Saturday, 21 December 2013

East Coast Main Line: North East - Updated Information

[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, complete resignalling and scenery improvements throughout.

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 and buildings.

What changes have been made?

The current changes, as of release date are as follows:

  • 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 are numbered correctly as per official diagrams.
  • Track rationalisation/removal throughout the route to reflect modern day. This includes new platform allocations at Newcastle and York, plus removal/rationalisation of freight points along the route.
  • 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.
  • Scenery changes have been implemented throughout the route in order to reflect the modern day prototype more closely.
  • 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. Occlusion has also been added to the stations at Newcastle, York and Darlington in order to block rain.
  • The end points of the route have been completely reworked so that they now match the correct location in real life. As well as being prototypically correct, this now means that the route is set for future extensions.
  • Quick Drive has been implemented with start points at key locations along the route. These include York, Newcastle, Dunston, Holgate Yard, Tyne Yard, Low Fell Royal Mail Terminal, Saltburn Line at Darlington.
  • Milepost replacement along the full length of the route to depict the more modern yellow posts. These are also now in the correct locations with the starting origin at York.

What is to be done to the route?

As of release date, it is possible to drive the full length of the route between Newcastle to York. It is also possible to perform freight operations between key points such as Tyne Yard, Holgate Yard and Low Fell Royal Mail Terminal. The main reception sidings at Tyne Yard are complete, but there are still several sidings that need to be included. Likewise, York Yard still has to be completed and will be included in a future update. Scenario creation is entirely possible and any future additions will not have an impact on scenarios.

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, not all gradient transitions have had smoothing integrated 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.

Many people have asked me about the possibility of custom assets but unfortunately, the Steam Workshop will not support this meaning I can only use assets originally available with Newcastle to York and also GEML as the requirement. This means I have to place an emphasis on creatively using these objects to achieve the desired effect.

Quick Drive currently does not support AI operations. This is due to the need for custom blueprints to be created for AI to be implemented, and as such the workshop will not support this custom content. It is possible that AI will be implemented in the future and made available as a file via the DPSimulation website.

Current issues?

Due to the complex track layout at the northern end of Newcastle Central, a simplified layout at the northern end is currently in place due to the inability to form correct slips and double slips. This, like the gradient smoothing is currently under investigation as it should not be happening.

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 at times.


As with all projects on the Train Simulator 2014 Steam Workshop, scenarios are not supported from the outset whilst the route is still in development. A dedicated page has been set up at DPSimulation which will feature scenarios for the route, both from me and the community.

Where can I obtain the route?

The route will be made available, to all in the next few days from the DPSimulation workshop for Train Simulator 2014. As with other routes from DPSimulation, it will be provided in incremental versions and updated regularly.

As with the initial development of the route, early access is still available and any future updates will be provided in advance to those who donate, or have donated to DPSimulation as a way of thanks for helping offset the costs incurred in running the website. Following a period of feedback from these users, these updates will then be rolled out to all users.

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. did you encounter that problem where several miles of track is above the ground surface? it seems to happen to everyone