Hi all! A model railroader joins Trainz


New member
Hi all

I am about to become a Trainz owner having just purchased the whole collection from the Auran online shop. While I wait for my packages to arrive, I'll tell you why I am here.

I am an active model railroader who model the Appalachian region in the late 1940's, in HO scale - coal country. My little railroad is called The Roaring Fork & Western. I decided to buy Trainz so I can create my model railroad in it and operate it as I would the "real" thing. I also have 3 other track plans I want to eventually incorporate into trains. These are the ones I never did build.

I do have a couple of questions if I may.

3 of my 4 plans have staging tracks below the layout. They give the trains somewhere to go once they have left my world. How does one handle staging tracks in Trainz? I intended to have trains eventuate from staging too, delivering cars to the interchanges or yards for local delivery up my branchline. Of course, I would be using cards so I would know where those cars were supposed to go.

As I would like to do actual switching, how does one use car numbers? Are they visible on the cars so I can say pull one out of a string to take to a local industry? This would be of particular importance when I create my real layout as it has 2 banks of coke ovens. Cars in there would be switched at different times, not all at once. The replacement empties would then have to be placed back in front of the correct ovens.

And finally, as I am getting both 2004 and 2006, which would you recommend that I start with.

I am very much looking forward to beginning my adventure in Trainz, I just hope it doesn't take too long to arrive!! :)

Hi, Bruce, and welcome to the Auran Trainz community!
To answer your first question, Trainz has something called 'Portals' . These act as staging areas where a consist would enter and leave the layout, and can be programmed to spawn new trains entering.
Secondly, you can check the name of any consist by right-clicking on the car and observing it's Details. There are some custom made cars that will re-number themselves as a visual part of their livery.
Third, that choice is entirely up to you, but my own personal preference is TRS2004. I tried 2006 and found it lacking in many areas. You may want to get other opinions on this.
Welcome to Trainz Bruce

You are going to get alot of mixed opinions on what version to start with. Personally, I like 2004. The ultimate decision is yours. Beware, many will try to sway you into using their personal preference and they'll tell you why.

You could always install both, work with each and then make up your mind on which one you like better.

As for your questions, I'll leave that to those that have the knowledge in that sort of thing.
How does one handle staging tracks in Trainz?
Portals are one solution. Alternatively you could create a fiddle yard, as tunnels inside hills or as normal track on the other side of some hills. In TRS2004 scenarios you can also create and destroy trains under program control but that's fairly advanced stuff.
How does one use car numbers?
Most locomotives can be given running numbers which are visible. AFAIK this is theoretically also possible with freight wagons but sorry I don't know of any examples.
And finally, as I am getting both 2004 and 2006, which would you recommend that I start with?
As the other guyz have said, that's quite a contentious issue. FWIW my vote is also for TRS2004 (it has a much simpler and more reliable asset management system, no sound bugs, and fully supports scenarios).

Trainz can be somewhat overpowering at first with it having so many different aspects to it. However, it is frighteningly addictive. Never be afraid to ask questions as we were all newbies when we began.

Check your build numbers after installation. TRS2004 should be upgraded to SP4 if it isn't already, and TRS2006 should be upgraded to SP1 if it isn't already. It's vital to download and install precisely the correct service packs for the builds you're on, and to follow the instructions to the letter when installing them.

The best way to begin after installation is probably to run the tutorial scenarios in TRS2004.

There are a few cars with numbers not very many and many of those give you a limited choice of 12-15 numbers but I may not have understood your question.

Cheerio John
Welcome to trainz. I too was a model railroader until I lost space for my layout. Then I found Trainz and have become addicted to it. You can build any world you like and it's not limited to physical space or how much money you have to buy rolling stock and buildings unless you decide to start purchasing some payware items. Even those are reasonably priced.
As stated earlier, portals are probably the best way to handle staging as they will remove trains from the layout and create new ones.
Personally, I like TRS2004. I have 2006, but uninstalled it and am using it as shelf filler. I find 2004 more reliable.
I need to emphasize that you need to read the manuals that come on the CD's and also run the scenarios in 2004.
Have fun and feel free to ask questions if you can't figure something out.
Welcome to Trainz,

The debate on rather to run 04 or 06 will continue until, --- whenever !

I would however begin with 04, but do not discount 06. Several are very happy with 06, myself included. But the easier installation of 04 will get you up and running and once you have the basics of Trainz learned, I would then give 06 a try . Then decide for yourself which is the better ?

Either way I am certain you will enjoy Trainz ? ---DLR
One more thought - Trainz includes a program called PaintShed which allows you to create different textures for some of the standard built-in rolling stock items. It's quite possible with PaintShed to put text characters including numbers of any size on the sides of wagons such as box cars. However, these numbers would be fixed. On the other hand, you could create sets with different names (Boxcar01, Boxcar02, etc) which would give you more control over them.

But having proper "running numbers" (or whatever the correct term is for freight wagons) would probably be better.


Hi Sprinter ASC,
Welocme to Trainz and the Trainz Community.

I used to build exhibition layouts, first in S4 (P4) Hayling Island, the Bere St Peter in OO and then horse Cove in 'N' gauge. Horse Cove is just past Dawlish in Devon, a well know line here in England.

Then I moved into Trainz (the original Trainz), went to UTC and eventually to 2004. I stuck with 04 because I couldn't see an advantage in 06 and if I move up into that those people working in 04 would not be able to run the routes I create and put on the DLS. Trainz is not normally backwards compatible.

Once you have your CDs and run through the program you will no doubt have many questions that people on here will answer willingly, so never be afraid to ask.

For the first part of the Trainz experience just 'fiddle' on a board and find out how things work. Download a route or two from the DLS and in Surveyor you will be able to see how other people put routes together.

I have a fairly small route in Aleard & Hallington, although I generally don't use portals much. These are assets that can be configuered to suit your own wishes so that when a consist is sent in they come back out the way you want them to.... one hopes...

You will find that many of us use to or still are active model railroaders. I have an HO scale layout myself. The best part about virtual railroading is you are not restricted by physical space restrictions like a closet or bedroom. If you chose you can make a route as big or small as you want. Anyway, for recreating your layout you could just add some baseboards then place your staging tracks on those. To hide them the terrain can be adjusted to form a mountain so you can just see it or a backdrop can be placed to obstruct the view of your staging area. I could go on for hours with other possibilities but I won't. Once you start playing around with the route editor you'll realize there is no end to the possibilities. The only thing that can hinder you is your own imagination.

Hi Bruce,
Welcome to Trainz, I'm sure it will give you a fabulous ride.
I'm sure that I have seen you Model Layout at some of the Model Railway exhibitions, and if it's the one I think it is it is certainly a fabulous layout.
I have purchased every edition of Trainz but still prefer to use 2004, I find it a lot more user friendly than 2006.
Also I find making a fiddle yard a lot easier than using Portals.
Enjoy your ride.
Hello Bruce and WELCOME to the wonderful world of Train simulation. From now on you can kiss goodbye to your family, friends, work, food, sleep, etc, :hehe: this is such an addictive game.
Even though Auran is based in Oz there are forum members from the 4 corners of the globe, so shout up if you have any questions and someone I'm sure will chip in with an answer for you. You'll have to give us a day or so to answer more of your complex questions with the huge time differences around the world.
BTW, I do not create layouts myself, but the general opinion is that TRS2004 is the best to use, it has a more stabler engine, and you can get a good feel for the game before you move on to the next version TRS2006. You will need to download TO ( TrainzObjectz ) from the website of Terry Franks, who invented it, which will be a huge help in downloading stuff off the Auran website and the general upkeep of your TRS04 asset system. I cannot remember the website at the minute, but if you do a search on the forum you'll find it somewhere, or someone else will give you the link.

Cheerz. ex-railwayman.
Greetings Bruce. As you can see, there are diverse opinions about the two version 04 and 06. Our model, the DHR, for instance, is mainly for 04, but we intend to see if it can be brought into 06.

Model railroaders use these programs to help visualize a real, or planned, layout as well as just creating one out of thin air. In 06, I have seen layouts on Mars and the Moon.

Of note, if anyone wanted to put our route into a HOn3 "table" layout, you would have to have a room about 1205 feet long by 631 feet wide, with ceilings around 100 feet as the trainboard would rise form hip level to over 74 feet. Any train would take over 7 actual hours to complete the journey. You would need binoculars to follow it's progress.

Thanks all

I guess the best thing for me will to play with the software....when I get it. The shop order is still saying Awaiting Paypal Confirmatin even though I say it has been paid for via Paypal. Not a great start but hopefully it will work itself out.

Welcome to Trainz.

First let me add my vote to those recommending 04 for a beginner.

On the subject of fiddle yards vs. portals let me point out that it is very difficult to set up a realistic schedule of arriving trains using portals. The 3 rules that are best for this ("Central Portal Control" with the associated "Emit Train" and "Timecheck") have serious bugs. They fail if you save the game while driving a train. These rules are available on the Download Station (commonly referred to in these forums as the "DLS") if you want to try them. I prefer to set up my inbound trains in fiddle yards and schedule them with the "Wait Until Hour" & "Wait Until Minute" rules. There is a slight bug in "Wait Until Minute" - if you want to set a minute larger than about 50 you have to do a wait until 45 first.

Running numbers (reporting marks for us USA types) are a problem. Very few of the cars available have adjustable numbers (mostly found at the "Trainz Pro Routes" web site) There are also a sets of cars which have a range of about 5 or 10 numbers. Warning - if you set your graphics options to low the reporting marks become unreadable.

I get around this by editing the name of each car when I set up a session. A car's name is viewable when driving a train by right clicking on the car and clicking on "View Details". I just change the name to the car's destination but you could give each car a new number and use a switchlist.
Trainz Objectz is an extremely useful freeware utility for managing installed assets but unfortunately it only works with TRS2004. There are two versions of T.O.:

V5.0c Build 436
Stable, reliable, very highly recommended.

V6.0 Build 544
Newer version with some additional features but also some bugs (Terry, the program's author, has been unwell and therefore unable to fix them). Some people say this version handles kuid2's better but I've never found that to be a problem with the older version. (kuid's and kuid2's are the two formats for asset reference numbers.)

TRS2006 uses a built-in module called CMP for asset management which I think it's fair to say most people find very difficult to understand and very unreliable. However, some people have no problems with it.

Hi Bruce

Welcome to Trainz.

I run both TRS04 and TRS06SP1 on my machine. I would suggest that you make the same arrangement your ultimate goal, but would join those suggesting that you come to terms with TRS04 and the TrainzObjectz management utility first.

I also love Appalachian railroading, I have repainted many 'N' scale models for a freelance line. I have an Appalachian coal route in Trainz also, available from the DLS based on the L&N/CSX line through East Kentucky - you can read more about it on my website here.

Whichever way you go - good luck!!

Andy :)
What can I say...WOW! So much potential I just want to dive right in and get started. So many great routes to look into, creating my own rolling stock to plan, so many things.....

But first, I will force myself to have at the standard content to get used to things. It's gonna be hard but I will do it somehow, all while keeping my train mad 8 year old away from it!

Thanks so much to everyone who has replied.