses' behinds.
    
    So, a major Space Shuttle design feature of what is arguably the world's
    most advanced transportation system was determined over two thousand years
    ago by the width of a horse's ass! And you thought being a horse's ass
    wasn't important.
    
    
    
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