Changing the Route Start Tile Position
by Yuri Sos
additonal information by J W Titus, Okrasa Ghia and Mark DiVecchio


Isn't it a pain when you are working on a route and the Route Editor (RE) opens miles away from the place you are working? You then have to scroll to the spot you want or enter the latitude/longitude into the Camera window and jump to the location you are working on.

You could go into the Route Gegraphy Editor (RGE) and alter the start tile but that's inefficient, inaccurate and time-consuming.

A more accurate and quicker way involves altering the RouteStart line in the .TRK file of the Route you are using.

Quick reference summary of values to be changed:

  • Use the parameters in the "Camera" window of Route Editor to alter the appropriate line in the .TRK file of your route: RouteStart ( {tile x}   {tile z}   x   z )


How To Change The Start Tile

Let's look at an example.

When you open RE, the window jumps to the location you originally set when you picked the Start Tile in RGE. The camera lands there, pointing north. See image below.

In the image above, I've got the .TRK file open in ConTEXT as well as the Route Editor. Note the line that starts with "RouteStart": the parameters are the tile identification (tile x) and (tile z) followed by the x and z co-ordinates for the location within that world tile (Note: negative numbers are significant in relation to MSTS origin info and the tile itself which is 2048 meters square, 0,0 being the exact center of the tile). These parameters are visible in the Camera window at left.

Now jump to the area you're working on. See image below.

In the image above, I've highlighted the four parameters we're interested in. I drop back into my .TRK file and change the RouteStart line so that it reads

RouteStart ( -11268 14313 52 -454 )

Save the .TRK file.

Now go back to your Route Editor window. Click File | Save and save your work. You don't need to exit the Route Editor. Click File | Load and select your route. Your route is loaded and the camera jumps to the new start position. See image below.

Interestingly, this doesn't work on all PCs (so what else is new with MSTS?). On one of my PCs, the one I wrote this tutorial on, the procedure above works as described.

On my home system, I have to exit MSTS Editors and Tools to the desktop before the changes take effect. Go figure.


Additional information

If you need to identify the location of the RouteStart co-ordinates, you can add the location after the co-ordinates thus

RouteStart ( -11268 14313 52 -454 Mt Ephraim )

No # character is required before the words as above.

Other users such as J W Titus, Mark DiVecchio and Okrasa Ghia have shown techniques to have more than one RouteStart line in the TRK file, though some users have found these don't work on their systems.

It does appear that a list of RouteStart lines such as

RouteStart ( -11268 14313 52 -454 Mt Ephraim )
RouteStart ( -11281 14290 44 -21 Marietta West Yard )
RouteStart ( -11281 14289 -568 336 Tessmocker )
RouteStart ( -11280 14290 -6 414 Marietta Station )
RouteStart ( -11276 14297 10 950 Swik )

will work satisfactorily, RE using only the first RouteStart line. If you wish to use another RouteStart location, simply cut/paste the required RouteStart line to the top of the list before entering RE.

Okrasa Ghia demonstrated a technique that works on his system: I am unable to emulate this on my systems: the route simply doesn't appear on the RE drop-down box nor in MSTS itself. Make a backup and try it: it may work for you.

RouteStart ( -12668 14052 -815 -718 #"Drake" )
_RouteStart ( -12719 14037 37 -288 #"Essex+2" )
_RouteStart ( -12716 14040 717 793 #"Goffs+3" )
_RouteStart ( -12710 14045 446 -878 #"Goffs" )
_RouteStart ( -12709 14044 969 1022 #"Goffs-1" )

Okrasa says "The leading underscore makes MSTS regard the token as a comment thus ignoring it (same as in eng/wag-files). When wanting to change starting position I simply prefix the current one with an underscore and remove it on the one I want to switch to."

NOTE: These modifications will be lost and you will have to restore them from a backup file if you alter the route in "Route Geometry Extractor" or in the "Route Editor - Properties" window. The simulator creates a new file without your modifications under these conditions. When adding new locations, remember to TEST FIRST and then make a new backup file.