Well, for what it's worth; After reading this thread I went over to my 'other' Windows 7 install (dual-boot pc) where I have the 'other' train sim installed (as well as another copy of TS12) and wouldn't you know... I can't even run their game anymore. I get an error: Failed to create buffer... something or other. This happened even when I was logged in as admin. Thing is, it worked the first time I tried it, after first receiving the 2014 download.
I don't like the Steam concept. It is too restrictive, and far too expensive. They can't even come close to matching the amount of FREE content that Trainz has.
Sure, I've voiced my opinion on the issues we have with Trainz - outdated game engine being the most obvious - but at least whenever I want to play Trainz, it's there... even if I am not online. While I understand that certain N3V content will not work offline, I can still pretty much play the game offline.
And being a veteran with Surveyor, I haven't even attempted to build anything in the 'other' sim. I don't want to be bothered learning a whole new way of doing things, just for a little eye candy (well, maybe animated points aren't just eye candy, but then we do have Andi06 junctions).
I still like to build proto routes using TransDem, so don't think adding the same features directly to Trainz is important. In my experience, 3rd party software that does as good a job as TransDem does should remain 3rd party software.
BTW: I usually trace my routes in GE using the PATH feature, then save it and import to TransDem once I have a DEM loaded. That seems to work better than grabbing all the images from GE and then going through the process of GeoReferencing them in TransDem, and then finally creating the routes with Simple Route Editor. For one thing, I can get much more detail in GE than in TransDem. Second, I don't need (or want) the raster images for the whole route - only the populated areas.
I have used the TransDem feature to create ground textures from raster maps, and it works quite well for a very rough rendering. It does help when painting the 'real' ground textures in Surveyor when you have an idea of what is supposed to be where.
One more thing I would like to see more of in Trainz is detailed buildings. There aren't enough creators doing them. Maybe it's because it's difficult, or maybe for reasons of security. I mean, what would you think if some guy was snooping around your house or factory taking photos from every angle? I would probably call the cops.
Thanks for letting me say my piece.