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Thread: CNW Harvard Progress - 2013

  1. #1

    Default CNW Harvard Progress - 2013

    A new year, a new thread...

    Here's the current status of the Scalerail Conversion (updated 01/23/13)

    CPT: Mostly Complete
    "Old" train shed canopies are done
    Still need to connect up platform tracks 7-13
    Platforms still need to be completed
    Need to replace remaining library object scenery at some point after release

    CPT-Kedzie: Mostly Complete (6+ miles)
    Re-did the entire California Avenue yard to use yard tracks
    Re-did from Northwest Junction to the convergance point with the MILW (A1)
    Slip switches from MILW at A2 done, removed fictional A1 crossovers
    Trackwork complete from California Ave to M19A, including Kedzie crossovers.
    Need to replace remaining library object scenery at some point after release

    CUS-Mayfair: Conversion not started (9 miles)
    Some work will be done with the California Avenue work, but nothing else since this is for AI and there's currently no scenery between A2 and Mayfair

    CPT-Deval:Mostly complete (19+ miles)
    Re-did Lee Lumber and the North Avenue yards to use yard tracks
    Still need to complete Track 1 alignment swings at stations Edison Park, Park Ridge, Dee Road Des Plaines
    Spurs leading down to Morton Salt and the Tribune plant in place, to be detailed later
    Need to replace remaining library object scenery at some point after release

    Proviso-Deval: Complete (11+ miles)
    Mainline complete
    Re-did yards at Proviso, Bryn Mawr, and Des Plaines using yard tracks
    Scenery between Bensenville and Higgins Road needed
    Still need to replace remaining library object scenery between Higgins & Deval at some point

    Deval-Palatine: Lots of work left... (9 miles)
    Terrain adjustment done between Seeger and Palatine
    Storage tracks & crossovers at Arlington Park done
    Industrial tracks in Rolling Meadows & Arlington Heights done
    Need to adjust Track 1 at Cumberland, Mt. Prospect, Arlington Heights, Arlington Park
    Need to replace remaining library object scenery at some point after release

    Palatine-Crystal Lake: Complete (16 miles)
    Removed the west connector track from the EJ&E (removed in the 50's... predates the route's timeframe)
    Need to replace remaining library object scenery at some point after release

    Crystal Lake-McHenry: Complete(7 miles)
    Yards and storage tracks at McHenry re-done with yard tracks
    Yards and storage tracks at Crystal Lake Junction re-done with yard tracks
    Industrial tracks expanded on south end of McHenry Branch and at Terra Cotta Industries
    Need to replace remaining library object scenery at some point after release

    Crystal Lake-Harvard: Somewhat complete (16 miles)
    Ridgefield elevator re-done with yard tracks and custom structures
    Downtown Woodstock started with custom structures
    Storage tracks at Woodstock re-done with yard tracks
    Yards and storage tracks at Crystal Lake re-done with yard tracks
    Need to replace remaining library object scenery at some point after release

    Harvard-Clinton: Complete (15 miles)
    Yard at Harvard complete
    Mainline to Clinton complete
    Balloon track and State Line stub (1 mile) at Clinton complete
    Branch to Chemung complete (4 miles)
    Custom structures added at Chemung
    Need to replace remaining library object scenery at some point after release

    Clinton-Janesville: Mostly complete 12 miles
    GM plant and track north of yard complete
    Engine storage and balloon track at north end of Janesville Yard complete
    Yard at Janesville re-done with yard tracks complete
    Mainline done to GM loading facility

    Janesville-Madison: Markers complete (~40 miles)
    Don't expect this anytime in 1H13
    Last edited by eolesen; 01-25-2013 at 04:51 AM. Reason: Status Update

  2. #2

    Default Progress and Future Plans...

    As mentioned the other day, I do have plans to expand the Harvard during 2013...

    Markers are done between Madison and Janesville, which would end the original plan for the route from 2010, adding another 40 miles.

    In addition to Madison here are the most likely candidates for expansion:

    • Extending McHenry Branch to Lake Geneva and Williams Bay (26 miles)
    • Extending the State Line from Clinton to South Beloit (10 miles)
    • Extending the Chemung Branch to Beloit (24 miles) and Evansville (25 miles)

    The Belvedere Branch (51 miles) and New Line (70 miles) are nice to adds, but rely on other projects in work, specifically the Geneva Sub and the Kenosha Sub, which are being done by other route authors. I'm not going to duplicate work unless those projects are abandoned, which doesn't seem likely as I've seen updates on both in the last six months.

  3. #3

    Default Crystal Lake Junction Redux

    The main benefit of doing a Scalerail conversion... upgrading and correcting things in the route as you go...

    The station at Pingree Road didn't exist when the CNW was around, but I've included it for those who want to run present day. The previous beta version has a placeholder from the file library, but this time around I've gone ahead and created the necessary custom object, including the tunnel and ramps. Still needs some fine-tuning with the landscaping, but it will do for now...

    Crystal Lake was a somewhat busy place in years past, as it was the junction of the Elgin to Williams Bay line (abandoned some 50 years ago between Elgin and Crystal Lake), and there were many gravel quarries in the area. Several still exist, but no longer have rail connections...

    The MOW yard is a little more compact now, but still the same overall length. This is the main staging yard for work done between Deval and Harvard, so there's a lot of equipment and material here. Again, still some work to do with clutterization.

    A new signalman hut at the McHenry Branch switch -- this is not an automated switch even today, as the line is TWC from here out. The hut is an upgrade from Ron Picardi's chicken coop I'd used as a placeholder... The radio tower is also updated. I bit the bullet and did the lattice work, and it makes a huge difference from a distance (previously, it was a triangle with an alpha'd texture).

    On the south side of the junction, the tracks inside the left corner above have been re-graded. In doing some research, I learned that there used to be a full connector track from north to west, long since removed except for the curved stub that goes into the present day commuter crew office. There also used to be a turntable at the corner by the bridge.

    Looking southeast, the lower storage tracks are still there, albeit now at a more prototypical spacing. Another major correction here is the actual north-south alignment. The earlier iteration didn't follow the markers here, since it was just a stub, and was off by about 200m and about 10d. That's now corrected, and Main Street now follows a razor edge alignment with the tracks, even crossing at the right place and angle near the station... Fixing this solved a bigger problem of my own doing by being sloppy with the original alignment --- huge terrain variances between the former roundhouse and the end of the line at Route 14. Now, it's actually a fairly level stretch of track, just as it is in real life...

    A parting view, showing how much clearer the radio tower appears from ~1000 meters...

    Up the road a bit, there's a new grain elevator at Ridgefield...

    There's also one at Chemung...

    ...which makes a repeat appearance in Woodstock, but as a background object.

    There are also (obviously) some structures done at Woodstock but not yet textured... the courthouse rotunda was a particular pain in the backside, but being only 200m from the station, it needs to be there. I'll finish texturing and adding the remaining buildings around Gobbler's Knob when I have a few hours locked on an airplane...

    Again, track laying goes rather quickly, but the biggest challenge in a route remains the structures along the way... Anyone who correctly guesses the percentage and/or raw number of custom scenery objects in the route can get an early peek at it..

    That's going to be the last update for a week or two. The summary at the top of the thread (assuming you're ordering oldest-to-newest) will be updated with the most current status, rather than repeat the information thru-out.
    Last edited by eolesen; 01-11-2013 at 03:51 PM.

  4. #4


    OK, I lied - I have a little more to update...

    The engine facility at M19A handles all the routine maintenance for the Metra fleet, but also has been known to do some overflow work on freight units that couldn't be done in Proviso's shop. Yes, it dates back into the 50's.

    At one point, M19A had a turntable, coaling towers, and sanding facilities; only the sanding remains today. The turntable survived past Y2000, but has since been filled in (there's still a turntable at Proviso AFAIK). There was also a yard adjacent to the locomotive facility, which has since been taken up.
    Last edited by eolesen; 01-15-2013 at 08:32 PM.

  5. #5


    A couple of major milestones have been reached this week --

    1) Scalerail conversion and Dynamic Track eradication is complete west of Woodstock
    2) McHenry Branch is complete for the same (+SR-DT)
    3) All CNW track west of A1 is complete, including the Rockwell wye

    Status at the top has been updated.

    Thanks for the offers on beta testing -- those who have been involved for the past three years have earned a first shot at the route, as have those who donated towards the IRM during 2012.
    Last edited by eolesen; 01-25-2013 at 04:52 AM.

  6. #6

    Default It's the little things that will drive you insane when route building....

    Good news.... Scalerail conversion and Dynamic Track eradication is complete west of Palatine

    Bad news.... I almost lost a good set of work sessions from the 30 hours. I'd backed up yesterday evening, but kept working into the wee hours, and had another solid block of work today after my day job.

    After dinner, I went in to wrap up a couple things, and BAM! .... got nailed with an immediate crash to the desktop when loading a the last set of tiles I'd been working on. That in turn caused about three unexpected hours of troubleshooting (hence the late hour for posting...).

    The culprit?

    For those who can't see it jumping off the page in my doctored photo, there's a track join straddling a tile boundary. Guaranteed to make your route go BOOM! without any warning, and it's not something Route_Riter will pick up or fix... As tile boundaries aren't visible unless you go into F7 once in a while, it's easy to overlook. This doesn't happen often with single track, but can happen if you have a blue pole within 1-2M of the tile boundary. This was a flagrant violation, with the poles for a single piece on both sides of the boundary.

    Unfortunately, all I knew at first was that the sim was blowing up on me whenever I got close to two tiles...

    After running Route_Riter and various TSUtils checks, and attempting to rebuild the TDB, I finally had to resort to World File editing...

    How'd I find the mistake?

    1) Created backups of the clobbered tiles
    2) Using Notepad, converted all the TrackObj entries into a Static entry
    3) rebuilt the TDB
    4) Start replacing the static track items with real track items, one piece at a time.... When I finally got to the tile boundary (three hours later) I noticed the blue poles from the left tile straddling the boundary.... duh.

    It took me three hours to get to this point and realize what I'd done, and about 20 minutes to fix it:

    1) identifying the track pieces with an X value > 950 or < -950 (I knew it was the X value from seeing the poles...), of which there was one on each tile (one @ 1024 exactly, the other at -965).
    2) deleting those entries from the W file
    3) rebuilding the TDB
    4) going back into the Sim & placing in a piece that moved away from the boundary. ~10m should do it, but I went large with 50m of clearance....

    The upside of today's episode... I'm now well past the 90% mark on the conversion and track laying portion of the route upgrade. This section of track that blew up my evening was the last missing curve where I'd removed Dynamic Track from the CNW mainline.
    Last edited by eolesen; 01-25-2013 at 05:31 AM.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA.


    A tool I use:


    Looks like a blue buttoned push-pin but there are 4 narrow wings that run about 900m on a N/S/E/W axis.

    Stick the shape sin your \shapes directory, the textures in \textures. Open up a world file and do a copy of any static item and paste it at the end. Change the value of position to 0,n,0 where n is an approximate height of your terrain plus a few meters, and the value of qdirection to 0 0 0 1 (no rotation). Save. Open up RE, find the pin, click on it, hit the H key. You can toggle on/off display by using the Display Limit value inthe camera window. The pin is set to 10 so it's gone with the first decrement (I set all my misc tools to 10 so I can keep them out of sight until such time I need them).

    It's good enough for flatland routes... helps you notice where you don't want your camera to slide past... and can help you catch the problem you mentioned above. I have a bunch of different colored pins (no wings) I'll use as temporary markers -- red as reminders of some problem, yellow for incomplete, whatever.

    If you decide this is worthwhile, copy paste the .w file records elsewhere, always being sure the UiD value is either unique or equal to a static object. Stick 'em in your .ref file for quick use.
    Dave Nelson

    Seldom visiting, posting less often that that.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA.


    Something else I've been meaning to ask... IMO the ScaleRail pink gravel is far, far too "pink" for C&NW track around Chicago. What's your opinion on that?
    Dave Nelson

    Seldom visiting, posting less often that that.

  9. #9


    The winged gauge at 0x0 is an interesting idea... will have to give that a look.

    Quote Originally Posted by muskokaandtahoe View Post
    the ScaleRail pink gravel is far, far too "pink" for C&NW track around Chicago. What's your opinion on that?
    Agree -- Pink Lady, especially stuff that's been around for a while, tends to be more deep purple & maroon than it is pink.

    It's even more noticeable on Packerland where I have "ore dust" Mosaic'd into the yards and along the roadbed.

    Not high on my list of things to tweak just yet, but something I've just added to the master punch list.... I had already planned to re-do my berms to be less rock and more dirt/grass... having the track texture match the berms is pretty important.
    Last edited by eolesen; 01-26-2013 at 01:05 AM.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Apr 2003
    Silicon Valley, CA, USA.


    I think what happens is some of it weathers into yellow-brown. That a look at ; I think the left hand track has new ballast and the right is older, look close near the ties ahead of the locomotive. There is a distinct yellow/brown cast in there. Here's another one, taken in 1982: . To my eye there are two very distinct and different colors in there.

    What do you think?
    Dave Nelson

    Seldom visiting, posting less often that that.

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