Operations on the Rockbottom & Beatte 2007 Railroad
By John D'Angelo
FOR MANY YEARS, when I modeled in HO scale, one of my favorite model railroads was the Gorre & Dapheted by John Allen. My own basement HO layout was called the Rockbottom & Beatte Railroad. The railroad was not very big, but had that dusty ragged feeling that John did so well. I now do my model railroading using Trainz and have purchased each new version that Auran has issued since it first appeared on the scene. I decided to create the Rockbottom & Beatte Railroad for the latest version, which is TRS2006. I labeled it 2007, because I completed it this year. There is a version of this railroad in narrow gauge format at the DLS that I built in the early days of Trainz. It does not have the expanded operating possibilities that this one does.
This model has one major characteristic: It has no custom material and uses only items that come with TRS2006. Its use is limited to TRS2006 because its passenger enabled stations are only available with TRS2006. Although the layout is small in Trainz terms, it has operating potential that can keep you very busy during an operating session. Let’s take a look at the layout in Trainz Map.
The primary operating area of the railroad is in the two center baseboards. If it were just the two baseboards in size, the operation would still be acceptable. There are plenty of sidings on the route for industries and three stations on the branch line. The route is actually a point to point from Rockbottom via West Marion to Beatte. What transforms this route into a VERY interesting operation is the addition of portals north and south of the center section. There are four portals: To and From Northville, and To and From Southington. From working with portals I have found that they really perform better if there is a long distance between them and the point where trains issued by them may need to operate.
Remember the Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy TV show or movie? There is a scene where a whale is created by the improbability drive and as it falls to earth it tries to understand what it is. Unfortunately just as it becomes fully aware of what it is, it smacks into the ground!
When a train is created by a portal, it acts like that whale, first finding out it’s a train, then figuring out what its instructions are and finally acting on those instructions. I like to allocate two baseboards to portals so the trains can process all the data with room to spare.
The Rockbottom Railroad 2007 route is being released by Al Barten from his Virtual Railroader web site Downloads page so that you can download it and operate it by yourself any way you would like, but I will describe a typical operating session that I use.
Rockbottom Railroad Running Gear
I like older small steam engines for my railroad, and the locomotives that have become my favorites are from Ben Neal’s Sub Par Productions web site
where they can be freely downloaded. They are not available at the Trainz Download Station (DLS). I chose three standard gauge locomotives:
I start the session with the 2-8-2 and 2-8-0 sitting in the Rockbottom yard and the 4-4-2 at the Rockbottom yard station with two Pullmans, ready to pull out. I labeled a pair of TOTC Pullmans for the Rockbottom & Beatte railroad. I described how to do this in my 5 May 2007 article at the VR Reading Room entitled “A Great New Idea for Passenger Cars."
- Northern Pacific F1 2-8-0 Consolidation (KUID 96914:4850, 4851) (switching, light freight and passenger runs)
- Harriman 4-4-2 Atlantic (KUID 96914: 4811) (passenger runs)
- Baldwin Light 2-8-2 Mikado (KUID 96914:4820,4821) (freight runs)
Rockbottom Railroad running gear.
OK, I have my engines ready, what do I do next? The answer to this comes from the main line and the portals.
Main Line Running Gear
The main line runs north and south through Rockbottom and all the traffic on this line will be generated by the portals. Some traffic such as long freights and express passenger trains will run through without stopping. Local passenger trains will stop at the Rockbottom station located on the main line, pick up passengers, then proceed onward. The 2-8-2 steam powered peddler freight only travels from north to south, stops at the Rockbottom tower (Tower A), waits one minute, then proceeds to the Southington portal. Although you can use any line equipment you wish, for this example I will use equipment lettered for my United Central Railroad. The railroad uses F7 A and B, GP38 and SW-7 motive power.
Since these trains will be generated by the portals, I create complete consists and label them for use by the portal system.
Creating main line passenger and freight trains.
To build a consist for use by a portal that can be immediately added to the portal roster without having to add each car every time, I add the units to the route during the surveyor activity. I add the locomotive, and add all the cars until I am finished. I then use the question mark option and click on the locomotive and assign a number to it. The consist is now complete. There are two buttons at the top of the menu; the first button is for individual cars, the second button is for the entire train. Click on the second button to choose the entire train option. On the menu there is a “get object” button at the lower left. Choose that choice and then click on the train. A window will come up with the name line showing. It will be blank because the train was just created. I write a name indicating what the train is, for example “United Central Passenger Express”. Once the train has been named, it can be deleted from the route since it now exists in memory and can be called up to load into a scene or added to the portal listing.
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Article and screen shots ©2007 John D'Angelo. All rights reserved.
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