Although the installation and use of ThirdRails is hassle free and straight forwarded, all the posibilities can be a bit overwhelming for new users.
In this article I will try to explain all the basic functions of ThirdRails from a helicopter view perspective.
For the more detailed functions please take a look at the ThirdRails Online Help.
ThirdRails consists of a Windows tool and a Website, however there are
three four major tools/functions worth mentioning:
ThirdRails Map tool is the Windows tool which offers a live map of your journey’s in Train Simulator. You have to start the tool together with Train Simulator and after starting a scenario you can follow your train on the map. It receives the actual GPS position of your train in the route from the Train Simulator Raildriver.dll.
TRM is the route learning and scenario supporting tool. You are able to add Point-Of-Interests (POI’s) in the route you are driving for learning, or for scenario building with military precision. Also ideal for HUD less driving!
TRM is either on top of Train Simulator or on a second monitor on the same PC.
To have TRM on top of Train Simulator you will have to run Train Simulator in borderless mode.
Having the TRM tool on top of Train Simulator is not always ideal. That's why we introduced the possibility in the TRM tool to broadcast your position to ThirdRails Radar (TRR).
ThirdRails Radar, unique in its kind, is a website, which enables you to view your live map on any device (smartphone, tablet, PC) using a webbrowser. It offers a real Out-Of-The-Cab live map experience!
You have a personal website address, which is presented to you when you start your broadcast.
Your TRR personal website shows the live map more-or-less as in the tool, you can for instance add your POI's to the map and your route is drawn. However you are not able to add new POI's.
Everybody who broadcasts its position is also visible at the ThirdRails Community Radar.
ThirdRails Community Radar basically wraps it all up. It shows all players broadcasting on TRR in one world-wide radar view very similar to the one of your local railway company.
TCR adds a cool multiplayer element to Train Simulator because you can see other drivers, get info of the service they are driving and interact with them.
TCR is also ideal for executing Multiplayer Events and Virtual Train Operating Companies (VTOCS).
Although not really multiplayer, TCR gives you the feeling of Multiplayer. You are not alone out there.
When you use TCR for a Multiplayer Event you probably don't want to see all drivers except the contributors of the event. (Suppose you play a service timetable it would be strange to see other drivers also on the same track)
To overcome that problem you can use a private group radar.
Group Radar offers a way to view only a selected group of drivers on the radar. All members of the group must add the same tag to their broadcast. To visit a group radar you can add that tag to the website address url, so that you only see the drivers within the group. (f.e. www.rentor.nl/?tag=ourtag) This is, what we call, the private group radar address.
The tag should not be exposed because it would be easy to join the event uninvited. You can however publish a public web address for your event in which the tag is not exposed so that others (non drivers) will be able to view the event without seeing other drivers.
All drivers will be visible in the public community radar.
Since version 3 all rides that you broadcast with the ThirdRails Map Tool are added to your personal local logbook. There you can see some basic statistics about your activities like miles driven per loco etc.
Optional you can publish your ride to ThirdRails Whistle Board.
ThirdRails Whistle Board is the social network for Train Simulators, inspired by STRAVA which does this for bikers and runners.
At the Whistle Board you follow your peers and get inspired by their rides, download timetables they used and give them a SPAD (which in fact is a good thing for once).
More on ThirdRails Whistle Board here.
That is pretty much it! Simple tool, plenty of possibilities!
The Community Radar can be found here: www.rentor.nl
The online help can be found here: ThirdRails Online Help