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Beginners Guide to Downloading and Installing MSTS Add-ons

By M. Peddlesden, Copyright ©2002 - 29 May 2002

Section 5: Routes

Surprisingly you will find that Routes are actually easier to install than the Activities you run on them!

The gotcha with routes however is that they require enormous amounts of disk space, at this time I have the following routes installed and their disk utilisations are:

RouteAuthorWhere FromDisk Used
Kassel-Fulda *AerosoftHigh Speed Trains CD212 Megabytes
CaldervaleMartin BryantUKTrainsim635 Megabytes
Lille-Calais TGV *Ken AustinEuropeanBahn560 Megabytes
LTV Erie Mining Co.*AbacusLTV Erie Mining Co. CD446 Megabytes
Modern England 3James HuntUKTrainsim620 Megabytes
Northern Rail RoutesGerald MorrisNRR1.22 Gigabytes
Settle and Carlisle 1930'sPat DaltonPat's Homepage344 Megabytes
Tehachapi Pass *3D Train Stuff3D Train Stuff228 Megabytes
ECML 3.1Tim CourtUKTrainsim760 Megabytes
WoodheadSteve NicklinUKTrainsim261 Megabytes

Routes marked with a * are commercial products that you can either purchase online from their author or from your local computer store.

As you can see, routes are massive. There's actually plenty of scope for these routes to be seriously reduced in size, and when we come to installing a route you will see exactly why.

You can relax a little however in that you don't have to download all that to get a route working! Generally most routes make extensive use of the shapes and textures that are in the default routes so provided you have got all of the default routes installed the download for some of the above routes can be as little as 10 or 20 megabytes.

There are numerous utilities that will help you both manage your routes and keep them down to a sensible size.

Route Control ($24.99 from How in the World) will compress and archive routes that are not being used, then when you want to use a route again you just get it to unpack it straight in to the right place for you. This means you could archive the routes off to another drive (or perhaps even across your network) to get them off your main hard drive when the routes are not in use.

Mike Simpson has also written a very clever utility called Route Riter (available at UKTrainsim) that will analyse a given route and remove all the files that are in the route directory but not actually used by the route. In his examples he quotes dropping the size of Pat Dalton's Settle and Carlisle 1930 route right down to 231 Megabytes, and Vern Moorhouses' Wick/Inverness route from 462 Megabytes down to 254. This alone can represent a significant saving so if you plan on having a number of routes installed then this is one tool that should always be at your side. Routes are located in the Train Simulator\ROUTES directory. Each route is in its own subdirectory so for example the original Settle and Carlisle route that comes with MS Train Simulator is in the EUROPE1 directory.

Each route you download will have different installation instructions because of the way that the author has packaged them together, it is crucially important that you read all the installation instructions that they provide carefully, and then read them again just to make sure you haven't missed anything.

Generally most route installations involve putting all of the downloaded route files in to the correct directory (Train Simulator\ROUTES\[whatever]) and then running a batch (.bat) file to copy across all of the shapes and textures that are used from the default routes.

It's this last step, the bat file, that causes the bloat in route size. It would take a long time to write a bat file that was 100% correct (perhaps a future version of Mike's Route Riter could do this automatically) so they tend to just copy everything whether it is used or not - hence you end up with massive route folders. Route Riter then just comes along and wipes out the files that aren't needed. Route Control has a similar function in the way it works, though it does more around that function such as archiving etc.

Example 1: Installing Woodhead

The Woodhead route can be downloaded from UKTrainsim and is around 10 meg in size that you have to download.

First, unpack the ZIP you have just downloaded in to a temporary area and we will install the route from there.

Our first stop should always be the README file so let's see what Steve has to say about installing his route.

Steve has put in the following section of the README file to help you install the route:

Installation Instructions
1. Backup your MSTS Installation - I have to say this because even though this batch files
   works great on my system, you may make a mistake in editing the install.bat file

2. Create a temporary folder to unzip this installation files into (e.g. C:\Inst)
   Make a note of the drive and folder name, you'll need it to update the installation 
   file install.bat
3. Unzip each of the ZIP files provided in the release (with Use Folder Names enabled)
4. Edit install.bat using Notepad and amend the following lines at the top of the file:

rem	This is the drive MSTS is installed on
rem	This is the folder the route is to be installed in to
set MSTSFOLDER=Woodhead2
rem	This is the name of the route is to be installed
set MSTSROUTE=Woodhead
rem	This is the folder where the installtion kit was unzipped into
set MSTSSOURCE=D:\MSTS\Routes\Woodhead\Kit\V1.0

Change the value after set MSTSDRIVE= to your MSTS Installation Drive
Change the value after set MSTSFOLDER= to the name of the Route folder you want
Dont change the value after set MSTSROUTE=
Change the value after set MSTSSOURCE= to the loction of the temporary folder you 
unzipped the ZIP files into.

5. Run the edited Install.bat file - this should copy files from your MSTS folders and
   the install folder into the route on your machine - when its done, you should see a
   new route called Woodhead Route in MSTS - happy exploring...

Taking it one step at a time, the advice to back up your installation goes without saying, see section 1 (Introduction to Downloading) for more help with backing up your installation.

You've already done step 2 because we covered that a moment ago.

Step 3 asks you to unzip each of the ZIP files provided - there are none in the archive you just unpacked so it's likely this instruction is left over from an earlier release of the route, we will ignore this step for now.

Step 4 asks you to load 'install.bat' in to Notepad and set a few pieces up so that it's all set to use your system settings (eg. where is your Train Simulator installed). Once you have made the changes you can save it.

Step 5 asks you to run the install.bat, if it's all configured correctly from step 4 then that should be all you need to do. It'll take a little while because not only is it installing the basic route files, it is also copying across all (or the majority of) the scenery items from all the other routes that come WITH MS Train Simulator.

That's all you need to do for Woodhead, you can now go straight in to MSTS and choose it as a route to run your stock on.

Example 2: Caldervale

For this tutorial I will be using the three file version rather than the four file version, however the instructions are extremely similar so you shouldn't have any problems.

Download and unpack each of the caldervale files ( etc) in to its own unique directory. Each of the files also has a readme so we'll take each file in turn and find out what has to be done.

In the first ZIP file you will find a self extracting file (EXE) - double click on this to expand it out making sure that if it asks you for a path name, that you put in the Train Simulator directory for your machine.

Once it has finished installing, go to the new Caldervale folder in Train Simulator/ROUTES and you will find an 'install.bat'. Double click on install.bat and it will go and get all the extra files from all the other routes that it think it needs.

That's the first part of the installation completed, now we need to do the next two steps so unpack the second ZIP file in to another directory.

All you need to do for this file is to double click on the 'click here to install' icon and it will complete this phase of the installation.

The third and final file doesn't have an auto-installer but it's quite easy to manually copy the files. The README asks that you go in to the supplied 'non-default textures' folder, the in to the 'textures' sub folder and highlight all of the files and folders inside that. Now right click and select Copy.

Go in to your Train Simulator/Routes/Caldervale/Textures folder and then right click and select Paste - if you get asked any questions just click 'Yes to all'. This copies all of the non-default textures for the route.

With that installed, you are ready to go in to Train Simulator and Explore the Route.


As you can see, installing routes is not particularly difficult - though it can take a bit of time and will almost certainly consume a fair bit of disk space so make sure you have plenty available before you start.

If you wish to move a route off your your main drive and perhaps back it off to a CDR or to a secondary hard drive, if you are running low on disk space for example, you can simply move the appropriate route folder out and then copy it back when you want to use the route again, there are no other concerns to worry about and you won't have to go through all of the re-installation hassles.

Section 1: Introduction to Downloading
Section 2: Locomotives and Wagons
Section 3: Activities
Section 4: Cab Views and Sound Packs
Section 5: Routes

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