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Train sims for railways in Ireland


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If suspension movement is your thing, there's always Diesel Railcar Simulator, which is just out, inexpensive and due for expansion:

 

 

 

OpenBVE, though still optimised for a straight ahead cab view, is also very good at bouncing things around a bit, though I don't recall any local railcars swaying due to passenger boarding:

 

 

The way I look at this is, I now have a local layout with 50+ scale miles of double track main line; scenery that's not up to 'diorama' level but as good as many modellers like me could manage and well creates the line as I knew it; functional signaling; numerous pieces of rolling stock that's visually better than Lima OO, sounds better than tinny soundchips & has working lights; and a score or more of activities that simulate operational situations, and all for the fraction of the price of a single piece of rolling stock these days. Plus several other layouts from different parts of the world, including Ballyshannon and London South-East where I can drive EMUs, diesels and DEMUs out of several London termini to the south and east. And as much stock and other routes as it takes my fancy to download. And it all fits onto the desk I'm sitting at.

 

And I also have Trainz; and Train Simulator too, if I fancy something with better visuals for a change.

 

So I for one see trainsimming, for all the vicissitudes or limitations of whatever product one chooses, as an equally valid outlet for anyone interested in railways, including railway modellers. The glass is way more than half full, at my end of the bar :)

 

Gotta go, I've a late-running local service to take from Lisburn to Central!

 

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Edited by 33lima
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Oh don't get me wrong 33Lima, I'm a fan of all forms of sim and quite impressed with the video clips especially these ones.   And I fully agree with you train sims are "as an equally valid outlet for anyone interested in railways, including railway modellers".   I do find the realism and sounds a little disappointing when compared to the experience given by flight sims such as old MSFS or X-Plane.

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For those who have deep enough pockets for a PC able to run it and the extra 'DLC' content like the Armstrong Powerhouse series, TS 20xx provides visuals and sounds able to match anything I've seen from FSX, or the new iteration of IL-2:

 

 

Even the deepest of pockets can't get you anything like what's available, much or it free, for MSTS. And with Open Rails, for one who's happy with Lima OO levels of detail and finish, it's visually more than good enough for me. Yes the stock MSTS-era 2d cab overlays and the distant scenery 'backscenes' can often be blocky, but OR supports higher res screens, higher res cabs and even 3d cabs. The graphics in MSTS+OR are fine for me, just as I'm fine with the look of Il-2 '46 and on balance, much prefer it over its later namesakes for its far greater scope.

 

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PS I'm experimenting with a way of adding 'automatic' sounds (as opposed to those which may not be build into a particular route) for crossing pointwork and curve squeal, which method is described in the Open Rails Manual, tho no joy yet.

 

PPS I now have the extra track sounds working now, thanks to help received at Train Sim Safe House - apparently I needed to update to a later version of Open Rails, now done. This clip shows the results, before any fine-tuning:


 

I'll wind up with a few more screenshots from London SE and Enterprise North, the latter featuring some additional stock from Ballyshannon and UKTS:

 

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Edited by 33lima
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  • 3 months later...

Thanks for posting all the videos. Those train sims seem visually reminiscent to where flight sim 98 was. It's a pity there is no rail and track noise and no loco suspension movement. The trains move like they are on laser rails. I suppose compared to flight sims it's a tiny market hence limited realism. The first flight sim I used was sublogic on Apple II back in 1980 with juddering green wire frame grid world.

 

Just to update the 'running on laser rails' issue, Open Rails has a 'vehicle sway' feature which can be set in-game to off or three successively higher levels. As well as superelevation, which works fine with Xtracks as used in Irish Enterprise North, and the ability to activate point crossing and curve squeal sounds, this clip shows vehicle sway at the lowest setting. This is apparent in the form of subtle lateral movement in the cab view, and from the outside, from movement of vehicles in relation to their bogies and in relation to other vehicles in the rake. The effect is significantly more apparent at the higher settings, rather than the low one used in this clip.

 

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  • 2 months later...

Thought I would intimate that I have a very reasonably large rail sim project still underway. It inititally was Northern ireland railways and the following routes...

(1) Belfast-Bangor.

(2) Belfast-Newry.

(3) Belfast-Larne.

(4) Belfast-Londonderry.

(5) Coleraine-Portrush.

(6) Lisburn/Crumlin/Antrom.

.....ad now cross border

 

These are all present day system (or what is left of it!) and I know the Crumlin route is at present suspended but being kept. I Live in Glasgow but apart from Google Earth I have flown over to Ulster and wanted to make sure of a decent build as had many happy family holidays there as a boy then my own and taking boys campos there. Felt saddened that a once extensive system had been badly treated many decades ago.

 

Had intended after a long slow build to leavethings at Newry but then argued with myself and got more ambitious an extended the line south to Dublin. Scenery is done from Dublin to Drogheda then a gap to be filled in and then scenery continues from just south of Dundalk orth to the Border and Newry. The branch just north of Dublin to Howth is complete. It will take time to crawl filling in the big gap between Drogheda and Dundalk but you will see why it is taking so long.  Anyway taking ages at the attempts re my scenery. It is a different railway simulator (Trainz12) but worth a look I hope for what I have been doing for across the Irish Sea elsewhere! Visit here....

www.northernirelandrailwaysim.moonfruit.com

 

BVobby

From the centre i=of the universe (Glasgow)

.

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..... got more ambitious an extended the line south to Dublin. Scenery is done from Dublin to Drogheda then a gap to be filled in and then scenery continues from just south of Dundalk orth to the Border and Newry. The branch just north of Dublin to Howth is complete. It will take time to crawl filling in the big gap between Drogheda and Dundalk but you will see why it is taking so long.  Anyway taking ages at the attempts re my scenery. It is a different railway simulator (Trainz12) but worth a look I hope for what I have been doing for across the Irish Sea elsewhere! Visit here....

www.northernirelandrailwaysim.moonfruit.com

 

This looks promising. I have Irish Enterprise North and South for the original MS TrainSim and was slightly disappointed that the PC technology at that time did not allow it to be developed further or made more detailed - it was a massive undertaking to have got as far as the programmers actually did (Dublin Connolly, I think). I found myself wishing that the lines could have continued south to Bray.

 

If you do manage to complete the Trainz-based sim to Connolly, do consider whether you can take the line a bit further, e.g. Pearse. I'd like to drive that line (again)

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This looks promising. I have Irish Enterprise North and South for the original MS TrainSim and was slightly disappointed that the PC technology at that time did not allow it to be developed further or made more detailed - it was a massive undertaking to have got as far as the programmers actually did (Dublin Connolly, I think). I found myself wishing that the lines could have continued south to Bray.

 

If you do manage to complete the Trainz-based sim to Connolly, do consider whether you can take the line a bit further, e.g. Pearse. I'd like to drive that line (again)

It was a huge frustration that the architecture of the original MSTS and computer technology restricted our efforts. I'd designed some specific environmental sound effects to generate the sound of people and announcements in the termini, cattle and countryside noises along the route and the sound of the sea and boats in the harbour for the area north of Dublin but they just crashed the program every time I tried them out. I also had to massively simplify the "carspawn" vehicles which is why they look a bit boxy just to keep the number of polys down to a reasonable amount. We were pushing the boundary which is what caused the delays to it's release.

 

Personally I would have loved to get to Derry and Cork but that would have needed a Cray to run it!

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I don't think Irish Enterprise (I just have 'North') leaves a whole lot to be desired really, except more route mileage north and south. Especially so in Open Rails. I'm not sure the new sim captures so well the ability of railcar sets to accellerate or brake as effectively as they seem to in real life, but apart from that and water textures...well playing MSTS content in OR, the better graphics and shadows, better view system, optional vehicle sway, longer draw distance and reduced loading stutter make big improvements. And you can activate OR's superelevation effect quite happily in Irish Enterprise, unlike in some routes where it loses the 3rd rail or other non-stock track sections. No more bleeding of textures on platform edges or along vehicle sides, and the effect of a train slipping into and out of the shadows cast by more objects is a joy to behold...

 

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Add the Open Rails effect to the realistic station buildings and textures and the general attention to detail in everything else from station sineage to the look and feel of the landscape and other buildings, ample activities and a good set of good-looking and sounding motive power and rolling stock, and I'm sold - as soon as I can find a copy of 'South' to extend the route and preferably also the extra stock pack, whatever was in that.

 

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Edited by 33lima
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Well Horsefan, I have done a part of the line from Dublin Connolly to Pearse then went back to the long crawl doing the Enterprise express route. Scenery-wise the largest empty bit is from Dundalk to a mile or so north of Drogheda and everything south including the Howth branch done as you would see on my site. The other route that branch off the enterprise line to Navan I am not decided on as so much to do re the main line and the inside of Connolly. Never thought I would complete the NIR and then got a bit ambitious crawling south but will see if can hang on regarding you wish!

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Well Horsefan with so much scenery on the enterprise route actually done and part of that line to "your" station (!) i will keep your wish in mind . The bulk of the Enterprise route is done except for this slow chunk between north of Drogheda and south of Dundalk. My project has been of course a big one and had only originally planned the NIR due to long associations and holidays in it's corner however as my added ambition is a big one will try and keep you in mind.. If I forget please do not send me to Edinburgh as that is a groaning punishment for a Glasgow man.......

 

Now back to Duleek.

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Me again Horsefan (!!).

 

Tell you what....I will later do something just for you seeing that station is important for you I will keep that in mind when i fish the gap north of Drogheda.

 

With warm assurance from the centre of the universe (Glasgow).

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  • 2 months later...

Well it took me ages to build those lines of the NIR and wondered if would ever manage it. There cannot be many people who travel as I did over there to see to my aims. Was fortunate to discover a former  staff member from Queen's Uni in Belfast who got permission to film in the cab of an NIR train on the presently suspended Crumlin Line. Got a copy of his film on the understanding it wasn't for commercial purposes. Haven't been back on my project recently due to health issues butnow aiming to get to that again. Have a large part of the Irish Rail line between south of Dundalk and a couple of miles north of Drogheda. A wee bit of stuff to do on the Connolly station at Du8blin.

 

My initial discovery of train sims was Microsoft an did in time buy the two discs for the Enterprise route between Belfast and Dublin although the scenery didn't appeal much nor did the actual clunky style programme! Too difficult for some of us to build using that lot bu then came across Auran Trainz by sheer chance when it was still under it's initial company. Came to realise that I could in fact more easily build with that simulator and been a fan ever since. Initially I started on the former Glasgow Tramway system closed in 1962 and over two years off an on built every single line (12o odd miles and every former terminus. Still to upload that large thing (Glasgow had the largest tramway outside London and over 1,100 trams). Felt that N.Ireland was the worst of the 4 British Isles for rail closures and time it got noted on rail sims hence the project.

 

Had intended just to conclude things just past Newry but that niggled me hence my long extension south into IR territory and adding one of the two branches of it to Howth. Have not decided yet whether to add the branch off Drogheda Junction to the west as passenger services shut and only used for occasional freight trains. If I can just try and stick to filling the scenery between Drogheda and Dundalk that will be a slow challenge! Having been aiming to get back over to Belfast for a short break and my excellent hotel off May street so here's hoping.......

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