Installation of Zig Zag Railway as a "Stand-alone" Open Rails Route

The Zig Zag railway can be installed using the Open Rails (OR) railway simulator and does not require MicroSoft Train Simulator (MSTS) to be installed.

Note: No responsibility is accepted for any damage done to your computer. This install is done at your risk.

It should also be noted that the operation of other CTN routes, following these instructions, may or may not be succsessful, as they may be missing key files necessary for the Route or Rolling Stocks correct operation. This route has been tested against Open Rails v1.0, use of other Open Rails versions may create unidentified problems.

It is highly recommended that you follow the KISS (Keep it simple St....) method of installing software. This method suggests that you only do single installs of software or a small number of steps before you test what you have done. This will make it easier to test your progress and ensure you don't have too many issues to "fault find". Run the "tests" described at various point below to ensure that all is well.

To assist new users to Open Rails, this route has the relevant rolling stock and a number of starting activities all packaged in the one download, to assist players to quickly install the route and get started with the minimum of effort.

Installation Overview

Open Rails Software Installation

Install Zig Railway Route Content

Test Open Rails with Train Content

Expanding your "World"

Open Rails Command Keys

If you would like to provide any feedback in regard to these instructions, please contact me through the contact page.


Installation Overview

The basic steps required to get Zig Zag Railway up and running in Open Rails are as follows:

Step 1 - Download and install Open Rails base software (game engine).

Step 2 - Download and install Zig Zag Railway.

Step 3 - Study the manual to understand the basic train controls. Some of the basic control keys are shown in the Open Rails Command Keys section of this page.

Information and assistance will also be found on the Open Rails forums on the Elvas Tower forum board. This forum requires free membership.

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Open Rails Software Installation

Step 1 - Download the Stable Version of Open Rails - "Ready to Run" Installer.

Note: You will need to create an appropriate file structure to hold all relevant program and content installs. The recommended folder root structure is << C:\Open Rails Train Simulator >>. (Where C: is the name of the hard disk drive (HDD) that you wish to install OR on.) You will also need to create a folder within this folder to install the Open Rails program into. It is suggested that this folder be called << OR Program >>. When you have completed this step you should have a basic folder structure like the diagram below.

Base file structure

Thus the full path for the program will be << C:\Open Rails Train Simulator\OR Program >>. Copy ("Ctrl-C") this path code and then paste ("Ctrl-V") it into the following installation steps wherever you are requested to enter a path name.

Step 2 - Run the Open Rails installation program. When prompted for the installation folder, paste << C:\Open Rails Train Simulator\OR Program >> into the location box of the installer.

Step 3 - Test Open Rails by starting the program and ensuring that the start menu appears ok.

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Install Zig Railway Route Content

Note the method described below sets up an individual folder structure for all the content required for the Zig Zag Railway. Thus this will separate all relevant content for the Zig Zag Railway from being available for other routes. If you wish to install other routes later you can use a common folder structure, thus allowing content to be shared across a number of routes.

Step 1 - Download Zig Zag Railway Route

Step 2 - Run the Zig Zag Railways installation program. When prompted for the installation folder, it defaults to <<C:\Open Rails Train Simulator - ZZ>>. This may be overwritten with a different location if desired. The installer will install all the elements required to get the route up and running, including the rolling stock required.

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Test Open Rails with Train Content

Step 1 - Run Open Rails Train Simulator. The first time that you run OR, you will need find the Zig Zag Railway for OR. To do this go to the Options/Content TAB of OR, and add the path <<C:\Open Rails Train Simulator - ZZ>>.

Now you should see the route and default activities.

Step 2 - When you go back to the main menu, you should now see the route and default activities. Provided all the boxes in the menu are selected, you should be able to start OR and view the route.

To start the train you will need to release the train brakes (";" - key, until fully released), adjust the reverser ("W" key - until fully forward), apply throttle ("D" key - to around 50%). Refer to the section below for some of the more common key commands for OR. You can also swap between different views by pressing the number keys - 1, 2, 3, 4, etc.

You should now have a base working version of Open Rails for the Zig Zag Route. When Open Rails starts, it creates a log file called "OpenRailsLog.txt" which is located on your desktop. This file can be used to try and identify major faults and assist in their correction.

Refer to detailed Open Rails Operational Manuals for more information on Open Rails.

In OR, you will be able to select different activities, paths and consists, but not be able to easily create them at the moment.

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Expanding your "World"

Adding or Changing Stock

Now that you have a working copy of OR you can start to add additional rolling stock or try some of the previously created activities. Most of the stock currently available was develped for MSTS, which means that it may refer to MSTS files that were provided with the original MSTS game and replacement files may not be readily available from the Internet, so you may need to edit stock to get it to work. In adding stock remember the KISS principle, try and only add a small number at a time and do regular tests to confirm all is ok. Also remember that you may need to change the path to the installation folder.

When adding stock, unless a consist (CON) file has been created for it, it will not appear in OR. Consist files are located in the << Consists >> folder under the Trains folder in your folder structure.

It is highly recommended that you create or modify consists by using the Consist Editor function of Route Riter. (RR)

To install RR you will need to install Java first. A useful link to assist in installing RR is on the Steam4me Route Riter Installation page.

The RR Help files can be downloaded from here and inserted in the Route Riter folder.

Start RR. When you first run RR it may advise you that it can't find Train Simulator". To overcome this problem, find your << Open Rails Train Simulator >> folder and double click on it. Then go to "MSTS Path" under "Files" on the index bar and click on the "Select" button. This will ensure that RR functionality is maintained as much as possible. You may get an error message about the "Train.exe" file, but this is only advisory (I think).

RR can be used to do the following types of things:

Further Information

If you need to find more information on different types of problems, try looking at at the OR FAQs, or alternatively these sites, as they are a veritable mine of information and may provide some insights into any issues that you are graplling with:

If you have a specific Zig Zag Railway or CTN related problem them use the contact page.

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Basic Open Rails Command Keys

Camera Controls

Move the camera with the arrow keys, or hold right click and move mouse to rotate camera

  • 1 - cab ( simulated for now ) - left and right arrows shift position
  • 2 - front of train
  • 3 - rear of train
  • 5 - passenger view
  • 6 - brakeman view - home and end move to front and back of train
  • 8 - free camera
  • ALT + ENTER - toggles fullscreen on and off
Basic Train Controls

To operate the train, use the following keys (for more controls and details, refer to Open Rails documentation):

  • W - Forward
  • S - Reverse
  • D - Increase Throttle
  • A - Decrease Throttle
  • ' (quotation mark) - Apply Train brakes
  • ; (semi-colon) - Release Train brakes
  • [ (Left Bracket) - Apply Engine brakes
  • ] (Right Bracket) - Release Engine brakes
  • G - Change turnout (point) - AHEAD of Direction
  • SHIFT + G - Change turnout (point) - BEHIND Direction
  • X - Sander On/Off
  • Press & Hold 'U' Key and mouse click on coupler - Coupling/Uncoupling
  • H - Press key to move to Dim, then Bright - Engine Lighting - Off, Dim, Bright
  • Ctrl + H; Press key to move to Dim, then Off - Engine Lighting - Bright, Dim, Off
Basic Information Views

To view relevant information, use the following keys (for more details, refer to Open Rails documentation):

  • 0 - Compass
  • F1 - Information Monitor - this provides a detailed list of key commands.
  • F4 - Track Monitor
  • F8 - Switch Monitor
  • F9 - Train Operations Monitor
  • F10 - Activity Monitor

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