What is a train sim?
Sim is shorthand for simulator or simulation, so we are talking here about a computer program that lets you drive a train!
It may surprise you to learn that there are a large number of people in the world who are 'would be' train drivers. Train enthusiasts with an interest in computers have for many years been writing software to simulate train driving. As the power of computers has increased these attempts have become more realistic.
Microsoft released a Train Simulator to follow their very popular Flight Simulator but have since stopped any further development of it although it is good to see that Railworks took over the development and infact their latest Train Simukator 2013 is now available although we have never used this program. More information about this simulator can be found here.
One of the first simulators we tried is BVE! This program written by a Japanese gentleman named Mr. Mackoy was created for the train sim enthusiast and provides a very good train driving experience. Realastic sound also helps enhance the sim. Best of all Mr Mackoy made his software open source, available FREE to anyone who wished to download it. A new improved version of BVE is now available. It is OpenBVE. It gives an even more realistic train drive than the original version and now gives external views as well as views from the cab. We are sad to note though that future development of OpenBVE looks uncertain. It is best to go to your search engine to find the download these days.
Once you have downloaded OpenBVE you can then start to build up a library of trains and routes from throughout the world that have been written by enthusiasts for all versions of BVE including OpenBVE, again free of charge. We pay tribute to all the authors who have spent many hours perfecting their routes so that we can get hours of enjoyment from them. The UK is represented by a band of people who have and continue to put a lot of time and effort into creating many very good routes some of which are being updated for use with OpenBVE.
Favourite BVE UK routes
Watford Junction to Milton Keynes and Across South Birmingham routes are true to life lines which have very realistic scenery. You can drive a fast or stopping train but watch out for speed restrictions! Anthony Bowden has made a wonderful job of these lines which, dare we say, is to a standard which all others will aspire to. More info here. There are many other routes including Edinburgh to Aberdeen, another excellent and realistic drive. A Google search is a good place to start to find other OpenBVE routes.
Perhaps The Best Railsim.
Perhaps the best commercial train sim today is TRAINZ. This sim from Auran in Australia costs around £30 ($50). As well as running your trains it gives you the tools to create your own layouts easily. We like this train sim a lot. Take a look at the Auran site. Trainz has been updated regularly over its short history and the latest version is called Trainz Railroad Simulator 12 which can be ordered directly from the Auran website. We have used their online purchase service and can reccommend it.
New Route For Trainz
We have made a Glasgow North Electric route. The route covers Helensburgh, Balloch, Dalmuir and Milngavie to Glasgow Queen Street Low Level and Argyle Street. Further extensions to this route have now been completed which incorporates the Queen Street High Level station.
The route is now called ’Glasgow North Queen Street’. All dependencies used are available on the Auran DLS
Distances and terrain are accurate within the limits of Trainz and the route is designed mainly as a driving experience.
The TS2012 version is named Glasgow Queen Street 2012 and is available from here.
We have also created a Glasgow North Queen Street Session for the route which shows all summer timetable trains running between 09.50 and 11.20 including the Maryhill and West Highland units. Also included are all of the arrivals and departures from the Queen Street High Level station. For this session, as well as the rolling stock from the DLS, you will require the Class 318 SPT Rail refurbished units shown on tmz06003’s page linked below. You may also require the following dependencies for the session from the Auran DLS:- kuid:1094:53001, kuid:61109:54008, kuid2:51536:31599:5, kuid:2512:57001 and Class 150 bogies.
We have found that the bogey is not available on the DLS for the class 318 refurbished units, so to get over this, we have altered the session. DUE TO A BOGEY PROBLEM WITH THE 318s, SPT HAVE BROUGHT IN OLD 314s UNTIL THE PROBLEM IS SOLVED.
The TS12 version is named Glasgow Queen Street 2012 Session and can be downloaded from here.
Any questions or comments are welcome.
tmz06003 has created a number of Scottish electric units, some of which are ideal for Glasgow routes. You can download them from the Auran DLS. Just search under Author, entering ‘tmz06003’.
To Find Out More
Once again using Google or other search engines will find you plenty of information about train simulators.
Well it's time to start driving the trains again before the passengers start complaining about the delay.