Second Life Railroad/SLRR History
This entry is a description of the history of the Second Life Railroad ( SLRR ) on the Heterocera Atoll continent.
A more extended version of this article can be found at this SLRR_History page, writen and maintained by members of the Virtual Railway Consortium. That document was used as a base to create this shorten version.
The Second Life Railroad has its origins in early attempts by residents to provided automated travel around the mainland during a time when their were no direct teleports available. Some of the earliest examples - such as the "Telehopper" from Kissling and the Great Second Life Railway from Mocha to Purple - led to the first Linden-created trolley, operating from Luna to Dore via Nova Albion. As the first mainland expanded and Magellan Linden made additional discoveries beyond the founding of Nova Albion, roadways and other Protected Land Rights of Way (ROW) were crafted on the first continent, Sansara, but none were slated for rail use.
Eric, Nigel, and Michael Linden created most of the track and other structures, the rolling stock, most notably, the SLRR Commuter V1.2 car.
At this time, the track formed three unconnected tracks:
BhagaD to Paranthrene, where the Clearwing / Paranthrene Transfer StationD was located;
Clearwing / Paranthrene Transfer StationD to an End Of Line (EOL) in Torva StationD;
An EOL in Jubata StationD to the Tuliptree StationD.
The Torva-Jubata Gap was a section that appeared to be intended for designation as Protected Land ROW, but by some mishap was sold to Residents. (In 2009 the ROW was reacquired by Linden Lab.)
The original three tracks were provided with five Resident-created stations, all named for the region in which they are located. These stations and their creators are:
- Achemon StationD - Pratyeka Muromachi
- Calleta StationD - nimrod Yaffle
- Neumoegen StationD - Fallingwater Cellardoor
- Obscure StationD - Jauani Wu
- Tuliptree StationD - Sam Portacerro
By experimentation and a few contacts with the original designers and implementers, members of the Second Life Railway Consortium (later renamed to the Virtual Railway Consortium) determined much of the functionality of the LL SLRR automated train system as created by Eric, Michael, and Nigel Linden. The scripted System Controller of the SLRR is located in the Right Of Way (ROW) maps on the office wall of the ANWR prim drilling rigD. The SLRR Commuter V1.2 car ran as physical objects, 'steered' over the tracks by an invisible non-physical prim named Guide that the trains repeatedly collided with, thereby being directed back onto the correct course.
In September of 2006, Nigel Linden announced a contest for Residents to design and build ten more SLRR stations, winning L$ prizes for their efforts, and completing the final builds by October 31st. From the 103 entries, the winning builders were:
- Bhaga StationD - Alazarin Mondrian
- Tenera StationD - Shawk Pertwee
- Aglia StationD - Elliot Eldrich
- Crenulate StationD - Donk Kongo
- Clearwing StationD - Ralph Doctorow
- Foxglove StationD - Midtown Bienenstrich
- Lunalis StationD - Lunalis SLRR Committee
- Spini StationD - Mordecai Nitschke
- Jubata StationD - Ilianexsi Sojourner
- Epirrhoe StationD - Ledje Gorky
- Zale StationD - Byron Curtis
These and other stations on the SLRR lines continued to be regularly served by the SLRR Commuter V1.2 car throughout 2006.
In November, Michael Linden built the Vicina QuayD, a large dock with a freighter ship floating nearby. A new SLRR-gauge track was laid connecting the Quay with Crumbi, creating the original Crumbi junction.
On 1 April 2008, the Havok version 1 physics engine in SL was updated to Havok 4 gridwide. Changes in Havok itself, its interface with the LL simulator code, in the system tunings, and vehicle code of the upgrade caused the failure of most physical trains in SL, including the Commuter V1.2. Gradually, rolling stock creators began to make adjustment to their builds and scripts to accommodate the new operating conditions.
Linden Lab disabled the Commuter V1.2 automated train system Service.
The LDPW contracted a Mole to work on the SLRR system. This development resulted in a test on 31 December 2008 of new SLRR rolling stock scripts in two green Alco RS-3 locomotives created by Michael Linden. Two of these locomotives ran the entire Atoll route and back carrying multiple Residents and Lindens on each unit, running at speeds up to 14 meters per second. This locomotive was not placed into automated service, but has subsequently been used for testing physical train operation on the SLRR.
Over a period of two months, Rail Rally 2008 was hosted in two mainland regions - Schizura and Vicina. Sponsored by the Second Life Railway consortium, the Rally included two three day sessions and multiple events in the interim. The Rally brought together rail builders, scripters, merchants, train-spotting and -riding buffs, and a mix of Residents with rail and other transportation interests. The venue hosted an SLRR-gauge two region track loop with working signals and moving bridges.
There was a growing personal train industry in Second Life, with many builders and several very different approaches to train building. LL considered changing SLRR's solid center rail to a phantom type that would permit both physical and non-physical rolling stock to use the SLRR, though a change from 'collision' to sensor-guided steering would have been required. A very few Residents fought this effort and the SLRR's solid center rail was retained as a part of the SLRR's track standard. Changes to SL simulator code have since rendered most physical rolling stock unable to operate on the SLRR.
Rails were added to the Bay City mainland area, though they departed from the previous SLRR construction, using phantom Guide instead of non-physical. This removed several issues such as creating stumbling blocks for pedestrians and roadblocks for automotive traffic and allows sensor-guided rolling stock, whether physical or non-physical, to run on this track. Many of them are used on a non-physical trolley system down Route 66 in Bay City. A Bay City station was also constructed by Squishy Mole of the LDPW in Inner HarborD, but left unfinished at the opening of the Bay City area. It served only as a place to house the city's content package for Residents. Late in 2008, additional rails were laid from Grub Beach to ManyiminyaDin the Bay City area.
By 2009 there was a thriving personal railroading industry in Second Life with a dozen or more active train builders. LL opted to forgo restoration of automated train service on their Right Of Way, encouraging use of the SLRR by Residents and continued development of the SLRR in a multi-use approach on the SLRR Atoll tracks.
Early in 2009, the Resident-owned land in SinicaD where the SLRR should have been running since its inception was acquired, track was laid, and the Torva-Jubata Gap was closed.
Around the same time, a passing track in Sinica, between Torva and Jubata, was laid, a passing track was laid in LunalisD and Fucosa Passing trackD, and slightly later, the Sinica Passing trackD passing track mentioned above.
In late 2009 Sylvan Mole began the development of active switches for the SLRR. Multiple configurations have been tested to ensure compatibility with the widest possible range of existing Resident rolling stock designs. A switch design testbedD was constructed in Tussock.
On October 1st 2009 the SLRR Rail Group organized Rail Fest 2009. About 30 trains started at Tuliptree StationD and ran the entire Heterocera main line all the way to BhagaD. The after-party was held at Dougie Flossbergs railroad build in Yui Bon.
In late 2009 the track alignment near the Crumbi Transfer Station was modified. A bridging track was added in TeneraD to enable routing from that track over to the track heading out through Webworm.
In Pawpaw, another bridging trackD was laid to enable routing between the branch heading from Pawpaw to the Pavonia End of the LineD, and the other from Pawpaw toward Tussock Junction. A trackbed extension from Tussock extended the SLRR up to Spangle. No center rail was installed, however, and some residents encouraged the correction of that omission. Track in inner HarborD to ManyiminyaD in Bay City received a guide rail and buffer stops, and became a test rail for switches and crossings.
Several residents began providing automated train and ferry services around the SLRR, as well as giving out free trains and providing the ability to ride a train "on demand." The VRC began distributing a free open-source VRC Hobo Train to the public.
VRC members bought land and made swaps with LL to enable: Expanding SLRR ROW at PawpawD, adding that station and bridging track. Completing the LL ROW to a large Linden land area in PyriD.
Michael Linden reconfigured the Clearwing/Paranthrene Transfer StationD with the now-connected tracks passing on either side of the the station. Another passing track was laid in TriphosaD, and a siding in Spangle. Several new stations and a railyard were also built by the LDPW:
- Crumbi Junction stationD - Hyper Mole
- Dubia StationD - Crafty Mole
- Leafroller StationD - Abnor Mole
- Melanthia StationD - Myopic Mole
- Pawpaw StationD - Glamorous Mole
- Spangle StationD - Garden Mole
- Tussock Rail YardD - Sylvan Mole
The LDPW began accepting requests for private resident rail connections to the SLRR, with connecting track being placed on a case-by-case basis. Several of these connections have been installed.
Road-grade crossing gate systems were installed at Mocis crossingD, Cisthene crossingD and Oculea crossingD as part of the LDPW signal and switch project by Sylvan Mole.
The LDPW began building and placing new control signals signals on the SLRR. Several different designs have been fielded.
On August 15th the SLRR Rail Group held RAIL JAM 2010. Over 45 trains were counted along a route that took the participants from Bhaga StationD to Calleta "Hobo" StationD. The event ended with a gathering at the Loco Motives track in XL City.
A test track in FuchsiaD was been build to show the switches and signals that where produced by Sylvan Mole.
Michael Linden, from the Linden Department of Public Works, organized a Railway Brown Bag meeting to discuss the future of the SLRR and the standards of track, switches and signals. This took place on August 18th 2010. Several standards were discussed and later adopted, as documented in the SLRR Standards pages in this wiki.
The above information was compiled by multiple SL Residents, some by interview with current and past Lindens.
Here is a list of Related resources. You can find more information about the SLRR and other Rail related articles on these wiki pages and external websites.
- Second_Life_Railroad (main page)
- SLRR History
- SLRR Standards
- SLRR Switch
- Linden Department of Public Works