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Anyone else interested in virtual model railroads - V scale, i.e. simulators? There seem to be many different simulators available: Trainz, Train Simulator, Train Sim World, Microsoft Train Simulator (MSTS) and its follow on Open Rails, SCARM, AnyRails and so on. All of these are either free, offer a free functionality-limited version or cost around $50 +- and are great value compared to any real model railroad. Some are designed for simulating real railroads (full routes) and others are more targeted at model layouts.

I'm looking to create virtual model layouts I can play with without any size or budget constraints. And if I get bored with a layout or want to change it I can easily do that. I can forsee creating a series of independent layouts in a simulator over time. So far all I have done is create some layouts in SCARM trying to figure out what I can fit on my 60x30 desk in N scale and still leave room for a mouse, keyboard, train controller and coffee cup.

Which is your favorite simulator and why? Feel free to post images and/or video links to show your creations.

 

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I have the original Train Simulator and the original Railroad Tycoon. I also played the online game Train Station.

Train Simulator was very realistic in being the engineer. In many scenarios too realistic. If you had a long run then you spent a lot of time just sitting and letting the train run. Every once in a while you might adjust your speed. You could also run commuter trains and switching operations. The two biggest problems I had with it was, it was the lack of information on errors and how to do things, and the great time consumption without the ability to save your progress. I'm sure it's much improved by now. I think if I could of saved my progress at any time I would probably would have stuck with it.

Railroad Tycoon is a strategy game where you build as the business owner. You plan your track laying and trains for supporting industries based on scenarios to advance your standing. As you advanced your strategies had to change. You bought and sold railroads, business, laid track for best route, selected train size, maintenance stops, basically everything short of sitting in the engineer's seat. It too can be very time consuming but you can save your progress at any time and come back to it. This was my absolute favorite.

Train Station you built up your station and trains and of course you collected neighbors. As you advanced you got better trains and better buildings and things took longer but the strategy stayed the same. When you sent trains on a run you could log out and let your game run on it's own. I got bored with it. I only played it as long as I did because the price was right...free. Also they had their own website so you didn't have to go through Facebook or any other place.
 

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Hehe, for a second I panicked and though they invented yet another gauge of model trains :eek: I have Trainz: The Complete Collection by Auran which is, at this point, only a small fraction of the Trainz collection. It includes Trainz 2006, Trainz 2004, and Ultimate Trainz Collection. Two others I have are Rule the Rail and Iron Horses by Brain Bombers. There's a free version of them which only has a few trains, but if you buy the "registration" you get the full version of both games. Not sure if they count, but I also have some tycoon games, namely Railroad Tycoon 3, Sid Meier's Railroads, Locomotion, and Simutrans (which is a free one). Railroad Tycoon 3 was probably the first train computer game I played, and as far as I know Sid Meier's Railroads is basically the sequel to the Railroad Tycoon games (Unfortunately though they disabled online multiplayer for it, not sure why but I guess it got too old and they didn't want to support the servers anymore). I don't use any to plan physical layouts admittedly, but they're fun to play around with.
 
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