Monthly Archives: December 2012

Train Simulator 2013 DLC List

2013-11-16: Since the Store inside Train Simulator 2014 gives good opportunity to filter on country and loco type I don’t think this list is very needed anymore. Which is a good thing! It will probably not be updated more.
Update 2013-07-06: Added new DLC
Update 2013-05-25: Added new DLC
Update 2013-04-11: Added new DLC
Update 2013-02-19: Added new DLC
Update 2013-02-02: Added new DLC
Update 2013-01-20: Added new DLC
The DLC list in the Steam store is not completely useful when it comes to deciding what DLC to buy.
I believe this list is quite complete and correct 2013-07-06. I appreciate comments, feedback and corrections.

On Scenarios
FR means “Free Roam Scenarios”. Those ones kind of stopped making much sense with TS2013, when QuickDrive was introduced. Also, with TS2013 came Steam Workshop, making community scenarios much more viable. I guess that is why it is quite common with DLC with zero scenarios. Finally, it is most often not possible to know how many career scenarios you get with a DCL. Sometimes a DCL contains 4 scenarios, and all of them are also available as career scenarios (NE Corridor). Sometimes just some or none are available as career scenarios.

British Routes Price Euro Scenarios Release Date Comment
Bristol – Exeter 22.99 8 + 1FR 2011-06-10
Doncaster Works 17.99 11 2010-12-02
East Coast Main Line 11.99 ?? 2012-09-19 Part of TS2012
Edinburgh-Glasgow 29.99 6 + 4FR 2011-03-25
Falmouth Branch 22.99 5 2010-12-17
Glasgow Airport Rail Link 29.99 5 2010-05-10
Isle of Wight 22.99 14 2009-07-24
Great Western Main Line
11.99 8 2012-09-19 Part of TS2012
London Faversham High Speed 29.99 5 2013-02-21
London To Brighton 29.99 12+3FR 2012-06-07
Portsmouth Direct Line 32.99 10 + 3FR 2012-05-17
Settle to Carlisle 29.99 13 + 3FR 2012-04-05
Somerset & Dorset Railway 11.99 10 2012-09-19 Part of TS2012
West Coast Main Line North 29.99 6 + 6FR 2011-12-01
Western Lines of Scotland 29.99 15 2013-03-21
Woodhead Line 29.99 7 + 4FR 2012-01-26
German Routes Price Euro Scenarios Release Date Comment
Cologne – Dusseldorf 29.99 8 2012-03-09 Requires W7 x64
Munich to Augsburg 29.99 6 2012-10-10
Ruhr-Sieg Line 11.99 12 2012-09-19 Part of TS2012
US Routes Price Euro Scenarios Release Date Comment
Cajon Pass 11.99 12 2012-09-18 Part of TS2012
Colton & Northern 16.99 21 2009-09-25
Donner Pass: Southern Pacific 29.99 7 + 5FR 2011-11-24
Fort Kent to Eagle Lake 13.99 20 2010-03-19
Hatchett Hill Quarry 16.99 7 2011-08-11
Horseshoe Curve 25.99 6 2011-09-23
Marias Pass 29.99 8 2013-04-11
Northeast Corridor 29.99 4 2011-08-25
Ohio Steel 24.99 30 + 4FR 2012-01-12
Portland Terminal 22.99 11 2011-03-25
Rascal & Cottonwood 16.99 11 2009-09-04
Sherman Hill 29.99 6 2012-09-20
British Price Euro Scenarios Release Date Depends Comment
4CIG 13.99 5 + 3FR 2011-07-19 Portsmouth Direct Electric Passenger
4CIG Southern 11.99 2 + 2FR 2011-06-107 London To Brighton Electric Passenger
4VEP 13.99 5 + 3FR 2012-05-17 Portsmouth Direct Electric Passenger
A1 Tornado 13.99 0 2012-08-16 Steam Loco
BR 4BIG Class 422 13.99 3 2013-01-18 London – Brighton Electric Passenger
BR Class 31 13.99 3 2013-05-23 Settle to Carlisle Diesel Loco
BR Class 50 13.99 5 2013-06-13 Settle to Carlisle Diesel Loco
BR Class 87 13.99 5 2013-06-20 West Coast Main Line Electric Loco
BR Class 101 13.99 3 2013-05-02 East Coast Mainline Diesel Passenger
BR Standard 2MT 13.99 6 2013-04-13 Western Lines of Scotland Steam Loco
Class 31 13.99 0? 2012-08-16 Diesel Loco
Class 33 13.99 0? 2011-08-01 Diesel Loco
Class 57 Rail Tour
13.99 6 2012-11-08 Settle Carlisle Diesel Loco
Class 67 13.99 5 2011-08-01 Great Western Main Line Diesel Loco
Class 67 Diamond Jubilee 5.99 1 2012-05-31 Oxford – Paddington Diesel Drive the Queen
Class 70
12.99 5 2012-03-29 West Coast Main Line Diesel Loco
Class 77 and 76 12.99 5 2010-10-19 Woodhead Line Electric Locos
Class 86 9.99 6 2012-08-01 West Coast Main Line Electric Loco
Class 111 11.99 0? 2012-08-16 Diesel Passenger
Class 150 Sprinter 13.99 0? 2013-02-14 Diesel Passenger
Class 156 13.99 7 2011-04-15 Oxford – Paddington Diesel Passenger
Class 170 13.99 0? 2012-08-1 Diesel Passenger
Class 325 13.99 3 2012-08-01 West Coast Main Line Electric Passenger
Class 390 13.99 0? 2012-08-01 Electric Passenger
Class 444 12.99 8 + 5FR 2012-03-08 Portsmouth Direct Line Electric Passenger
Class 455 13.99 4 2011-07-28 Portsmouth Direct Line Electric Passenger
Class A4 Pacifics 21.99 8 2013-05-30 London Brighton Steam Loco
EWS & Freightliner Class 08s 13.99 5 2013-04-25 Edinburgh Glasgow Diesel Loco
EWS Class 66 v2.0 13.99 3 2012-08-28 West Coast Main Line North Diesel Loco
First Capital Connect Class 377 13.99 3 2013-01-18 London – Brighton Electric Passenger
Flying Scotsman 13.99 0? 2012-08-01 Steam Train
Freightliner Class 57/0 13.99 3 2013-02-14 Edinburgh – Glasgow Diesel Loco
Freightliner Class 66 13.99 3 2012-08-13 Edinburgh – Glasgow Diesel Loco
Fowler 4F
13.99 4 + 1FR 2010-06-28 Somerset & Dorset
Green and Gold HST
3.49 4 + 1FR 2010-09-18 Oxford to Paddington HST
GWR King 13.99 2 2012-08-16 Oxford – Paddington Steam Loco
HST Buffer Version
5.99 2 + 1FR 2009-11-06 East Coast Main Line HST
J94 ‘Memories of Maerdy’ 21.99 0? 2012-11-01 Steam Loco
Maerdy Valley Mini-route
LMS Class 3 Jinty 13.99 5 2013-05-06 Western Lines of Scotland Steam Loco
LNER Black Flying Scotsman 13.99 3 2012-12-13 London – Brighton Steam Train
Class A3+Wagons
LNER/BR J94 6.99 5 2012-11-15 Woodhead Line Steam Loco
Network Southeast Class 47
3.49 3 + 1FR 2010-08-06 Diesel Loco
Robinson O4 13.99 4 2012-10-19 Woodhead Line Steam Loco
Settle Carlisle Specials 22.99 1 2012-05-31 Settle Carlisle Misc
Southeastern Class 465 13.99 3 2013-04-18 London Faversham Electric Passenger
Stanier Jubilee 13.99 0? 2012-08-01 Steam Loco
Strathclyde Class 101 13.99 1 2012-12-06 West Coast Main Line DMU
Thompson B1 13.99 5 2012-11-08 Woodhead Line Steam Engine
German Price Euro Scenarios Release Date Depends Comment
BR143 13.99 5 2012-05-24 Cologne – Dusseldorf Electric Loco (Advanced)
DB BR232 13.99 3 2013-06-27 Munich – Augsburg Diesel Loco
DB BR423 13.99 3 2013-05-09 Munich – Augsburg Electric Passenger
DB Freight: 1970s 17.99 6 2012-03-01 Misc
ICE 1 11.99 0 2012-08-04 Electric Passenger
ICE 2 13.99 3 2013-01-10 Munich – Augsburg Electric Passenger
ICE 3 19.99 8 2012-08-10 Cologne – Dusseldorf Electric Passenger
E18 Passenger 17.99 6 2012-04-12 Cologne – Dusseldorf Electric Loco
US Price Euro Scenarios Release Date Depends Comment
Amtrak Acela Express 13.99 3 2011-10-13 North East Corridor Electric Passenger
AT&N Consolidation Class 280-157 13.99 3 2013-03-14 Horseshoe Curve Steam Loco
BNSF GP38-2 13.99 3 2013-06-07 Marias Pass Diesel Loco
BNSF SD40-2 13.99 4 2013-04-11 Marias Pass Diesel Loco
BNSF Official Licensed ES44AC & SD40-2 5.99 0 2009-07-30 Diesel Locos
Boston and Maine GE44 6.99 4 2013-01-18 Portland Terminal
Dash 9 13.99 0? 2012-08-01 Diesel Loco
EMD GP9 13.99 0? 2012-08-01 Diesel Loco
F40PH California Zephyr 13.99 5 2012-10-05 Donner Pass Diesel Loco/Train
GE-44 PRR 6.99 4 2012-08-23 Horseshoe Curve Diesel Switcher
GE-44 UP 6.99 4 2012-08-23 Cajon Pass Diesel Switcher
GG1 13.99 4 + 4FR 2011-12-09 North East Corridor Electric Loco
NKP S-2 Class Berkshire 13.99 0 2013-06-13 Steam Loco
Norfolk Southern Heritage ES44ACs 13.99 0 2013-02-07 Diesel Locos and Cars
Norfolk Southern Heritage ES70ACes 13.99 0 2013-02-07 Diesel Locos and Cars
PRR Baldwin Centipede 21.99 3 2012-11-29 Horseshoe Curve Diesel Loco
PRR K4 13.99 5 + 4FR 2012-02-09 Horseshoe Curve Steam Loco
SD40-2 High Nose
9.99 0? 2012-08-04 Diesel Loco
SD40-2 Independence
13.99 3 2013-07-04 Sherman Hill Diesel Loco
SD40-2 Wide Nose
9.99 0? 2012-08-03 Diesel Loco
SD70Ace 13.99 0? 2012-08-04 Diesel Loco
SD70 V2 Volume 2 13.99 3 2012-08-03 Cajon Pass Diesel Loco
SD75 13.99 5 2012-05-10 Diesel Loco
Southern Pacific Cab Forward 13.99 5 2012-08-23 Donner Pass Steam Loco
Southern Pacific GE 44 6.99 4 2013-01-31 Donner Pass Diesel Switcher
Southern Pacific GS-4 13.99 0? 2013-02-14 Steam Loco
Southern Pacific SD45 13.99 5 2013-02-14 Donner Pass Diesel Loco
SP&S E-1 Class Northern 13.99 0 2013-06-13 Steam Loco
SW1500 Switcher 13.99 2 2012-08-04 Cajon Pass Diesel Loco
Union Pacific Big Boy 13.99 5 2012-11-23 Sherman Hill Steam Loco
Union Pacific Challenger 13.99 4 2012-11-23 Sherman Hill Steam Loco

How to not make money online

Since long I have had Google Ads on this WordPress site. According to Google Analytics I have about 100 visitors today. This site generates quite exactly zero ads revenues. Perhaps I will remove the ads some day.

This post was written and posted using CutePress for Nokia Belle. Works pretty well but not perfect.

Train Simulator 2013: Ideal Steam Operation

Update 2013-05-03: Regarding GWR 5700

With the upgrade from Train Simulator 2012 to Train Simulator 2013 running steam locomotives (with manual fireman) was simplified. Among the changes were:

  • Two injectors (both from 0-100) were replaced with a single On/Off
  • No ejector
  • No damper
  • Blower used to be 0-100, now just On/Off
  • Steam generation/steam consumption information was replaced with just a PSI value and a green (going up) or red (going down) indication
  • Adding coal used to be 0-100, now just On/Off

Perhaps I have forgotting something. This is mostly a GUI change (to make XBox gamepad controls possible, I guess). The old values are still available using F5, and the old controls are still available if using the mouse to control the levers manually inside the cab (not showing the HUD at all, I have read). The physics are not necessarily changed.

Well, I like realism, but with TS2012 it was hard to figure out if some of those things really mattered (like the ejector) or if it was just decoration.

I decided to make some test runs with different settings/values, to find ideal operating values. The results surprised me a bit!

Test setup
I choose Quick Drive and the Black 5 (LMS B5 + 8Mk1s) steam locomotive. My test track is East Coast Main line from Thirsk to Darlington. I leave at 2AM, the skies are clear and it is spring.

I try to drive as fast as possible, within the boundaries for each test run. I dont care about any speed limits, but it is a good track and the tests are quite safe.

Regulator is normally at 100%. I lower the regulator only when I lose pressure and water level outside my target values. However, I never lower the Regulator while the Reverser is above 10%.
Reverser is kept as high as possible, and not below 10%. With possible, I mean that I must respect my water level and pressure boundaries. I start from 75% and gradually lower as speed goes up, trying not to waste steam during acceleration while keeping a good acceleration.
Pressure: For each run I have kept the pressure within a 5-PSI range. The baseline has been to keep it within 215-220 PSI. For lower pressures I have lost pressure in a responsible way (it has taken me a few miles to get down to target pressure).
Coal: For each run I have kept the coal within different ranges. When reaching the lower threshold I have opened until reaching the upper threshold and then closed until reaching the lower again. The coal has started at 66%, and typically I have kept it between 65-70%.
Water: In most cases I have maintained water level between 90% and 100%. That is, opening the injector at 90%, leaving it open until 100%. Occationally, I have let the water down a little bit more to maintain pressure, and occationally I have allowed myself to switch injector on/off within the 90-100 range to maintain pressure boundaries.
Blower has been Off except when I have written otherwise.
Brake is set to Running (7%) as soon as brake pressure is 21 PSI.

Measure points
I have measured time at three points:

  • 15.05 miles before Darlington (At Northallerton platform)
  • 6.0 miles bofore Darlington
  • 2.0 miles before Darlington

Measurements have been made manually, so there is a risk I made a mistake with a measure point or two. When getting closer to Darlington speed limit is 25 mph, and my speed is about 80 mph, so no measurements are taken closer to Darlington than 2 miles away.

When reading the table, compare everything to run 5 (for each run, only one parameter is different from run 5). I suggest you

  1. compare 2,3,4,5,6 (pressure variation)
  2. compare 1 to 5, and compare 7 to 5 (basic coal variation)
  3. compare 0 and 5 – only difference is that 0 was run as the first drive after loading TS, while the other runs are run immediately after another drive
  4. now feel free to look at 8-15

# PSI Coal Extra D-15 D-6 D-2
0 215-220 65-70 First run after starting TS 8:27 15:28 18:32
1 215-220 60-65 8:20 15:25 18:32
2 200-205 65-70 8:12 15:04 17:58
3 205-210 65-70 8:09 14:56 17:50
4 210-215 65-70 8:09 14:58 17:52
5 215-220 65-70 8:10 14:55 17:52
6 220-225 65-70 8:24 15:15 18:08
7 215-220 70-75 8:15 15:09 18:05
8 215-220 65-70 Blower On 8:10 14:58 17:51
9 215-220 65-70 Break=Release 8:35 15:48 18:53
10 215-220 65…40 Never filling coal 8:45 16:41 20:11
11 215-220 65-68-63…57 Coal +3/-5 8:14 15:07 18:05
12 215-220 65-70-67…73 Coal +5/-3 8:07 14:52 17:48
13 215-220 65-70 Water 100..50 (-10/+5) 8:08 14:52 17:47
14 215-220 65-70 Regulator 80% (when Rev <= 30%) 8:08 14:41 17:29
15 215-220 Auto Fireman (Fire 62%, Water 70-85) 8:16 15:08 18:03

First and most shocking notice: on my computer I lose about 40 seconds the first time I run the scenario, compared to when I run it again (compare 0 and 5). Obviously a lot of things are not loaded or computed the first run, but cached for the second run.

Pressure is less important than I thought! Keep it below the emergency valve level (at 221 PSI) – in run 6 the Black 5 is constantly leaking steam to avoid over pressure. Keeping pressure as close to maximum as possible is obviously not of much importance; compare 3,4,5. Below 205 PSI some performance is lost (run 2).

The Blower has hardly any effect whatsoever in this situation; compare 5 and 8.

Coal and Fire management is clearly quite important, and it is not so obvious what point is optimal. In run 1 coal was allowed to drop from 66% to 60% before filling up for the first time – not a good strategy. In run 6 on the other hand coal was immediately loaded from 66% to 75% before closing for the first time – not a good strategy either. Slowly adding more coal (run 12) seems to be better strategy than the baseline (run 5) and slowly adding less coal (run 11) seems to be a slightly worse strategy. Never filling up coal is a disaster (run 10) – if your engine cant maintain pressure even if both regulator and reverser have low settings your fire is too little! Finally, the Automatic fire guy (run 15) lets the coal level drop to 62% and then kept it there with the doors open (not possible using the HUD in TS2013).

Water can be spent with a slight benefit (run 13). For maximum performance, do not arrive with a full boiler. This might be within error margin though. Notice that both with a -10/+10 strategy and a -10/+5 water strategy much running time is spent with the injector open – losing water level is much quicker than gaining it.

Regulator vs Reverser
In run 14 I decided to run with the regulator at 80% instead of 100% – turns out top speed for my train increased from 80.5 to 82 Mph! More torque? I first set regulator at 100% and lowered reverser from 75% to 30% as I picked up speed (keeping pressure around 220 PSI). After that I instead lowered the regulator from 100% to 80% to keep pressure constant. After that went back to operating with the reverser. This opens up the question that there must be an optimal reverser value for each situation… depending at least on speed, but possibly also the load and maybe more factors.

Conclusions and driving advice

  1. If you are going for maximum career scenario scores, run the scenario twice and/or get better hardware 🙁
  2. Avoid forgetting to feed your fire: open/close regularly and make it grow slowly
  3. Dont waste steam: brakes at running and pressure always below 221 PSI
  4. Allow yourself to operate below maximum water and pressure levels
  5. Regulator/Reverser ratio is not obvious or trivial

Conclusions and driving advice may not apply to

  • other engines than the Black 5
  • scenarios with many starts/stops
  • slower scenarios (uphill with load), in my tests I operated close to maximum speed
  • scenarios with heavy load
  • the exact same situation, in case game physics engine is updated

Driving a steam locomotive is supposed to be a black art. Each locomotive is unique. It is about listening and feeling. Some of my findings here were quite surprising too me, and I dont know if they are realistic, or just an effect of a limited physics engine.

GWR 5700
After driving the GWR 5700 a bit I made two observations. First, it starts at about 60% coal level. Keep it there, between 55-65%, or at least raise it very slowly. And, the Blower is very useful for Boiler Pressure when GWR 5700 stands still. I guess it should apply to all locomotives.

Avoiding spam to WordPress

This blog runs WordPress, and for every month it has attracted more and more spam comments. Some comments that just contain plenty of links to sites. Other comments that say something generic and nice and with a subtle link. Last months it has been almost 100 per day. And it is all about selling pirate design purses and pirate drugs.

WordPress works very well with plugins, and plugins can be installed and activated with almost no work or technical skills at all.

Since long i have been using Akismet – a plugin that decides if a message is spam or not. I’d say it is at least 99.9% accurate. However, I always feel curious to check through the spam before ultimately deleting it, in case there is a real message in the spam.

A few days ago I installed the simple Captcha plugin. If you try to post anything it will ask you to do some trivial arithmetics. It seems to block at least 99% of all spam. Surprisingly efficient, considering that it does not use a hard to read image. Of course most spammers go for quantity, not quality.

I’ll be nice. If you have a legitimate web page for a smaller company, a non-profit organisation, a personal blogg, a useful piece of software, or fine stuff like that and you just post a nice comment to this post, I will approve it to give you a link from my insignificant blog.

Hard drive full of Steam DLC

As I am getting more and more DLC for Train Simulator 2013 my C-drive was getting full. Steam was installed there, c:\Program Files (x86)\Steam.

Moving stuff to another hard drive is not so easy in Windows, since there are no real symbolic links. I thought about getting a new (bigger) hard drive and migrating to it using backup/restore of entire Windows… felt like too much work.

Then I found this article about moving Steam to another location! Obviously, the Steam poeple are smart people! I moved Steam using this method from my 60GB SSD drive to and old internal IDE-drive I had available. It worked perfectly! The whole process took less than an hour and caused little problems; the Steam desktop shortcuts stopped working, and Steam does not auto-start now. Load times for Train Simulator 2013 increased 2x-3x, not as bad as I thought actually. Not sure if I will invest in a new SSD just for Steam.

Problems upgrading to Ubuntu 12.10

Innocently I decided to just upgrade my desktop Ubuntu PC to 12.10 (from 12.04). I say innocently, because nowadays I just expect Ubuntu to work – better so than Windows which often causes weird problems.

I was a bit disappointed though. I upgraded using the GUI tools, just pretending I knew nothing and cared nothing about the process and just wanted it complete.

When the computer restarted I was met by

error: file not found.
grub resque>

Haha! Not. I mean, what would normal people do now? Consider files lost and go shop a new computer? This disappoints me, because my computer has updated kernel/reinstalled GRUB several times since I installed 12.04. And I dont edit grub config files just to mess with Ubuntu (I only do that when it refuses to boot).

I am not going to tell you about all my failed attempts to fix the problem, but I will tell you what worked. I have two hard drives in my computer, like this:

sda1: boot
sda2: home
sdb1: root
sdb2: (big backup data partition)

Naturally, BIOS boots sda (where boot is). Now, after Ubuntu upgraded, it obviously put GRUB on sdb, and telling BIOS to boot sdb instead of sda fixed the problem. My /boot on sda is still in use. What assumption is it, to assume that GRUB should be installed on the drive where / is, regardless where /boot is, and regardless where GRUB used to be installed? I am not going to investigate this further now, my computer boots and I have more problems to solve 😉

Next problem… Ubuntu starts and the display just turns black… CTRL-ALT-F1 works and gives me a console. Obviously something fishy with the X-server. Well, my computer has an onboard Nvidia 8200 and in the past I have been struggling a little with it. However, with 12.04 it worked out of the box. I tried

$ sudo apt-get install nvidia-experimental-310

No success. Turns out, however that:

$ sudo apt-get purge nvidia-current

(and/or whatever nvidia drivers you have installed) makes Ubuntu fall back to the Nouveau drivers, and those seem to work very fine. I dont expect (or need) much 3D acceleration, but 2D performance seems good so far.