Building The IRTS
Day 2 - The Test Bed
By Alfred Barten
Test bed view.
To test the concept I built a temporary layout and loaded it up with many of the spline objects I was familiar with – neighborhood buildings, forests, roads, retaining walls, parking lots, stations, and so on.
Using these splines, I built test scenes to see what configurations were usable and what the scenic/operational implications would be.
From my initial explorations, I came up with an initial concept of a route that essentially circumscribed a long, narrow island (not unlike Manhattan, where I lived in my early years) and a branch to another body of land, which could be an island. The island idea let me put the trains on their own right of way below the main street level, but along the shoreline where I could have a good view of the ROW. A depressed rail line is difficult to view during operations and, I felt, would need to be a least four tracks in width to accommodate track-level viewing. This in turn would need more infrastructure (track, platforms, etc.) and rolling stock resources. The shoreline scheme with its retaining wall on one side of the ROW only, lets me use a more resource-efficient two-track system.
Some of the things I tested while constructing the scene was how deep to make the cut and what the cab-view was like, Making too deep a cut makes the train look insignificant and exceeds the ability of the grassy flange atop the retaining wall to cover the sloped topography.
I've used station splines and parking lot splines enough not to bother mocking them up here, but I will keep the test bed available for further exploration as needed.
Test bed showing residential neighborhood splines.
Test bed showing construction of ROW, retaining wall spline and street spline.
Article and screen shots ©2010 Alfred Barten. All rights reserved.
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