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Thread: CNW Chicago Division Progress - 2021

  1. #21


    OK, I'm going against my better judgement, but plan on a work-in-progress release sometime this week.

    It will be available in the store at and I'll be asking for a minimum $10 donation. Go read the website to see how those proceeds get distributed... hint: it ain't going in my pocket...

    To set expectations...

    • The $10 gets you to the route as it is today, with no promises there will be support or another release anytime soon. I've seen what people have said about the Sherman Hill beta, and honestly don't really care if you think you got ripped off. $10 for over 200 miles of running and 5000 custom objects is a bargain....
    • No refunds on donations. Try to do a chargeback, and I'll fight it.
    • It's around 10Gb download and almost 12Gb unzipped due to the photo terrtex.
    • It's fully signaled Chicago to Rochelle
    • There's not a lot of scenery across the entire route
    • There are probably a few track database bugs thanks to some unfixable issues in TSRE, but I've tried to fix all of those in advance.

    More details once I finish up the final testing....

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Oct 2015


    Quote Originally Posted by eolesen View Post
    [*]There are probably a few track database bugs thanks to some unfixable issues in TSRE, but I've tried to fix all of those in advance.
    You can show them to me and maybe I can help you fix them.

  3. #23
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Yorkville, Illinois, USA.


    I'll be over there to get your release, I honestly am looking forward to this one Eric!
    Kevin Kelleher

  4. #24


    Quote Originally Posted by GokuMK View Post
    You can show them to me and maybe I can help you fix them.
    It's the vector flipping. I'm finding it on vectors I haven't touched in weeks.

    Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk

  5. #25


    Upload from Digital Rails is currently being set up... Hopefully it will be available later tonight.

    For now, you can go directly to the Store @

  6. #26


    Thanks to all who have downloaded and provided some feedback. A few items in the route have been updated and a patch uploaded to Gumroad -- click on the download link from your receipt and you should see the new file.

    For those who purchase on or after 15-Feb-2021, there's no need to download the patch.

  7. #27


    Thanks again to all those who've taken time to donate and download the pre-release.

    There will be more coming shortly... as a word of warning, don't do a whole lot of activity or path work on the Harvard Sub... Big changes are coming there.

    For those new to my building approach... I try to mirror Agile, and work in sprints. Agile in development groups for my real job usually follow two week blocks, but my sprints run about a week, with individual sprints having anywhere from 4 to 30 miles of track each. The reasoning behind this: when you can achieve something quickly and regularly, you don't burn out as quickly...

    The release for the Geneva Sub end to end took about ten weeks, with six track sprints (MP15 to MP12 -- MP05 to MP12 -- MP15 to MP24 -- MP24 to MP32 -- MP32 to MP59 -- MP59 to MP68) plus a side sprint for doing the CTA trackage, another side sprint to do a mass update on my naming convention for shapes, and then another two weeks of debugging and doing repairs before the release went out.

    With that release done, it's time to move onto the next sprint. And its a doozy....

    The original route from 2010 was built with X-Tracks, and that was later replaced with Scalerail. While I've done all new track builds with yard spacing (4m track centers), the original mainline from downtown to Harvard (about 63 miles) was still done with "standard" 5m track center spacing. I've left that alone up until now, but it's time to convert that entire 63 mile stretch of track over to 4m track centers...

    The other driving issue is alignments that are considerably off from the Google Imagery:

    There's only one way to approach this.... rip it all up and start over, like I did on the Geneva and Clinton Subs.

    And what a better place to start on the Harvard than in Harvard...

    I started that sprint back on Thursday, and after a couple days of deleting and replacing, I'm pretty happy with the initial results:

    As of tonight, I've got Chemung to Harvard re-done (approx 4 miles), as well as MP63 Harvard to MP52 Woodstock, which is about 15 miles of track in total. Nothing was saved with the exception of the highway overpasses...

    Tomorrow I can start on MP52 Woodstock to MP43 Crystal Lake -- the alignment is off enough from imagery that it will also be a rip out and realign. I'm also using this time to fix some of the grades to match a set of track charts I didn't have for the original build... which is amazingly easy now that TSRE allows me to key in permile as used in the track charts.

    That ends the first sprint.

    The next sprint will be MP43 Crystal Lake to MP29 Palatine. The alignment is fairly good, so that stretch will just be a matter of replacing the 2tStr_W tracks with 2TStr_Y tracks, which will also require re-doing crossovers and industry tracks, but that's fairly quick work as long as I don't have to recalculate curves.

    That's followed by MP29 to MP17, where the alignments stray off again, and MP17 Deval has some serious trackwork to contend with plus a yard... There's also a yard at MP33 Barrington to deal with.

    Then the real fun starts.... MP16 Des Plaines to MP0 Downtown. The track alignments are is mostly OK with imagery up to MP3 Clybourn, but there all bets are off, and that's going to involve a lot of curves to re-work.

    Somewhere in there I'll need to address the New Line, which also has some alignment drift, and re-do the portion of the Soo which appears at Deval.

    I'm hoping not to have to mess with Olgilvie at all, so there will be some smoke and mirrors at the first curve around MP0.6 Northwest Junction (where the West Line and Northwest Lines split) to transition back to 5m track centers.

    My guess is this will keep me busy enough to get to the end of March before I package it up for another release.

    After that, it's north from Harvard to Janesville and Madison, plus Crystal Lake to Richmond. Mostly alignment drift -- those sections were built out after I'd downloaded the original Google imagery using SRT so it should go quickly... Fortunately, Janesville to Madison was already converted to yard spacing.
    Last edited by eolesen; 02-21-2021 at 10:42 AM.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Jul 2005
    Yorkville, Illinois, USA.


    Thanks for the update!
    Kevin Kelleher

  9. #29


    Interesting fun for Sprint 2... I've got a 13+ mile straight run between Dundee Rd in Palatine and Three Oaks Rd in Cary...

    When I set the QDirection between the two endpoints, my alignment ends and begins perfectly, but curvature of the Earth (or just the quirks of the G-H map projection...) sets in, and has the middle off by almost 3M....

    Thanks to Dave N who suggested breaking the line up into multiple pieces.

    Basically, I found grade crossings at 3-4 miles apart, and ran four separate QD's between those waypoints. Now it lines up perfectly.

    Glad I found this out now so I can plan more 3 mile blocks... Palatine to Des Plaines is another 13 mile straight section I'm tackling tonight, followed by Des Plaines to Clybourn, which is also 13 miles give or take.....

    Screenshots later....

    Sent from my SM-G981U using Tapatalk
    Last edited by eolesen; 02-23-2021 at 05:06 PM.

  10. #30


    I'm closing in on my goal for having the Downtown to Harvard mainline complete so that activity/timetable paths are able to be restored. This weekend I wound up ending about a hundred meters west of Clybourn, which is where the three track main ends and becomes four tracks into the downtown station leads, plus two for the Navy Pier branch. Over the last two nights, I pushed down to what is literally the last mile of track prior to Northwest Junction (where the West Line and North/Northwest lines converge just prior to downtown).

    To set expectations... most industry sidings have switches in place off the mainline, but the actual sidings aren't planned to be finished right away. While it's fairly quick work individually to add these, it really adds up as a group. I'll also be holding off on doing the yards at Des Plaines, Avondale, and North Ave., as well as the branch line to the Tribune and Navy Pier. Those are small tasks for when I only have a few minutes vs several hours.

    One place I did spend a little more time this go-around was Mayfair... I restored the crossovers for the Skokie Valley line, and have extended the Cragin line a little further south. For a while, CNW ran RDC's in commuter service to Skokie via Mayfair, so if I ever get the bug to throw in another branch line for history sake, that would be a natural, and the Cragin Line down to the M19A shops would be another quick hit to enable some urban switching.... This is how freight moved within Chicago back in "the day"...

    I also spent a little more time on the interlocking near Clybourn, where the three-track Harvard main and two-track Kenosha combine and collapse down to four tracks for the remaining run to downtown.

    You can't see it in the screenshots, but with so many 03D crossovers to do on this line, I created some new straight sections to build crossovers faster... Now it's a short m03dl or m03dr plus a 55_9m straight to be able to sandwich a crossover between the 3Y and 4Y multi-track straights. I also did a 65_9m section for the parallel track and a 34_1m straight for those times I want to round up the entire crossover into an even 100m block.

    The last three miles from Clybourn to Northwest Junction is a mere three miles, but it's made up of very little straight track, with six somewhat large curves and 20 bridges. Since I'm using 4m yard spacing, there are no multi-track curves available out of the box to make things easier, and I'm finding that getting the ends to line up for SR_1tYrd and SR_XtCrv sections on a long curves quite "interesting"... Similar named shapes don't necessarily the have slightly different geometry, which has forced me into the TSection a couple times to figure out the actual curve radii. That also presented another opportunity to whip up some additional straights in 0.4m, 0.5m, 0.7m and 0.8m lengths, entirely driven by those inconsistent lengths in the yard curves and wanting to be able to ensure somewhat consistent track center spacing. Every 200-300m I will temporarily use a straight 4T section to make sure those midpoints are keeping track centers consistent, and those extra 10cm sections do make a difference on closing up the gaps.

    By this weekend, I'm hoping to have the station leads tied back in again so the commuter segments are more or less whole...

    While we celebrate ORTS and TSRE, I do have to say if there is a utility still needed for the community, it's a successor to Dynatrax... I know some people want splines and dynamic or procedural track, I'm not there just yet. I like having snap track and a system...

    I was able to purchase a license from Tim before he left us, and thanks to his tool, the new track sections look and behave just like Scalerail. Once they're added to the master TSection, hopefully they can be used by others. Anyone who has tried to make track sections by hand knows what a pain this can be.
    Last edited by eolesen; 03-03-2021 at 04:15 PM.

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