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Trainz Simulator 12 box art.jpg
Box art for 32 bit Trainz Simulator 12
Genres Train simulation
Developers N3V Games (originally by Auran)
Platforms Microsoft Windows, Macintosh, iPad, Android
Platform of origin Microsoft Windows
First release Trainz
October 2001
Latest release Model Railroad 2017
November 5, 2016 (2016-11-05)

Trainz is a series of 3D train simulator computer games originating in 2001, now controlled and offered by Australian game developer N3V Games (originally developed and marketed by Auran until 2007) utilizing the Auran Jet I, II, or III 32 bit computer based game engines. New Trainz releases, regardless of management or ownership details, have come out on average every second year with periodic free software updates in between. Major releases being Trainz, Trainz UTC, TRS2004, TRS2006, Trainz Classics 1,2, & 3, TS2009, TS2010, MAC-1, TS12, MAC-2 in 32 bit releases with Mac versions in 2010 and 2012, and now 'TANE-SP1' and 'Driver 2016' (a new (February, 19th 2016[1]) variant aimed more at Driving experiences using payware routes and scenarios like the rival Rail Simulator series ). In addition, in 2012 N3V leveraged off it's MAC conversions to add offerings on both iPad and Android OS based phones and hand-held Pad computers.

Trainz 1.0 (the first 'Trainz Community is a Edition') was first released in the fall of 2001, after nearly three years of development after Microsoft's MSTS beat them into the market even as they'd started to distribute the Beta release 'Trainz 0.9'. The early design studies included various railroad hobby organizations on four continents, who continued in that role as the software reached maturity. From that user group seed, who began actually building things (digital models) for incorporating as prototypes into the game well before the Beta, the series has a large online community that creates and shares user-created content via an online website called the Trainz Download Station, which directly interfaces with the simulators data management module called the Content Manager (CM).

It is evident with the gravitation to the Macintosh systems and phone/Pad operating systems with cut down versions, as well as a growing number of in-house offered payware add-ons, that Trainz management was seeking to expand their market and segue their business model to one more like the rival 'Train Simulator' (new name of (Rail Simulator) franchise with a greater reliance on turnkey payware offerings. The advent in March (actual availability[1]) of the newest Trainz Driver release, Driver 2016 as well as a growing group of Trainz partners who are gradually bending the Trainz business model toward a blend of freeware and hobbyists. New versions were generally released annually or bi-annually including localized versions and across many platforms. Trainz Simulator 12 for Windows[2] and Trainz Simulator 2 Mac were the last installments in the franchise based upon the older Jet technology. Trainz: A New Era is the first release based on the new "Reality" game engine.


Screenshot of TRS2004 or Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 in driver mode, showing third-party British rolling stock in a rail yard scene.

The simulators are extensible, flexible and supported by a large library of over 250,000[3] freeware assets which can be downloaded from the N3V servers, referred to as Download Station (DLS). Trainz growth, and the DLS, are supported by the user community on the official web boards, as well as on various 3rd party web sites. Users have the capabilities of creating new assets for the program that can be shared on the DLS as freeware to other registered users.[citation needed]

The simulator itself encompasses several modules: Surveyor, Driver, and Railyard, and in some versions, Scenarios. Outside the main program there is a Database manager for the installed library of content; content error checker; a user-created content uploader; download manager and content importer/exporter running as a windows program called Content Manager (CM).


Surveyor is the route editor and session editor. Here, the user can shape the landscape, paint with ground textures, lay tracks, and place buildings. Roads and highways (auto-populated by cars) can also be added.


The Driver module, which can be launched independently, or from within Surveyor, takes a route created in Surveyor and allows the user to operate the trains, either in free play, or according to a scenario called a Driver Session which can range in difficulty from beginner to expert.

User interfaces[edit]

There are two default methods of manual control: DCC mode, which simulates the simple stop-and-go of a model railway, and Cabin mode (CAB), which simulates real-world physics and working cab controls.

In CAB mode the train physics are more sophisticated, such as the modelling of wheel slip on the rails; the weight of the consist slows acceleration and deceleration as it retains momentum, and inertial forces resist changes. As such, hills can become a struggle to climb or a problem to descend safely.

In contrast to Cab mode, DCC is a simpler physics model. Stopping and starting the movement of trains is far easier under this mode. It emulates the operation of a real-world DCC control knob that one might use on a physical model railroad (which is represented graphically on the screen), and is easy to understand in terms of operation.

AI drivers[edit]

Concurrent with a human driver, the trains can be given instructions and driven by the computer (excepting the original Trainz Railroad Simulator), or one can aid the human driver when a session assigns an AI helper, who can program this aide on-the-fly in the middle of the simulation.


  • Railyard (known as My Collection in the Ultimate Trainz Collection the bundled re-release of the earliest version of the game) is a virtual engine shed where the user can view locomotives and rolling stock, use some functions of the locomotives (such as turning on the headlights and sounding the horn), and view the trains' descriptions.
  • Railyard has been discontinued in Trainz: A New Era, in favor of an ability to select an asset in Content Manager to open a 'preview asset window' which gives a much more useful view of an asset, including mesh data, projected impact of frame rates and other performance parametrics.


Scenarios when speaking English, are pre-scripted activities in which the user plays through a specific set of challenges, such as transporting passengers to their destinations on schedule, or switching rail cars in a rail yard without damaging the cargo.

  • But in Trainz, 'Kind Scenario' is also a type of asset, a data type which contains the guts that give meaning to the English phrase.
  • In early Trainz, Scenarios which set Trainz up on its competition by providing inneractive play were written and supported by scripting language called TrainzScript (introduced in Trainz 1.2 with the SP3 upgrade). This activity was a lot like computer programming, so only available as a tool to a small part of the Trainz community. Something better and easier was needed. TRS2004 provided interactive industries, rail cars, and Sessions, which were easier to write and work out as the session editor was part of Surveyor, so the author could see the game world and move around it as he wrote sequencing code—which was transformed into highly symbolic modular code packets where one defined a few parameters.
  • Hence, whilst expanded and included with TRS2004, the reign of scenario capability and TrainzScript was short lived, overtaken before it got up a big head of steam by the creation of newer higher tech scenarios (i.e. English scenarios) called Sessions. The Session Editor run in-world supplanted external creation using TrainzScript, and the internal sessions programming can duplicate the capability of TrainzScript in its entirety. As of Trainz 2012, Scenarios are not visible in the game menus anymore, but will show if imported into the game. Unfortunately, the TS2009 software changes actually broke some of their functionality by making the keyword consist illegal, which was integral to most definitions of Kind scenario with any interest and scope.


PaintShed is a simple program for aiding and easing the process of 'reskinning' traincars, altering their livery, by recoloring and adding new heraldry to Trainz locomotives and other rolling stock. PaintShed was included with Ultimate Trainz Collection, Trainz 2004 Deluxe and Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006, and was available as a separate program for adding onto Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004, Microsoft Train Simulator, and originated as an separately purchased add-on product in support of Trainz 1.x. The program was removed starting with Trainz Simulator 2009, but locomotives and rolling stock painted in PaintShed can still be used, as many built-in locomotives and cars were made in PaintShed, and have proven workable even in TANE.

Content manager[edit]

The Content Manager (CM) module is a Windows program that allows management of the in-game data base files. It is a combined FTP manager for uploading and downloading content to the Trainz Download Station (Holding over 360,000 individual items in March 2016), a search tool for locating a particular type or item with some highly definable search-focusing capabilities, a listing and tracking tool, a grouping tool (allowing saved filters selecting such highly flexible groups of items), as well as an asset testing, vetting, archiving, packaging and details viewing tool. TS2009 added significant flexibility and capability to the TRS2006 Content Manager Plus which replaced a much simpler FTP manager of Trainz–TRS2004, also called Content Manager. Content Managers since TRS2006 have also been at the heart of data base management and retrieval; it's search powers are so powerful, the thought of doing serious route building without also having CM as a resource is off-putting. Fortunately, as a Windows application, it runs quite well side by side with the Graphical applications.


Trainz began incorporating DRM with the introduction of Service Pack 1 to Trainz 12, released on April 10, 2013. The new DRM system requires periodic check-in with N3V's activation servers,[4] but only applies to DLC at present. N3V's DRM system operates independently of and in addition to DRM systems imposed by various third-party sellers of Trainz.[citation needed]

Trainz Versions[edit]


Trainz Community Edition was released in December 2001. Service packs 1 (April), 2 (June) and 3 (November) were each released in 2002, these progressively updated the Community Edition, Trainz 1.0 to versions 1.1, 1.2, and 1.3 successively. Two retail builds (retail versions releases) existed; the English/USA version is commonly known as Trainz 1.0. (Box, which included Gmax as an accessory is shown at right in lower left corner.)

Trainz Retail Edition was released in June 2002 aimed at the United States and other North American markets. Service pack 3 was released in November 2002, this updated both the Community and Retail Editions to version 1.3. Thus all USA versions are commonly known as Trainz 1.3.

The Ultimate Trainz Collection, or UTC, was released on 26 November 2002 in North American as a 3-CD set including extra rolling stock, and a CDROM with TrainzScriptTM based scenarios and route map content based on Trainz 1.3 tech. This was the first edition to include the formerly separately retailed PaintShed program and support RailDriver,[5] as well as the first incorporating Trainz user developed freeware content as part of the release, some of which became Trainz staple content in TRS2004 et al. through current releases.

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004[edit]

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 (known as Trainz Railway Simulator 2004 in the United Kingdom), or TRS2004, was released in September 2003. Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 incorporated a load of technical changes and these required many bug fixes that were released as the four service packs released through 2004 and 2005.

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 was the first version of Trainz to include interactive industries and loadable rolling stock capabilities, which allowed the player to deliver various resources (such as coal, wood, and steel) and passengers to various industries and stations across the playable area. It has an iconic status in the Trainz community as once the bugs were worked out of it, its feature improvements have been the look-see-and-feel of all the Trainz releases since regardless of how things are reskinned. There were many industries included and much of the bundled rolling stock was updated to include this new dynamic loading and unloading animated capability with a corresponding load-state dynamic driving physics change in the handling of a consist. It also was the first Rail Simulator to include Thomas & Friends and to emulate 'wooden toy train' snap together modeled content—all of which was later available in Trainz 2006 and up. These 'toylike' animated 3D models eventually led to My First Trainz with its simple child-friendly simulator game interface.

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2004 Deluxe was a later 4 CDROM follow on with the first two service packs pre-installed. It also included PaintShed, and a bonus content CD.

Trainz Railway Simulator 2006[edit]

Trainz Railway Simulator 2006 (known as Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 in the USA), or TRS2006, was an transitional release, incorporating the stable Auran JET based TRS2004 GUI modules with only some graphics improvements, but introducing the data base manager Content Manager Plus (CMP) as a new core technology. ContentManager.exe (now called just CM) combines data base management, and secure FTP upload and download facilities and special user definable filters all in one integrated system. By defining a good filter, the user could 'selectively not see' the clutter of regional items in the Surveyor asset selection menus saving user time when world building. This important filtering feature was further improved in Trainz 2009, becoming far more powerful and easier to use. In addition to these improvements, several new routes were included, such as Hawes Junction (representing a small section of the Settle and Carlisle Railway and serving as a demo for TC3), Toronto Rail Lands 1954 (representing Toronto's sprawling railyard in 1954), and Marias Pass Approach (representing the BNSF Marias Pass line between Shelby, Montana and Cut Bank, Montana and serving as a demo for the full Marias Pass payware route). TRS2006 was published in September 2005, and the base release with its single service pack formed the core of the regional releases (most are joint ventures with 'Trainz Partners' combining payware content provider's products with the base Trainz software) over the next four years until the introduction of new technologies in TC3 and TRS2009. In Germany, it was published by Bluesky-Interactive, as ProTrain Perfect.

Trainz Driver[edit]

Trainz Driver (also known as Trainz Driver Edition (TDE) in the USA) is a version of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 released in 2005 lacking the Content Manager and Surveyor GUI world building module, having only the Driver and Railyard modules. Note this is precisely the formula utilized with the 2011-2016 release of Phone and Pad based Trainz releases, as well as the new 'Driver 2016'.[6]

  • The package includes three large routes with 21 driver sessions, all set in North America. Trainz Driver is the first instance when Auran turned to blatant marketing measures to boost sales. Current CEO Tony Hilliam had taken on an increasing role in company management beginning in 2005, and by 2008 would end up a principle investor in Auran with rights to develop and distribute the Trainz franchise.
  • Over the same three-year period, Auran licensed eight separate 'Regional releases' based on the stable JET2 (TRS2004/TRS2006) game engine[7] releases aimed at opening new market niches. These versions had few game improvements,[8] and Driver and Surveyor were technically equivalent to The TRS2004-TRS2006 games, albeit, given new skins and better graphics interfacing. Prior to those releases, if you had a high end graphics system, to let the game know about your superior hardware you had to edit an ini file called TrainzOptions.txt with apropos height and width entries.[9]

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2007[edit]

Trainz Railroad Simulator 2007 (abbreviated as TRS2007) was the second release targeting a regional market distributed by Anuman Interactive for sale in France, Belgium and Switzerland.[10] There were initially two versions: the standard version which consisted of Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 with Service Pack 1 applied, and the Gold edition, which included French regional add-on items.[11]  

  • Halycon Media later distributed Trainz Railroad Simulator 2007 with German region-specific content for the British, Austrian, and Swiss market.[12] This release version of TRS2007 was not available in American markets, though the Gold edition content was included in later games. Because of its late release, it was once common to see it colloquially referred to on the Auran forums as TRS2008'.

Trainz Classics (TC1—TC3)[edit]

Trainz Classics, also abbreviated as TC (TC1, TC2, TC3), is a series of 3 standalone Trainz Railroad Simulator 2006 joint venture customizations put together by Auran and different professional providers of third party content. Unlike typical Trainz releases which feature a round-the-world sampling of content typical to different regions of the planet, the Trainz Classics versions feature a large railroad layout with plenty of special professionally written sessions exploiting the featured railroad. Trainz Classics 3 renewed evolution of the Trainz base technologies incorporating various changes to the older stable four-year-old data models resulting in the publication of a new .pdf file TC3 Content Creator's Guide.

TC1 focuses on the Metro-North Railroad's Harlem Line in the 2000s (due to EMD FL9 locomotives still being in service), TC2 focuses on a freelanced city called "Modula City", featuring European trams running in the city and to an island (a demo version was included with TRS2004). TC3 focuses on the famed Settle-Carlisle Line from Skipton to Carlisle in the late 1950s/early 1960s during the steam-diesel transition.

Demos of Modula City and the Settle-Carlisle line were included in TRS2006, along with a limited amount of content in unrefined states.

The content from Trainz Classics 1 and 2 were later released as built-content for TS2009 and TS2010. Trainz Classics 3 was re-released as an expansion pack for TS2009, TS2010, and TS12.

Trainz – The Complete Collection[edit]

Released June 13, 2008. This is a large compilation, containing three DVD's: Ultimate Trainz Collection, TRS2004, TRS2006, Trainz Routes (volumes 1-4), and Trainz PaintShed.

Trainz Simulator: iPad, Android[edit]

To celebrate the 10th anniversary of Trainz, N3V Games released a Trainz app for the iPad on December 4, 2010. Users can take advantage of the iPad's functions and lay tracks, drive trains and complete tasks with the touch of their fingers. Users have access to Driver and Surveyor and can create routes and drive trains with the help of tutorials. An Android version of the game was released on 22 July 2011 and has the same features as the iPad version. The app is a port of Trainz Simulator 2010.

Trainz Simulator 12[edit]

Trainz Simulator 12, or TS12, was released on April 12, 2011. Among other upgrades, this product offers a variety of new routes, doppler effect support, satellite view, and a multiplayer feature for the first time (multiplayer was publicly tested in TS2010). A Trainz 10th Anniversary Boxset was announced which includes the game and other extras. The game was initially released for pre-order on March 18, 2011 as part of the limited-edition Trainz 10th Anniversary Collector's Edition. A certain amount of content from previous versions was removed from this release, making it the first release since Trainz 1.0 to feature all and only new routes and related assets. Like most Trainz releases, the package contains only content vetted for the new technology, which in TS12 needed to be updated for compatibility with 64 bit computers. However, much of the content (not all of it) from the previous versions was released on the Download station (DLC) in an updated form as of the end of 2012 under an initiative known as the "Download Station Cleanup".

My First Trainz Set[edit]

My First Trainz Set was designed for the younger generation who do not want to worry about realism or management when playing the Trainz game. The game features 4 locations to lay track in that are based on rooms throughout a house, such as a bedroom or kitchen. The user has the ability to place down small toy-like objects in the replacement of buildings and scenery. However, its graphical quality of the trains, track, and objects is still very much like that of the standard Trainz simulator games. Controls are also far more simplified. The game was also ported to Android devices.

Trainz Simulator: Mac[edit]

Trainz Simulator: Mac was a port of Trainz Simulator: 2010 for Macintosh.

Trainz Driver: iPhone[edit]

Trainz Driver leveraged the work done porting Trainz Simulator onto iPad and brought the driving aspect of the Trainz franchise to mobile phones for the first time.

Trainz Simulator 2 Mac[edit]

Trainz Simulator 2 Mac was released on March 27, 2014 via the Mac App Store, which amongst other things, introduced an online multiplayer feature'. It is a port of Trainz 12.

Trainz Simulator 2 for iPad: iPad[edit]

Trainz Simulator 2 introduced a new user interface designed specifically for tablets and brought greater draw distances, better graphics and new content to the platform.

Trainz Driver 2: iPhone[edit]

Trainz Driver 2 leveraged the iPad updates and introduced the powerful route editing tools to the phone.

Trainz: A New Era[edit]

Trainz: A New Era is, as noted in the new naming convention, a new beginning for the Trainz franchise. In November 2013, a Kickstarter campaign for the game was launched to help fund the game and the new purpose-built game engine. The campaign reached its target funding level a month later. Contributors were awarded prizes ranging from desktop wallpapers, First Class Tickets for the Download Station, full copies of the game, and various additional content depending on the amount pledged.

  • The game utilizes a new custom designed 64 bit game engine, which features more far more realistic (lifelike) graphics, slightly improved train physics, and various other new features and improvements led by a top ten hit-list drawn up by the user community on the forums between September and November 2013.
  • Subsequently, a download only release, the 'TANE Community Edition' was released in mid-December 2014. The new game was officially released as a retail version for wide distribution on May 15, 2015, though it was rather bare bones, lacking many normal User Interface features such as Content Manager hotkeys, a working minimap and like UX multiplier factors.[13]
  • A whole series of bug fixing hotfix software updates were forthcoming throughout the year, and often these would incrementally improve UI lacks and so gradually raise the UX. A long delayed Service Pack 1 finally passed a succession of hurdles which had new BETA Candidate Replacements updating the last until finally six-to-seven weeks late, a SP1 release build heralded a new stage of stability and capability in Mid-January, January, 12th, 2016 instead of Halloween.[14] Major Kickstarter contributors also could participate in Beta testing in addition to a dedicated in-house employee team testing new code; so hundreds participated in moving the new technology into matured stability. Two hotfixes followed after just a month and a half, one after the other a week apart on March 11, 2016 (build 81190)[15] and March 18, 2016 (build 81296),[16] but normal UI to recapture UX operations of earlier Trainz aside from Driver, are still lacking in hotfix2. Several of the CM hotkeys were reinstated with the second hotfix, and N3V has announced that Service Pack 2 beta candidate builds will be forthcoming soon, implying the rapid rebuilding of the Trainz customary UX may not be far behind.

Special hardware support[edit]

The desktop cab controller RailDriver was first supported for use in Service Pack 1 for the Ultimate Trainz Collection, and is also supported by all subsequent Trainz releases.[17]


  1. ^ a b Driver 2016 demo release announcement, Tony Hilliam, N3V Games CEO, Published on February 19th, 2016 01:34 AM, accessdate=2016-03-24
  2. ^ "Trainz Simulator 2010 official website". 
  3. ^ ContentManager.exe filtered for assets on the Download Station for TS2009-SP4 reported over 3500 routes and 267,000 assets suitable for; this figure does not include content downloadable for TS2010-SP4 and up, nor the vast freeware library at and other such 3rd party user sites.
  4. ^ "Post by Zec Murphy, company representative". 
  5. ^ "The Ultimate Trainz Collection". GameZone. Archived from the original on 2 February 2010. Retrieved 7 March 2010. 
  6. ^ Announced February 19th, 2016; actually shipped ca 10 March 2016
  7. ^ See other sections on this page: 1) Trainz Routes (Routes), 2) Trainz Driver (TDE), 3) Trainz the Complete Collection (TCC), the three Trainz Classics: 4-6) TC1, TC2, & TC3, 7) TRS2007 and 8) TRS2008
  8. ^ Neglecting Gcard interface (next footnote), only Trainz Classics 3, v2.8 had changes which impacted the data model guidelines content creators had to follow—and those affected virtually only locomotive modeling, leaving most content creation standards unchanged.
  9. ^ Starting with TRS2006-SP1, Trainz was able to read Gcards and present a drop menu in the Options User Interface.
  10. ^ "List of Trainz Merchandise" (in French). Anuman Interactive. Archived from the original on 2 January 2007. 
  11. ^ "Trainz Railroad Simulator 2007 Gold Edition" (in French). Anuman Interactive. 2006-11-20. Archived from the original on 6 February 2007. 
  12. ^ "Trainz TRS 2007 Service Bereich" (in German). Halycon Media GmbH Co.KG. 
  13. ^ "Trainz Simulator: A New Era – Create, Drive, Operate, Share", Kickstarter
  14. ^ Trainz A New Era SP1 has just released!, By Tony_Hilliam, January 12, 2016, accessdate=2016-03-24
  15. ^ TANE Service Pack 1 Hotfix 1 Update now LIVE!, By Tony_Hilliam, March 11, 2016, accessdate=2016-03-24
  16. ^ TANE Service Pack 1 Hotfix 2 now available, By Tony_Hilliam, March 18, 2016 - Service Pack 1 Hotfix 2 addresses a map (route) saving issue introduced in the previous update, making in a very highly recommended update., accessdate=2016-03-24
  17. ^ "Ultimate Trainz Collection (Key Features)". Auran. Retrieved 1 April 2010. 

External links[edit]