Railroad tracks in detail

It’s time to write about the railroad tracks in Train Fever. The implementation was quite a challenge, but we have now developed a system with unique features. The user interface is simple and intuitive. All tracks and switches can be built with drag and drop.

Main features are:

  • Parallel tracks (multiple)
  • Block and path signals
  • Standard and high speed tracks
  • With and without catenary (electricity)
  • Tunnels
  • Bridges
  • Switches
  • Street crossings
  • Drag and drop user interface
  • Auto and fixed slope build mode

tracks_0 tracks_1

Parallel tracks are a great feature to create realistic and space saving tracks. In construction mode, new tracks automatically snap to existing ones. Standard tracks with and without catenary can be arbitrarily combined with high speed tracks (the two parallel tracks with concrete sleepers on the right image). Track sections can also be upgraded with newer electric or high-speed tracks. Tunnels can be built with one or multiple tracks (left).

tracks_2 tracks_3

Switches can be built everywhere. Let us mention that it’s also possible to connect two parallel tracks. The implementation of these crossover tracks (right) was quite challenging, because there is only very little space for the two switches. We believe that these crossover tracks are an essential feature for constructing realistic tracks.

tracks_4 tracks_5

Old and modern signals are available. There are block and path signals. The right image shows three modern path signals and one block signal. As soon as a train crosses a block signal, all tracks behind the signal are blocked for other trains. Path signals work similar but block only the tracks behind the signal which are actually used by the train. This allows for realistic switch configurations e.g. in front of train stations.

tracks_6 tracks_7

By default, tracks align to the terrain elevation. However, it’s also possible to build tracks with a fixed slope. This can be useful for e.g. overcoming a certain difference in altitude with a constant slope. In order to allow the construction of sophisticated railroad lines, there are some visual layers which show the contour lines of the terrain for instance.

We know you are all waiting to see the most important component of the game: Trains! The next update will be about trains and vehicles.

50 thoughts on “Railroad tracks in detail

  1. The track system is great! However the most concerning things now is the hardware requirement of Train Fever. Do we need to prepare an extremely powerful CPU and display card?

    Moreover , some question about path signal – Is it similar with the “choose signal” in Simutrans? – Build in front of a station with multiple platforms, If platform 1 is occupied by train, the next train will go the platform 2 and vise versa.

  2. Will it be possible to mod the track and electrification types? I.e. would it be posible to have them as varied, as e.g. in simutrans?

    The wires for overhead electrification seem to be much too thick.

    The points in the switches seem to be missing currently. Will they be added? Will there be guard rails for switches and bridges?

    Philipp

    • Don’t know if that’s a final design, but if it is too much too have actual moving points, I think having them locked into a fixed position would look better. The trains could still move in any direction however. We could deal with that.

  3. “We believe that these crossover tracks are an essential feature for constructing realistic tracks.”

    You are damn RIGHT!

  4. Im astonished by the graphics. I hope the navigation is also good. Could make a post about the camera navigation, zoom, etc. Cities in Motion have great camera navigation. You could consider add a fixed turn (8 directions turn) like CiM have. Each one turns 45 degrees to the side.

    Also it will be possible to click on a vehicle and the camera will follow it?

    • Look at the game play video. I think free camera navigation with the mouse and zoom with the mouse wheel. Easy and comfortabel.
      If you click on a vehicle, you get a small windows and this will be follow, like the god old transport tycoon.

  5. In the small pop up window, you have a “watch-button” and than the camera zoom to the train, bus and will follow (6:02 in the game play video).

  6. Very nice job, guys! I hope at some point we can decide if we want left-running or right-running depending on our nationality. But things are looking good and I think you understand the importance of signaling and switching and train control which is the best part of this.

    I look forward to many hours of game play!

  7. So Excited for the game, can’t wait for it to come out. Love you attention for the user interface and making it easy/natural to build stuff. Keep up the awesome work.

    Hope to be able to play it soon ^^

  8. Loving the idea of path and block signals. One of the biggest frustrations with TTD and Locomotion was having terminus stations get gridlocked because a incoming train would enter the crossover before the station when there was no spare platform and so trains couldnt get out either. That and I really like the other features of the tracks as well. It is looking really good. This is definitely on my buying list.. Moreso given I live on the Swiss/German border and am liking the local influences on design ;)

    • “One of the biggest frustrations with TTD and Locomotion was having terminus stations get gridlocked because a incoming train would enter the crossover before the station when there was no spare platform and so trains couldnt get out either.”

      This is also a problem in Train Giant/A-Train (9 at least). If you’ve cracked that then we are not worthy of your genius.

      Question: will train performance be affected by route design choices? That is, the curvier the line and the steeper the gradients, the poorer the performance. I note that original lines can be upgraded to “high speed” status, but historically the engineering of classic routes is often a severe constraint on true high speed performance – hence the development of tilt – oo, now THAT would be fun, tilting trains…

  9. This looks stunning!

    The only thing missing for this to be a complete train experience for me is full freedom of elevation (like CiM2). That would mean you can build stations and connections/switches at any level (at grade, below ground or on bridges above ground).

    Real railways in congested cities ranging from high-speed to commuter trains frequently have stations built either elevated or below ground to not have to demolish so many buildings and it’s an important part being able to build realistic lines.

  10. This looks wonderful! These are a huge improvement from the unrealistic switches in CIM2.

    But can you explain the difference between high speed rail tracks and regular tracks? Is it just a speed difference, and can you still run high speed trains on regular tracks at a lower speed? Thanks.

    • This seems pretty realistic to me. The two center tracks on a four track ROW could be high-speed service. Concrete ties are a good visual hint.

      The two outer tracks are for locals that can stop at platforms and freight trains since they are serving businesses to the sides of the ROW.

      Crossovers could bring the high-speed trains to the outer tracks to access a platform if desired. Two center platforms can be built between the express and local tracks for major transfer stations.

      I think this is very exciting and a great approach.

  11. Are besides from regular switches also crossings and crossings with slips planned? I think they might be pretty useful too.

  12. Chugga Chugga Chugga … moving along. Looking good too.

    Can you make a new movie/trailer? Would be nice to see the tracks getting laid out.

  13. Thanks again for the feedback, comments and questions!

    Here are a few answers to open questions:

    @OzWally:

    Trains not in use should be sent to a train depot. There is no support for parking them on side tracks. However, you are able to do this if you want. If you can navigate a train to a side track, you can stop the train there.

    @JT:

    Hardware requirements will be similar to e.g. Cities in Motion 2. We plan to optimize and increase performance prior to release. We hope that we can set the requirements as low as possible.

    Details about signals and pathfinding will be explained at a later point in time.

    @Andreas:

    As Sandro explained, trains drive on the left side in Switzerland. There will be a switch in the final release so that the player can choose whether to place signals on the left or right side of the tracks.

    @Philipp:

    At the moment, modding of tracks and electrification types is not possible. However, we want to allow this. Since we are completely busy with development, we cannot definitely say when this is possible. But most likely at the latest a few weeks after the release.

    Yes, wires for overhead electrification are thicker than in reality. The reason for this is simply that we wanted to make them clearly visible. Details like this are very likely to be changed / improved prior to release. The same applies to the points in the switches and guard rails.

    @Anthony

    Yes, train performance is affected by the route design. Most important, curvature of tracks limit the speed. Also, standard tracks have a speed limit of about 140 kmh. High speed tracks do not have this limit, but curvature of course still affects the maximal speed.

    In addition to this, locomotives and train cars have a speed limit as well. Also, locomotives do have a certain power. If power is too low and there is too much slope, this can also limit the speed.

    You are right, upgrading standard tracks to high speed tracks makes only sense if the route does not have too much curvature.

    @Alex:

    At the moment switches are not animated. It’s not yet clear if we do this.

    Thanks (again) for the Russian translation!

    @pyndec:

    See the answer to the question of Anthony above. And yes, standard and high speed tracks can be connected, and high speed trains can also run on standard tracks.

    @sandroluzern:

    We wanted to implement crossing with slips as well. We did not achieve this goal so far, but there is still a chance we make it. We consider standard X-crossings as less important than crossings with slips (which would allow even better crossover tracks e.g. in front of stations).

    @KGERBR:

    We would like to do a movie, but unfortunately we are completely busy at the moment and decided therefore to show screenshots only.

  14. Mm..Good night, or Guten Abend, what do you prefer)
    I’m interested in 2 points,
    the first is connected with railroads.
    You see, when Germans built Kazanskaya Railway in Russia (Railway, connecting Moscow, Kazan City, and far on west), they built it…I’ll say ‘left-sided’, like railways in Switzerland.
    But, only one part (from Moscow till Ryazan City) was built in such way. So, the question is – can we choose the type (left/right-sided) of the definite railway, but not the type of ALL railways on the map?
    The 2nd question connected..with trams, not railways.
    You see, besides usual tram-systems, there are some, that can be called ‘speed tram’, or ‘rapid tram system’. They are used instead subways, and, sometimes, to connect two nearby towns.
    So, the question 2.1 is – will we be able to (of course, in some of DLC’s, not release) build underground tracks (even stations)?
    Question 2.2 – will we be made to lay ALWAYS tram way with two tracks, or, we’ll be able to lay such tram way with only one track? Will we be able (if we’ll be able to lay one tram track instead two) to connect two parallel tracks, in the places, where we need two tracks?
    Thx for answers in advance, and…Good Night, or Good Day…the part of day, when you read this post :D
    Greetings from Russia!

  15. Basil (and the Urban Games team)

    The results speak for themselves, the rail structure looks like it has received a lot of attention and thoughts to come up with a system and structure that will really work well. Especially the tunnels, parallel tracks and sloping system seems to be a real advancement over previous games to allow a very natural placement of tracks through the landscape.
    I am looking forward to an expansion with a focus on the RhB/FO meter gauge railroad networks, after this game has proven itself a succes.

    With greetings from the Netherlands, Alex

  16. I’m amazed at the exact reproduction of the Swiss landscape!
    You are doing a really good job!
    I wait impatiently for the vehicles and hope that the EB 3/5 “Habersack” contained therein ;-)

  17. 2 Wünsche.
    Besteht die Möglichkeit, das während dem Schienen bzw Straßen ein grobes Höhenprofil eingeblendet wird? das würde die Trassenplanung vereinfachen.

    und…
    besteht die Möglichkeit, wahrend dem Spielablaufs einen Layer aufzublenden, in dem man irgendwie die eingestellten Fahrstraßen erkennen kann. So als kleines Mäusekino. :)
    Danke

  18. Pingback: Game world and track construction | Train Fever

  19. Halllo,

    Ich freu mich schon auf das Spiel. Ich hab ewig auf so ein Spiel gewartet. Ist bereits bei Amazon vorbestellt. Seit 2 Wochen habe ich nichts anderes im Kopf. Ich schau mir jeden Kopf die selben Videos und Bilder an. Ich kann es kaum erwarten. Besteht die Möglichkeit die Beta-Version zu spielen? Ich kann nur sehr selten schlafen, da ich immer zu auf der Such nach neuen Screenshots oder Videos bin. Seit ich von eurem Game erfahren habe bin ich irgendwie ferngesteuert.

    Ich freu mich auf eure Antwort,
    Liebe Grüße
    Matthias

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