15 years of Trainzing. Thoughts and reflections.


Trainzing since 12-2003
Today marks my 15th anniversary of Trainzing. It was on December 28, 2003 I took a ride to CompUSA in Salem, New Hampshire and purchased my CD version. I still have the box with the price tag on it of $29.95. I remember the day still vividly almost as though it just happened. I had been following Auran off and on at the time after purchasing their Paint-Shed add-on for MSTS which I could never get to work properly. I did read through the manual, but my computer system wasn't very cooperative and neither was MSTS. On the box, and I still have that too on my shelf is www.auran.com. I visited the website and became intrigued.

My first thought after seeing the website and the excitement surrounding the then new Trainz Ultimate Collection that was coming out, was I wasted my money on MSTS. There was talk about the various modules with Greg Lane prominently present in the discussions with many people who are no longer here in the forums. This was around 2001-2002 and I downloaded the demo and it promptly crashed on my computer. My ATI 8500 didn't like the video drivers for the demo no matter what I did. I could get it to run sometimes, but most of the time it crashed. I kept checking the website off and on, and lurked in the shadows as I read the various posts and thought wow this is quite a program. I only wish I could run it.

Then one day I happened to read the announcement in the ancient Trainz forums about a new version coming out. This was TRS2004 and it was to appear on the shelves in various outlets after Christmas 2003 including CompUSA. By this time, I had updated my video card, well the whole computer actually to something a bit more stable, and I sprung for my copy on that cold sunny Saturday. I eagerly installed the program and off I was running and immediately hooked from then on. MSTS lingered for a bit afterwards, but it didn't get used much, and slowly my N-scale layout building ground to a halt with the spiders moving into the various nooks and crannies, and the trains ended up being boxed up all in favor of the virtual world we live in now.

But the question is why has this program lasted so long in its various iterations from that fateful day in December 2003?

Trainz for me was my pillar of stability and like an old friend it's always a friend and has always been there. Whenever I become stressed, I hunker down and Trainz away because I can escape from reality into the virtual world. Trainz is far from perfect, but like any longtime friend we accept the good with the bad. After a rotten day at work, I'd come home and escape into my world. Deaths in the family, various health issues, you name it, and Trainz played prominently to bury these things away. Even today when stressed I do the same to take my mind off the problems. This escape from reality is what the virtual reality is all about just like a real model railroad where one will go off to the loft, basement, shed, or spare room, to get away from the confusion and stress,

What is interesting is virtual reality as we know it, 3d games and programs as we know it now, were barely dreams back 25 years ago. Yes that virtual world of our dreams was unheard of for the consumer back then. About 25 years ago, I worked for a small company that created 3d animated training programs. We used 3d Studio R4 DOS and eventually 3ds Max. I said to a coworker back then, who I used to car pool with, Imagine a 3d world where there were trains running on various routes with animated passenger cars that we can go inside, and all of this is in a 3d world. He said it would be impossible because of the technology would be too expensive to build something like that. Hmm... I wonder what he would think now if he saw this. :)

Anyway. Off to crack open the champagne and hope for more than a few more years of Trainzing!
Congrats John you came a long way and are one of the pillars in our community one can rely on and have a chat once in a while.
I not remember the exact day month or so but 2004 (aug?) i think it was somewhere i jumped on the bandwagon.
Ever since i continued to enjoy and tried things some good some less good.
2006 i started my routes and they became part of my trainz world and ported them all along all the various new releases except for one i skipped was it 2009 not sure anymore. 2010 was not a good version for me and very fast as TRS12 came out i moved on and never looked back.
Here we are, all enjoying TRS19 making our virtual world more enjoyable than ever before and new dreams replace old one's that now materialized.

Happy trainzing John from all of us and thanks for sharing so many tips n tricks and good thoughts.

Mine is more like 12 or 13 years. I had played with MSTS but struggled to build routes. But one day I wandered into an electronics store and spotted TS04. Don't think I'd heard of Trainz with a Z before. The TS04 pack was impressive with heaps of stuff to get content creators going. Maybe that was why TS04 seemed to be the era that helped so many CCs flourish.

Trainz is the most time consuming hobby I know. It's amazing how much you can get out of it and I wonder at those who think its overpriced. $70? That's about 15 and a half coffees.
I started in June 2002 with the original trainz. I used it for a while but got tied up with other things and did not get back to trainz until 2010, when I had more time on my hands. I have had fun with trainz ever since.
Congratulations to John and all the Vets of Trainz!
When I first started with Trainz I was a stressed out senior manager and needed to relax in my spare time.
I wasn't interested in the usual games where you kill people so I bought a signal box simulator whose name I can't remember. I enjoyed that very much but, when I saw Trainz advetised I thought wow, a signal box with 3d trains!
That's when I became hooked.
I later started my own business in a shop (a model railway shop of course) and actually sold Trainz CD's for a short time, but the modellers weren't interested so I sold them to a local newsagent.
I retired in 2013 and I then had more time to use the sim.

I've never regreted buying Trainz and I am really enjoying route creation in TRS19.

Cheers and beers to many more creative years ahead. :)
TRS2004 was certainly the game changer, but time has dulled a few memories. 04 was released with large parts of the promised content missing. It took, I think, four service packs and at least six months to release what had originally been promised.

It was an early indication that Auran/N3V claims should be treated circumspectly, but also that they tend to get there in the end.

A personal thanks to N3V for sticking with macOS. At least I hope that's the case.
Health tonic and life saver. Trainz is good.

Thanks for sharing your memories John. I started out with TS2004 with a second hand copy (horrors!) because I didn't understand about Trainz registration back then. I had been a railway modeller ever since I was a young teenager and I mostly made handmade models. As this illness I have started to bite I moved up to building 1/16th scale Uk narrow gauge models because the larger scale models were easier to handle and more robust. Eventually it became too dangerous for me to use any power tools or anything that had a sharp edge. I sold my lathe, - everything else was thrown into boxes and I was utterly despondent because I couldn't follow the hobby I love anymore.

My daughter was heavily into flight sims at the time (and still is) and she said to me, 'Why don't you try a railway simulator Mum.' To be completely honest I was extremely doubtful about the whole idea, - which is most probably why I purchased a cheap second hand copy of TS2004 rather than buying new. What a revelation though, - right from the start the simulator had me hooked. Folk might laugh at the idea that a railway simulator could have health benefits, but after only a month my daughter said to me that I was much more cheerful and positive and no longer seemed to be so worried over having a severe form of narcolepsy. My doctor noticed it too and the blood test results coming back from the lab were showing it as well.

Once I realised there was a wider Trainz world and such a thing as the DLS I purchased a new copy of TS2009 World Builder Edition and registered it. I'd really liked TS2004, but for me TS2009 was even more of a revelation. I learned how to use the Surveyor and built routes and began my initial experiments with re-skinning models. I still have them archived away, but to be honest they aren't very good.

After that I purchased TS2012, but didn't like it at first. Most of the problem was due to my much rebuilt old dual core computer having reached its absolute limit and it was only after I purchased my first ex-lease Xeon workstation that I discovered just how good TS2012 was. I don't know why more cash strapped folk don't buy themselves an ex-lease Xeon workstation when they're looking for a computer. The build quality is very high, they are about as powerful as an i7 and they are stunningly cheap to buy. My first one was only $NZ250.00 (which my daughter now has) and the one I have now cost me $NZ230.00.

I tried T:ANE, but wasn't especially impressed and was put off by all the 'T:ANE ate my homework' posts on the forum. So I went back to TS2012. Then TS2019 Early Access was announced and I wasn't impressed by that either. There are grumpy posts of mine on the forum where I said so, but it's not really worth looking them up. Then the final release version of TS2019 showed up. Leaving the safety of TS2012 I tried it out hated it, pulled a hissy fit and ran back to the safety of TS2012 again.
Fortunately the problem was only some kind of config glitch and much encouraged by some very kind forum members I gave it another go. And WOW! TS2019 is one absolutely great railway simulator. Mark me down as a TS2019 fangirl (even though nobody has called me a girl for more than 50 years). This is a simulator where you really could build worlds to lose yourself in and I'm very much looking forward to future developments.
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TRS2004 - Good for opening 04 routes, and useful for importing "No Map Selected" routes for importation into TRS2006

TRS2006 - TrainzRailwayz-Full Version-build #3337-by Merscom-trainz-build 2.6 - CM works flawlessly, runs on low end integrated graphics PC's, surveyor is so easy to use, user friendly ... Downside: Almost all assets are now a higher trainz-build numeral, requiring all assets, and all their dependencies, to be backdating config file trainz-build numerals to trainz-build 2.6 ... Very complex editing, and tiresome !

TS09 - Rushed out version of the soon to be released TS10

TS10 - Never even tried it, as TS12 was soon rushed out and released

TS12 - WoW, eye candy, better graphics ... I like TS12 as almost all assets import easily, and run straight out of the box, without backdating config file trainz-build numerals

TMR - Great for Model Railroads

T:ANE - Requires 64bit PC ... Better graphics

TS19 - To be reviewed, if it even runs on my GT430 video card (T:ANE however runs great on my 64bit, 8GB RAM, HP m8100n desktop PC)

Trainz - Made me lose all my interest in even going to work anymore, absolutely wasted away 10 years of my life, addicted me to the PC, turned me into an introvert, ruined my eyesight from hundreds of thousands of hours staring at a PC screen ... Fun Game, soon turned into a complete obsession
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Hi, dear guys, I'm afraid that I share the same anniversary but with a difference: In the past four years I've been taking long breaktimes, napping periods, and ups and downs along with ons and offs, and a serious warning on my health. The TRS2019 release caught my attention and gave it a chance. I'm not sure what's going on with me, not sure of getting back to it and asset creation, not sure at all. It was very exciting but it took me away other life values. Being almost 65, hard to come back. Time will tell.

[Two years ago, I was granted kind authorization by NV3 Games to create Speedtreez. A made a couple to sets -maybe I'll feel like releasing them to the community- but the wind-enacted versión only works in TRS2012, since the .srt created is 5.X version and it seems that TANE and TRS2019 require 6.0. I made a windless set as well]

So congrats and my respect to all of you reaching this timemark and further...

BTW, our IBerTrainZ also reaches that time mark, even though now idle but opened to download assets and forum consultation.





Take care, dear guys.

The on-off side of Alberte :wave:
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Hola Alberte

you always one of us no matter on or off period and please consider 65 a youngster in trainzlife and you miss a lot in TRS19 sitting on the side line so to speak.
Move your butt like us and get on to it dear friend!!
Trainz is more than a hobby and very good for your brain and health in general and yes barking dogs you always have in real life too don't let them disturb you from doing what you like to do!!!
Love your stuff.

siempre joven de curazon y mente
buena suerte
Feliz ano neuvo, feliz TRS19!!

Hola Alberte

you always one of us no matter on or off period and please consider 65 a youngster in trainzlife and you miss a lot in TRS19 sitting on the side line so to speak.
Move your butt like us and get on to it dear friend!!
Trainz is more than a hobby and very good for your brain and health in general and yes barking dogs you always have in real life too don't let them disturb you from doing what you like to do!!!
Love your stuff.

siempre de curzon y mente
buena suerte
Feliz ano neuvo, feliz TRS19!!


Hi, dear Roy. Everything can happen if magic of Trainz comes into my mind again!!!! :hehe: But magic needs magicians.

Thank you for your best wishes. The same or much more to you all.

:hehe: BTW, every day I move my butt HD-styled!!!!


A great 2019 for you, Roy.

The hellangelish side of Alberte :hehe:
Very well said. I have been trainzing for almost as long. I picked up the original in 2003 and enjoyed it even though I had basically no idea what I was doing. I got 2004 in April of that year and was blown away by the difference, especially the inclusion of steam. Then 2006 introduced me to narrow gauge simulating and I've been there ever since. Picked up 2012 when it was new, and still use it since my computer just can't handle running TANE.
I think I always enjoyed writing and testing scripts more than running the sessions. With async, I just seem to be drifting away from the scripting.

Congratulations John. There wouldn't be many of us that you haven't helped over that time. You, and the reference notes that you apparently maintain, are a great Trainz community resource.
I joined up in September of 2004. Roughly 15 years for me. My very first question on the forum was how to attach track to a roundtable and not have it jump to the wrong lead. Good old Narrowgauge (Peter) answered that, and all my other questions. We've kept up the correspondence over these years. He and I, along with several others, came up with the original idea to recreate the Darjeeling Himalayan Railway. It was available in (I think) 2007.

A lot of rails under the wheels since then.

Good old Narrowgauge here.

John, I joined in November 2001 and have remained 'hooked' for the following 17 years. I have often wondered, what is it about Trainz that engenders such loyalty.

Bear with me, I have a theory.

I think that in many humans, there is an instinct or urge to create.

So , if like me they can't sing, dance, paint, sculpt, write books, whatever, Trainz allows people with no significant creative skills to create something they can look at and say "I made that" with the added bonus that others can share and enjoy the creation. Trainz should not be classed as a game, it is beyond that, it is a creative hobby, almost an ART, if you consider the infinite variations that can be created, distributed and admired.

Calling Trainz a game does it no favours, it is an Art Facilitator, sadly, not a marketable name

If it was a competitive game, I would not be here now.

I'll get of my pulprit now.

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I started off with the original Trainz myself and continued buying every version that followed. The big one was Trainz 2004. It was the first one that had steam locomotives. I continued buying every edition. Trainz 2009 was the last one I could buy at a store. Since then I've bought them all from N3V as the boxed version. Trainz 2010 was the one that got me interested into driving sessions and began to learn how to use surveyor. I also found that I enjoy switching along with driving trains from one place on a route to another. It was also then that I found third-party websites, the Download Station, and The Forums. Trainz 12 was the first version that I tried Cab mode in. The first pieces of content I made was made in Trainz 12. When TANE first came out, my computer could barely handle it, but then I got a new computer that could handle TANE and I've never turned back. Another thing that came with TANE was the tutorial that taught you how to drive a steam locomotive in Cab mode, something that was not included in any other version of Trainz. The custom HUD being a standard feature of all sessions was a big improvement over previous editions of Trainz. I'm hoping to scrape up enough money to get a new video card to handle TRS19. Also, it wasn't until last week that I finally decided to take on the tutorial on how to drive a steam locomotive in Cab mode and found myself to be much better at it than I expected.
@ Narrowgauge.

I couldn't agree more with you !

(but not about you getting off your pulpit)

I have a friend in Germany and we communicate by email weekly.

A couple of weeks ago I sent him a screenshot from TANE that I made.

His reply was to call me Künstler Graham.
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Well stated ......... all . Yea , I've always enjoyed the see what I can come up with , in VR , real world and in work . But to do in Trainz has been vary gratifying in ways I never counted on .