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PostPosted: Sat Apr 15, 2017 6:00 pm 
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Long time forum lurker here, but have been having a lot of fun with my latest project to set up a comprehensive, semi-realistic representation of the UK rail network. I know I'm not the first to attempt this, and even after a quick glance across the screenshot section of the forum, I've already seen that others have been a lot more thorough in their research for this kind of project, but I thought I'd share what I've done so far in the hopes that my own take on the project might inspire others, and perhaps, to get a few ideas on ways to improve the network and maybe some recommendations for GRFs to add to game to make it look a bit better.

Just a few details about what I've been trying to do here first though.

My focus has been on:
i) Connections
i.e. what connects to where, so position of junctions, layout of track, etc, have been completely simplified and based on what was practical on the map. When there is a possibility in real life to travel directly from station A to station B directly by train, I'm trying to ensure that you can do that in this game. In the scenario I'm using (I forget the source, but the creator did a pretty spot-on job) there are some small towns missing, and most of the time I've simply overlooked these for the sake of the keeping the system functional, though some I have added in when they were too important to leave out. Cities/towns that are too close together to have a viable in-game rail link have also at times been skipped over. Also, as some lines have a number of stations within the borders of large cities such as London and Birmingham, I decided that these simply would not have fit had I tried to include them all, and even if I had managed to fit them, they would quickly have brought the network to a standstill, which brings me to my next aim.

ii) Functionality of the network
I'd been waiting some time for cargodist to be integrated into the main game, but good god are those passenger numbers difficult to manage. I didn't want the game to turn into what would essentially be a map of the real life network, I wanted it to actually work! I decided to get around that a few ways, such as having trams roughly representing the London Underground, and a few semi-hidden tram lines connecting the absurdly overloaded connections and supplementing the train connections (Warrington - Wigan is proving a particular pain at the moment). I have avoided creating any train route that doesn't actually exist, barring a few shortened services that would otherwise overload the system further down if allowed to continue.

iii) Approximate representation of the actual routes and the trains that serve them
'Okay, I see East Midlands has a service from Norwich to Liverpool and it reverses at Sheffield; better see if I can make that a reality.'
This has been the trickiest part of the game to balance. With so many variations and extensions of the standard routes, I've decided to focus on those that make the most sense for the network. I'm trying to include all of the most regular services in areas where it would be otherwise overwhelming, and being a bit more vigilant in the more rural parts of the network where some stations would otherwise be completely overlooked.

iv) Appropriate trains for respective routes
Tempting as it sometimes to shove Intercity 225s everywhere, I've tried to stick to trains that would, at the very least, approximately represent the type of train that actually operates on that specific service. The BR train set has been amazing for that, and I hope they continue to add to the pack, but it does mean I have an awful lot of Desiro 185s running around. Where possible I've tried to use the true liveries for trains serving specific routes, though this has only been possible on a handful of routes. Occasionally, due to the higher priority being on functionality, I've used faster trains than are used in reality (such as the Virgin route between Edinburgh and Euston)



Things I'm not concerned about
i) Money/profitability
I don't think I've ever played OTTD for the business aspect, but rather to create impressive networks that work well. Little branch lines that make a huge negative on arrival (yes... there are a few 'delays' on some parts of the network still) are fine by me and they add an element of realism to the set-up, since not all routes are profitable.

ii) Cheats
Local authorities? What local authorities?
I can't be wasting my time planting TREES when I could be planting trains! and I'm sure as hell not shifting the East Midland's main line 3 miles west to go around a giant factory.

iii) Relative locations
Stations have been placed according to what is practical, even if it doesn't correspond to where the stations are in reality. The exception here being London, where I'm trying to put key terminus stations in their approximate relative locations, though when the stations constitute about half of the city itself, this is far from perfect.




I know some of my workarounds are probably going to feel a bit rough to some, but I'm very open to suggestions and ideas.

TL:DR - I'm making a UK network! In some ways it's pretty lame, but in other ways it seems pretty nice! Let me know what you think.

Starting off with my home town of Southend
c2c services to Fenchurch Street via Basildon or Grays, plus services going from Southend Victoria to Liverpool Street. May still add Shoeburyness in the future.
Image

The line crossing the Fens to Ely
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The main London stations. Still need to pretty up Euston and Liverpool Street a bit
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Attachments:
File comment: Starting off with my home town of Southend
c2c services to Fenchurch Street via Basildon or Grays, plus services going from Southend Victoria to Liverpool Street. May still add Shoeburyness in the future.

Sparkee Co, 24th Oct 2121#1.png [608.1 KiB]
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File comment: The line crossing the Fens to Ely
Sparkee Co, 24th Oct 2121#2.png [363.98 KiB]
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File comment: The main London stations. Still need to pretty up Euston and Liverpool Street a bit
Sparkee Co, 24th Oct 2121.png [538.2 KiB]
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PostPosted: Sun Apr 16, 2017 9:31 pm 
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One of the more rural lines connecting Windermere to the mainline
Image

Despite the 300kmh capabilities of the class 373s, I decided between the London area and Peterborough the trains should be limited to 201kmh, so as to avoid unstable timetables and a constant stop-start effect on the faster trains stuck behind the fast-but-not-that-fast trains. First time using speed limits in the timetables for me! Will be using them more often now I think and probably the most useful feature of the game that I've really learnt to appreciate during this project.
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This was for sure one of the more fiddly stations I built this game. Apart from a couple of extra platforms, it's a fairly accurate representation of Cambridge railway station (one extra platform in the middle and 2 extra bay platforms on the far side) right down to the double opposite facing bay platforms on the near side and scissor junction that allows access to P1/P4. Any suggestions on tweaks for this station would be appreciated (other than removing the made-up platforms!) as it's the part of the network that I want to be the show-piece of this project.
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Sparkee Co, 6th Jan 2122.png [585.6 KiB]
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Sparkee Co, 7th Oct 2126.png [393.63 KiB]
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Sparkee Co, 7th Oct 2126#1.png [475.47 KiB]
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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 9:52 am 
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You built Cambridge back to front, the long platform with the scissors is on the west side of the alignment, not the east ;)

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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 10:05 am 
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Ah, I was trying to work that out from google maps, which wasn't exactly an ideal source to rely on :P

Are there any other stations with interesting layouts that would be good to represent here?


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PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 1:43 pm 
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I like to use Rail Map ..http://www.railmaponline.com/UKIEMap.php . for some old layouts ...https://signalbox.org/diagrams.php . This is a gold mine of information ....http://www.disused-stations.org.uk/ .


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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 8:00 pm 
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Thanks for the links! That nationwide map could come in especially handy when working out how different lines link up.

The track layouts should be good as well, need to start adding some carriage sidings to my stations for looks. Many of them look quite bland at the moment, though will probably still focus on building the network up first.

This is the network map so far.

Image

EDIT: and this has just made me notice that the branch line to Matlock is overloaded! Better go fix that!

One of the few places where I have the right kind of train (albeit a bit longer) with the right livery for the route.
Who should I be thanking for the BRtrains GRF?

Image


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Sparkee Co, 19th Sep 2140.png [70.9 KiB]
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Sparkee Co, 14th Dec 2140.png [551.61 KiB]
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PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 11:03 pm 
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Jibberandtwitch wrote:
The track layouts should be good as well, need to start adding some carriage sidings to my stations for looks. Many of them look quite bland at the moment, though will probably still focus on building the network up first.

Just a couple of Track layouts that I've noticed aren't quite correct. The Windermere branch is single track all the way from Oxenholme to Windermere, and Belper should be double track, and has the Derby - Sheffield EMT expresses running through it. Still, artistic license for the game requirements is sometimes needed, so sometimes you need to do these things :D It is looking very good however! If you wish for any other track layout help, give me a shout if it's North of Llandrindod, Hereford, Banbury, Rugby, Bedford and Peterborough, and south of the Scottish Border, I'm happy to answer any questions :)

Jibberandtwitch wrote:
Who should I be thanking for the BRtrains GRF?

You can put a thank you over in this topic, I'm sure it will get picked up by those necessary :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 6:45 pm 
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Just after posting this I made Belper double track actually! I must have sensed that sometime was not right, as I had no ideas it was double track there, though it makes sense now I think about it; the trains would need somewhere to pass.

I'd really been trying to keep that route single line, but the backlog was getting into the thousands. I didn't want to have massive/fast trains there, so I decided double tracking was the best way to go.

I just realised that Matlock has 2 platforms, though I assume mainline trains only use P1. Still, I think I'll try and represent that with the buffer at the end of P2.

Thanks for pointer to the BRtrains thread.
Wasn't sure if thankful patrons were supposed to post on the development thread :)


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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:20 pm 
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Jibberandtwitch wrote:
I just realised that Matlock has 2 platforms, though I assume mainline trains only use P1. Still, I think I'll try and represent that with the buffer at the end of P2.

There is indeed 2 platforms, P1, like you say is the only one that mainline trains use, P2 is the platform for Peak Rail to Rowsley. There is track at the North end of P1 to allow Mainline train to access Peak Rail (at least, according to my track diagrams there is), however, I imagine that is only used for Gala's.

Jibberandtwitch wrote:
I'd really been trying to keep that route single line, but the backlog was getting into the thousands. I didn't want to have massive/fast trains there, so I decided double tracking was the best way to go.

Out of interest, how far are you running the service on the line? Surely it wouldn't be too much of an issue if you were just running the Windermere - Oxenholme shuttle?

Jibberandtwitch wrote:
Thanks for pointer to the BRtrains thread.
Wasn't sure if thankful patrons were supposed to post on the development thread :)

I would say that it's the best place to put those sort of things for now :)

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PostPosted: Thu Apr 20, 2017 7:59 pm 
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I'm loving the map. Is it one you made yourself, or was it on the online content system? That isn't one i've seen before. All the ones I've seen stop around Darlington / Durham, or slightly before Middlesbrough on the east coast.

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 9:28 am 
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Redirect Left wrote:
I'm loving the map. Is it one you made yourself, or was it on the online content system? That isn't one i've seen before. All the ones I've seen stop around Darlington / Durham, or slightly before Middlesbrough on the east coast.

Didn't Jon Scaife (I think that is what he was called) make a few whole UK maps?

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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 12:17 pm 
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Looking good , any chance of a save game , one a year would be a good way to monitor the progres in action .


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 3:37 pm 
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Pilot wrote:
Out of interest, how far are you running the service on the line? Surely it wouldn't be too much of an issue if you were just running the Windermere - Oxenholme shuttle?


It's just the shuttle; I also thought it would be fine, but Windermere has grown a fair bit. Now I've made the stations double platform it might be manageable though, so need to go back and have a look into that.

Redirect Left wrote:
I'm loving the map. Is it one you made yourself, or was it on the online content system? That isn't one i've seen before. All the ones I've seen stop around Darlington / Durham, or slightly before Middlesbrough on the east coast.


Took a bit of hunting, but I found where I got it from.
https://www.reddit.com/r/openttd/commen ... eniro_map/
it's the 2nd map linked

I looked at a few others before settling on this one and I have to say, the scenario really is excellent. The distances are just right (nice, packed, but manageable networks around London, and long, stretching rural lines in Scotland). Most of the towns and cities are more or less in their correct locations and it doesn't require too much messing around with to make it useable.

Some of the features on the map look really nice as well, like the Fens I posted earlier.

I'd definitely recommend disabling towns being able to roads as the relatively flat land means they tend to sprawl quite quickly.

The only down side of the map is a lack of rivers, so London doesn't look quite right as a result, but it does make it easier to fit all the stations in. Also they're relatively easy to add in later.


Will upload a save game at some point, I don't think I'll upload regular saves like one a year, as I often will spend a year or two just keeping an eye on the first train on a new route to make sure I haven't misplaced any signals and ensuring that it's timetable will actually be functional.

This has been the trickiest part so far; making the network consistent. Some parts of the network are stretched very tight and are almost overloaded, especially around London. Just like real life I guess :D


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PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 5:42 pm 
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Jibberandtwitch wrote:
Took a bit of hunting, but I found where I got it from.
https://www.reddit.com/r/openttd/commen ... eniro_map/
it's the 2nd map linked

Excellent. Cheers!

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PostPosted: Sat Apr 22, 2017 8:18 am 
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Nice work. I'm sure you're adapting as you go but Oxenholme to Windermere is one train working single line throughout.

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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:16 pm 
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Had a little break from this game, but recruited my brother to help me out since.

Wales has received a lot of love since the last post, so I'll make that the focus of this post.

First off, an update to the network map. It's been bulked out a lot in the Midlands and there is finally a connection to the South West (the Cross Country Edinburgh - Plymouth, with its 1,193-day timetable)
Ignore the connections between Euston and Glasgow/Motherwell, added a train mid-timetable.

Image


I decided to separate out the Arriva and Great Western Trains at Swansea. I suspect the tunnels are a bit unrealistic, but will be necessary I think.

Image

The Heart Of Wales line. Still haven't populated this with trains yet, but looking forward to that timetabling nightmare. Tried to stay true to the passing loops as they are in reality - single track from Knighton to Craven Arms and so on.

Image


Attachments:
File comment: Network map
Sparkee Co, 24th Oct 2121.png [101.71 KiB]
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File comment: Swansea
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File comment: Heart of Wales
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Last edited by Jibberandtwitch on Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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PostPosted: Mon Jul 17, 2017 10:42 pm 
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Sometimes it is nice to just zoom out and admire a densely packed region in action (still some gaps to fill in there though)

Image

Had to get a bit creative with the Severn Bridge and a very visibly unfinished line to Caldicot and beyond there. This is the area of focus at the moment

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Barking is one of the more functional stations, with proper connections to Laindon and Rainham to the East and Fenchurch Street to the West.

Image


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File comment: North London
Untitled3.png [670.62 KiB]
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File comment: Severn
Untitled4.png [626.4 KiB]
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File comment: Barking
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PostPosted: Thu Aug 10, 2017 4:54 pm 
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Been working on this a lot recently, it's now year 2268 in game.
I've been paying a lot more attention to the stations now, trying to make them reflect their real life equivalents as closely as possible.

Most of the Great Western routes are done now, with Paddington connected to Penzance, Bristol, Cardiff (and Swansea), Oxford (and Banbury), and even the Henley peak hours service.

Gloucester - Weymouth, Reading - Bedwyn (the area around Paddington is too congested to have this run all the way to Paddington), Swindon - Gloucester and Swindon - Westbury are all covered as well. A fair few branch lines have also been included (see Bourne End/Marlow in the SS below!)

This project is getting more enjoyable as it goes on! Eventually plan to go back to the routes I set up earlier and give the stations a revamp.

Hope you enjoy, suggestions and ideas very much welcome!

Image
The branch line to Marlow, complete with the terminus at Bourne End

Image
I really like the central bay platform at Swindon, it's heavily used here.

I tried to recreate the bridge as closely as I could as well.

Image
I do like the Australian station set, though I wish it had the passenger sprites like the Japanese set has.


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Marlow branch.png [690.26 KiB]
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Swindon.png [430.48 KiB]
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 11:33 am 
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The network has developed a lot and I've made a few little tweaks. Since I'm now using one of the patch packs, I've adjusted passenger generation to about -0.2. It's made a big difference!

A quick look to the southern part of the network, Yeovil Pen Mill. Yeovil Junction hasn't been built yet, but the rail is there ready to connect up when it is, South West Trains is yet to receive any love.

Image

Moving a bit further north is Birmingham New Street. Had to get a bit creative with the station grfs, but the overall effect looks pretty good I think. Certainly a busy station, there are 11 platforms occupied at this moment in time.

Image

Snow Hill is still under construction, but I think it will essentially keep this look. One of the stations that I'm most happy about so far :D

Image

Will post the updated network map next time!


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 21, 2017 6:41 pm 
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But where are the trains?

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