Constructing Wagons With Hideable Loads
by Ian McMillan


Imagine this activity:

  • You pick up some empty wagons and take them to the Colliery;
  • You uncouple them under the screens and run round;
  • You re-attach the now loaded wagons and take them to the power station tippler;
  • Then you draw out the emptied wagons ready for their next trip.

Can't be done?

Yes it can, thanks to MSTS-Bin.

Look at the time in the "Next Station" display.....

.........Press Ctrl + Numpad 7.........

.....and the wagon is loaded.

I used the door animation to rotate the load so that the polys faced inside the wagon making them invisible. You can do this with any load that will fit inside the wagon when inverted.

I have not tried it yet but this trick should also work with containers and similar simple shapes by making the sides, end and top as seperate parts and rotating them on their appropriate axis.

The only snag is that the wagon mass cannot be changed and the wag file will have to show the loaded weight.


Construction of Wagon

This tutorial demonstrates the construction in Abacus TrainSim Modeler, but the same principles will apply no matter which program you use.

Build your wagon as normal and position the load.
Centre the load part axis to origin and then hold down Shift and drag the axis up to the middle of the wagon body.
Goto Transform/Rotate, enter 180 into the Z box and OK.

Make sure no part of the load shows below the frames. Undo and move the axis up a little if it does and try again:

Go to File/Project properties and set the Animation frames to 2:

Now press F2 and name the part DOOR_D.
Parent it to Main.

Press the Animation button and open the Animation window.

In the Rotation Keys box, click Add Rotation, make sure all the numbers are Zero and OK.
Click Add Rotation again and this time set the frame to 1 and Axis Z to 180.

And that's it done.

Click OK on the the windows, create the TS object file and test it in the sim.
Press Ctrl and Numpad 7 to load the wagon and Ctrl 7 again to unload.
There is sometimes a slight delay before the change happens.

The wagon will appear with the load in the position you created it. This will be with the load invisible side up (Empty).

Make a second model with the load the right way up. You don't have to change the animation this time - simply rotate it 180 degrees. This will let activity writers start the train in the desired condition and also given non-MSTSbin users empty and loaded versions.

You can save the part for use with other wagons. The animation will be saved as well.


Other Points To Note

  • The part can be named
    • DOOR_A, DOOR_B or DOOR_C and these will work with the Ctrl + 9 key;
    • DOOR_D, DOOR_E and DOOR_F work with the Ctrl + 7 key.
    You can also parent additional parts to the DOOR part and these will move along with it.
  • The animation will work on all wagons attached to the player loco: this includes any wagons with working doors using the same key.
  • Loads will remain in the condition you left them when you uncouple.
  • There can be a problem with sloping sided hoppers where the upturned load cannot be set low without breaking through the sides; in the example shown above, the inside slope of the domed load can be seen at low angles if it is mounted too high. If this happens you will have to restrict yourself to a single dome or make the valley between them shallower.