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Thread: ORTS Explorer mode

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Stokke, Norway.

    Default ORTS Explorer mode

    All problems shown here happens in Open Rails Explorer mode


    I wonder why explorer mode works in a more restrictive way than in activity mode.

    I have difficulty to find information behind the creation of Explorer mode in ORTS and how
    the signals work. Was it designed to be a copy of MSTS explorer mode or a multiuser explore in ORTS?

    There are so many problems with signaling in explorer mode with many of my favorite routes
    that I would like just at an early stage to indicate some of the problems found:

    I use Explore mode to get a correct time table for my passenger trains, among other things.

    Speed restrictions, yellow signals, changes over to green at next signal.

    Yellow signals, which changes to red, in some routes activates TCS braking, when going further
    a red bar across the line, passing the bar, all green again. After 5-7 miles, it starts all over again.
    This is not only on routes with buried signals. Applies to all 4 Milwaukee routes, also the NP portions.

    In some instances, ORTS changes from Explorer mode to Auto Mode, when I try to deal with unpleasant signaling. Pressing Control M to get rid of a red signal get you to Manual mode, no way out of this, this happened in the GAP.

    In the Whitefish10_X route using the path from Tamarak-Marion-Kalispell, a portion which have no
    signals, after driving some miles in explorer mode a red bar appears across the line in the Track Monitor, a few miles ahead. Pressing the G for a switch gives an arrow to the right. When you arrive at the arrow, there is nothing there and you drive further some 5-6 miles and the same happen again at least until you reach Marion.

    At least 10 of my favorite routes have some red lights in explorer mode. Some portions of the route are
    worse than others. The Explore mode in MSTS give you an all green tour.
    The picture I have included are from an explorer mode trip from NP depot in Butte to the Homestake Pass. It shows a red light in the Explorer. Line 312 in the sigscr.dat file line then read “SIGASP_APPROACH_1;”
    In the SIGSCR.DAT files to this route I have tried to set line 312 to “state = SIGASP_CLEAR_1;”

    Is it possible to have an Explorer mode in the ORTS with only green signals? I just want to explore the route, with no restrictions except for the speed limits.Open Rails 2017-06-09-RedSignal.jpg
    How can it be done?

    All the best from John in Norway

  2. #2


    Two things I do 'know' John;
    1. You cannot go to auto mode in Explore.
    2. Pressing Control+M (manual mode) does not work in explore mode.

    ............Vince ..............
    ...... Author NECv4 .......
    .... LIRR BUILD PHOTOS ....
    .............LIRR VIDEO.............
    ...... Eschew Obsfucation ......

    On the The Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor there is a Tablet. On it is written:
    "Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
    the wretched refuse of your teeming shore, send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me,
    I lift my lamp beside the golden door!"

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Torino, Italy.


    Pressinc Control+M in Explorer Mode is only used to exit from emergency. The train however remains in Explorer Mode.
    Explorer Mode works a bit differently when running in single player and when running in multiplayer.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Stokke, Norway.


    Hi all, and thanks to Vince and csantucci for your answers.

    It is not that simple I think. After passing over a few red bars and red/yellow signals in the "GAP" between Othello and Malden I also got
    some "EndAuth" and the game changed from Explorer mode to Auto/Manual mode. Next time I then got to an red signal the
    it was hopeless and I had to quit.

    Pressing the Ctrl M in Explorer mode get you rid of the red signals, in Explorer mode. What I exactly did do in Explorer mode to get the ORTS in Auto/Manual mode I do not know exactly, two times has it occurred on the particular route.

    Where can I find information on a detailed basis how the ORTS works in single or multiplayer mode when using explorer mode ?

    All the best from John in Norway.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Stokke, Norway.


    Further to this post,

    I have updated to X3874, many of my tests were with older versions, like X3869 or older.

    Today on June 12th, I took a trip in RMD-West from Missoula towards Alberton.

    It looked like this:

    MP 1650 Yellow 20 Primrose in
    MP 1651 Red - Permission denied - Primrose out
    Passing the red signal did nothing, but showed 3 greens signals in the track monitor after I had passed the red.
    MP 1654 Schilling Green light out

    Seems OK, but this area in the game was one of the problem areas up to the point where NP crosses the Milwaukee - Huson Crossover.

    Some months ago it would be impossible to go here before the CTRL M in Explorer mode was "invented".

    I update my Open Rail every week.

    All the best from John

  6. #6


    I have seen some issues with the signal look ahead settings on some routes. If there are closely spaced signals such as for short sidings, you can encounter a red rather quickly.

    I have lengthened the look ahead numbers (After saving the original signal file in a safe place) and this reduces the problem.


  7. #7
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Stokke, Norway.


    Dear bprice!

    Thanks for giving me a comment.

    Is it the SignalNumClearAhead ( 4 ) in the sigcfg.dat file you are talking about?

    I also think I have read that these numbers (4) have to be 4 and above, although I have read another place that
    the Explorer mode do not use these.

    However I found the following in a very recent Open Rails document:

    Excerpt starts:

    2. Track Access rules.
    As there no longer is a dispatcher or authorize function, it is up to the trains to clear their own
    path. When in Auto Signal mode, part of that function is transferred to the signals.
    In Auto Node mode, trains will clear their path upto 5000 meter, or the distance covered in 2
    mins. at the max. allowed speed, whichever is furthest. In Auto Signal mode, the no. of signals
    cleared ahead of the train is taken from the value of the SignalNumClearAhead parameter as
    defined in the sigcfg.dat file for the first signal ahead of the train.
    In Manual mode, the distance cleared is 3000 meter maximum, or as limited by signals.
    Distances in Explorer mode are similar to those in Auto mode.
    If a train is stopped at a signal it can claim the track ahead ensuring it will get priority as next
    train onto that section, but to avoid needless blocking of other possible routes, no claim is made
    if the train ahead is also stopped.

    Excerpt ends.

    May be you have the solution.

    All the best from John in Norway

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2010
    Pacific Time


    Well, I think I've found a repeatable glitch in the explore mode signaling. Not just the random yellows. In this case, I'll be running fine, within the speed limit, getting a normal progression of greens with occasional flashing yellows that usually turn green just as I get to them. Save. Exit. Close OR. Start up OR again. Resume from previous save. Now the next signal after the resume point is yellow (was green at the time of the save), and the following one is permissive red (restricted speed, 10 or 20 mph). Once the train clears the permissive red, the next signal goes back to green and we can proceed as usual. Sequence repeats with the next save and resume.

    Route: Donner Pass freeware (Willie's update)
    Train: FPM/3dTrains Cal-Amtrak
    Path: westbound from easterly end of track
    ORTS version: X3883
    ORTS log: can't attach it here - 20.2 KB is too big for the upload manager

    It's the repeatability that is new here. I've run this route in earlier ORTS releases and haven't had this particular problem - yes, signals did their usual random yellow thing, but not this. Can't say it's new to THIS release, since the last time I ran this route was probably back before X3500.

    It's not an activity killer - annoying, though.

    EDIT: if it matters: Windows 10 64-bit, Core2 Extreme (quad) 3GHz, 8G RAM, GTX 750ti, running from SSD.
    Last edited by mikeebb; 07-01-2017 at 01:14 AM.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Stokke, Norway.


    Dear mikeebb and all other ORTS fans

    Thanks a lot for your response. Yes, after passing permissive reds and occasional red bars across the track, its all green again, -
    sorry to say it, for a while.

    Yesterday nite I had a new experience with the Milwaukee Route - the "GAP" (Avery Id, to Othello WA)

    Started in Avery this time, before St. Maries, I had some permissive reds and red bars across the track, after clearing the
    red bars, I got green all over again, going a bit further, new red bars/permissive signals. I tried to save the explorer mode 2 times and start from the saving point.
    First time saving OK, the second time the program crashed in explorer mode.

    We have to face it, as the Open Rails get more and more complicated, the explorer mode seems to follow the same path.

    I use Windows 10 64-bit, I7-4700, 3.6GHz, 16GBRAM, Foris FX2431 screen, running from SSD, my game is located
    at an internal HD 1TB. ( My MSTS installation are approx 62GB.)

    all the best from John in sunny Norway with 79 degrees F./Humidity 30.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Stokke, Norway.


    Dear all ORTS fans!

    Problems encountered in saving and reloading in ORTS Explorer mode.

    Reading the mail from mikeebb carefully, I decided to test saving and reloading in Explorer mode.
    I used the route RMD West and started in Avery Id.

    This route has come a long way since it were issued regarding issued in signalling in Explorer mode.

    Now I can drive from Avery and get only green lights in Explorer mode, however if I decide to save when I have 3 green lights in the Track Monitor in Explorer mode, you hope for 3 green lights when you reload the saved game. Well, not for me, you got a green, Yellow and permissive red, the you got 1 or 2 red bars across the line in the Track monitor, it might happen that you get more permissive reds
    and more bars to cross before you get all green again and it wil probably be true until you save the game again.

    In the Milwaukee "GAP" route I tried to save the route, but in that route the game crashed when trying to reload my saved game the 2nd time.

    In a newer route like the ConnRiver, the are not any faults in the signalling as far I have tested the route in Explorer mode and the activities work OK.

    I wish every US ORTS fan reading this, a happy and not too hot 4th of July!!!

    All the best from John in Norway

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