Open Rails Now At Version 1.2

The official “stable” release version of Open Rails has advanced to version 1.2. There were a number of development breakthroughs that happened not long after version 1.1 was released, and these have been refined and are now part of the stable release. This includes the ability to have working turntables, and a host of other improvements.

Here’s a brief rundown of updates and changes in v1.2 (Condensed from the official Open Rails website):

  • Turntables, which have always been non-functional scenery in MSTS and prior versions of Open Rails, can now be made to work. (Existing turntable objects in routes aren’t plug-and-play; they need additional OR-specific code to be made operational, and the graphic objects that make them up do have to be edited to enable them.)
  • Tilting of the train due to superelevated track has been put back, and cameras that track the train will stay level when viewing. (Superelevation is something that’s still under periodic improvement in the experimental versions.)
  • Steam locomotives’ wheel slip calculation has improved.
  • Grades will affect the water level in the sight glass on steam locomotives for more realistic operation.
  • Electric locomotive operation is greatly enhanced with the ability of the main circuit breaker to be controlled while driving the train. It can also be scripted to match requirements on routes.Tri-phase, synchronous power operation is now supported correctly with motor and pantograph behaviors, and the addition of double wires. All of this offers better support for worldwide electric mainline operations, not just simple commuter lines which were the MSTS model.
  • Braking has numerous imrpovements: Friction calculation is better, wheels can skid if excessive brake force is applied, brake pressure and leak-down is modeled better
  • Much-wanted improvements to UK distant and home signals on the same post.
  • Improvements to braking: Better pressure and leakage calculations, friction has been updated and wheel skid is possible under excessive brake force, and the Head-Up Display’s braking information is improved.
  • When routes are built, it’s possible to use the “include” function to utilize more than one set of track shapes for the whole route.
  • Traffic placed on roads can be varied
  • Wait points based on the time of day won’t require the train to stop once the set time of day has passed, for better operation in activities.
  • The car operation menu now includes the car’s ID number for clarity.
  • Shape file loading warnings are suppressed by default, but can be turned on in the options for troubleshooting.
  • Loading screens are now widescreen-compatible and can have Open Rails-specific versions — allowing both 4:3 loading screens in MSTS and widescreen versions when the route runs in Open Rails.

For users who prefer to stick with the stable release, last year’s release may have seemed a little anti-climactic as there were a number of significant improvements in the “unstable” release paths shortly after version 1.1 was finalized — most notably the turntables. Over the past year, there’s been sufficient time to refine the breakthrough improvements and as of the release of 1.2, there developments have still been focused primarily on refinements, so there’s not currently much to miss from the testing and experimental “unstable” versions.

The full 1.2 announcement can be found here. The Open Rails home page is here.

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