OpenTrack is relatively intuitive to use. There are four major inputs required to create a model. A graphical model of the physical railway network is created based on infrastructure defined by the user e.g. stations, signalling and track topology. Graphical elements hold the various characteristics of the real railway, for example, a track section length, gradient or maximum speed for different train categories. A user can create and manage objects to emulate the operation of signals, switches, stations and routes.
Modellers then use rollingstock and a train plan or timetable to simulate real time activity over the network. During a simulation, trains try to run to the specified timetable. Differential algorithms for speed and distance are used to calculate a train movement, given, for example the constraints of the signalling system. Occupied tracks, reserved routes and restrictive signal aspects may impede a train’s progress. During the simulation, every train continuously stores its speed, acceleration, position, power consumption and other data.
The simulation records and outputs consequential statistical data about either single journeys or the entire modelled network.
OpenTrack is easily scalable from simple segments such as a junction or main line, through to highly complex networks. It can be used to model all types of passenger and freight services, from regular interval patterns through to individual services.
OpenTrack quantifies and provides various statistical data sets including:
- Single journey run times
- Velocity vs time
- Distance vs time
- Line profiles
- Acceleration behaviour
- Tractive effort
- Timetable delay
- Station occupation times.
Plateway is the exclusive Australasian and Indian reseller of OpenTrack, provides technical and operational support and coordinates both beginner and advanced short courses on modelling railway networks in OpenTrack on a semi-annual basis. Click here for upcoming training and user forum dates.