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For other meanings of Bahn, see Bahn (disambiguation).

JBSS BAHN is a shareware railway simulation software made by Jan Bochmann, a tramdriver in Dresden.[1] The name of BAHN is written in capitals to make a distinction with the German word for railways Bahn. JBSS is an abbreviation which stands for Jan Bochmann Software Saxony.[2]

BAHN-screenshot 1.


The layout files made with BAHN have a .nt3 extension[3] and can contain very complicated railway systems running thousands trains and trams simultaneously together with many boats on waterways and cars. Although these two latter can also be simulated the main focus of the program remains on railway simulation. These complicated railway systems can also contain more than a thousand different signal systems, each containing different signals. Signals can be a part of different systems. BAHN has also the ability for shunting trains and railway cars. Trains can be split or merged. All these things can be done automatically. If there are collisions, delays or other things go bad, warnings appear through the "dispatcher telephone." The simulation is executed with its own timer which can be put faster or slower.

BAHN-screenshot 2.

A file consists of elements. One element can contain one railway element (straight track, curve, switch, etc.). The default setting for distances is 64 elements per kilometer. But it can be changed. The maximum is 90 elements/km and the minimum is 2 elements/km. The velocity of trains in the simulations consists of the setting of elements/km and the setting of the timer. A file of BAHN has 32768x32768 elements in five levels (1 surface level and 4 sub surface levels) which are accessible through tunnels. The layout can be displayed in different scales. From 1:2048 to 2:1 the layout is displayed schematically, in 1:1 to 8:1 the graphics are shown. For 2:1 and 4:1 different and more detailed graphics, called Zoom 2 and Zoom 4, can be shown, if available. A simulation can be in opened several windows with a maximum of 6.[4][5][6]

For making trains one can choose among more than 10,000 types of rolling stock, all in different colours. It is possible to make new types of vehicles which are not available. New vehicles can be made in BAHN itself, but there is also a free separate vehicle graphics editor available called NFZ editor made by the Russian Alexander S. Kunov. Older programs for editing are CAREDI and GE (Graphics Editor). These latter two are not much used anymore.

Also many types of scenery are available and it is possible to make own types. This can be done in BAHN. For previous BAHN versions a separate Graphics editor GE was used. It was only available as a beta release. User made graphics are stored in separate files with a .nfz and .fzz extension for vehicle graphics and .uzg extension for user made landscape graphics.[7]

There are different language packages for BAHN, for instance German, English, French, Russian and Dutch.


The program uses two-dimensional computer graphics. All the vehicles appear two dimensional. If these move horizontally, one sees them sideways; if they move vertically the vision is from above and they appear half as long as from aside. The radius of railway curves and switches is only in steps of 45 degrees. This all is very limited and appears to be very nostalgic compared with modern simulation software which allows very realistic graphics. But these limitations allow a simulation of a very complicated railway system with many trains running simultaneously.


The first version appeared in 1985 and was called "STRABA": an abbreviation of "Straßenbahn", which is German for tramway. It was made for tramway simulation. In 1993, the program was extended for simulating railways and the name was changed into BAHN. Later on the possibility of simulating of boats and cars was added. The first version for Windows appeared in 1994.[8]

In 2005 version 3.83 appereared in which the zoom function was added. The zoom function makes it possible to add graphics in 2:1 scale. In version 3.85 (November 2008) zoom 4 appeared allowing to add rolling stock graphics in 4:1 scale.

The latest version, 3.88r2a, appeared in December 2014.


The main community site of BAHN is DAS-BAHN-forum.[9] The main language is German but it has a special section for other languages such as English.[10] There are also teamwork layouts on which different users are working, one of them is called The English Teamwork.[11] Deliberation over the teamworks is handled through DAS-BAHN-forum which has a special section for this.[12]

The main site to publish layouts is JBBS-archiv. Registered users can upload layout files of BAHN as a ZIP file in which the layout file is bound together with user made graphic files. The layouts are published together with a short description, name of the builder and used BAHN version.[13][14]

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