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I had the original Hornby Virtual Railway to assist planning layouts. It was a little basic and could only be used in layouts of a certain size.

Three years ago I was at Model Rail Scotland and came across the Trainz stand. On it they had a class37 at full roar on a goods train. I purchased it on an impulse buy. Within a month I was hooked. I had started planning possible layouts and driving trains on them. Then I moved to fantasy layouts , you knowthe ones we've really wanted to build since kids. Then there was a realisation. I didn't need to build model layouts all the time , I could build real routes.

My original Trainz version (UTC I think) was a little limited. So I moved to TRS2004 version in Jan 2004. Since then I've never looked back and I am now creating actual routes (There is a newer version TRS2006)

My first was Glasgow- Edinburgh . There is actually a default route Glasgow- Falkirk in TRS2004 but I felt I could do it better. So armed with OS maps and Quails Trackplans off I went. I have to say I'm pretty pleased with the result and can now drive Turbostars over the route including the plunge into Cowlairs tunnel -Fascinating

Being part of the Trainz community means you can download routes and rolling stock created by others. You will find a version of the East Coast Mainline on there KX to Doncaster. Someone else has created Settle- Carlisle . There are routes covering Exeter, Devon,WCML Preston- Shap. Yorkshire including NYMR. There are also lots of freelance routes from humble branchlines to 4 track electrified mainlines.So if you don't like creating routes you have several already made. Once into the program you will be tempted though.

My latest route is the lines out of Glasgow St Enoch and Central to the coast. I've been doing this since October but am only as far as Paisley, although the complicated lines around Glasgow and Shields Road in particular are all in place.

Rolling stock: To be honest the original trainz ones are OK but the latest ones available for download (most free) are superb. For modern routes or BR Blue/Grey 08/20/24/25/26/27/33/35/37/40/47/50/55/56/58/60/66/67/HST/Voyager/Turbostar/81/86/87/90/314/507/508/313/315 /455 are all available with more coming. Classes 31 and 45 are being worked on

For steam, well most of the large Stanier classes are there as with GWR from 14xx to King. There is a payware 9F and Britannia. Lots of BR Standards. The most recent superb freeware creation is a Rebuilt Merchant Navy.

Of course you can model anything from abroad. From Union Pacific , to TGVs, German, French, Italian,Swiss You name it its on there.

There are even Trams on there. Fancy driving a Glasgow Standard or Coronation?

I have Microsoft Train Simulator as well but its on longer used. To me Trainz is much more flexible. If you want to design and build layouts Trainz is better.Only word of warning is you do need a powerfull computer and the program does also seem sensitive to which graphics card you use- unlike Microsoft which will work with virtually any graphics card and is a bit more robust.

And the basic package which allows this all to happen is priced at less than the cost of a Hornby Gresley Coach!

Russell
 

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Per dwb

">sensitive to which graphics card you use
which will cost more than a full retail Bachmann WD Austerity"

Even if it did it would still be value for money. By the way, the Austerity in 2-8-0 and 2-10-0 versions is both available in Trainz.

I merely mentioned this because I think its wise to pint out that Trainz may not operate on some PC systems but will in most.

A whole railway system with operating signals etc for ther price of a Pullman. You bet!

Russell
 
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