What’s next after CTC 3.11

With the changes in CTC 3.11 we have implemented a few things you’ve enjoyed in TDP3, mainly passing a red signal (also requested by our customers) and work areas. There are things in TDP3 we haven’t addressed yet but we will.

For example there is the helper function. We have a merge and split train function (not complete yet, need to be finalized and tested), but the helper function is at odds with merge and split.

Merge and split is essentially a schedule function. You can set up scheduling such that if a train ran its last section without leaving the territory, it will take on another schedule. This can take place on any platform or work area, which is specified in the schedule. You also have the information which schedule takes over, and if you have more than one schedule, that’s where the train splits. The “receiving” schedule also has information which schedule(s) it receives the train from. If you have more than one there, you have a merge.

As you can see, to use this merge and split function is a bit cumbersome for a helper function. Especially when you see how TDP3 handles helper function, you can imagine the difficulty to adapt TDP3 territories to CTC when it comes to helper function.

Furthermore, TDP3 specifies helper requirements by having a flag on blocks per train type. This opens the possibility to have different routes from start to destination where one path would require helper for some types, whereas another path would not.

Think about a real situation of a river crossing in Florida. One path crosses the river on a drawbridge, the other on a fixed bridge but with steep grades. Steep grades would probably require helpers for freight trains – which are not used in Florida – so they take the drawbridge. Commuter trains take the fixed bridge to avoid delays due to lowering and raising the drawbridge. (Speaking of: we are planning to add a track element type representing a drawbridge)

Another thing is that helpers may not be coupled to the end of the train they are helping. When the train is over the hill, the helped train may continue on its way without stopping, and the helper can just return to the base. A scheduled merge and split implies (de)coupling of the trains and therefore they need to be stopped during this procedure.

You may have noticed that territories adapted from TDP3 don’t have trains on the territories. If adapted from TDP2, you may have such trains already on the scene. This has something to do that TDP2 (which was the inspiration of CTC) runs only for a max of 24 hours, so each schedule would be exercised only once. CTC has no maximum run time, so the schedules would be exercised each day – except for the schedules where the train is already on the scene on the first day.

TDP3 allows a run up to 90 days, so the start options were changed in a way that you select regular schedules and specify where you want to have the train located at that particular start time. So, on the first day the train is already on the scene, and on the following days the train will run the regular schedule otherwise.

Makes sense, doesn’t it. We will do the same in CTC. We will use the functionality of the “load saved game” feature that we added recently into CTC. We will have to tweak it here and there, and add the start up data in a form similar to the saved game data to the territory file. Expected to be in the next release.

Also expected in the next release is the foreign train feature. This is a TDP3 feature where you can setup a (diamond) crossing with another line without having to set up a schedule for that line, but rather stating how many trains per day should come across randomly. The track elements are there – you can recognize such lines that there are no switches on such lines, only blocks and diamonds, and at either end there are no triangles indicating entries and exits – since you’re not in control of that line, only the crossing with your lines. However, there are no trains yet running on the foreign line. This will come in CTC 3.12.

So this is what is in the works, among some other small things.

If you have some other ideas or suggestions, please feel free to comment here or better yet visit our forum where you also can bugs.

As always, enjoy the game.

The WebRailRoader Team

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