Mtracks for Microsoft Train Simulator
last updated 5/12/05
Introduction
Welcome to the Mtracks home page, where all of your Mtracks needs can and will be met.
"M" Tracks means Mainline Tracks. Here's what spawned its creation.
Having become increasingly frustrated with the unprototypical default turnouts, I decided to take matters into my own hands. The problem with the Kuju turnouts, is that they have a continuous curve through the diverging leg of the turnout. This results in a very jerky ride when going through a crossover or onto a siding, because there is no straight track between the curves, a big nono in track engineering. I also didn't like the tie layout for the kuju turnouts, as real turnouts have ties perpendicular to the straight leg of the turnout until the ties are 16 feet long or so.
Most prototype turnouts curve up to the frog, and then have a straight frog, and then, in the case of a crossover, the track continues straight to the opposing frog, and then curves back into the points. Seeing no real reason why this couldn't be accomplished within MSTS limitations, I jumped head first into Gmax and the tsection.dat file, and although I'm still learning, I think I have come up with a very useful set of switches for any route.
These turnouts are intended for mainline use. The current set of xtracks turnouts, which roughly correspond to No. 9 and No. 4.5 (3d and 6d modular, respectively) do a fine job for yards and industrial spurs and such. So I haven't created the Mtracks turnouts in such a way that they can form yard ladders, these are intended for use out on the line: crossovers, sidings, going from single to double track mainline, branching off a mainline, etc. The set includes No. 15, 20, and 24 turnouts. Typical use puts these with 30, 40, and 50 mph speed limits, respectively, sometimes a little less.
Current release
The current version of Mtracks is 1.50 (April 13, 2005) and is available for download at www.trainsim.com under the name "mtracks.zip". This version includes all pieces for laying No. 15, 20, and 24 turnouts and crossovers, in both Kuju and "M" spacing, straight and some curved track in "M" spacing, and transition track from Kuju to "M" spacing. The change from previous versions is the added frog and guard rail assemblies for all the turnouts. If you already have mtracks turnouts on your route, simply extracting the new shape files to the GLOBAL/SHAPES folder will update all of the shapes on your route. No route editing necessary. Here's a pic of what they look like on a No. 24 crossover:
Laying a No. 20 crossover
First a note on the term "Crossover." There has been some confusion over my naming of the track pieces. I hadn't noticed that in the orginal tracks and xtracks the term "xover" was used to describe a piece of track where two tracks physically cross one another. I had always known this to be a "crossing" or "xing", and a "crossover" or "xover" to be on a double track where there is a track that takes you from one track to the other, as shown below. A "double crossover" is as shown. In the middle of a double crossover, is a "diamond crossing", or "crossing."
Enough with the terminology. Let's lay some track!
First we start off with a normal double track piece.
Next in red is the M2tXoverNo20RgtKujuEnd.s piece. The purpose of this piece is to bring the overall length of the crossover to exactly 135 meters (For the sizes of the other crossovers and all the sidings, see the Dimensions section below).
Next is the M1tPntNo20Rgt.s piece. This is the actual turnout piece that has the red pole.
Finally, the M2tXoverNo20RgtKuju.s piece is put into place. This long piece is symmetrical and on the other end of it, you place the M1tPntNo20Rgt.s piece and the M2tXoverNo20RgtKujuEnd.s as before.
You can leave out the M2tXoverNo20RgtKujuEnd.s piece if you don't need the crossover to be exactly 135 meters long. Simply substitute a A1t20mStrt.s piece on the righthand track. This works because the M1tPntNo20Rgt.s piece is 20 meters long. This is illustrated below, with a No. 15 lefthand crossover. The A1t20mStrt.s in red and the M1tPntNo15Lft.s selected. Below these two pieces is a normal double track section, and above is the M2tXoverNo15LftKuju.s piece.
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First lay the M1tPntNo15Lft.s piece. This is the selected piece. The piece below is a regular piece of single track, and the piece above is the M2tFrogNo15Lft.s piece.
Next is the M2tFrogNo15Lft.s piece. This is the selected piece. Below in red is the M1tPntNo15Lft.s piece, and above is the M2tEndPntNo15LeftKuju.s piece.
Finally, the M2tEndPntNo15LeftKuju.s piece is laid. Below in red is the M2tFrogNo15Lft.s piece and above is regular double track.
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One more piece is the M2tEndJctNo15Lft.s piece. This is the selected piece in the picture below. Below it is the M2tFrogNo15Lft.s piece and above are two regular pieces of single track. I created this piece so that if you need an isolated turnout, perhaps where a branch line joins the main, the roadbeds wouldn't overlap. If you are cramped for space, you can leave this piece out, and just join your track to the end of the M2tFrogNo15Lft.s piece, but the roadbeds will overlap a bit.
For No. 20 and 24 turnouts, use the same configurations as above.
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Turnouts:
 No. 15: 30 mph
 No. 20: 40 mph
 No. 24: 50 mph
Transition Track:
 150m: 150 mph
 50m: 50 mph
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Besides the standard Acleantrack1.ace and Acleantrack2.ace files, one additional texture is required, MtrackFrogs.ace. This is for the guard rails and frog assemblies new in version 1.50. I mapped the textures onto the track pieces with my Gallup Sub texture in mind. It can be downloaded from www.trainsim.com in the File Library under the name galuptex.zip. Other textures work,but may map a bit funny. I designed my texture with ten equally spaced ties, so any other texture designed like this should work well too.
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To avoid confusion, first let me say this, unequivocally:
Mtracks turnouts are compatible with all regular MSTS trackage.
By "regular", I mean the default tracks and subsequent creations like XTracks. My hope for these turnouts is that route builders and modifiers will be able to just "drop in" my turnouts in mainline situations, like crossovers and sidings. However, for those interested in more realism, I did create something new.
I created straight double, triple, and quadruple track with the new "M spacing" (4.27 meters) in the standard MSTS Lengths of 10, 50, 100, 250, and 500 meters. This corresponds to 14foot track spacing, a bit narrower than the default MSTS spacing. The advantages, besides being more prototypical, is that one, there is no gap in the roadbed between tracks, and two, it makes the turnouts shorter (see the Dimensions section below). These straights are used like any other straight tracks.
There are two sets of turnout pieces, one for default MSTS spacing (4.985 meters), and these pieces have a "Kuju" at the end of their name. The other is for "Mspacing" and these leave off the "Kuju" part on their name. Some pieces aren't specific to either set, like the A1PntNoXX pieces. See the list in the Dimensions section.
Here is a list of the "Mspacing" double, triple and quadruple track sections:
 M2t10mStrt.s
 M2t50mStrt.s
 M2t100mStrt.s
 M2t250mStrt.s
 M2t500mStrt.s
 M3t10mStrt.s
 M3t50mStrt.s
 M3t100mStrt.s
 M3t250mStrt.s
 M3t500mStrt.s
 M4t10mStrt.s
 M4t50mStrt.s
 M4t100mStrt.s
 M4t250mStrt.s
 M4t500mStrt.s
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I have created transition pieces for changing from regular Kuju to M spacing. For double track, there are left and right versions, for triple and quadruple track, there is no left and right versions, just one symmetrical piece, so in the triple track one, the outside tracks curve, but the center track remains straight, and in the quadruple track one, all of the tracks curve inward a little bit, with the outer tracks curving more than the inner tracks:
 M2tTransKtoMLft150m.s
 M2tTransKtoMRgt150m.s
 M2tTransKtoMLft50m.s
 M2tTransKtoMRgt50m.s
 M3tTransKtoM50m.s
 M3tTransKtoM150m.s
 M4tTransKtoM60m.s
 M4tTransKtoM150m.s
The 150m ones are good to about 150 mph, and the 50m and 60m ones are good to about 50 mph.
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Since I made the somewhat dubious decision to create a track system with different trackcenter spacing, that means I needed to create a new set of curves as well. More work! Doh!
The curves I have created are a bit different than what you may be used to. Instead of naming each piece with its radius in meters, and its amount of turn in degrees, I have named them with its radius in degrees of curvature and its amount of turn in radians. Why on earth would you do that? you may ask. I did it because prototype railroads in the US measure their curves in degree of curvature, and the dynamic track window measures the turn in radians, and since I am used to making curves of whole numbers of degrees of curvature with dynamic track, I decided to do it that way. If you don't know what a radian is, to convert degrees to radians, use these formalas (D is degrees and R is radians):
R=D*π/180
D=R*180/π
To get an idea, 90 degrees = π/2 or 1.57 radians, 180 degrees = π or 3.14 radians, 270 degrees = 3π/2 or 4.71 radians, and 360 degrees = 2π or 6.28 radians
One cool thing about radians, is that if you multiply the radius of the curve by the amount the curve turns in radians, you get the length along the curve. For example, a curve with radius 1000 meters that turns 0.5 radians is 500 meters long. Pretty handy!
The format for the names of the curve pieces is MXtCddmmcnnnnr, where X is the number of tracks, C denotes that it is a curve, dd is the curvature in degrees, mm is the curvature in minutes and nnnn is the turn in radians (like dynamic track). For example, a 3track, 1degree 30minute curve that turns 0.200 radians will look like this: M3tC0130d0200r. Or a 2track, 12degree, curve that turns 0.050 radians will look like this: M2tC1200d0050r. The inside track of multiple tracks will always be the actual degree of curvature, with the other tracks adding 4.27 meters to each radius. So for example, a 2degree, 4track piece will have radii of 873.23, 877.50, 881.77, 886.04. I am rounding to two decimal places, because that is what you get with dynamic track.
As you can see in the table below, there is a limited number of curve pieces available in the current release. Since all the curves are radianbased, it will be easy to substitute dynamic track now, for what I will release in the future. For a list of curve pieces and the corresponding radii that you should use in the meantime with dynamic track if the curve you want isn't completed yet, see the Curve Table below. For more than one track, use the below radius for the innermost track, and then add 4.27 for each subsequent track outward.
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Here is the list of current and future Mtracks curved pieces. In the forth column, a "double" denotes that that particular curve is only available in single and double track, while a "quad" means that it is available in single, double, triple, and quadruple track. The bold entries in the forth column denote which curves are available in the current release, and the underlined entries denote which curves will be in the next release.
Degrees 
Minutes 
Radius (m) 
# of tracks 
0 
7 
14968.93 
double 
0 
10 
10478.26 
double 
0 
15 
6985.51 
quad 
0 
20 
5239.13 
double 
0 
25 
4191.31 
double 
0 
30 
3492.76 
quad 
0 
35 
2993.80 
double 
0 
45 
2328.52 
double 
1 
0 
1746.40 
quad 
1 
15 
1397.13 
double 
1 
30 
1164.28 
double 
1 
45 
997.97 
double 
2 
0 
873.23 
quad 
2 
15 
776.22 
double 
2 
30 
698.61 
double 
2 
45 
635.11 
double 
3 
0 
582.19 
quad 
3 
30 
499.04 
double 
4 
0 
436.68 
quad 
4 
30 
388.18 
double 
5 
0 
349.39 
double 
6 
0 
291.20 
quad 
7 
0 
249.64 
double 
8 
0 
218.47 
double 
9 
0 
194.24 
double 
10 
0 
174.86 
quad 
11 
0 
159.01 
double 
12 
0 
145.80 
double 
14 
0 
125.05 
double 
16 
0 
109.50 
quad 
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overall crossovers (Kuju spacing, 4.985 meters):
 No. 15: 110 meters
 No. 20: 135 meters
 No. 24: 160 meters
overall sidings (Kuju spacing, 4.985 meters):
 No. 15: 115 meters
 No. 20: 145 meters
 No. 24: 170 meters
overall crossovers (M spacing, 4.27 meters):
 No. 15: 100 meters
 No. 20: 120 meters
 No. 24: 145 meters
overall sidings (M spacing, 4.27 meters):
 No. 15: 105 meters
 No. 20: 130 meters
 No. 24: 155 meters
EndJct pieces (used with both Kuju and M spacing):
 No. 15: 20 meters
 No. 20: 30 meters
 No. 24: 30 meters
Pnt pieces (used with both Kuju and M spacing):
 No. 15: 20 meters
 No. 20: 20 meters
 No. 24: 20 meters
Frog pieces (used with both Kuju and M spacing):
 No. 15: 35 meters
 No. 20: 45 meters
 No. 24: 60 meters
EndPntKuju pieces (Kuju spacing, 4.985 meters):
 No. 15: 60 meters
 No. 20: 80 meters
 No. 24: 90 meters
EndPnt pieces (M spacing, 4.27 meters):
 No. 15: 50 meters
 No. 20: 65 meters
 No. 24: 75 meters
The XoverKuju, XoverKujuEnd, Xover and XoverEnd pieces have odd dimensions, but together they come out to the dimensions stated above.
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If you've made it all the way through all this, thanks! I know it's a lot. Most people will probably be only interested in the turnouts, which is fine with me. Unless you are starting a route from scratch, it will be hard incorparte a new track center spacing scheme in track that is already laid. And I know that my curve pieces are kind of wacky in the way I decided to name them. But, I hope you've found this site informational and useful, and any comments and/or questions can be directed to markhyams@hotmail.com.
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1.07 4/30/04 The original release. #15, 20, 24 turnouts, crossovers, curves, transition track, and straights.
1.36 3/20/05 Adds more curves to the original release.
1.50 4/13/05 Adds frog and guard rail detail to the turnouts. No additional track shapes or tsection.dat entries. This update will automatically affect any and all mtracks turnouts in any routes with no route editing necessary.
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last updated 5/12/2005
