Saturday, 23 November 2013

[DPS] East Coast MainLine - North East

[DPS] East Coast Main Line – North East

What is 'East Coast Main Line - North East'?

The route is a clone of the original East Coast Main Line route, formerly known as Newcastle to York. The original route is set in the late 1970's and is probably starting to show it's age given it originates before the release of Rail Simulator in 2007. This project from DPSimulation is an effort to modernise the route to reflect the route as it currently stands in 2013 with full electrification, accurate speed limits, track rationalisation and complete resignalling.

What requirements do I need?

The original East Coast Main Line route is required, this was available to all users of Train Simulator prior to the release of Train Simulator 2013. Anyone who purchased a copy of Train Simulator after that release would need to purchase the route from Steam. Great Eastern Main Line is also a requirement as this provides the foundation for the track, track rules, catenary and large portions of foliage.

What changes have been made?

The current changes, as of 23th November 2013 are as follows, all track, signal and catenary related improvements currently relate to the section between Newcastle and Darlington:

  • Complete track rule swap with the GEML track to incorporate the new track rule and allow electrification using the new catenary tool.

  • Complete track swap to GEML track, replacing the washed out effect that was present with the original ECML track.
  • Route resignalled using the GEML colour light and LED signals. All signals numbered correctly where information was available.
  • Track rationalisation/removal throughout the route to reflect modern day. This includes new platform allocations at Newcastle plus removals of things like Gateshead Depot, Tyne Yard, Darlington DMU depot etc.
  • Speed limits changed to reflect prototypical working in the present day.
  • Catenary added to utilise the new catenary tool with both sagging and zig-zagging wires.
  • All nearside trees and bush lines bulk swapped with the relevant newer variations provided with GEML.
  • Bridges along the route either replaced or raised to accomodate the catenary. In some cases, these bridges have been completely swapped with the newer GEML variants along with occlusion to project shadows and block rain.

What is to be done to the route?

As of 23rd November 2013, it is possible to drive from Darlington to Newcastle under full catenary, speed limits and replaced signalling. The next task will be to perform the same modifications to the section between Darlington and York.

Future updates will then include the remodelling of key points along the route such as Tyne Yard along with improved lineside foliage, buildings and other changes to scenery that have taken place in the last 35 years.

Another possible option is a complete texture replacement using the more extensive texture set provided with GEML. This would provide benefits such as a better ballast blend and greater variation in field texturing. However, any texture replacement would require the route to be stripped back to a base colour and completely repainted from scratch so is currently just slated as an option.

It is also entirely possible that the route may receive extensions to provide greater operational ability. These extensions could take the form of an extension north to Morpeth including Heaton Depot, west to MetroCentre and east to Saltburn.

What cannot currently be done?

At this point, super-elevation is not viable on the route due to the track not originally being laid with easements. The only current solution would be to completely replace the track and this is not viable mainly due to the timescales involved. In addition, gradient transitions are currently un-changed due to issues when using the newer gradient smoothing tool which created various kinks in the track. Options to work around this are currently being investigated.

Current issues?

Due to the complex track layout at the northern end of Newcastle Central, a simplified layout is currently in place due to the inability to form correct slips and double slips. This, like the gradient smoothing is currently under investigation.

Due to the issues mentioned above with regards to the gradient smoothing tool, there is an element of rough riding over certain sections, the same that were present in the original ECML route. Also, due to the track following the same alignment of the original route, but with higher speed limits in some locations, this also presents an issue when taking curves at speed, not that there are any chances of derailment, but it doesn't feel right. Solutions and workarounds to this are currently being investigated.

Where can I obtain the route?

The route is to be released, for free on the Steam Workshop in the coming weeks. As with other routes from DPSimulation, it will be provided in incremental versions and updated regularly. As stated previously, early developments of these projects will be provided as a way of thanks to those who donate to DPSimulation with the first development version of ECML-NE released later today (23rd November).

If you have previously donated to DPSimulation, then please send a feedback form at stating your Steam username. Equally, if you wish to make a donation to DPSimulation, please send us the same form after donating in order to be added for early access.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for the update, lots of work done and to be done. It is a shame that easements can't calculate themselves from having a defined start and end straight section of track - from a programming point of view it can't be too difficult as it is an exact science. That would make upgrading routes much more viable for high speed running - WCML-N for example.