Moving your freight with LARS
When I modeled trains in HO gauge, other modelers and I wanted to be able to reproduce the movement of goods on our layouts in order to give our model railroads a good reason to exist. Over the years different systems to simulate the movement of freight were created by modelers to achieve this goal. The system I used on my railroad was a car card system that is still popular today. Each freight car had an index card that contained the car information, including the car number. There was a plastic pocket on the card for loads. The load information was printed on both sides of the load invoice. Side one indicated where to pick or deliver the load, and side two indicated where to deliver the load or empty car after the first destination had been reached. There were industry boxes placed around the edge of the layout for the placement and storage of these cards. The system took some effort to set up, but it was easy to use and proved to be a good way to operate.
When Trainz TRS2004 was released it contained the start of a freight moving system. You could now move a freight car to an industrial site and the car could be filled with cargo and then be moved to another site for unloading. LARS is the logical next step in this process, and it has great potential for the future.
LARS stands for Logistics and Resource System. Lars also is the name of the man who created the system, Lars Ljunberg. The system utilizes Basic Industry sites and LARS-compatible cars to allow you to move goods throughout your own rail system. Everything you need to set up and run LARS is available from TrainzProRoutes (www.trainzproroutes.com). Freight cars that are compatible with the LARS system are available from TrainzProRoutes or the Trainz Download Station (DLS), and other sites that may become available for downloads as more LARS-compatible equipment comes on line. When you enter the TrainzProRoutes web site, you will be required to register with them in order to download the material, but there is no cost involved. Once you are registered you will need to download and install the following items:
There are informational items that will be very useful when you get started and these are also available as downloads:
At the DLS there are, right now, 60 LARS-compatible freight cars available that were created by Meridious. Look for them under his KUID number (87907) or click on his DLS contributor ticket. All of the LARS-compatible freight cars have the letters LARS at the end of their file name.
Once you install the LARS program the basic industries will appear in the custom objects list in Surveyor under TPR. You then can install any Basic Industry you wish while in surveyor. There are currently six basic industries: Bulk, Chemical, Fuel, General, Grain and Livestock. The installation is simple and is similar to the installation of the Multiple Industry Basic that is currently in TRS2004. There are a few differences between the LARS operation and the TRS2004 operation, but there is no conflict between them.
Installing a Basic Industry
In the above screen shot I am installing the Basic Industry. It looks just like the Multiple Industry Basic track section in TRS2004, but the difference is in the way LARS treats Basic Industries. In TRS2004 there is one Multiple Industry Basic track section and it lists a number of different industries. In LARS there are six Basic Industry track sections and each track section specializes in a different group of products. In this example I am installing the track next to a grain elevator and have picked the Grain Basic Industry. Once the track is in place, I just join my other tracks to it and the installation of the track is completed.
Setting up the Basic Industry
The grain Basic Industry has a number of different grains that can be handled and the recommendation is that you limit the industry to one product. By choosing the question mark and then clicking on the track you will bring up the setup menu.
In the Grain category there are currently ten choices: Flour, Wheat, Barley, Oats, Soya Beans, Hops, Rice, Corn, Peas and Malt. For my grain elevator, I decided that wheat would be the product, and the elevator would only be used for delivering wheat to the cars. The LARS system shows all the items in the list as being set at zero so you only need to work with the product of your choice. I found this to be a very easy way to set up the operation.
In the screen shot above I have set the production rate at 100 with an initial value of 10. I left the consume rate at zero since this grain elevator would only be doing deliveries. I also gave the grain elevator the company name “United Wheat.” After making my choices I just clicked the green arrow and was ready for operation.
Getting the wheat to market
I assigned my switcher to pick up an empty LARS-compatible Chessie 3-bay hopper car.
The car is loaded at the grain elevator.
Finally the loaded car is moved to the team track for pickup by the outgoing freight.
There is an additional dimension to LARS and this is in the field of visible cargo. Visible cargo will be seen appearing in the car as it is being loaded. For example, there is currently a cattle wagon that can be loaded with visible cattle. When the cattle are loaded you can see them appear in the car, which is a very nice effect. I expect that shortly there will be other visible livestock available such as sheep or pigs. I have also made product loads into cars I created with the new TRS2004-compatible Paint Shed and the system worked fine. The only effect I noticed that was different between the TRS2004 and LARS system was with animation, and this may only be a temporary difference. There is a coal hopper in TRS2004. If you load it using the TRS2004 coal mine, you will see it fill up with coal. If you load the same car using the LARS Basic Industry track set to load coal, the car invoice will indicate that it has a load of coal, but you do not see the coal.
LARS is a great system and it is new. I expect that additional cars and industries will come down the track at a fast rate. Anybody for fruits and vegetables? Potatoes, oranges, apples, pears, peaches, tomatoes, let’s hear it from the farmers! I would like to say thanks to Lars Ljunberg and the crew at TrainzProRoutes for bringing out a great new product. OK guys, I have to run, I have a delivery to make!
Article and screen shots ©2004 John D'Angelo. All rights reserved.