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Offline morsing  
#1 Posted : 04 October 2019 13:23:27(UTC)
morsing

United Kingdom   
Joined: 16/08/2014(UTC)
Posts: 424
Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Hi,

I'm wiring up, designing and reading the RocRail wiki, but a few questions still:

1) The track planner has "short blocks" but I can't find these described anywhere on the Wiki. Are they just a track planner feature for not having the space to fit a long block or are they physically representing short and long blocks on the layout, i.e. train length determines if they can go there or not?

2) I saw a discussion on the forum about trains too long for some blocks, and they were saying if a train goes past a shorter block and stops, you can bridge the two blocks to fit the (very) long train. Has anyone here tried that?

I have sections on my layout that I didn't think I could put a block in because it would be shorter than my longest train, but does this mean I can put a bloc there anyway?

Also, can I run super-long trains and it can occupy double-blocks?

3) The wiki mentions using exit sensors as emergency stop, which I hadn't been planning, but is this a good idea? Is it recommended? I wouldn't ever leave my layout running un-attended.

Thanks
-----
Modelling west Denmark era IV - possibly with some out-of-place elements!
Marklin C-track + CS3
6m2 layout to be controlled by RocRail
Offline PMPeter  
#2 Posted : 04 October 2019 15:33:24(UTC)
PMPeter

Canada   
Joined: 04/04/2013(UTC)
Posts: 982
Location: Port Moody, BC
Hi,

To answer your questions, here is what I understand/implemented:

1. The short block symbol is just a shorter graphic representation that you sometimes need in your graphic plan in order to fit properly without having to rearrange the entire plan. In my case it is configured like any other block.

2. In order for a long train to cross a block that is shorter than the train you need to go into Routes and create a new route with the short block being identified as a "crossing block". For example you have 3 blocks A, B, and C. The train is shorter than blocks A and C but longer than B. In Tables you would click on Routes, create a new route from A to C and list B as a crossing block. You would then also need to identify under Permissions as to what trains or train types would use this route otherwise any train going from A to C would use that Route instead of the normal A to B and B to C routes. Not a big deal but if you want a loco to stop in B it wouldn't.

3. I do not have any exit sensors on my layout, just Enter, In and in short blocks EntertoIn.

Peter
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Offline applor  
#3 Posted : 06 October 2019 05:12:01(UTC)
applor

Australia   
Joined: 21/05/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,394
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Originally Posted by: morsing Go to Quoted Post
Hi,

I'm wiring up, designing and reading the RocRail wiki, but a few questions still:

2) I saw a discussion on the forum about trains too long for some blocks, and they were saying if a train goes past a shorter block and stops, you can bridge the two blocks to fit the (very) long train. Has anyone here tried that?

I have sections on my layout that I didn't think I could put a block in because it would be shorter than my longest train, but does this mean I can put a bloc there anyway?

Also, can I run super-long trains and it can occupy double-blocks?

Thanks


You can have one block with 3 sensors, whereby you have shorter trains stop at the middle sensor (short2in) and not the end sensor (in), in effect stopping in the middle of a platform.

You cannot have a train take up two blocks. You can only ever have one train in one block. You can as mentioned by Peter define the first block as a crossing block for a particular route (that would only be applicable to long trains) and then stop in the second block, in essence a long train taking up two blocks.

It would be helpful if you could give a graphical representation of what you are trying to do and also link to the rocrail thread you are referring to.

Lastly, there is also staging blocks, where multiple blocks are on the same line and linked together, so that the trains will 'stage' by driving to the last free block and shuffling along.
You can also define 'Locations' where a bunch of blocks in the same area are treated in a shared manner (ie. minimum occupancy and FiFo) which is perfect for stations and also hidden staging yards but these are always a parallel setup.

If you are trying to have just one really long line where trains will stage and occupy however many blocks their lengths need, that is not possible as it contradicts the concept of a block.

Originally Posted by: morsing Go to Quoted Post
Hi,

3) The wiki mentions using exit sensors as emergency stop, which I hadn't been planning, but is this a good idea? Is it recommended? I wouldn't ever leave my layout running un-attended.

Thanks



no, not required and I don't use it. Typically if you've messed your speed/timings up or done something else wrong and a train overshoots then it will trigger the next sensor and because that would be unexpected it would register the event as a 'ghost train' and stop Rocrail anyways.
Though that does not work if you have long areas without sensors.
modelling 1954 Germany (era IIIa)
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Offline morsing  
#4 Posted : 06 October 2019 10:04:09(UTC)
morsing

United Kingdom   
Joined: 16/08/2014(UTC)
Posts: 424
Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Originally Posted by: applor Go to Quoted Post

You cannot have a train take up two blocks. You can only ever have one train in one block. You can as mentioned by Peter define the first block as a crossing block for a particular route (that would only be applicable to long trains) and then stop in the second block, in essence a long train taking up two blocks.


You're contradicting yourself a bit, but the thread I read was this:

https://forum.rocrail.net/viewtopic.php?t=11214

Originally Posted by: applor Go to Quoted Post

It would be helpful if you could give a graphical representation of what you are trying to do and also link to the rocrail thread you are referring to.


I don't have anything ready that will be helpful, but surely on any layout, there will be switches etc, preventing just always having 2m blocks. I could restrict my trains to 1.30m, but I would rather not.

Also, there will always be long stretches, 2-3m in length, that just can't be in a block due to switches. A double cross-over on a mainline with slim switches will take up a minimum of 1.4m itself, and if you then have a switch for a branch line a further 1m down, then you have easily lost 3m to no-man's land.

I don't have huge amounts of space where I can have sweeping, realistic mainlines running through the landscape, as I am sure is the case for most modellers. A rough sketch of my layout is in the "My layout" section.

My RocRail progress is here, please bear in mind it is work in progress!

UserPostedImage


Originally Posted by: applor Go to Quoted Post

no, not required and I don't use it. Typically if you've messed your speed/timings up or done something else wrong and a train overshoots then it will trigger the next sensor and because that would be unexpected it would register the event as a 'ghost train' and stop Rocrail anyways.
Though that does not work if you have long areas without sensors.



As above, I can't avoid long stretches without sensors. I will see how it goes.

Thanks
-----
Modelling west Denmark era IV - possibly with some out-of-place elements!
Marklin C-track + CS3
6m2 layout to be controlled by RocRail
Offline applor  
#5 Posted : 06 October 2019 19:39:11(UTC)
applor

Australia   
Joined: 21/05/2004(UTC)
Posts: 1,394
Location: Brisbane, Queensland
Originally Posted by: morsing Go to Quoted Post
Originally Posted by: applor Go to Quoted Post

You cannot have a train take up two blocks. You can only ever have one train in one block. You can as mentioned by Peter define the first block as a crossing block for a particular route (that would only be applicable to long trains) and then stop in the second block, in essence a long train taking up two blocks.


You're contradicting yourself a bit



I know it sounds that way but I'm not. With the crossing block, the train does not occupy the block, the block and its sensor events are ignored. It also means that the crossing block cannot be used for any other route/occupancy.

Originally Posted by: morsing Go to Quoted Post


I don't have anything ready that will be helpful, but surely on any layout, there will be switches etc, preventing just always having 2m blocks. I could restrict my trains to 1.30m, but I would rather not.

Also, there will always be long stretches, 2-3m in length, that just can't be in a block due to switches. A double cross-over on a mainline with slim switches will take up a minimum of 1.4m itself, and if you then have a switch for a branch line a further 1m down, then you have easily lost 3m to no-man's land.

I don't have huge amounts of space where I can have sweeping, realistic mainlines running through the landscape, as I am sure is the case for most modellers. A rough sketch of my layout is in the "My layout" section.

My RocRail progress is here, please bear in mind it is work in progress!




Now in the case of your example, I and many others have the same situation - different length blocks and trains.

What you do is have the shorter trains occupy the shorter blocks only and the long trains occupy the long blocks only.
This way there is no wasted space and no occupancy blocks due to short trains taking up long blocks that only long trains can fit in.

You need to specify the block lengths in their config and also specify your locomotive and trains lengths.
This will prevent long trains trying to stop in a short block, as they will only use a route of sufficient length.

There is a global automation setting 'select shortest block' you can use, or alternatively (and the better way) is to restrict/allow routes for each of your trains based on lengths.
The latter is better because it then allows randomisation for destination in the stations, though you may not want that.
With select shortest block it always selects the same block even if 2 blocks are the exact same length. I know because I've been through that trouble before Cursing
modelling 1954 Germany (era IIIa)
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Offline morsing  
#6 Posted : 06 October 2019 19:49:36(UTC)
morsing

United Kingdom   
Joined: 16/08/2014(UTC)
Posts: 424
Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Originally Posted by: applor Go to Quoted Post

Originally Posted by: morsing Go to Quoted Post


I don't have anything ready that will be helpful, but surely on any layout, there will be switches etc, preventing just always having 2m blocks. I could restrict my trains to 1.30m, but I would rather not.

Also, there will always be long stretches, 2-3m in length, that just can't be in a block due to switches. A double cross-over on a mainline with slim switches will take up a minimum of 1.4m itself, and if you then have a switch for a branch line a further 1m down, then you have easily lost 3m to no-man's land.

I don't have huge amounts of space where I can have sweeping, realistic mainlines running through the landscape, as I am sure is the case for most modellers. A rough sketch of my layout is in the "My layout" section.

My RocRail progress is here, please bear in mind it is work in progress!




Now in the case of your example, I and many others have the same situation - different length blocks and trains.

What you do is have the shorter trains occupy the shorter blocks only and the long trains occupy the long blocks only.
This way there is no wasted space and no occupancy blocks due to short trains taking up long blocks that only long trains can fit in.

You need to specify the block lengths in their config and also specify your locomotive and trains lengths.
This will prevent long trains trying to stop in a short block, as they will only use a route of sufficient length.

There is a global automation setting 'select shortest block' you can use, or alternatively (and the better way) is to restrict/allow routes for each of your trains based on lengths.
The latter is better because it then allows randomisation for destination in the stations, though you may not want that.
With select shortest block it always selects the same block even if 2 blocks are the exact same length. I know because I've been through that trouble before Cursing



Thanks, this has been extremely helpful. What I've read so far has always been to have blocks be longer than your longest train which has been pretty unworkable planning for. Your description has moved me a lot closer to understanding how I can divide my mainline up and operate it.

I'm hoping I can get something workable first time around, but I might have to redo some of it after being able to play around with a running setup.
-----
Modelling west Denmark era IV - possibly with some out-of-place elements!
Marklin C-track + CS3
6m2 layout to be controlled by RocRail
Offline JohnjeanB  
#7 Posted : 06 October 2019 23:34:02(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 555
Location: Paris, France
Hi
This is a very interesting conversation. I realise that each Rocrail user is relying on different features (which it has a lot)
On my use of Rocrail all locos and wagons / cars have their length indicated. Also each block has its length entered in Rocrail. So - as mentioned before- Rocrail will only accept a train shorter than this block.
There are also virtual blocks associated with slave blocks. This allows me to stop a train, uncouple the cars (which are activating some sensors) and a "loco" slave block, which allows the loco to come near the cars and couple again and leave the virtual block. In this case the virtual Block includes all the tracks between the nearest switches: Block XX. It is declared as having a length of 1.7m. At one extremity you have slave Block XXA having a length of .3m and another slave Block at the other end Block XXB. The virtual block is declared as having 2 slave blocks. Sorry if it is not very clear. So the smaller slave block can only receive a loco without any cars. This allows all sorts of train movements and storing automatically cars / waggons in storage tracks.
You have controls to "assign" a train or to release a train (you specify which loco and which consist are to be assigned / released.

As mentionned also before, staging blocks are perfect to store trains behind one another on the FIFO principle. Usually regularly placed sensors (every .2 m for instance) and Rocrail will move an arriving train until it is near the previous one but provided there is enough available length for it. Of course the principle is based on Rocrail knowing the length of each vehicle
One staging block example is here:

If fact with Rocrail you discover new possibilities every day
On my layout here is an example of automatic uncoupling of the loco

Cheers

Jean
My lay-out videos
latest vid
humping yard
thanks 3 users liked this useful post by JohnjeanB
Offline morsing  
#8 Posted : 07 October 2019 10:23:55(UTC)
morsing

United Kingdom   
Joined: 16/08/2014(UTC)
Posts: 424
Location: Aylesbury, Buckinghamshire
Originally Posted by: JohnjeanB Go to Quoted Post
Hi
This is a very interesting conversation. I realise that each Rocrail user is relying on different features (which it has a lot)
On my use of Rocrail all locos and wagons / cars have their length indicated. Also each block has its length entered in Rocrail. So - as mentioned before- Rocrail will only accept a train shorter than this block.
There are also virtual blocks associated with slave blocks. This allows me to stop a train, uncouple the cars (which are activating some sensors) and a "loco" slave block, which allows the loco to come near the cars and couple again and leave the virtual block. In this case the virtual Block includes all the tracks between the nearest switches: Block XX. It is declared as having a length of 1.7m. At one extremity you have slave Block XXA having a length of .3m and another slave Block at the other end Block XXB. The virtual block is declared as having 2 slave blocks. Sorry if it is not very clear. So the smaller slave block can only receive a loco without any cars. This allows all sorts of train movements and storing automatically cars / waggons in storage tracks.
You have controls to "assign" a train or to release a train (you specify which loco and which consist are to be assigned / released.


Thanks, yes, a little be difficult to follow, but sounds very intruiging. Do you have a diagram of it?

Coupling/un-coupling is notoriously un-reliable though, does it really work automatically?

-----
Modelling west Denmark era IV - possibly with some out-of-place elements!
Marklin C-track + CS3
6m2 layout to be controlled by RocRail
Offline JohnjeanB  
#9 Posted : 07 October 2019 12:41:57(UTC)
JohnjeanB

France   
Joined: 04/02/2011(UTC)
Posts: 555
Location: Paris, France
Hi Morsing

Here is my Rocrail diagram
UserPostedImage

If you look at Block 132 for instance near the center of the screen you will see it includes Bloc 132 (the virtual master one) and Bloc 132A (a slave block to 132)
Block 132 is 1.5m while Block 132A is .3m long (lengths entered in block parameters)
You need 2 sensors fa132, fb 132. For Bloc 132, fa132 is ENTER sensor and fb132 is the IN sensor. For Bloc 132A, sensor fa132 is the ENTER2IN sensor.
That way a train A with coaches may enter Bloc 132 (and not Block 132A) a decoupler may detech the train from its loco. Then Rocrail is ordered to "RELEASETRAIN" (detach it from its loco so now the train length becomes .25m instead of 1.5m. The loco A may now go to loco shed while a new one (loco B) is coming. When the loco A is leaving block 132 it becomes free but sensor fb132 still indicates it is busy.
When loco B is comingit is sent to Block 132A (which is free because fa132 is free). You may then order Rocrail to ASSIGNTRAIN (indicate Loco B is coupled with consist #1.

Coupling and decoupling made reliable
Decoupling works very well provided there is no pull force in the hooks. This is why when a loco is pulling a train it is best to stop it, then go reverse until the coupler is just above the decoupler.
How to know the proper location of the loco to uncouple? Install an extra sensor (fc132) to activate the decoupler.

Coupling can also be made reliable but it is more tricky because of 2 things: couplers are not always right in the center and at the same level (so watch for those springs to bring back the coupler in the exact center). The second issue with Märklin couplers is sometimes both buckles push each other upward and go above the predecoupling tab. The trick is here to file the buckles end so that they are sharp (at a 45° angle) so that the risk is reduced.
Of course coupling and uncoupling must be made on a straight track with no slopes (and also vertically straight)
It takes a bit of tries but the result is fun.

Note: a big help is when using XML programs you write to wait for an event (e.g.: fc132) and activate the decoupler. Check some examples of XML programs for Rocrail on the web
If you are interested I can send some of my XML programs. These programs are triggered as ACTIONS for instance when block 132A is OCCUPIED then decouple.
Cheers

Jean

Jean
My lay-out videos
latest vid
humping yard
thanks 3 users liked this useful post by JohnjeanB
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