Two-track Terminus


Assuming you’re familiar with the basics of track laying, placing signals and creating points, this article will take you through creating a terminus station with two tracks.

Setting up the track

Suppose you’ve got a terminus station like this:

We want trains to arrive from the right and go into one of the station platforms. To get this to happen, we need to install a crossover at the end of the platform so that arriving trains, which will be coming in on the south line, can go straight to the north platform. Conversely, any train that terminates in the south platform needs to be able to return to the north line when departure time comes.

To do this, insert some new nodes on the existing track just before the station and put in a double crossover:

Because we want arriving trains to go to an unoccupied platform, we need to tell the points at the crossover to “Free Route” all trains. Open the Edit Node dialog by double-clicking on the facing points for arriving trains, and enter an asterisk in the Free Route box:

This will make Rail 3D send trains to a free platform only.

Remember also that all trains departing the station need to go to the north line, so for the facing points on the south line for departing trains, you need to set the route of the points so that all trains go to the north line. (Hint: set the default point route to the straight route, and type an asterisk in the Other Route box.)

You can probably work out that the facing points from the north platform should be set so that departing trains stay on the straight and go to the north line — the points are probably already set up this way by default, but it pays to check.

Once an arriving train has been sent to one of the platforms, we need to tell it to reverse direction. Near the end of each platform, insert a node and place a Reverse by right-clicking and selecting Stops and Reverse > New Reversal:

Set up each Reverse with the station’s name (this is be helpful for timetables or looking at the train roster to determine where your trains are), the time taken to reverse, and which sides you want the doors should open. Most importantly, make sure you get the direction right — it should be the direction that trains are travelling before they reverse:

Adding some signals

If you recall earlier tutorials you should realise that we’ll need signals to control trains’ arrivals and departures, otherwise we’ll end up with trains crashing into each other on the crossover. Also, if both platforms have a train in them, an arriving train just plough into one of the other trains unless it is held at a signal outside the station.

Firstly, let’s add a signal for arriving trains. We’ll just use the default uk colour light model. Because this signal applies to tracks where trains could be going different ways, we need to make sure the Controlled option is set:

Secondly, we’ll add some signals for trains departing the platforms. Trains can depart from either platform, so we need one signal for each platform. Again, they’ll need to be controlled signals too. Don’t forget to ensure they’re pointing in the right direction (hint: these ones need Direction pointing to the right!):

Lastly, make sure that there is another signal somewhere along the departure track (in this case, the north line) otherwise the platform signals will never clear because they won’t be able to find another signal to set a route to.

Testing it out

Now you can add some trains and watch them go in and out of the station.

The pictures below have Signal locking and routing turned on, which can be accessed from the View menu. Recall from earlier tutorials that green lines indicate where routes have been set from controlled signals. (These trains would probably also be passenger trains and not goods trains, but they are fine for this example.)

First, train 1 arrives on the south line. The arrival signal has set a route into the south platform (on the left).

Train 1 terminates in the south platform, and train 2, which has been following close behind, is routed into free platform — the north platform — as per the settings on the points.

A third train arrives but because there are no free routes, the arrival signal won’t clear, so train 3 has to wait.

Train 1 is ready to depart from the south platform, so the departure signal sets a route back over the crossover to the north line.

Train 3 can now proceed into the south platform, left vacant by train 1.

Train 2 is subsequently ready to leave, and the platform signal allows it to proceed to the north line once train 1 has cleared the first signal section on the north line.

A finishing touch

Once you’ve got this working, you might notice that trains leaving the station accelerate quite rapidly, when in reality they would probably go slowly over the points.

To make trains go slowly, double-click on each of the crossover links and enter an appropriate speed value in the “speed limit” box of the link properties dialogue (e.g. “15″ - whether this is in mph or km/h depends on the settings in Tools > Preferences). This will cause all trains passing over it to be imposed with a speed limit of 15. Trains in either direction will observe the speed limit as long as any part of the train is travelling over the link.

Another way to set up a speed limit is to insert a new node on the track leading to the terminus and add a speed limit track feature (right-click on the node and select “new speed limit” from the context menu). In this case you have to double-click on the node to open the node properties dialogue and set the limit and the direction of travel it applies to.

If you use a speed limit feature, trains will comply with the speed limit until they pass a further speed limit feature that applies to their direction of travel. The advantage in this case is that trains will not start to accelerate towards the buffer stops after clearing the crossover! To return trains to normal line speed once they have left the terminus, create a speed limit on the north line with an appropriate maximum line speed value.

You may have noticed that the trains in these screenshots are all in push-pull formation. Read the tutorial on Run-round Loop to learn how to deal with trains at termini when they have only one locomotive.

30 January 2007