A PORTRAYAL OF THE L&N / CSX LINE THROUGH EAST KENTUCKY
CONTENT & SUPPORT
This route was built using the Auran TRAINZ® Railway Simulator 2004 (TRS04). All content for the route is freeware. All content installs into TRS 04 without errors reported in TrainzObjectz. With the exceptions listed below all content is available from the Auran Download Station. The route itself installs into TRS06 without errors, but I cannot offer support for content reported as faulty by that program nor can I be held responsible for the consequences if any of using such faulty content in that program.
CONTENT NOT ON THE DLS:
"Lars' ProtoLars Industry Tracks" and "Weevil's Bridges and Abutments" are both necessary content only available from the TrainzProRoutes forums. You will need to be registered and logged in to download. Registration is quick, easy and free. Register or log in at TPR via this link.
After registering and logging into the forum, the ProtoLars content is available from this page. Scroll to the bottom of the first post and get the two cdp packs labeled ProtoLars Mega Pack 1.1 cdp and ProtoLars Marker Poles cdp. While you are there it is well worth a few extra seconds to also download the ProtoLars Manual zip file. The Manual is for information only and may be unzipped to any convenient location.
For Weevil's Bridges and Abutments go to this page and download Bridges.cdp from the link in the first post.
Roberto Conti's 'grass' is optional content used to enhance several close-up scenes near low angle tracking cameras. This wonderful content adds a lot to these views and is well worth getting. The cdp file is available from the Trainz Italia website via this link.
DOWNLOAD LINK AT BOTTOM OF PAGE
ABOUT THE ROUTE
The route covers approximately 40 route miles, roughly half of which is a part of the East Kentucky Main. The balance is made up of seven branch lines of varying lengths. The Leatherwood Branch extends the Eastern end of the main by about three miles, the Western end is extended by the Carr's Fork Branch which adds over seven miles. The Montgomery Creek Branch adds another three miles to the length of Carr's Fork. The longest journey possible on the route is therefore something in the order of thirty miles - well over an hours running at track speed.
The route serves thirteen separate coal facilities using forty interactive industry tracks, ranging in size from roadside truck dumps requiring only a couple of cars to the four-road Charlene Tipple with siding space for 180 hoppers. The Knott Creek Branch serves a Lumber and Logging facility with four industry tracks. Leatherwood Power and Light at the Eastern end of the route has two industry tracks.
This freelance route is based on a Digital Elevation Model of the valley of the North Fork of the Kentucky River and some of its major tributary streams, particularly the areas around Carr’s Fork and Leatherwood Creek. The track follows as accurately as possible the route of the prototype. The layout of stations and yards is based on on-line maps which as near as I can tell represent some time in the 1960s. All coal loadouts represented on the route are located as accurately as possible and carry a name that was associated with that particular facility at some time during its history.
That being said, let me state categorically that this is NOT a 'prototype' route.
Although I have tried to capture the ‘spirit’ of the area, no effort has been made to duplicate in any real way the actual area represented by the route on the ‘other side’ of the Railway fence. Towns carry their real name, and are located where they should be, but no effort has been made to duplicate the actual places. Buildings and their locations were chosen from what was easily available and placed to more-or-less please the eye never forgetting the overall goal of the lowest possible poly count.
Such details as are included come as much from my day-to-day observations of Australian railways as from my book-knowledge of US Railroads. I think the blend is visually pleasing – even convincing. But it is not accurate. It was never meant to be. I set out simply to create the model railway of my dreams on a computer, not to duplicate reality. If that’s not your ‘thing’ – don’t run it!
This is a ‘Lo-Poly’ route. Everything is simplified and minimised to give the best possible result using the least possible computer. There is plenty room for detail improvement! This is especially true in the commercial area of the town of Jeff. As it is I can barely run it. It looks OK as a drive-by, but won’t stand close scrutiny. If you want more detail, add as you will.
The greatest visual compromise is the ‘texture only’ approach to hillsides. Virtually the whole area modelled is very heavily forested. No computer on Earth could run if all the trees needed were included. The textured hillsides look fine from afar (cranking up the ‘good weather fog’ option results in a surprisingly realistic 'summer haze' view, particularly under a blue sky) but the transition where the forest edge comes right down to the railroad right-of-way is at best dodgy.
The route includes every coal loadout that I have been able to positively identify. It should be remembered though that the amount of coal produced in the area varied greatly from year to year as economic conditions changed. Not all of the mines produced coal all of the time. Don’t be daunted by the thought of setting up literally dozens of Lars tracks and trying to cope with the output. Start simple, with just a couple. Treat the other mines as ‘closed’. Demolish buildings, rip up tracks or even close some branch lines if you like!
EAST KENTUCKY POWER & LIGHT
The power station modelled on the Leatherwood Branch is a pure fiction. The major local power producer was located in Hazard KY (a few miles off the West end of the present route) but will not appear on the modelled route till Stage 3 is built. This left the route with no on-line receiver for all that coal. To make operations more interesting I included this facility, placing it at the opposite end of the route from the major coal producers. On ‘Stage 2’ the entire ‘prototype’ Leatherwood branch will be included and the pretend power station will be moved to the West end of the main line.
Coal dominated. In L&N days apart from a few local way-freights, it was all coal. Some bridge traffic was carried in CSX days after the Eastern end of the line was diverted.
There are mines on the EK Main both East and West of the modelled section, so coal loads and empties travel both ways. The loads traffic was slightly heavier Eastbound, but when setting operating patterns up, don’t forget through coal headed West.
The line carried virtually no passenger traffic, but I LIKE passenger trains of the two-or-three car sort, so every likely location has a Passenger Depot. If you don’t like the semi-freelance approach simply delete the offending assets. Or if you like it, add invisible platforms. The ‘Tram’ stops by andi06 (available on the DLS) are perfect for the level of intensity required.
Most traffic on the modelled route will obviously be between the coal mining area out along the Carr's Fork Branch and the Power Plant on the Leatherwood Branch. Since the Carr's Fork Branch has only trailing access to Eastbound main these trains will need to be reversed at Jeff Junction. Trains up to about 30 cars (assuming 100 ton quad hoppers) can be reversed by a simple run-around move in Jeff Yard, however longer trains are a bit trickier. Trains up to about 72 cars can be reversed using the Wye at the Western end of Jeff Yard. Trains of up to 120 cars (ex-Charlene Tipple) can be reversed at the Unit Train Passing Loop west of Jeff. The line west of Jeff Junction look to be double track but it is not - this is a very long passing loop to run around the very long unit coal trains off the Montgomery Branch.
There is a Caboose Track at Jeff Junction between the yard and the Carr's Fork Branch. Several switching moves in the Carr's Fork area require long pushing moves with the locomotives at the rear. Wherever such a move crosses a public road at grade, a Caboose is required on the leading end of the train, even in CSX days. The Brakeman rides the leading platform and is equipped with a radio to communicate with the Driver, an air horn to warn road traffic and a brake valve for emergency applications. Because some of these backing moves are made after the locos run around the train (Knott's Creek Branch for example) the caboose will sometimes need to be initially cut in at the front of the train, immediately behind the locos.
Signalling, and the AI
The line is set up with a signalling compromise visually acceptable to the human eye and operationally acceptable to the AI - PROVIDED that all scheduling is set up to ensure no conflicts. If you prefer to run a random arrangement, Mexican Standoffs are guaranteed! To improve performance on a ‘random’ system I strongly suggest that all signals protecting the FACING ends of junctions be deleted. While this will significantly reduce the number of trains the route can carry, it will also dramatically reduce the number of standoffs.
Invisible Signal Lever
There is a single slip switch near the West end of Jeff Junction Yard. The default switch lever locations results in one lever which fouls the adjacent running line. I have left a default 'visible' signal lever in place, but users familiar with its location may wish to swap it out in favor of either an invisible lever or a lo-profile 'power' lever.
By holding down the 'Alt' key while typing 'carz' (no quotes) in Surveyor and then clicking the mouse cursor on any passing car it is possible to hitch a ride. Actually the only available seat is sitting cross-legged on the roof, so take a pair of goggles! The reason I mention this is that by starting near the Eastern end of the main line on the road across the river from the Railway (not the road that crosses the bridge, the other one) it is possible to 'Alt-carz' in one go all the way to Jeff, be taken around the Jeff commercial district, back across the railway and out along Carr's Fork and lastly the Montgomery Branch almost to the end of the line. The view from the road is often surprisingly different to that from the railway. Because of the way carz are handled at intersections, this only works one way, but is worth trying!
Blue Texture and 'Un-necessary' Boards
Several boards near the ends of the route are marked with a small circle of bright blue texture. These are 'Delete Here' markers for end boards that will need to be removed prior to merging later additions. They are out of line-of-sight from the railway, texture over them at your peril! Also there are several entire boards near the ends which are entirely out of sight and appear superfluous. These boards are visible from the tracks after future additions are merged and the merge is simpler if these boards are left on at this stage. Again, delete them at your peril !
It is planned to extend all three ends of the EK Stage 1 Route. EK2 will be the full Leatherwood Branch. This should make a single 1+2 release possible as the total size should still squeeze under the DLS limit. From then on though it will be merge 'em yourself! EK3 will be a short addition on the Western end, but since this includes the major yard at Hazard Ky and several more mines including the Lotts Creek Branch and (at last!) the Power Station, it will be a small but important addition. EK4 is an additional 20 or so miles of main line running towards Ravena in the west and EK5 will be a similar main-line addition to the East. That's the plan. We all know what happens to 'plans'. Also since this plan was formulated a new map-making utility has become available which makes routes I have an interest in in both Australia and Ireland possible, so they are getting under way also. It might take a while, but I love Trainz and I love the EK, so the additions will come!
Acknowledgements and Thanks
To all at TPR for helping me get this project out - especially Jeff Ritter who did an enormous amount of work on the initial Beta version. Thanks to Craig (Momentum) for a thoughtful email which resulted in the decision to include the freelance power station, an inclusion which transformed the operating potential of the route. Also to Stuart (Weevil) for his new curve-able bridges which helped enormously with track alignment on such a curvaceous route.
Thanks also to all those who offered support through the Screenies thread at the Trainz Forum and for all the encouraging emails I received.
Special thanks as always to John Keenan - a true stalwart.
If you get half as much pleasure from running the East Kentucky as I did building it, it will have been worth the effort. Constructive criticism and suggestions are always welcome - email me at this link.
Andy (aka Dermmy)