Using Hidewire to Remove Catenary Over Part Of Your Route in MSTS
by Wayne Campbell


We have been plagued for some time with the difficulties of mixing electric and steam roads in one route. I think most of us are using SWISSIE's method now which involves editing the world files and converting 'non-electric' track object to static objects. The only difficulty is that once this is done, its quite dangerous to make any changes to the route. Also it is sometimes difficult to find the proper track object entries in the world file.


The Hidewire Utility

I have written a little utility to help with the conversion process. Called Hidewire, this liitle utility and its associated batch files should be installed into your Route folder.

HIDEWIRE requires Microsoft dot NET Framework 1.1 (Redistributable) or higher from:


How Hidewire Works

  • In RE, you mark non-electric track-sections by right clicking and changing the the detail level from 0 to 2; see image below:

  • Hidewire then converts those tracksections in the world files to 'static objects', preventing MSTS from displaying wire over them.
    See "BEFORE" image below:

    and the "AFTER" results below:

    The original world files are saved with the extension .wOK: see image below:

  • You must not edit the route after Hidewire has run. To prevent this, Hidewire changes the extension of the route's .ref file to .noedit.
    To make the route editable again, run the command EDITROUTE. It restores the original world files from the .wOK backups and restores your .ref file.

    Two batch files are provided to automate the above:
    EDITROUTE - automatically un-does the HIDEWIRE changes if necessary and then launches RE;
    RUNROUTE - automatically hides the wire if necessary and then launches MSTS.


Known Issues

I have found that switches under the 'hidden wire' ( non electric track ) don't animate. The train is routed properly and the switch alignment is visible in the F8 display, but the actual points don't move.

HIDEWIRE will not hide the wire over DYNAMIC TRACK. Don't use DYNAMIC TRACK on any sections where you don't intend to have overhead wire.


Advanced Application

By default, HIDEWIRE looks for detail level 2 or 3 track sections to make non-electric. You can pass an optional parameter to HIDEWIRE to tell it to use an alternate detail level instead. For example:

HIDEWIRE 0 will hide the wire over all track sections with detail level 0. Since 0 is the default detail level for track, this will hide all track except ones that you mark with a detail level other than 0 ( ie 1 ). Use this method when most of your track is non-electric and you want just a few sections to be electric.

HIDEWIRE hides wire over track with detail level 2 or 3 ( as before )
HIDEWIRE 0 hides wire over track with detail level 0 only
HIDEWIRE 1 hides wire over track with detail level 1 only
HIDEWIRE 2 hides wire over track with detail level 2 only

Change the RUNROUTE.BAT file appropriately if you intend to use this feature. No changes are needed to the EDITROUTE.BAT file.


File download name, link and size

File Size: {8.38 KB (8,584 bytes)

Extract the files to your route folder.