TSECTION.DAT Heartburn

Just a few days ago, the standardized TSECTION.DAT file was upgraded to Build 42. There have been many conflicting reports that the clearance distances for various points (turnouts) are causing problems with some routes, especially older routes of all kinds and a fair number routes set in the UK. The simplest fix seems to be to use TSECTION.DAT Build 38 in the main MSTS “Global” folder for routes that have issues with Build42. Build 38 also works with a large number of freeware and payware routes, but it’s not “one-size-fits-all” by any means.

How do you know that Build 42 breaks a route? The most common is an “Activity ended – Ignored red signal” message when you pass a green signal on a turnout. If you watch the train pass the signal from outside the cab, you’ll see the signal change from green to red just in front of your locomotive as you pass it. Other issues can be with AI’s; they may get stuck at signals where they didn’t before, or have problems with their paths.

Manually switching out TSECTION.DAT files is a bit of a pain. The must-have utility Train Store can change them out automatically for you once you set up that feature. Train Store can be downloaded TrainSim.com and UKTrainSim.com.

The trickier part is getting a hold of TSECTION.DAT Build 38 itself, but it’s not too hard. The main trainsim sites try to keep only the latest version in their file libraries; normally this would be best practice. If you have older payware routes, some may include Build 38. XTracks version 3.20 includes it. This is the latest version of XTracks in the file libraries of TrainSim.com and UKTrainSim.com. If download XTracks, you should be able to extract it. Just run the installer and point the install location “dummy” empty MSTS folder or temp folder and let it run, then copy the TSECTION.DAT file and uninstall/delete the rest.) Open the TSECTION.DAT file in a text editor and you will see the version given in the header of the file.

For those who aren’t so fortunate as to have a copy of Build 38 on hand or want a quick solution, here is a zipped copy:  TSECTION.DAT Build 38

MSTS Process Priority Improvement

Finding a way to get significant performance improvements with MSTS can be somewhat hit-or-miss, but here is one trick that does make a noticeable improvement. Windows has a means of allowing users to change the priority at which various processes are handled; it’s buried in the Task Manager interface but often known only to power users.  In the first tutorial added to the site, here’s how to take advantage of this feature with a free-for-private-use tool called Prio.

Read on to learn how in the Tutorials section…

MSTS Performance

How do I make MSTS perform better? I think I’ve lost count of how many times that’s been asked in the various forums over the years. It has to be one of the all-time number one questions. And it’s not really surprising. MSTS doesn’t precisely behave the way computer users, novice or expert, might expect.

 

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