Train simulator games?

Which are the best train simulator games available on PC currently? Thanks.

Are you talking Railroad Tycoon type sims where you are establishing model railroads, or talking about driving the train itself as the conductor?

I think Train Simulator is the only one out there these days, by the same folks that make Train Sim World. The problem is they have locked locomotives behind DLC and I am pretty sure they don’t allow 3rd party content.


As with most things, that depends.

The newest version of Trainz, by Auran / N3V Games in Australia is the main competitor of the game you mention. That one is from Dovetail Games in the UK, which itself descends from legacy RailWorks and even further back from Microsoft Train Simulator (remember that!?). Trainz has confusingly been titled Railroad Simulator, Train Simulator, or similar at different times, which makes it hard to tell the games apart unless you are familiar with them or refer to the developer names.

Here’s info on the current version of Trainz. In general it has significantly worse graphics and perhaps somewhat worse driving experience than the Dovetail game, but much better layout editing and other development tools than Dovetail, and is also more open about 3rd party content. The best 3d party content form Trainz probably comes from Jointed Rail,

The Dovetail games have a confusing future because they are two and it isn’t really clear what’s better depending on what you like. The one with a ton of somewhat expensive 3rd party content is Train Simulator 2020. It is now considered legacy and doesn’t see much new development from Dovetail itself. They do still release one minor revision a year, which is mostly about what layouts are / aren’t bundled. Essentially all 3rd party content is for this legacy game, though. So if you actually want to do much with your game then your probably want this one vs the new generation game. The next-generation game from Dovetail is Train Sim World 2020. That one has great graphics (for a train simulator). But the change from a proprietary engine to an Unreal-based engine means that it has terrible development tools and essentially zero content apart from the limited set of first-party stuff that Dovetail makes. So it can be fun to look / drive around so long as you like the Dovetail content, but you’ll likely be asking yourself “what now” before too long.

If you only really like driving then there are more specialized but also much more limited and expensive games around like Run 8.

Let me know if want even more info :-) I’ve been beta testing, playing around with, painting 3d models etc for these since around 2001 or so.


Thanks for the explanation.

Wow, I thought ETS2 had expensive DLC, but these train games are worse!

I guess Train Sim World 2020 is the best option for newbs.

I don’t think you are supposed to buy it all, but just the portions you can relate to. Of course, doesn’t prevent the milking of some whales on the way…

This looks fun. I really hope you can crash trains into each other.

There’s a Train Simulator bundle on Humble right now so you can check it out for $1 if you’ve ever had a hankering but not got round to it.

Are all those DLC for TS 2020 or some older edition?

They all work in 2020.

Newer editions of Train Sim will run older DLCs.

Do you like to simulate the train -system-? If so, Artdink’s A-Train series will scratch that itch.

Wow! Never heard of this. Wish the graphics were closer to SimCity 4. (The prettiest/best SimCity IMO.)

A-Train Classic has the most appealing graphics of the series for me. BTW, you are objectively wrong: SimCity 3000 had the best graphics.

Wat? SimCity 4 is beautiful.

Did Maxis publish one of the A train games in the 90s?

The very first one I believe. I’m probably wrong.

I am so getting in on this humble bundle/

This is a good deal, though the content is awfully random & how good depends on what you already do / don’t have.

At $12, though, it’s worth it even if you’re only missing 1-2 items.


Yeah, I just did too, at the $12 level. I haven’t bought or messed around with any train sims since prolly the 2006 Trainz Railroad Simulator I’ve got sitting in the box here. I used to purchase pretty much anything that would let me drive a train, and then lost interest for some reason. And for $12, this looks like a good place to start again.