Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Have you given it a go? Post your experiences, particularly things that worked well. Let the team know what works and doesn't work as they cannot test the software with every combination of routes, activities and content available for MSTS. OpenRails is actively being improved and is quickly approaching v1.0. This is a great place to discuss what you can do with OpenRails.

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jonpd
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Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by jonpd »

After running a few MEP activities I thought it would be useful to run a more comprehensive test of MEP under the current stable version of OR which is 1.3.1.4328 as of this writing.
Since the latest such comprehensive test was done back in March 2014 I feel this would be useful as OR has progressed considerably since then.

So far I have tested the following activities mostly with success:

B4 Service - Arrive and Depart Times identical as noted in 2013. Basically I mentally subtracted 30 sec to get the expected arrival times. Was able to run activity and complete it on schedule.

Baby Blues - Ran fine except for delay at Hitchin waiting for clearance caused arrival at Letchworth to be 2 min late. Did not need to stop at “0.04ML” whatever that is. Was able to park train in sidings.

Birmingham NS to Cambridge - Just before Cambridge there was a static consist in my path, unable to complete activity. I plan to retest this one and try to identify what is the problem.

Cambridge Buffet Express - Activity works if you leave KX on time. If you leave late a light Class 55 blocks your path after Gasworks Tunnel. Hard to keep schedule, 2 min delay at Hitchin waiting for route to clear didn't help, plus grades after Letchworth keeps max speed to around 55 for a few miles. Was 5 min late into Cambridge.

Cravens to Ely - The Cravens gear shifting worked fine. Tough to keep to schedule. Have to pull up platform at Cambridge to get passengers to board.

This is what I have so far. Currently testing Baby Deltic to KX. Will post updates as I go.

I have to say I enjoy testing the Great Northern Route activities having ridden many times between KX and Cambridge/Ely as I have relatives in Ely I visit when I am in the UK.

Jon
jonpd
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by jonpd »

Some more test results:

Baby Deltic to KX: Ran fine, arrived KX on schedule. First attempt delayed by red signal N. of Welwyn North where it goes to 2 tracks, by creeping up to signal it eventually cleared. Worked OK 2nd time and arrived at KX a minute early. Not sure why the difference in behaviour of the signals between the 2 runs.

Baghill to Wheldrake Lightweight: This is a fun activity, starting out on a double track line then joining ECML briefly into the magnificent York station, then off on a jointed rail single line through the country to Weldrake. Completed with no problems. After leaving York there is a slight delay waiting for another DMU to clear a short section of single line but you can make up that time. The first time I wasn't paying attention and the signal came up suddenly and I SPAD-ded and collided with the DMU :oops: So be careful leaving York.

Barrington Shunt: This looked like it could be interesting. Shunting wagons around in a chalk quarry. Getting up the hill with its 3 percent (1 in 33) grade in the rain is tricky with the little loco, it took me 2 tries and a lot of sand. Unfortunately OR crashed after I made it to the top before I could uncouple the wagons. Need to try it again.
jonpd
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by jonpd »

Tested Birmingham NS to Cambridge again, this time removing the traffic "CP Cambridge UP LS" that was blocking my path (it turns out it was AI not a static consist as I erroneously thought earlier).
Instead I came to a signal at Danger (Red) which refused to change in spite of how many times I hit the tab key. :(
Checking the dispatcher window showed no other traffic blocking the way. Perhaps this is a signal script problem? I may look at the scripts once I get back to it.

Taking a little break from MEP to play with some Australian stuff I downloaded recently.

Jon
brace2011
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by brace2011 »

A couple of points, Jon, if I may.

First OR has moved on considerably since the last stable version, which is now over 12 months old. I am using the latest OR New Year Monogame and a very recent unstable version (which also incorporates Monogame). I am interested in testing developments as they arise - there is no problem in having multiple versions of OR on the same machine. The improvement is quite immense, and either of these is well worth installing, if only for the performance gains of Monogame. I have not knowingly encountered any signal problems for a long time now.

Having said that, I also encounter the same problem with the Birmingham NS to Cambridge activity. I don't, however, think the issue is with the signals, but with the paths. I believe that OR and MSTS treat paths slightly differently - not in terms of their direction but in terms of their start and end points, which can cause conflicts. I am guessing (but only guessing) that the problem is that the offending AI train that is blocking the line is itself blocked by another AI train ('the culprit'). However, even deleting the blocking train from the activity still does not resolve the position so I further guess that there is now conflict between the paths for 'the culprit' and the player train which prevents completion.

I had a similar situation with one of the activities on North-West England, and a slight adjustment to just one of the paths unlocked everything. It is a long time ago so I cant remember which activity it was.

Hope this helps (a little). Has anyone else any thoughts?

Martin
brace2011
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by brace2011 »

On this occasion I guessed wrong. I have spent some time looking at the various traffic items in this activity, and it is "CP Kings Lynn DN" that is causing the problem (ie. that's our 'culprit'). It starts from Cambridge from the platform where 'our' train is scheduled to stop. The problem appears to be that OR can't handle a service definition with intermediate stops with ArrivalTime ( 0 ) and DepartTime ( 0 ), so the Kings Lynn train never leaves the platform locking up all the traffic in the vicinity, including a DMU in the bay platform (for Newmarket if I recall correctly). A little bit of text editing will allow the activity to complete - I use Notepad++.

First in <CP-Birmingham NS to Cambridge.act> find the section:

Service_Definition ( "CP Kings Lynn DN" 81900
UiD ( 15 )
Efficiency ( 0.75 )
SkipCount ( 1 )
DistanceDownPath ( 6239.96 )
PlatformStartID ( 6890 )
Efficiency ( 0.75 )
SkipCount ( 2 )
DistanceDownPath ( 16271.3 )
PlatformStartID ( 4554 )
Efficiency ( 0.75 )
SkipCount ( 3 )
DistanceDownPath ( 32224.6 )
PlatformStartID ( 4551 )
Efficiency ( 0.75 )
SkipCount ( 4 )
DistanceDownPath ( 42280.1 )
PlatformStartID ( 4694 )
Efficiency ( 0.75 )
SkipCount ( 5 )
DistanceDownPath ( 59189.5 )
PlatformStartID ( 4688 )
Efficiency ( 0.75 )
SkipCount ( 6 )
DistanceDownPath ( 67114.4 )
PlatformStartID ( 4684 )
Efficiency ( 0.75 )
SkipCount ( 7 )
DistanceDownPath ( 76684 )
PlatformStartID ( 4681 )
)


Replace with:

Service_Definition ( "CP Kings Lynn DN" 81900
UiD ( 15 )
)


And in <CP BNS Cambridge.trf> find the section:

Service_Definition ( "CP Kings Lynn DN" 81900
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 1 )
DistanceDownPath ( 6239.96 )
PlatformStartID ( 6890 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 2 )
DistanceDownPath ( 16271.3 )
PlatformStartID ( 4554 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 3 )
DistanceDownPath ( 32224.6 )
PlatformStartID ( 4551 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 4 )
DistanceDownPath ( 42280.1 )
PlatformStartID ( 4694 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 5 )
DistanceDownPath ( 59189.5 )
PlatformStartID ( 4688 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 6 )
DistanceDownPath ( 67114.4 )
PlatformStartID ( 4684 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 7 )
DistanceDownPath ( 76684 )
PlatformStartID ( 4681 )
)


and replace with:

Service_Definition ( "CP Kings Lynn DN" 81900 )

This should do the trick, and you will see both the Newmarket and the Kings Lynn trains heading for their respective destinations as you progress through the activity.

Hope this helps.

Martin

PS. I am sure I don't need to say (but I will anyway) make copies of the *.act and *.trf files first just in case, and be careful with the brackets.
slipperman12
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by slipperman12 »

Hi Martin,
Well Done, mate, for sussing that out :)

I know I've seen various .act and .trf files with zero in both arrival and departure times - obviously MSTS doesn't have the same problems as Open Rails does with them!!
I wonder if Open Rails waits until midnight before starting those AI trains or letting them continue their journeys?

It may be useful to be able to identify files with such values, so I'll look at creating a utility!

Cheers,
Ged
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brace2011
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by brace2011 »

Hi Ged, Jon

Hold it there driver! I have a better solution coming down the line. I will write again later today after a bit more testing.

Martin
brace2011
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by brace2011 »

New solution coming up. First, ignore my post above. If you have already altered the files restore the back-ups so you are in the original state.

There is no need to edit the *.act file, so this can (must) be left alone. However <CP BNS Cambridge.trf> does need altering, so find the section:

Service_Definition ( "CP Kings Lynn DN" 81900
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 1 )
DistanceDownPath ( 6239.96 )
PlatformStartID ( 6890 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 2 )
DistanceDownPath ( 16271.3 )
PlatformStartID ( 4554 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 3 )
DistanceDownPath ( 32224.6 )
PlatformStartID ( 4551 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 4 )
DistanceDownPath ( 42280.1 )
PlatformStartID ( 4694 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 5 )
DistanceDownPath ( 59189.5 )
PlatformStartID ( 4688 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 6 )
DistanceDownPath ( 67114.4 )
PlatformStartID ( 4684 )
ArrivalTime ( 0 )
DepartTime ( 0 )
SkipCount ( 7 )
DistanceDownPath ( 76684 )
PlatformStartID ( 4681 )
)


and replace every instance of ArrivalTime ( 0 ) and DepartTime ( 0 ) with ArrivalTime ( 81900 ) and DepartTime ( 81900 ) respectively, matching the time in the first line (ie. when the AI train spawns). It should now look like this:

Service_Definition ( "CP Kings Lynn DN" 81900
ArrivalTime ( 81900 )
DepartTime ( 81900 )
SkipCount ( 1 )
DistanceDownPath ( 6239.96 )
PlatformStartID ( 6890 )
ArrivalTime ( 81900 )
DepartTime ( 81900 )
SkipCount ( 2 )
DistanceDownPath ( 16271.3 )
PlatformStartID ( 4554 )
ArrivalTime ( 81900 )
DepartTime ( 81900 )
SkipCount ( 3 )
DistanceDownPath ( 32224.6 )
PlatformStartID ( 4551 )
ArrivalTime ( 81900 )
DepartTime ( 81900 )
SkipCount ( 4 )
DistanceDownPath ( 42280.1 )
PlatformStartID ( 4694 )
ArrivalTime ( 81900 )
DepartTime ( 81900 )
SkipCount ( 5 )
DistanceDownPath ( 59189.5 )
PlatformStartID ( 4688 )
ArrivalTime ( 81900 )
DepartTime ( 81900 )
SkipCount ( 6 )
DistanceDownPath ( 67114.4 )
PlatformStartID ( 4684 )
ArrivalTime ( 81900 )
DepartTime ( 81900 )
SkipCount ( 7 )
DistanceDownPath ( 76684 )
PlatformStartID ( 4681 )
)


Only having to edit a single file makes things much easier and safer, and retains the station stops for the AI train. I presume the train will leave Cambridge at 22:45 (ie. 81900) (certainly true, and observable in the dispatcher window) and proceed at line speed stopping at each programmed station just long enough to load/unload passengers.

@Ged: I guess this is easier to manage with a utility to find and possibly amend traffic files where necessary. I would want someone to do further testing just to ensure there are no snags. Does anyone know of any other *.trf files with such entries, where there is some impact on the running of the activity? I haven't noticed any effect elsewhere, but I presume that unless the AI path conflicts with the player path, or with another AI path that affects the player train, there wouldn't be anything to see anyway. I can't think where this edit wouldn't be effective on any service so defined and with no negative effects - except see questions following.

Questions: is it possible for (or at least has anyone seen) a player train with such entries? Would such an activity even run in OR? How would my edit affect it (ie. would a global replacement of ( 0 ) entries with something more suitable work properly)?

Anyone else want to chip in here?

Martin
slipperman12
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by slipperman12 »

Hi Martin,
I wonder what effect negative values for Arrival and Departure have on Open Rails?

In MEP, the MEPDJ-Wisbech Nth 2 London KX.trf file includes a service MEPDJ-Hitchin 2 Cambridge Cravens HC-6car which has all of its 8 Arrival and Departure times set to -1140; the service run time is 23460.

I have also seen other negative values, like -10, but can't locate them at the moment!

Cheers,
Ged
Intel i5-4690K (3.5Ghz), Gigabyte GA-Z97P-D3 m/b, 8GB DDR3 RAM, NVIDIA GTX 750ti (2GB) graphics card, Asus Xonar DS sound card. Win 10 Pro 64-bit.
brace2011
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by brace2011 »

Hi Ged

I am not going to have time to look at this properly until after the weekend - but what I would do (at first anyway) is use the OR facility to switch between consists to observe the consist (it doesn't need to be driveable to use F2 or F3, I believe) and just see what happens. 23460 is 06:31.

Hope this helps in the meantime.

Cheers

Martin
brace2011
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by brace2011 »

Hi Ged

On the face of it, the negative values in the *.trf file do not appear to have any adverse consequences for the AI service. I have not run the service through to completion (yet) but it travels the path and stops and restarts at stations as expected.

So negative values appear to work OK, but a pair of ( 0 ) values doesn't.

I hope there are a few experienced activity designers reading this who could help. I know most activities are designed to work in MSTS, so it would be good to get a feel as to what AI behaviour is required (in MSTS) in an affected activity before proceeding to try to design a general OR solution.
1. How would you get a traffic file with ( 0 ) or negative values?
2. Why would you specify a service with these values? ie. what would you be hoping to achieve with the service in question?

Martin
stuuz
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Re: Mid East Plus - testing under Open Rails

Post by stuuz »

Hi Martin,
Your second solution worked perfectly for me. Just completed but was 2min late. I have tried it many times and always was stuck at the final hurdle. Many thanks for the solution. I have had a lot of enjoyment from MEP.
Regards Stew.
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