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Train simulators

4130 Views 13 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  Ben Manicom
I was wondering if anyone else had any experience of using any of the multitude of available simulators and such like.
I have got microsoft train simulator and various UK add ons as well some are good and some not so.
The original simulator is a good one and has stood the test of time well with a few tweaks here and there and a couple of additional locos thrown in on newer editions. The Microsoft website also has some downloads to enhance it further and there are numerous independent add ons some good, some not so good there is also a thriving online download market and a lot of forums as well.

Among the add ons i have is the London and South East one which I thought was excellent at first until I found that the whole package is messy with various loco's appearing in the list not being available incorrectly labelled consists also incorrectly labelled. I went on their website and downloaded some updates designed to improve this but which made it worse to the point where error messages flash up saying the program can't find loco's and consists. Despite trying to fix this issue several times and contacting their technical bods the problem persisted and in the end i uninstalled and reinstalled not only the add on but the whole simulator which is very time consuming.The only real plus side is the free months subscription to UK train sim and its download library.

I have various preserved railway lines including the KWVR line which also includes the now defunct former Great Northern line from Keighley to Queensbury plus a good selection of loco's.

The West Somerset railway add on which has a superb line with a lot of thought paid to the scenery but very few loco's. The line is also very long as well which is nice if you are actually travelling it in real life but very long winded on a simulator.
The severn Valley railway add on which i so far haven't installed but from the reviews has a good selection of steam traction.

I have a couple of loco add on packs too to complement it all but if I were to install everything at once it would probably wipe out the spare memory on my PC.

Hornby Virtual Railway
I bought the first one and found it useful if a little frustrating at times despite its limitations it was good to work out whether a layout would work when finished without having to lay any track.

Virtual Railway2
I gave up on this as i couldn't get the hang of laying the flexi track in anything like a reasonable position.

Trainz railway simulator
Installed it, ran it for 5 minutes uninstalled it. Neither train set nor real world but nowhere in between I don't know or care if the newer versions are any better the original was pants so thats enough to put me off.

If anyone has any additional comments or used any of these or other products please do tell.
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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!

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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!

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