Virtual Railway Consortium/SLRR History 1

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This Article is a history of the Second Life Railroad ( SLRR ) on the Heterocera Atoll continent as compiled by the Virtual Railway Consortium.

This history of the SLRR is long and growing, so multiple pages are required to present it in appropriate detail:

This page is maintained by members of the VRC. You can use the Talk page if you want to get in contact with them.


A Brief History of the Second Life Railroad (SLRR) As seen and recorded by the Virtual Railway Consortium


SLRR - the origins

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.

With the discovery of the second Second Life continent by Magellan Linden in early 2005, the Grid saw its large-scale, Linden sponsored rail line for on the Heterocera Atoll, the Second Life Railroad (SLRR). Magellan Linden's wrecked exploration vehicle can still be seen to this day in the Columbia region, not too far from one of the earliest SLRR rail stations in Tuliptree.

Eric, Nigel, and Michael Linden created most of the track and other structures, the rolling stock, most notably, the SLRR Commuter V1.2 car and the red Alco RS-3 Locomotive, and the scripting needed to run continuous rail services for free use by all Second Life Residents.

At this time, the track formed three unconnected tracks:
BhagaπŸ–ˆ to Paranthrene, where the Clearwing / Paranthrene Transfer StationπŸ–ˆ was located;
Clearwing / Paranthrene Transfer StationπŸ–ˆ to an End Of Line (EOL) in Torva StationπŸ–ˆ;
An EOL in Jubata StationπŸ–ˆ around through the level grade crossing in OculeaπŸ–ˆ, to the Tuliptree StationπŸ–ˆ.

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. After several years, the ROW was reacquired by Linden Lab. The gap was promptly closed.

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:

How the original SLRR worked

By experimentation and a few contacts with the original designers and implementers, members of the Virtual Railway Consortium (formerly the Second Life Railway Consortium) determined much of the functionality of the LL SLRR 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 rigπŸ–ˆ.

The invisible scripted Train Detectors placed along the SLRR ROW at various points and at each station provide two main functions - they rez a new train on command from the Controller, and they detect the passage of a train (or any scripted non-Phantom object in motion) using the llVolumeDetect function. When a 'train' is detected that information is transmitted to the Controller. As the train passes each Train Detector along the line, its passage is reported to the Controller. If the passage of a train is not reported often enough, the Controller assumes the train has been lost from the system and rezzes another unit from the Train Detector at the last reported position.

Trains can also be rezzed by any Linden touching a Train Detector at the end of tracks.

Each train can detect (by collision) a station or an End Of Line (EOL). At each station there is a scripted prim shaped like a Guide rail, though often shorter. This prim, named Buffer Stop is buried directly underneath the stations Train Detector within the Guide prims used to 'steer' the trains on the SLRR, and being scripted, triggers the SLRR train scripts to stop the train, wait 30 seconds for passengers to get on and off, then continue. Presumably, it is the script in this prim that emails reports to the System Controllers on ANWR about the arrival of a train at a station, as indicated by the data whispered in open chat there. At an EOL, a visible unscripted track structure named "Buffer Stop" triggers the SLRR train scripts to immediately reverse the direction of travel of the rolling stock and start it running back to another EOL or a transfer station.

The SLRR fielded two makes of rolling stock: The train seen most recently (Eric Linden's sleek SLRR Commuter v1.2), or 'Blue Train', ran quite well under Havok 1, but as scripted, travels too fast to hold the track under Havok 4 - it rezzes attempting to run at 16 meters per second. The powerful red Alco RS-3 locomotive created by Michael Linden also ran the road around the Atoll very well under Havok 1. Its operation under the original SLRR scripts was also observed during testing the SLRR system, and it also was trying to run too fast for H4.

Originally, the SLRR was divided into three control segments, SLRR Control North, SLRR Control South, and SLRR Control East. One break, between the East and the North segments is at the Clearwing/Paranthrene Transfer Station. For years, a break existed between the North and South tracks from the EOL at the Jubata station through Sinica to the EOL in Torva. (See 2009)

When the system was running, the active control segments were denoted by colored LEDs on the Controller. On the South segment, passages of trains through each Train Detector and stops at stations were tracked on one section by smaller LEDs displaying the train's location.

Near the System Controller, messages from each active train reporting 'last seen at' and 'arrival at', with region and coordinates, station name if any, rolling stock name, and travel times could be heard whispered in open chat.

The SLRR rolling stock 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.

Since this Guide was 0.5 x 0.5 meters in cross-section, and was placed with its bottom face up to 0.20 meters above the trackbed prims, it represented a serious obstacle to the smooth operation of automobiles or other such traffic at level grade crossings. In Oculea, the first such crossing, a system was implemented to smooth the passage of non-rail traffic though the crossing. The Guide prims were set to Phantom state until the crossing control scripts sensed on the tracks the approach of any train (or other moving object) with "SLRR" in its name. Upon the detection of such an object, the crossing scripts set the Guide prims to Nonphysical state until the train was sensed having cleared the crossing, after which the Guides were set back to Phantom.

A method of triggering the system into resuming train rezzing was proposed and verified during investigations into the operation of the system.

The old SLRR system is currently disabled, so no Linden trains are now running.

The open source GSLR script from the Rail Rally 2008 Resource Kits collection appears to work very similarly to the way the SLRR scripts were observed to operate. This script provides a good starting point for physical train building, and several Residents have used it successfully. These kits are available free at the VRC headquarters across from Tuliptree Station.


Resident Station Build Contest

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:

These and other stations on the SLRR lines continued to be regularly served by the SLRR Commuter V1.2 car throughout 2006.


Renewed Rail Interest

In 2007 a Resident developed a sensor-guided trolley for use on the GSLR Calleta EOLπŸ–ˆ to Cecropia Ocean terminalπŸ–ˆ. Testing the unit on the SLRR, the developer repeatedly met other Residents interested in rail, and this led to the formation of the Second Life Railway Consortium and the subsequent two-region Rail Rally 2008, the first major rail event in SL and the largest ever in land area, number of rail builds, and number and variety of events. (See 2008)

There were other rail groups already in existence, but most seemed dormant. Since the Rail Rally, rail-oriented group numbers and memberships have been steadily growing, with visible increases in Resident talk about, usage, and creation of rail content.

During 2007, Residents repeatedly asked in forums and filed in Jira about the now missing SLRR automated trains services, stating that they had valued the rail resource and asking that it be reinstated. Private residents began riding Arcadia Asylum hobo-trains on the abandoned SLRR tracks and several residents built their own locomotives.

Vicina Quay and track

In November, Michael Linden built the Vicina QuayπŸ–ˆ and a freighter floating a few meters away. A new track was laid connecting the Quay with the planned Crumbi Transfer stationπŸ–ˆ. This junction was later reconfigured, eliminating the need for transfers and integrating the Vicina track into the rest of SLRR. (See 2010)


Havok Upgrade

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 which, at times, had been running on all three SLRR tracks. The venerable Nova Albion trolley also ceased to operate for the same reasons. Gradually, rolling stock creators began to make adjustment to their builds and scripts to accommodate the new operating conditions.

The LDPW contracted a Mole to work on the SLRR system. This development resulted in a successful test on 31 December 2008 of new SLRR rolling stock scripts in two green Alco RS-3 locomotives created by Michael Linden, with a Mole engineer on one unit, and Michael Linden operating the other. Both locomotives had multiple Residents and Lindens aboard, and completed a full traverse of the three tracks then in place on the SLRR, starting out at Tuliptree StationπŸ–ˆ and pulling into the Bhaga StationπŸ–ˆ at the other end. One of the units made the return trip with the Mole operating it and several Residents aboard.

Bay City SLRR Spur

Additional rails were added to the Bay City mainland area. While many of them were essentially decorative, and for use on a non-physical trolley system down Route 66 in Bay City, some were planned for future SLRR expansion. A Bay City station was also constructed by Squishy Mole of the LDPW in Inner HarborπŸ–ˆ, 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 ManyiminyaπŸ–ˆin the Bay City area.

Rail Rally 2008

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 overall program was family friendly and included a Toy Steam Train, a fishing game, paddle-boats, canoes & kayaks, and a hidden maze under the malls.

The venue hosted an SLRR-gauge two-region track loop with working signals and moving bridges, with a stretch of the loop running alongside the SLRR. Godwyn Station was built just for the Rally in Schizura. A monorail system was installed running from the main building in Vicina to Godwyn Station.

Also part of the program were beautiful full-sized train displays, running trains to watch and ride, field trips to railways and rail builds in SL, Chatterboxes offering rail history and quotes, free information about all known rail activity in SL, a rail scripting debugging session with Andrew and Simon Linden, time trials for Resident-created rolling stock, and the RAILS indie rock band.

Several Residents and groups provided free content of all types - complete train scripting systems, sounds, textures, trackside signals, switching standards documentation, art, and other rail building and scripting resources. This began the VRC tradition and major focus on providing free rail content to all Residents, and is continuing today in the Resource Kits found at VRC Headquarters in Tuliptree.

A rolling stock build contest was held and voted on by Residents. Many beautiful and intricate designs were presented, some of which can still be seen running the SLRR rails.

To advertise the Rally, interactive posterboards were developed and given to any resident wishing to display them. The posterboards gave touchers an updateable notecard on Rally plans and results. Many of these posterboards are still seen around the grid and regularly serve notecards to interested Residents. Posterboards are still available at VRC HQ.

Resident-Created Trains

In 2008 and continuing up to the present, Resident-created trains have steadily increased in variety and number. A few commercial offerings appeared, but equally visible on the SLRR are the many different builds using free open source scripts available from several sources.


Closing the Gap

Early in 2009, the Resident-owned land in SinicaπŸ–ˆ 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 in preparation for heavier, bi-directional traffic on the SLRR.

New passing tracks

In early 2009, a passing track was laid in LunalisπŸ–ˆ and Fucosa Passing trackπŸ–ˆ, and slightly later, the Sinica Passing trackπŸ–ˆ passing track mentioned above.

SLRR Infrastructure Developments

In late 2009, the LDPW invited the participation of Residents in discussing and contributing to the development of SLRR infrastructure improvements and extensions. VRC members offered siding and passing track, ferry, AutoTrain, station, and other site suggestions. Also offered were suggestions for standards and techniques to implement signaling and switching for the cooperative usage of SLRR tracks and other facilities. Many of these concepts had been in development since 2007 and are now being implemented on the SLRR.

Switching development

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 testbedπŸ–ˆ was constructed in Tussock to allow Residents to verify proper operation of their rolling stock through the proposed switches.

Crumbi reconfiguration

Beginning in late 2009 the track alignment near the Crumbi Transfer Station was modified, track was added, and switches were begun to directly connect the Vicina track to the SLRR. The station was renamed to Crumbi JunctionπŸ–ˆ, reflecting the new track configuration.

SLRR Rail Group Rail Fest 2009

On Oktober 1st 2009 DOUGIE Flossberg and Damion Goodman of SLRR Rail Group organized Rail Fest 2009. About 30 trains started at Tuliptree StationπŸ–ˆ and ran the entire Heterocera main line all the way to BhagaπŸ–ˆ. Builds included Damion's Goodman Commuter and several other commercial and privately-built designs. After the run, DOUGIE hosted a party complete with DJ on his land. (source: Damion Goodman)

New Track

In 2009, continuing into 2010, new tracks were added to the SLRR, all of which were directly integrated with planned switches.

In the Crumbi Reconfiguration, a bridging track was added in TeneraπŸ–ˆ to enable routing from that track over to the track heading out through Webworm.

In Pawpaw, another bridging trackπŸ–ˆ was laid to enable routing between the branch heading from Pawpaw to the Pavonia End of the LineπŸ–ˆ, and the other from Pawpaw toward Tussock Junction.

An extension from the workyard in Tussock extended the SLRR up to Spangle. The workyard was shut down, but a siding in SpangleπŸ–ˆ provides facilities to sideline a unit for servicing or repair.

Track in inner HarborπŸ–ˆ to ManyiminyaπŸ–ˆ in Bay City received a guide rail and buffer stops, and became a test rail for switches and crossings late in the year.

2010 and beyond

Information about the SLRR History 2010 and beyond can be found on this page.


The above information was initially collected by members of from the Virtual Railway Consortium.
Additional information was provided by Damion Goodman SLRR Rail Group.