• 11. Technical Questions

    TrainSim.Com Train Simulator FAQ

    Frequently Asked Questions About MSTS

    11. TECHNICAL QUESTIONS

    
    I'D LIKE TO REPAINT A CAR OR LOCOMOTIVE. WHERE CAN I FIND THE
    ORIGINAL BITMAPS?
    
    
    Look in this folder:
    
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\SAMPLES
    
    
    
    WHAT SCREEN RESOLUTION IS BEST FOR MSTS?
    
    
    "Best" depends on your individual computer and preferences. Many
    people are happy running in the lower resolutions while others demand
    the greater detail of higher resolutions, but with the resulting
    trade-off of lower frame rates. Experimentation is necessary to see
    what works best for you.
    
    One thing worth noting is how the cab interiors are made. There are
    two bitmaps for the cab and the controls, one for resolutions of
    800x600 and below and another for resolutions of 1024x768 and above.
    The higher resolution bitmap is actually scaled up when used above
    1024x768, with the corresponding stretching and distortion of the
    image. Because of this you may find that 1024x768 is the ideal
    resolution because your interior view looks best at this resolution.
    
    
    
    WHAT COLOR DEPTH IS BEST FOR MSTS?
    
    
    Both 16 bit and 32 bit color settings are available at all screen
    resolutions. In practice there does not seem to be a great difference
    in appearance but like all hardware issues it depends on each
    individual computer.
    
    
    
    IS MSTS COMPATIBLE WITH THE TRAINMASTER OR AURAN'S TRAINZ PROGRAMS?
    
    
    Auran will provide a convertor to allow locomotives and rolling stock
    from Trainz to be converted for use in MSTS. MSTS, Trainmaster and
    Trainz are not compatible in any other way.
    
    
    
    CAN AI LOCOMOTIVES BE CHANGED TO USER-DRIVABLE LOCOMOTIVES?
    
    
    Yes, giving the limitation that they will not have their own unique
    cabview or sounds. Most of the AI locomotives have already been
    converted and are available for download in the file library.
    
    Here are the basic techniques involved:
    
    First, you need to copy the cabview and sound another locomotive.
    
    The .eng file on non-driveable locomotives contain most of the details
    needed to use the locomotive, but not all. The main things missing are
    the inclusion of a cab and cab controls. Also, several calls for sounds
    must be changed. It will take some experimentation if you want to make
    similar changes yourself but this should help get you started.
    
    1) Change the calls for generic sound effects, like this one:
    
            Sound ( "GenDieselEng.sms" )
    
       to instead use the sounds from the sound folder that you copied over,
       like this:
    
            Sound ( "Gp38Eng.sms" )
    
       Note that there may be more than one place where this type of change
       has to be made.
    
    2) Add a call to include a cab view somewhere within the Engine definition
       block, something like this:
    
            CabView ( gp38.cvf )
    
       You must correctly name the .cvf file in the cabview folder that you
       copied.
    
    3) Add engine controls. You'll need to compare a working .eng file with
       the .eng file you are modifying. On the SD40-2 for example the throttle
       controls were just a dummy section, so I copied the equivalent section
       from the default GP38-2 to make the throttle work. Some experimentation
       here may be required.
    
    
    
    IS IT COMPATIBLE WITH MICROSOFT FLIGHT SIMULATOR?
    
    
    No. Although both programs are sold by Microsoft the two use
    different technology and are not compatible.
    
    
    
    HOW DO I DO I CREATE FREIGHT OR PASSENGER CAR REPAINTS?
    
    
    Repainting existing freight cars is easy if you have a suitable
    graphics program such as Adobe PhotoShop or Paint Shop Pro. Each car
    comes with a bitmap in the form of a Targa file (the file whose name
    ends in .tga). Open that file and edit the parts of the car you want
    to change. Most of the cars I've done I've simply dropped a new side
    image over the old image and then changed the colors of the rest of
    the parts to match.
    
    You can find the bitmaps for default vehicles here:
    
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\SAMPLES
    
    
    CREATING A NEW CAR TYPE
    
    Creating a completely new, stand-alone freight car is a little more
    work, but still not hard. Here are the steps:
    
    1) Create a new folder under
       \Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\TRAINS\TRAINSET
       with whatever name you want.
    
    2) Copy all the files from another folder of a similar type of car into
       your new folder.
    
    3) In your new folder rename the files that end with .wag, .s and .sd to
       a new name, otherwise Train Simulator doesn't recognize it as a new car.
       Make all the prefix parts of the name the same, i.e.:
    
       mycar.wag
       mycar.s
       mycar.sd
    
    4) Load the .wag file into WordPad (this is important--don't use a different
       editor unless you know for sure it will work).
      a) Look for the line that starts with "Wagon" and give your car a unique
         name
      b) Look for the line that starts with "WagonShape" and change the file name
         here to the name of your .s file, as you named it in step 3)
      c) Save the file.
    
    5) Edit the .tga file as desired to create your new car image. Be careful
       not to lose the Alpha Channel that defines some of the see-through parts
       of the car.
    
    6) Convert the .tga file to a .ace file. You should use the original name of
       the .ace file that you copied from the other folder. To convert, use the
       "makeace.exe" program that is in the
       Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\UTILS
       directory as follows:
    
       makeace mycar.tga us2freight7.ace
    
       For people who have trouble running the DOS version of makeace.exe,
       there is a Windows version called MakeAceWin.exe that gets installed
       when you install the Train Simulator patch available from the
       Microsoft web site.
    
       Note: This is just an example, use the correct names for your .tga and
       .ace file. You may find it convenient to copy makeace.exe to the directory
       you are working in.
    
    Your new car is now ready to use. Use the consist editor portion of the
    activity editor to include it in a consist and start running.
    
    
    
    HOW DO YOU CREATE/REPAINT A LOCOMOTIVE?
    
    
    Repainting existing locomotives is easy if you have a suitable graphics
    program such as Adobe PhotoShop or Paint Shop Pro. Each default locomotive
    comes with two images, one in the form of a Targa file (the file whose
    name ends in .tga) and one in the form of a bitmap file (the file whose
    name ends in .bmp). Open these files and edit the parts of the locomotive
    you want to change, then use the makeace.exe utility to convert the
    results to the .ace files that the sim uses. To find the bitmaps for the
    default vehicles, look here:
    
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\SAMPLES
    
    CREATING A NEW LOCOMOTIVE
    
    Creating a new, stand-alone locomotive is a little more work. Here
    are the steps:
    
    1) Create a new folder under
       \Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\TRAINS\TRAINSET
       with whatever name you want.
    
    2) Copy all the files from another folder of a similar type of locomotive
       into your new folder.
    
    3) In your new folder rename the files that end with .eng, .s and .sd to
       a new name, otherwise Train Simulator doesn't recognize it as a new
       locomotive. Make all the prefix parts of the name the same, i.e.:
    
       myloco.eng
       myloco.s
       myloco.sd
    
    4) Load the .eng file into WordPad (not some other editor, unless you know
       for sure that it will work!)
      a) Look for the line that starts with "Name" and give your locomotive
         a unique name; this is the name that will show up in the list of
         available locomotives
      b) Look for the line that starts with "WagonShape" and change the file name
         here to the name of your .s file, as you named it in step 3)
      c) Look for the line that starts with "Engine" and change where it says
         "GP38" to the name you used for your .s and .sd files
      d) Look for the line that starts with "Wagon" and change where it says
         "GP38" to the name you used for your .s and .sd files; if there are
         two "Wagon" lines in the file make sure to make the same change both
         places
      e) Save the file.
    
    5) Load the .sd file into WordPad.
      a) Look for the line that starts with "shape" and change the file name
         here to match the name of your .s file, as you named it in step 3)
      b) Save the file.
    
    6) Edit the .tga and .bmp files as desired to create your new locomotive
       image.
    
    7) Convert the image files to .ace files. You should use the original names of
       the .ace files that you copied from the other folder. To convert, use the
       "makeace.exe" program that is in the
       Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\UTILS
       directory as follows:
    
       makeace myloco.bmp us2gp38col1.ace
       makeace myloco.tga us2gp38col2.ace
    
       For people who have trouble running the DOS version of makeace.exe,
       there is a Windows version called MakeAceWin.exe that gets installed
       when you install the Train Simulator patch available from the
       Microsoft web site.
    
       Note: These are just examples, use the correct names for your .tga, .bmp
       and .ace files. You may find it convenient to copy the makeace.exe file
       into the folder containing your new locomotive while you're working on it.
    
    Your new locomotive is now ready to use. Use the consist editor portion of
    the activity editor to include it in a consist and start running.
    
    
    
    DO I HAVE TO COPY THE CABVIEW AND SOUND FOLDERS FOR EVERY LOCOMOTIVE?
    WITH A LOT OF LOCOMOTIVES ALL THESE DUPLICATE FILES CAN TAKE UP A LOT OF
    DISK SPACE!
    
    
    No, it's not necessary; you can alias the cab and sound from another
    installed locomotive.
    
    You can trick MSTS into using the sound and cab directly from another
    locomotive. In the .eng file sound is called for in two different
    places, one for the sounds heard in the cab and one for the external
    engine sounds.  Look for lines like this:
    
      Sound ( gp38eng.sms )
      Sound ( gp38cab.sms )
    
    To alias these to use the sounds directly from the default GP38's
    sound directory change these to:
    
      Sound ( "..\\..\\GP38\\SOUND\\gp38eng.sms" )
      Sound ( "..\\..\\GP38\\SOUND\\gp38cab.sms" )
    
    Adjust the directory name ("GP38") and the file names as appropriate for
    the locomotive you want to alias to.
    
    The cabview is a bit trickier. You still need a cabview folder, but you
    only need one file in it, the .cvf file which has the definition of the
    cab view. This file requires some extensive editing. Each control and
    gauge in the cab uses an .ace file and each call for these .ace files
    must be changed. For example,
    
    Change:
    
      CabViewFile ( GP38Frnt.ace )
    
    To:
    
      CabViewFile ( "..\\..\\GP38\\cabview\\GP38Frnt.ace" )
    
    Just as an example, the GP38 cab has over 20 instances of these and
    each one needs to be changed.
    
    
    
    HOW DO I STOP THE SIM FROM CRASHING WHEN I RUN IN SNOW CONDITIONS?
    
    
    Run the MSTS trouble shooter from the Start menu, or directly here:
    
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\launcher.exe
    
    There is a box to check for the snow problem. The trouble shooter is
    handy for a variety of other problems too.
    
    
    
    HOW DO I CONVERT .ACE FILES INTO TEXTURES THAT I CAN EDIT?
    
    
    MSTS does not include a utility to do this.
    
    However, developer Martin Wright has created a tool for this purpose, as
    well as some other useful graphics tools, which you can obtain from his
    web site:
    
    http://fly.to/mwgfx
    
    
    
    IS THERE A WAY TO INSTALL DIESEL ENGINES BACK TO BACK?
    
    
    When creating a train using the consist editor you can reverse the
    direction of the second or additional diesel locomotives by right
    clicking on its image in the train set at the bottom of the editor
    window.
    
    
    
    HOW DO I RUN MAKEACE.EXE ?
    
    
    The utility makeace.exe that is used to convert from .bmp and .tga image
    files into the .ace files that Train Simulator actually uses is a DOS
    program and that causes confusion for some people. Unless you are
    comfortable dealing with DOS paths and such here's what is probably the
    easiest way to handle this.
    
     Note: For people who have trouble running the DOS version of makeace.exe,
     there is a Windows version called MakeAceWin.exe that gets installed when
     you install the Train Simulator patch available from the Microsoft web site.
    
    Probably the easiest thing to do is copy makeace.exe into the directory
    you are working in. You can find it here:
    
    C:\Program Files\Microsoft Games\Train Simulator\UTILS
    
    assuming you've done an install to the default directories. Just copy
    makeace.exe and paste it into the directory you are working in. Then when
    you want to convert something open a DOS window, use the CD command to
    change to the directory you are working in. You might then want to use the
    DIR command to confirm that the files you are working with really are
    there. Then from the DOS command line run makeace.exe something like this:
    
    makeace.exe  myfile.tga  us2freight7.ace
    
    You will of course have to change "myfile.tga" and "us2freight7.ace" to
    reflect the source and destination files you really want.
    
    
    
    I NEED WORDPAD TO EDIT .ENG AND OTHER FILES, BUT SINCE UPGRADING TO WINDOWS
    XP I DON'T SEEM TO HAVE WORDPAD AVAILABLE. WHAT CAN I USE INSTEAD?
    
    
    In Windows XP NotePad has been upgraded so that it can handle the UniCode
    text files that Train Simulator uses for .eng, .wag and other files so use
    it instead of WordPad.
    
    XP does apparently include WordPad too, and it also can be used to edit
    UniCode text files.
    
    
    
    RUNNING MSTS MY SYSTEM FREEZES EVERY 2 TO 10 MINUTES. HOW CAN I STOP IT
    FROM FREEZING?
    
    
    I had, until last night, a problem with MSTS freezing up at unexpected
    intervals between 2-10 minues into activities. (I am running a Pentium III
    800 MHz / 320 MB ram / ATI Radeon 6300 64 MB, 15+gig free space). This
    usually occurred when I was running at high speed and changing views
    frequently with high graphics definition (I am a frustrated model
    railroader). The only way out of the freeze-up was to reset/reboot, losing
    the activity.
    
    Then, whilst reading the good old MSTS forum, I came upon a mention of a
    utility called MaxMem at the www.analogx.com site. I went there and not
    only found MaxMem for free, bur also an awesome little piece of kit called
    CacheBooster, ditto. This is a configurable cache adjusting device,
    complete with uninstaller and a howdyuzeme file. It comes pre-set with
    various settings like"general purpose", "gaming", etc. I downloaded it,
    installed it, and started MSTS using the "gaming" settings. After some
    noodling around, my freezing problem appears to have gone away.  If you
    have a setup like mine, right now, here are my settings: Min 11859 kb, max
    34554 kb, chunk 1301 kb, last 52 kb. I saved these settings in a custom
    cache configuration called MSTS.
    
    Result? Classic UK steam rides the S&C and the ECML again, uninterrupted
    and at high speed!
    
     - - -
    
    Thank you for reminding me to check www.outertech.com for a Cacheman
    update - version 5.1 is available and I upgraded from 4.1. 
    
    Everything you mention for the other utility and probably more than you
    imagine is in Cacheman. I've been using Cacheman for about a year and if
    you took away all the other utilities except one, it would be Cacheman
    that I retain.  Version 5.1 now has an extensive Help file and features
    have been expanded to include memory recovery - it does a better job than
    RamIdle from the prelim tests I've run, so there is a lot to gain by
    having Cacheman.
    
    Cacheman is freeware with an option to register for $10. US - I'd call
    that the best bargain in software yet. But you can keep it as freeware if
    you want, nothing will be disabled and so far as I know neither does it
    expire. 
    
    The only difference I can see is that when Cacheman loads with Win98, the
    registered version will not display a splash screen unless you want it to
    do so - I paid my ten bucks and the splash screen no longer loads. Since
    the splash shows for maybe five seconds then closes itself, its not a big
    deal.
    
    This is the only utility I simply could not be without. How can you lose?
    
    
    
    HOW TO FIX THE WHITE VOID PROBLEM
    
    
    By Larry Friddle
    
    Actually there are at least three white void problems. Each one has its
    own fix or work around. White Void is defined as having no visible
    terrain. Your world tiles are simply not there, even though you may move
    around and actually place objects, they seem to be hanging in mid air.
    
    1. The Great White Void Problem
    
    This is the problem encountered most often. It is usually referred to as
    "THE Great White Void problem" to differentiate between the other two
    known conditions. This occurs when your route crosses a specific
    North/South or East/West boundary. You will see it in the route editor
    depending on where your Route Start Tile is located. If it is located to
    the West of the North/South boundary you will see the white void on the
    East side. If the start tile is located on the East side of the boundary,
    both sides will be OK. The same thing happens at an East/West boundary. If
    the start tile is on the South side, you will see white void on the North
    side. If the start tile is on the North side of the boundary both sides
    will be OK. When you run the route in the actual simulator you will
    discover that any activity that begins on the East side of the North/South
    boundary has no problem, but activities that begin on the West side of the
    boundary will not display any terrain on the east side of the boundary
    line. Your track and other scenery objects will still be there and appear
    to be suspended in mid air. The same thing will happen if you have an
    East/West boundary in your route and the activity begins on the South side
    of the line.
    
    This appears to be a true Microsoft bug in the program. The North/South
    and East/West boundaries occur at predictable intervals. The simulator
    uses boxes of boxes to keep track of each terrain tile. The smallest unit
    is the very small box you checked when creating your route in the route
    geometry editor. In the route editor these show up as the blue boundaries
    and are further divided into a 16x16 grid that allows you to assign a
    terrain tile to each one. Outside the editor, 4 of those boxes makes up
    the next larger size box, and 4 of those make up the next higher box and
    so on. By the time you have done this 6 times you have a rather large box.
    It is the boundaries of this large box that mark where the problem
    appears. It is at this point that apparently Microsoft started the number
    all over again and if you cross the boundary your route will contain a
    reference to 2 (or more) of these large squares instead of one. Note that
    these boundaries have nothing to do with the UTM boundaries mentioned in
    the editor help files. That is a totally different problem. 
    
    There is no cure for this problem at this time. Hopefully it will be
    addressed in the next release of the simulator. If you are building a
    fictional route, avoid crossing a boundary. You can eliminate the problem
    while working in the Route Editor by always placing your Route Start Tile
    in the most North/East tile of your route. For the activities in the
    simulator, there is a work around. If you drive your train across the
    boundary to the East, or North, save the game and then exit out. Reload
    the saved game and all will be normal. It appears that you only have to do
    this once so if a route winds back and forth across the line you only have
    to do it one time. If you save on the West or South side of the line later
    on, exit, then reload the saved game; you will have the problem again.
    Apparently it only makes a difference as to which side of the line you are
    on when the activity starts.
    
    
    This map shows the locations where The Great White Void problem will occur within the continental United States and Canada. The grid across the top of Canada shows the basic tiles and how they expand out into ever-larger boxes, until you end up with the large blocks marked in cyan. The problem occurs when crossing from the West of a cyan line to the East or from the South side of a cyan line to the North. If you live in another part of the world, use the Route Geometry Editor to find where your boundaries will fall. As you can see, these boundaries do not fall on even Lat and Long values as some people think. Lat and Long lines are shown in gray. 2. The Elevation White Void Problem This problem is seen less frequently than The Great White Void problem. It only occurs if your route is in a very mountainous area and your maximum height exceeds about 10,000 feet or around 3500 meters. You usually notice it as soon as you process DEM data and it shows up in the editor as well as in the simulator. You will also probably see mountains missing suddenly pop into view as you get closer when working below the ceiling value. The fix for this problem is relatively easy. Lower the height of every tile when you process it to keep your maximum height well below the ceiling. This should not impact the visual effect of your route. Take the mountains in Colorado as an example. Your overall height would be from 0 to well above 14, 000 feet. However, the lowest point of your route likely will not be below 5,000 feet. You can lower the actual height of each tile by 5,000 and the effective visual effect of 9,000 foot drops will be maintained. After all, you don't know the difference if you engine fell from 14,000 feet to 5,000 feet or just 9,000 to 0. It looks the same! If you build a route up Everest, you are out of luck! 3. The Dumb Newbie White Void Problem Sorry. I admit I made up this title myself as it only happens to new route builders. The symptom is that you use the Route Geometry Editor to create a new route and get busy laying new track. When you run the route you discover white void everywhere. Sometimes it comes and goes. It comes and goes when in the editor. This problem happens when you exit out of building a route without setting the Route Start Tile at all, one of the steps clearly in the instructions. The fix is simple. Go back into the Route Geometry Editor and set a tile as the start tile. SOME CARS COUPLE BUT STILL HAVE A GAP BETWEEN THEM. OTHERS ACTUALLY MERGE TOGETHER BEFORE THEY COUPLE. HOW DO YOU SET THE BOUNDING BOX AND OTHER SETTINGS SO THE CARS COUPLE CORRECTLY? OK, here goes. Here is my procedure: 1. In the .SD file, look for the bounding box statement: ESD_Bounding_Box ( -1.413324 -0.001219 -6.0 1.410107 3.992969 6.0 ) The length in represented by the third and sixth numbers, -6.0 and 6.0 in this example. Set these two numbers to something small, ie -1.0 and 1.0. In this example, the bounding box would look like this: ESD_Bounding_Box ( -1.413324 -0.001219 -1.0 1.410107 3.992969 1.0 ) This is a temporary change that will prevent the cars from bumping together before they couple. Note also, that it may allow cars to collapse into each other, but we will fix that later. 2. In the .ENG or .WAG file, check the r0 statement. Make sure it looks like this: r0 ( 20cm 30cm ) 3. Now, in the .ENG or .WAG file look for the size statement: Size ( 2.80m 3.97m 12.1m ) The length is represented by the third number, 12.1m. This number controls the coupling of cars and the spacing when they are coupled. Use trial and error to fine tune this number so the cars couple properly. Note, to test this, put two identical cars in a consist and run MSTS in explore mode to check their operation coupling with each other. If the cars overlap when they are coupled, increase the number. If they don't touch when they couple, then decrease the number. When you get this number set right, go to step 4. 4. Now, go back to fix the bounding box statement in the .SD file: ESD_Bounding_Box ( -1.413324 -0.001219 -1.0 1.410107 3.992969 1.0 ) Take your final length from step 3, divide by 2 and subtract 0.1. In my example: 12.1 divide by 2 equals 6.05 6.05 subtract 0.1 equals 5.95 Now replace the third and sixth numbers in the SD file with the newly calculated number: ESD_Bounding_Box ( -1.413324 -0.001219 -5.95 1.410107 3.992969 5.95 ) Don't forget the minus sign on the third number. Now test this number in MSTS by bringing the cars together so slowly that they don't couple. The cars should collapse into each other about 6 inches before they bump. If they collapse too far, then increase the numbers a little. If they bump into each other before they couple, then decrease the number a little. OK, that is what I do. Assuming their aren't other problems with the car. HOW CAN YOU ADJUST YOUR VIEWPOINT USING THE TRACKSIDER OBSERVER VIEW? Not mentioned in MSTS literature is that you can "walk down the cars" using the CTRL, left arrow/right arrow keys while viewing the train in view 4, trackside observer and it will delay the camera pivot until the selected car passes. By selecting, say the sixth car, the view of the approaching engines is almost immediate, but a majority of the train is viewed before sweeping the selected car and jumping to the next position. It's also possible to repeatedly press view 4 and this will rapidily change immediate positions "randomly" to different points of terrain in the same area. WHY IS IT SO HARD TO COUPLE AND DE-COUPLE CARS IN A SWITCHING ACTIVITY LIKE MARIAS PASS WHITEFISH YARD? A: DIESEL ENGINE FRONT COUPLERS DO NOT WORK PROPERLY in MSTS, and they never will since there are no plans for MSTS version 2. PROBLEM #1: Train Operations view (F9) will only show 6 cars from the end of a consist when the engine is nose-coupled to it. WORKAROUND #1A: Decouple six cars at a time, so that Train Operations view works its way back towards the engine. WORKAROUND #1B: Don't nose-couple more than 6 cars (counting the engine(s)) if you can adjust your action sequence to avoid it. If your activity does not include a section of track designed for reversing engines (a "wye"), you may want to edit the activity to reverse the engines from the start point; this involves a hysterically unobvious and undocumented sequence of steps in the Activity Editor to make a change to the starting Path. 1. Open the activity in the Activity Editor. 2. In the Player section, click EDIT on the "Player Service". 3. In the Service Editor, click Edit on the "Path". 4. In the Path Editor, click the "HIGHLIGHT" button to center the starting point in the route window. Zoom in on the start of the path until you can see red/green lines on the track sections; these are the paths the engines can take if it goes forward (green) or backward (red). 5. Right click this colored track section to expose a drop-down menu; click "Toggle start direction" in the drop-down. PROBLEM #2: You can't decouple or couple a car successfully to the nose of the engine. WORKAROUND #2: Apparently you can only manage this if the engine is travelling BELOW 1 mph, which ain't too easy to do. Direct observation of the coupler (F2/F3) is advisable so you can see when the desired result is achieved and resume "normal" engine operation. PROBLEM #3: There seems to be a generalized coupler-coding error in all or most of the MSTS .WAG and .ENG files, although the impact of the error is not immediately obvious. SOLUTION #3: What no-one has mentioned so far: Did you check all equipment in your train and eliminate any error in the coupler damping line? The old, old and often told story in brief (for the benefit any new users entering the world of MSTS): When Kuju released the original equipment, an error went undetected in the .eng and .wag files of all stock of USA2/Marias Pass (gp38.eng, dash9.eng, sd40.eng, all US2xxxxxx.wag). The use of a wrong physical unit of measurement makes the coupler damping inoperable, meaning that couplers will not absorb shocks properly when going over track nodes at switches (the red poles in Route Editor). The problem is further aggravated because MSTS calculates the progress of your train by measuring the distance it travelled from the last node (switch) you passed, with some rounding errors accumulating the farther you go inbetween nodes. When you hit the next switch a tad earlier than MSTS expects from its calculations, each car of your train jerks into the new position, which is exactly when couplers break if the damping line has not been fixed. The default coupler section originally reads: Coupling ( Type ( Automatic ) Spring ( Stiffness ( 1e6N/m 5e6N/m ) Damping ( 1e6N/m 1e6N/m ) Break ( 1.1e7N 1.1e7N ) r0 ( 20cm 30cm ) ) Velocity ( 0.1m/s ) ) The bold line is where the error hides, as this line should correctly read: Damping ( 1e6N/m/s 1e6N/m/s ) The newer equipment in the download library usually has its coupler section fixed, with the correct N/m/s in place. Many older downloads however have the error and need to be adjusted by the user. Instead of editing dozens - if not hundreds of files - manually, I recommend EngMod and RouteRiter. Each of these tools allow you to do these adjustments fleet-wise with a few mouse clicks. Search the fora here for more information on "broken couplers", there are probably over 100 posts on the subject. The coupler bug is an old story, and one of the reasons why I check every .wag and .eng files for common errors before installing.
  • Recent Forum Activity

    defect_detector

    Any Route, Any Railroad, Any Era. ORTS Edition

    Thread Starter: defect_detector

    EWIR 4451 builds an ethanol train at Glendale before beginning its westward journey for the PNW.

    Last Post By: tarrant75 Yesterday, 06:25 PM Go to last post
    cjakeman

    Open Rails v1.4 is here

    Thread Starter: cjakeman

    Following on from the thread Stable Version - Open Rails 1.4 - Coming soon, I am very pleased to announce that Stable Version 1.4 of Open Rails is...

    Last Post By: CSRX Yesterday, 08:57 PM Go to last post
    Curt C

    Toronto Mainline Trains New Releases

    Thread Starter: Curt C

    One of my favorite payware vendors for US freight cars is Toronto Mainline Trains. Recently, they've been releasing some nice sets, including new...

    Last Post By: CSRX Yesterday, 08:31 PM Go to last post
    Don6218

    TSRE5 Consist Editor not Loading Properly

    Thread Starter: Don6218

    Hello, I am having an issue with the TSRE5 Consist Editor. It opens to the input screen, but when "Load" at the bottom is clicked it does nothing,...

    Last Post By: Don6218 Yesterday, 12:38 PM Go to last post
    FireEngine

    Powder River Basin Activity Pack Question!

    Thread Starter: FireEngine

    Good Evening. I would like to know has anyone on here been able to fix the activities in this pack that's in two parts going from Cordero to Bill. I...

    Last Post By: R. Steele Yesterday, 03:11 AM Go to last post
    FireEngine

    Powder River Basin Activity Pack Question!

    Thread Starter: FireEngine

    Good Evening. I would like to know has anyone on here been able to fix the activities in this pack that's in two parts going from Cordero to Bill. I...

    Last Post By: R. Steele Yesterday, 03:01 AM Go to last post
-->