BNSF CLOVIS SUB v1.1
Willard - Belen
Checkrail's 'BNSF Clovis Sub' for Trainz Rail Simulator will eventually stretch over 120 miles through the New Mexico desert from east of the Fort Sumpter Bridge to the division point yard at Belen NM. The first part of the proposed route portrays over 60 miles at the western end of the route, from just east of the tiny hamlet of Willard up to the summit of the line at Mountainair, then downhill all the way west to Belen. The western portals, representing California, Albuquerque and El Paso, are located a few miles west of Belen.
This route will be challenging on several levels. Do you fancy driving a hot 8000 foot intermodal 'Z' Train headed by a trio of BNSF SD70ACEs with a pair of SD40-2s shoving on the rear over an undulating route at line speeds up to 70 mph? Or would you rather leave the driving to the Trainz AI and concentrate on keeping trains running as seven different Portals produce and consume over 100 trains in a 24-hour period? Or perhaps would prefer to amble out of Belen yard in an old GP60 at the head of a couple dozen assorted freight cars and spend a few hours switching the Madrone industrial spurs?
Whatever your Trainz preferences, this one is for you.
Clovis 1 is wholly contained (with many improvements) in Clovis 2, also available from checkrail.com. Clovis 1 remains available for folks who want to run complex dispatcher sessions. Clovis 2 is a much larger route and running complex sessions on it places a huge load on even a high-end computer.
Almost everything you need to run and enjoy Checkrail's BNSF Clovis Sub Route is available from the Auran DLS and should be found and automatically downloaded by either the TRS04 'Black Screen' or TRS06's CMP utility. EVERYTHING not on the DLS is linked to from this page. The best way to get the route assets is to download everything linked from this page, then download the route. Then use either the 04 'Black Screen' or CMP to find any DLS assets you may be missing.
OK, here we go!
Stuff you gotta get before you start....
AI Brake Fix...
The route is built in TRS04, but it runs best in TRS06. Why? Because the route is high-speed and undulating. Without help the Trainz AI simply cannot stop trains on the route without over-running red signals.
The best solution I have found is Whitpass' AI Brake Fix It is basically a tiny loco with very high max decel - more than enough to stop trains. It works well in TRS06, but derails unpredictably in TRS04. Anyway the AI needs it to run sessions, so you have to get it. The brake fix is available from the Auran DLS here.
The route works fine in Cab Mode in 04. It also works in 04 in DCC, just hit 'A' to stop, but any heavy AI trains in 04 will run through red signals.
TRS09 Users: The braking problem which has plagued Trainz since its inception is addressed in TRS09 and there is no need for the AI Brake Fix. There is a special session for TRS09. This session is an untested open Beta. Please report any issues via the email link at the foot of this page.
March 2012 update: Trainz Tuner appears to be at least temporarily unavailable. If the link below is not working I am afraid I cannot help. TT was never essential, but it did enhance the visual appeal of the route in older versions of Trainz. TT was NEVER needed in TS10 and up, the utility is in effect incorporated in the program.
One other thing you should get is Alexandre Cavaco's TrainzTuner. The route looks best with draw distances longer than the Auran default. To increase distances get TrainzTuner here. After a fair bit of testing, the best compromise between draw distance and performance is to set the draw distance like this:
and set the Good Weather Fog about here:
Longer draw distances look better along the line of the route, but you're going to get lots of black baseboard edges in the peripheral distance. If you opt for a longer draw distance bumping the fog up to maximum helps.
While I think of it, folks running in cab should get a custom HUD from the DLS - at 70mph you need advance warning of red signals. To enable Custom HUD V2 in TRS06 you need this and this from the DLS.
CONTENT NOT ON THE DLS:
A re-skinned billboard from me - here.
A beautiful neon sign from Euphod - here.
A culvert insert from Meridious - here.
Weevil's Curveable Bridges - here.
Tie Bundle Pack - text link in the 'Scenery' section near the bottom of the page.
The route installs into either TRS04 or TRS06.
The session installs only in TRS06.
The session won't work in TRS04 because as mentioned above the AI Brake fix derails unpredictably in TRS04 and without it trains won't stop for red signals. The route works fine in Cab Mode in 04. It also works in 04 in DCC, just hit 'A' to stop, but any AI trainz will run through red signals.
TRS09 - The route is untested in TRS09 but appears to work if run in 'Compatibility Mode'. Some users report that the session does not work due to problems with some content. The TRS09 session below is an untested open Beta session with the offending content removed.
Download the TRS04/06 Route here. (37Mb approx)
Download the TRS06 Session here. (56Kb approx)
Download the TRS09 Session here. (56Kb approx)
and other points of interest in no particular order:
Prototype Fidelity: Normally my routes are freelance on a DEM base, but this one is pretty close. Belen station is compromised to help framerates, the quarry shouldn't have rail access and the smaller depots are there just for interest and eye candy. The track layout though is spot on, the crossovers are where they should be and the route works like it should. The track plan at Belen follows the spirit of the real place, the pit-stop fuel racks are where they should be. Not certain if the cut-off wye still links back to the main at Jarles (Google Earth is fuzzy) but what the heck, the short cut provides added interest and relieves congestion through the main station area.
Signals: In order to have the route work in TRS04 and TRS06 some compromises have been necessary. All main line signals are single-aspect with no route divergence indication. Signals scripted for 04 are reversed in some 06 circumstances and vice-versa. After much thought it was decided that no divergence indication was better than wrong divergence indication. Watch out for those unexpected 70 mph cross-overs!
Another signal compromise is that only trailing junctions are signalled. Signalling facing junctions is asking for 'Mexican Standoff' situations, but add them if you must.
Invisible Signals: Because only trailing junctions are signalled the 'blocks' are long. To prevent trains running long distances under 'Caution' signals most line signals are preceded by an invisible signal placed about half a mile in advance of the 'real' signal. These are obvious in Surveyor, but in Driver their position is indicated by a bundle of replacement ties placed trackside on the same side of the track as a signal would be. On the Custom Hud the naming convention for all invisible signals is 'Sinvis_xxx-xx'.
Diamonds and Slips: The western end of Belen yard contains several slips and diamond crossings. The Trainz AI does not recognise the alternate routes through such trackwork as conflicting, therefore it is possible that two trains cross through a diamond or slip simultaneously. There is no simple fix for this issue.
Ground Textures: on some steep hillsides the texture is a distinctly different colour along the 'joins' between base-boards. No matter how often I re-texture these areas the light lines re-appear after a few saves. If anyone knows a fix, I will gladly issue a Kuid2 update, they drive me nuts :(
Road Traffic: is toggled 'Off'. Cars are polys, and the roads are quiet hereabouts anyway.
Angle of view: The route is textured and detailed assuming a low angle of view. Cab view is good for most of the route, but I am a rail-fan, not a driver so there are low-angle tracking cams covering the entire route. Viewing from a chase camera is good too, specially when the highway parallels the track. High angle viewing though is not recommended. For some spectacular views hit '4' on the keyboard and watch from way back in the hills!
ATSF Ballast Quarry: Lost it's rail service long before BNSF days - in fact it is closed. It's a point of interest, but delete it if the anachronism offends!
Belen Frame Rates: The yard at Belen is 'scale' length, but has only about one-third the number of tracks it should have. The town of Belen as modelled is about 10% the size it should be. Traversing the yard with four or five trains in view however reduces things to a stutter. If frame-rates through Belen are hopeless, there are a few things to try:
1. The route uses some lovely lo-poly frame houses from Sir Gibby. I use these models all the time and have no complaints whatsoever regarding them. However some of them have smoking chimneys. Smoke has a bad effect on framerates. If each of the NZ houses used has its config altered by deleting the entire section under 'smoke' then frame rates will improve. CMP automatically provides a backup which will allow the original config to be restored at any time.
2. Delete the turnout frogs, and think about replacing the junction levers with default levers. Ugly, but lo-poly!
3. Remove scenery splines in the area. Utility supply lines, fences and roads can all go.
4. Cut down some trees. Trees are fairly lo-poly, and a lot have to go to add up to even one locomotive, but there are probably too many around Belen anyway.
5. Do away with the town of Belen entirely.
6. If you have used TrainzTuner long draw distances through Belen are counter-productive. If necessary restore default view distances.
Belen Dispatcher Session Clovis Sub Screenies Return to Home page
© Andy Turnbull 2008 2009
Thanks to Rugrat for the header photo which shows an eastbound Intermodal just after crossing the Rio Grande between Belen and Madrone.