Written by: TrainSim-James
A picture of Sandown station. Drawing copyright and reproduced courtesy of David Glasspool.
Now, before you make a real world route, you obviously have to get some facts and information about it, because, lets face it, if you are doing a route that you may know very well there may be some key pointers that you may miss, so it is always good to find a place to start, as if you just get DEM data and turn google maps on, you miss some important aspects that go into the route, for example, speed limits. Below are some ideas on finding some of these key structures, including signalling, speed limits, access points and other bits you will need to start building your route.
This is always catching people out, there is an easy and hard way of doing it, the easy way is to find out some information from the track maintainers or drivers, this may come in the form of some open PDF files, a cab view video or a database that someone has made themselves, some useful links for those in the UK are below.
Network Rail Website – Please note do not try and sign up, if you look to the left there are some open PDF’s
Video125 Website – This is one of the in-cab videos that mark out line side views etc.
Track Access Website – This may be a harder one to get hold of, but it is a great source as seen here:
Meanwhile, the hard way would be walking along or driving along the side of the track and noting down speed limits, this is very accurate but will need a bit of kit and may take ages. There is also many apps on the app store that tell you your speed, but normally these use a lot of 3G and is not very accurate.
Signalling may seem simple, but it is very much the same as speed limits, it is actually very similar but there are some very big knock outs, for example, above the method of using an app while travelling and using the network rail appendix have no use at all, there is very little they can help with, but with some routes, where there is a mix of 3 aspect, 4 aspect or semiphore, that’s normally where you will have to visit the track, check out the links above for information on signalling.
Now, normally, these are not needed as much for routes set in the current day, but when you have to create a route set in the past, then you will need to get some information on the platforms and so forth, for example if you want to have sandown station on the Isle of Wight, today it is small, but previously, this had 3 platforms and dived of to Newport –
Kent Rail Website showing the old Sandown Station layout.
I really hope this helps in building routes.