TRAINZ Railroad Simulator 2006 - Review

TRAINZ Railroad Simulator 2006
Ages: All

All right … All right &hellip I'll stop playing with the game and write the review!

If you (or someone you know) has ever loved trains, then you or they most likely still do, and TRAINZ Railroad Simulator 2006 will re-awaken that love. This is a really huge item (I think it would be an insult to call it a game), where you can ride many pre-constructed routes, assemble your own idea of rolling stock (engines, passenger cars, freight cars), play with the weather and time of day. You can control the speed of the trains, start and stop them, switch them around the tracks, and even run more than one at once. The box bills it as "the most realistic train simulaion ever" … which doesn't seem far fetched.

The simulator provides for several viewpoints: inside the driver's cab, tracking along right outside the train, in some cases riding inside of a passenger car, or set up any senic vantage point you would like. You can move around at will, change the angle and height of your eyeball and which car in a train you are tracking. Sounds accompany the trains, with the hum of diesel engines, the click of the cars on the tracks, the chug of steam locomotives. Of course, you can blow the whistle.

Most of the routes which are provided have been lovingly created, with trees, buildings, mountains, valleys, streams, bridges, tunnels - you name it. The autos on the roads also move along, and they stop at grade crossings when the train goes by. The attention to "physics" pays off, the speeds are realistic (and going too fast CAN result in a derailment!), and effects such as wheel slippage and coupler breakage can also occur during advanced operation. For really, really serious railroaders, you can set up schedules, make manifests of goods to be picked up and delivered, and run the train from the cab with all the controls appropriate to the engine you have selected, if the simplified mode is just not right for you. However, you do not get grease on your hands in either case.

I tried out the construction mode, and was quickly able to make a simple, home style 'layout' - a double track loop with some switches, and assembled two trains to run in opposite directions on the tracks.

This simulator comes with a huge number of 'assets' which you can use to create your own routes, and with an internet connection, you can access tens of thousands more. It does prefer a reasonably hefty PC to run on, as it is constructing the 3D scenery on the fly, and its operation can be a bit quirky - expect to spend some time reading the manual and learning all the features. Unlike physical model trains, you can fit the entire continent on the hard drive in your computer, and you don't have to move the tracks out of the living room when company comes. A perfect gift for that special parent or child, after you get your own copy, of course.

The one disappointment for me was that the routes were European and Australian, with a few from Canada, but essentially none from the US. I would really have liked to ride some route I was already familiar with. I guess I will have to build it myself (and then I can share it with the rest of the community). The websites for Merscom, Auran and Virtual Railroader will point you at other entheusiasts.

TRAINZ Driver Edition - Review

The 'companion' simulator, TRAINZ Driver Edition has a some of the routes, but does not have the constrution facility. For only 10 bucks, you can have some very nice railroading on your machine when you are not working.

Reviewed by: Lou - 11/06

  • TRAINZ Railroad Simulator 2006
  • Author: Auran Games
  • © Merscom $39.99
  • Platform(s): W98SE Me XP 2000
  • To Order: Win $17.98
  • To Order: Win $39.99/$9.99
  • Game Site: