Action At Gotham Tower
By Alfred Barten
View of Gotham Junction station from Gotham Tower.
I’ve tried at least three times to build a rapid transit layout in Trainz that I could be happy with. All failed miserably. To properly model rapid transit you need lots of two- or three- or four-lane trackage, lots of stations, lots of buildings and lots of trains. At the end of the day, if you succeed in building the layout – which is time-consuming to say the least – you will probably find your system challenged by overloaded memory and degraded frame rates. If you succeed in overcoming all these challenges, you then face the question of what is really satisfying operation. I prefer the cab-view, realistic physics approach for rapid transit because it provides a lot of driving experience. When you get right down to it, BVE may actually be a better choice of sims for this genre. On the other hand, if you enjoy WATCHING lots of train activity – as though you were a train watcher – I have just the layout for you. It’s Gotham Tower. You can download the route from the VR Downloads page. Gotham Tower is for TRS2006 with SP-1. It should work with TS2009, but I haven’t tried it.
Gotham Tower is a train watching sim with a catbird seat. The signal box (see Think inside the box) that’s a locomotive in disguise and thus has a cab view, is the center of activity of a busy four-track junction. I’ve provided everything but the scenery. I’m going to let you finish it any way you like. What I HAVE provided is the track, the stations, the topography, the backdrops, the portals and a programmed session that you can use as-is or modify or use as a prototype or guide to building your own.
My hope is that all the necessary assets, including rolling stock, are at the Trainz Download Station (DLS). If you can’t find something, let me know and I’ll try to locate it for you.
Gotham Junction is where the main line splits, with the heavier traffic continuing outbound from Gotham to the suburbs (Express) and the lighter traffic branching off to a less developed suburb (Local). In the other direction, the four-track mainline goes straight to Gotham.
Tower is in the lower right.
Express trains use the center two tracks and do not stop. The outer tracks serve the station and trains serving both branches.
The tower is positioned on an invisible section of track in a good location for viewing the action.
Portals provide and receive trains at timed intervals. Each portal is programmed with several different trains, giving you a random variety of trains and, in the case of trains leaving Gotham, random destinations.
Just before each inbound portal I placed a train stop without a station. I used these stops to load passengers onto the trains. It would be nice if the portals would do this for me, but they don’t.
At the start of the session there are three trains set and ready to go. These will provide enough action until the trains programmed in the portals kick in. There is also a streetcar route with an LRV programmed to run a continuous loop, stopping at various stops along the way.
Outbound express rolls past Gotham Tower.
One thing I wasn’t able to do was assign a driver to the signal box (tower). The result is that it won’t show up in the driver selection pop-up in the lower left of the Driver screen. Therefore the only way to select the signal box is to click it. You will have to select the roaming view in order to move freely about the layout. Once you have selected the signal box (tower), press the 1 key to put yourself inside the tower. Now you have access to the left/right, up/down and in/out controls for watching the action.
You will find plenty of rapid transit cars available at the DLS. If you are running TS2009, you will also have loads of commuter cars available. For the included session I stayed with the NYCTA R62 cars.
As usual, unzip the downloaded file. Launch Trainz and select Manage Content. This opens Content Manager Plus (CMP). From the File menu, select to Import CDPs. Select the two files you just unzipped and click OK. When they have been installed, select them with the right mouse button and select Download from the popup menu. The files will be listed in the upper left-hand pane of the window. Click the Start button. All available assets should download and install.
You may have to Commit the two unzipped files. To do this, select them in CDP with the right mouse button and select Edit > Commit from the popup menu.
The NYCTA R62 has a "broken" asset. Don't let that stop you. It works just fine.
Gotham Tower appears in Driver and Surveyor as VRer Gotham Tower.
Send Us Your Pics
Since this is basically a layout in kit form, it would be great to see how others complete the scenery. Send us your screen captures and we’ll add them to the end of this article.
Article and screen shots ©2009 Alfred Barten. All rights reserved.
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