In response to some postings and e-mails about ChicagoLand and the routes combined with it as described in the release announcement and in documentation within ChiLand.zip, this is offered to those who might be interested in the subject.

This posting provides an overview having a brief introduction, description of the general phases, and covers some aspects about the specific routes combined with ChiLand. All is based upon own experiences, thus not pertinent to all situations. Others with other experiences are encouraged to join in.

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1. INTRODUCTION
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Combining MSTS routes is a great way for one with some route building skills to take extra advantage of routes already created and available from a variety of sources. A new single longer route resulting from the combination of two routes would provide many more possibilities for long distance non-stop activities and operations - maybe your "ultimate" route.

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2. GENERAL PHASES
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PREPARE YOURSELF
- Combining routes requires some of the same knowledge/skills/tasks a route builder uses to build a route.
- One must learn and gain some experience with RGE, RE, and AE if don't already have.

PREPARE THE SYSTEM
- The routes to be combined should be installed and in good running order.
- Certain tools must be installed - Route-Riter (includes TSUtils) and TK_Utils (or equivalent) for Horace.

ANALYZE the routes using RGE and RE.
- This is probably the most brain challenging phase, including learning the MSTS tile design structure and tile/file naming.
- Pertinent data is collected and decisions are made regarding the final tile structure and location of the combined route.
- The tile structures of both routes need to be analyzed in order to determine how and where the routes are to end up.
- The end-tracks in each route where joining will take place have to be identified and altitude/gradient determined.
- Tile addresses for tiles to be deleted or added must be identified, to resolve excess, overlap, and gaps in tile positions.
- The distances to move one route must be determined using tile addresses where the end-tracks of both routes are.
- Decisions must be made regarding distant mountains if one or both routes contain them.
- The need for Horace must be determined.
- There may be other things to do depending on routes involved.
- Upon completion, most information is known for making changes to the two routes as necessary.

PREPARE the two routes using TK_Utils(Horace), RGE, and RE.
- Changes resulting from the analysis occur here for one or both routes.
- Horace should be used on routes not already using the standardized tsection.dat if to be combined with any that do.
- Some deletions of track/road/interactive objects may be required in the tiles where end-tracks reside.
- Tiles to be deleted because they are excess and/or to be added to fill in tile gaps must be deleted/added.
- The world files for tiles deleted will have to be deleted if present.
- There may be other things to do depending on routes involved.
- Upon completion, the two routes have been prepared for the next steps involving TSUtils.

ADJUST the altitude of one of the routes using TSUtils.
- The is when the altitude of one route is adjusted so that the altitude of the end-tracks of each routes are about the same.
- The difference in altitudes of the end-tracks of the two routes is calculated using data from the analysis.
- The value is used as input to TSUtils which will adjust the altitude of one of the routes accordingly.
- Upon completion, the two routes are at altitudes at which the end-tracks are about same altitude for easier joining.

MOVE one route closer to the other using TSUtils.
- This is when one route is moved, in the MSTS world, next to or closer to the other so that end-tracks can be joined.
- The number of tiles to move in north/south and east/west directions are calculated using data from analysis.
- The two numbers are used as input to TSUtils which will then move one of the routes accordingly.
- Upon completion, the two routes are in the correct positions for the next phase - the merge.

MERGE the route definitions of the two routes using TSUtils.
- This is when pertinent files are merged together to form the route definitions of a new single larger route.
- No data input is required for TSUtils; pressing a button will prepare new files that will end up making a merged route.
- Following the merge, the resulting files need to be copied into the route designated as "Primary" ("Basis" to TSUtils).
- Upon completion, the Primary route has the other one merged into it, thus a new larger route, with more to be done.

CONTINUE route development using RE and AE.
- This is the time when the area where one route leaves off and the other begins needs more route building work.
- The end tracks must be joined, thus allowing paths across the two route portions.
- The terrain will have differences, maybe abrupt, where tiles meet, thus requiring adjustments.
- Scenery objects can be added to fill in empty areas to improve the look at the transition.
- There may be other things to do depending on routes involved.
- Upon completion, the route is fully combined, ready for testing, creation of activities, and further combinations if desired.

REPEAT the appropriate phases above to combine the new larger route with an additional one if desired, and so on.
- Each newly combined route can be combined with another.
- It's a matter of how far the limits of the builder's desire/endurance and MSTS capacity allow.

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3. ROUTES COMBINED WITH CHILAND
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This is for those interested in the various routes described in the ChiLand documentation. It describes some unique aspects about the routes that come into play when combining them. When a "/" appears in the name, it means the combined route of the two named routes.

- ChiLand with Clinton Sub - Clinton Sub has a unique situation with the RGE size of its tiles, and also with distant mountains, both easily addressed.

- Raton with Glorieta - Raton has a unique situation with distant mountains that requires attention, but easily fixed.

- Raton/Glorieta with Seligman - No special situations.

- Cajon with Tehachapi - These routes overlap at some tile locations. Some extra deletions along with a special function in TSUtils allows them to be one of the easier routes to merge. The altitude adjustment and move are not required, but more track work is required after the merge in order to have better access to the yards and main line at Barstow for the eventual joining up on the east side with the Raton/Glorieta/Seligman route next.

- Raton/Glorieta/Seligman with Cajon/Tehachapi - Distant mountains require a decision, beyond the scope of this post, but otherwise a straight forward process.

- Raton/Glorieta/Seligman/Cajon/Tehachapi with ChiLand - No special situations.

- ChiLand/Raton/Glorieta/Seligman/Cajon/Tehachapi with Rollins-Moffat - Distant mountains require a decision, and there are two road sections in Rollins-Moffat that require some editing in its RDB followed by a special function in TSUtils.

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There's more to the process of combining routes and for the specific route combinations mentioned above, but this post is getting way too long.

Depending upon interest and questions that might appear in this forum about combining routes, maybe more will be posted by me and others that would help readers interested in this topic.

Hope this helps.

Chuck Rickert