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Thread: Odd Mtracks Behavior/Error

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Oregon, US.
    Posts
    114

    Default Odd Mtracks Behavior/Error

    After a long break from MSTS/OR, I'm back laying track on a small route project and enjoying the new tools and incredible content this community continues to develop!

    Forgive me if this has been addressed already, but searching the forums didn't unearth a solution. I've laid a few Mtracks crossovers and noticed the TDB lines on all the No20 point sections (M1tPntNo20Lft.s, M1tPntNo20LftMnl.s, M1tPntNo20Rgt.s, M1tPntNo20RgtMnl.s) do not line up with their the No20 Frog or Xover sections. The shapes seem to align visually, but there are 2 blues poles present where the sections meet:

    M1tPntNo20Lft-bug.jpg

    Oddly, the No15 point sections "fit" when paired with No20 frogs/Xovers, and the blue poles disappear, but with a keen eye and trains running over them it's clear they aren't meant to be interchangeable like that.

    My first thought was that there's a problem with the tsection.dat entries for the Mtracks points. I'm working with build 56 of the global tsection.dat currently, and have tried builds 54 and 31 (as included with "mtracks.zip" in the file library), but the TDB poles show up in all cases.

    I'm using TSRE5 v0.7.002 as my editor in case anyone can replicate this bug.

    Does anyone have any thoughts or experience with what is going on here?

    Thanks,
    Matt

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Jacksonville,, FL, USA.
    Posts
    3,973

    Cool

    I have used M-tracks on most of my released routes since 2010 or so and I have seen this issue but in my
    experience it is a "operator error". The #20 or #15 point pieces have two locations where there will be
    blue poles and it is possible to align those pieces where on normal visual inspection they appear to be in
    line but in fact they are off a tiny amount. Solution is to place the point piece & then toggle the "T" key
    because it will then flip the connection points. What you are seeing is a curved point leading to the
    straight side of the turnout or crossover. The left image is what I guess you see and zoomed in it is easy
    to see an error but zoomed out it could be hard. Pressing the "T" key once flips the point piece and you
    have the right image which is correct. I don't use TSRE to lay track but I routinely use MSRE without an
    issue. I am currently using build 38 of the tsection.dat file.

    J. H. Sullivan, P.E.
    retired from CSX & SR
    Docent, C&TS RR
    Jacksonville, FL
    Attached Images Attached Images

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 1999
    Location
    Jacksonville,, FL, USA.
    Posts
    3,973

    Default

    First I want to compliment you for trying to use M-tracks. This has been in the library for many
    years but as far as I know, I am the only one that has used it regularly. I first put it in the
    MCOA2 route years ago when I was laying track.

    As I indicated, I can't replicate the problem using MSTS/RE and I don't use TSRE to lay track or
    roads. There are very good reasons to use M-tracks if you are creating a simulation of a USA
    route, either existing or abandoned. None of the default or X-track turnouts are correct for
    US or Canadian roads and the gentleman that created M-tracks used the AREA standard plans
    to lay out his turnouts & crossovers. So for example I am currently working on the 3rd district
    of the CNO&TP (Southern Rwy.) and all of the passing tracks have #20 turnouts so that is
    what I used. There are also a few universal crossovers, i.e. a left-hand and a right-hand in
    series, such as at control point "Camp Austin". More importantly, even using X-tracks there
    are only a few curve sizes available and so a lot of compromise is required, but with M-tracks
    you have single & double tracks in 1 degree, or in some cases 15 minute, increments from 1
    to 10 degrees. Anything sharper than 10 degrees (174.9 meter radius roughly) is not likely
    to be on a main line, though there are exceptions on the Clinchfield (14 degrees) and the
    Southern between Old Fort and Ridgecrest (19 degrees) & other locations. So if you intend
    to create a simulation of a real railroad line, I strongly encourage the use of M-tracks. Maybe
    someone with experience laying track with TSRE can advise about this issue.

    J. H. Sullivan

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Oregon, US.
    Posts
    114

    Default

    Thank you for the advice, Jerry. I went ahead and tested my Mtracks/tsection configuration by laying the suspect switch pieces in the default MSTS editor. They snap together correctly and there is no gap or offset in the TDB lines, so I'm beginning to believe this issue is with the TSRE5 editor reading/writing track section data into the route's TDB.

    Perhaps this thread should be moved to the "Goku's Route Editor" forum,
    Matt

  5. #5

    Default

    I've had issues similar to this with Scalerail _Y_ sections where the vectors just don't line up cleanly on the first attempt. And sometimes with the crossovers, you do have to flip the section using the X key.

    When it's a visual TDB line being slightly zigged or zagged, the fix has been to remove the errant piece from the TDB with a Z entry, and then re-add it by pressing Z again.


    Out of curiosity, what's the centerline spacing on M-Tracks? I've heard some users of UK Finescale having similar issues, and the common thread between Finescale and Scalerail Yard is the track centers are less than the 5m used in other track systems.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    Location
    Oregon, US.
    Posts
    114

    Default

    Interesting thoughts, Eric! I tried using Z to remove and re-add the piece to the TDB, to no avail.

    The Mtracks are spaced by 4.27m (14ft), so this does continue a theme with other track systems using <5m track centers. That sparked an idea, because MTracks have two sets of crossover sections - one set for the Mtracks system, and another for the default 5m track centers. Maybe it was the alignment of the crossover piece that was causing the error, so I tested a No20 crossover in TSRE using the optional default track centers. Unfortunately, this produced the same resulting TDB offset at the joint between the point section and the crossover section.

    I started a thread over at the TSRE support forum: http://www.onrails.eu/viewtopic.php?f=7&t=287

    This is Goku's reply:

    "Maybe there is a tsection bug in this shape definition, but MSRE has more tolerance for radius when snapping tracks together.
    TSRE doesn't allow that huge offsets."

    I'm curious about the process for calculating/verifying the geometry of TrackSection and TrackShape entries in the standardized tsection.dat for Mtracks (or any custom track piece for that matter). Based on Goku's feedback, it sounds like there are different tsection tolerances accepted by TSRE verses the MSTS RE, or at least the two editors translate the entries into the route's TDB with different precision.

    As strange as it sounds, these kind of problems/puzzles are what making train-simming such an entertaining hobby! 😂

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