Microsoft Train Simulator

Microsoft Train Simulator

Cover Art
Developer(s) Kuju Entertainment
Publisher(s) Microsoft
Distributor(s) Microsoft, Ubisoft* Xplosiv, (Empire Interactive), * Atari,*
Director(s) Paul Chamberlain
Designer(s) Phil Marley
Programmer(s) Rhona Robson
Artist(s) Dan Frith
Tony Zottola
Platform(s) Microsoft Windows (XP, Vista, 7)
Release date(s) July 2001
Genre(s) Simulation
Mode(s) Single player

Microsoft Train Simulator (abbreviated to MSTS) is a train simulator for Microsoft Windows, released in July 2001 and developed by UK-based Kuju Entertainment.[1]


The simulation allows players to operate a train on various routes in Europe, Asia, and the United States. Players need to stop and start the train, couple wagons, using the computer mouse, keyboard or a hardware addition such as Raildriver to operate the controls. Sound effects are enabled.[2]


The original game featured six routes:

Route name Image Featured trains Rolling stock AI rolling stock Terminal stations miles km Set in Country Notes
Hisatsu Line JR Kyushu KiHa 31 KiHa 140 Yatsushiro to Yoshimatsu
via Hitoyoshi
53 85 2000/2001 Japan N/A
Innsbruck - St. Anton Orient Express Gölsdorf 380 Gölsdorf 310 Innsbruck to St. Anton 63 101 1930s Austria N/A
Northeast Corridor Amtrak Acela Express
Acela HHP-8
Philadelphia to Washington
via Baltimore
133 214 2000/2001 USA N/A
Marias Pass BNSF
Dash 9
SD40-2 (1.2)
Shelby to Whitefish, including Kalispell branchline N/A N/A 2000/2001 USA N/A
Settle-Carlisle Railway LNER
Flying Scotsman
BR Class 50 (1.2)
6100 Royal Scot
Pendennis Castle
Settle to Carlisle N/A N/A 1920s/1930s UK N/A
Tokyo - Hakone Odakyu Electric Railway Odakyu 7000 series LSE
Odakyu 2000 series
Odakyu 30000 series EXE Shinjuku to Odawara 55 88 2000/2001 Japan N/A

Included with the game was the Editors & Tools program, which allowed the user to build custom routes, create activities for any route, create custom consists, create custom cabviews, or edit the default ones. The Editors & Tools program is also included with later versions of the game.

Locomotives (1.0/1.2)

The 1.0 base package contains 9 drivable locomotives and multiple units plus 8 AI locomotives/multiple units (AI units cannot be operated by the player).

Train Image Ingame number Type mph km/h Built Country Route Livery(s) 1.0 1.2 Player driveable Notes
Flying Scotsman 4472 Flying Scotsman Steam 100 160 1923 UK Settle-Carlisle Railway LNER Green Yes Yes Yes N/A
Royal Scot 6100 Royal Scot Steam 90 145 1927 UK Settle-Carlisle Railway LMS Red Yes Yes No Features German-style smoke deflectors.
Pendennis Castle 4079 Pendennis Castle Steam 75 120 1924 UK Settle-Carlisle Railway GWR Green Yes Yes No N/A
BR Class 50 50015
Diesel 100 160 1967 UK Settle-Carlisle Railway BR Blue No Yes Yes N/A
Gölsdorf 310 310.23 Steam N/A N/A N/A Austria Innsbruck - St. Anton OBB Yes Yes No N/A
Gölsdorf 380 N/A 380.119 Steam 43 60 1911 Austria Innsbruck - St. Anton OBB Yes Yes Yes Cabview comes from Gölsdorf 180 steam locomotive
Dash 9 4723 Diesel 70 112 1993 USA Marias Pass BNSF Yes Yes Yes N/A
Genesis 705 Diesel 100 160 1994 USA Marias Pass
Northeast Corridor
Amtrak Yes Yes No N/A
GP38-2 2081 Diesel 70 112 1972 USA Marias Pass BNSF Yes Yes Yes N/A
SD40 7171 Diesel 83 134 1966 USA Marias Pass BNSF Yes Yes No N/A
SD40-2 8010 Diesel 70 112 1972 USA Marias Pass BNSF No Yes Yes N/A
Acela Express 2001 Electric 150 240 1998 USA Northeast Corridor Amtrak Yes Yes Yes N/A
Acela HHP-8 651 Electric 135 217 1999 USA Northeast Corridor Amtrak Yes Yes Yes N/A
Metroliner 620 Electric 90 145 1972 USA Northeast Corridor Amtrak Yes Yes No Uses Odakyu 2000 series sounds
KiHa 31 KiHa 31-12 DMU 60 95 1986 Japan Hisatsu Line JR Kyushu Yes Yes Yes Red interior (Blue interior in passenger view)
KiHa 31 Isaburo Shinpei KiHa 31-12 DMU 60 95 1986 Japan Hisatsu Line JR Kyushu Yes Yes Yes Blue interior (Red interior in passenger view)
Has headboards on its front and rear stating that it is the Isaburo Shinpei sightseeing train.
KiHa 140 N/A DMU N/A N/A 1977 Japan Hisatsu Line JR Kyushu Yes Yes No N/A
Odakyu 7000 series LSE N/A EMU 70 110 1980 Japan Tokyo - Hakone Odakyu Electric Railway Yes Yes Yes N/A
Odakyu 2000 series N/A EMU 60 100 1995 Japan Tokyo - Hakone Odakyu Electric Railway Yes Yes Yes N/A
Odakyu 30000 series EXE N/A EMU 75 120 1996 Japan Tokyo - Hakone Odakyu Electric Railway Yes Yes No Centre gangwayed cab cars never modeled. Uses end car 1 and 10 cabs instead.

Large amounts of post-release DLC was also distributed, providing routes, locomotives, wagons and sessios.

Gameplay issues

The original version contained many bugs. For example, the "front coupling bug", where the locomotive's front coupler would not work, the "white void bug", where the route scenery disappears, leaving a white void, and the "end-of-the-line bug", where the locomotive, if it crashes through the last buffers on the route, would fall into an empty void. There are also issues with the signalling and AI dispatching. The game is also notoriously unstable, with unusually high tendencies to hang or crash without reason, and display error messages incorrectly and/or at the wrong times. In many instances, out-of-place error messages, usually for missing files, will cause a crash at the wrong time. MSTS 1.2 addressed some of these issues.[3]


Version 1.2 added new items such as British and American rolling stock, namely the British Rail Class 50, British Rail Mark 1 Coaches, an EMD SD40-2 and general US freight cars, along with two new activities each for the SD40-2 and Class 50.


The game sold over a million units and is, despite its age, still very popular and has a large, active community.[4]


The game features mod support as routes, trains, cargoes, scenery, etc. are abundant in the game. The installment of the mods is quite tricky since they have to be loaded into set files like Routes for Routes and Trainset for Trains, rollingstock, consists, etc. Over 1000 mods were created for the game and are mostly hosted on large community sites such as, and, to name a few. Additionally, MSTS BIN, a community mod that aimed to add features and fix old MSTS bugs has since been released.

Microsoft Train Simulator 2

On May 7, 2003, Microsoft announced that it would be developing a sequel called Microsoft Train Simulator 2[5] and it was first demoed to the public at E3 on May 15.[6] Seemingly its main improvements were the addition of people to the game (e.g. passengers waiting at the stations, people operating the new locomotive roster, etc.), more realistic crashes and other accidents, and turntables. It was being developed by Kuju Entertainment, the original MSTS creators. Despite restructuring efforts at Kuju, the project was however handed over to Microsoft Game Studios on August 18, 2003.[7]

This project was ultimately halted, as the following statement on April 24, 2004 from Microsoft confirmed:

Microsoft Game Studios has halted the Windows-based game "Train Simulator 2.0." The decision to halt "Train Simulator 2.0" was made some time ago and was based on a long, hard and difficult look at our business objectives and product offerings. We remain focused on the simulations category with successful, platform-driving franchises such as "Microsoft Flight Simulator."

On January 19, 2007, Microsoft announced the relaunch of the Microsoft Train Simulator project. This time the game was being made in-house by ACES Game Studio (Microsoft Game Studios) known for its long line of Microsoft Flight Simulators, as a part of the "Games for Windows" initiative. The game would have used the Microsoft Flight Simulator X graphics engine and it was planned to be compatible with both Windows Vista and Windows XP. A post on the 'The Little Wheel Goes in Back' blog, written by one of the developers, on August 23, 2007 suggested the working title was 'Train Simulator 2'.[9]

On January 23, 2009, Microsoft announced that it was permanently closing ACES Game Studios, the internal development studio responsible for both Microsoft Flight Simulator and Microsoft Train Simulator. As a result, all future development on Train Simulator 2 (which was entering the final stages of development at the time of the closure) was immediately halted, marking the second time that the project was terminated. While Microsoft states that "they are committed to both the Flight Simulator and Train Simulator brands", it is unknown if the Train Simulator 2 project will ever be resurrected and completed sometime in the future. Many former employees of ACES Game Studios went on to join Cascade Game Foundry, a new company that was itself founded by two ACES alumni. Cascade Game Foundry focuses on developing entertainment simulations.[10]

Open Rails

Open Rails is a open-source freeware project launched, developed, maintained and nurtured by a team of volunteers and licensed under GPL.[11] Its project summary states the following:[12]

Open Rails is a train simulator that supports the world's largest range of digital content.
Accurate behaviour for steam, diesel and electric traction including trains with multiple locos.
Signals which correctly protect the train and permit complex timetabled operations.
Multi-user mode in which any timetabled train can be driven in person or by computer.

Key technical objectives are to be backward compatible with as well as extend all MSTS content.[13] It adds new features such as improved multiplayer and mouse controls along with a newer engine that has better graphics and more realistic physics than MSTS.[14] It is optimised to be able to take advantage of the features of newer CPUs, and can support more detailed models.

Open Rails 1.1 was released in 25 March 2016.[15] This release brings the following new features since Open Rails 1.0:[16]

See also


  1. Amazon sales page for MSTS
  2. Marchelletta, Courtney. "Fuill Product Review Microsoft Train Simulator". Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  3. Train Simulator Add-on page
  4. Hilliard, Kyle (6 September 2014). "Gears Of War's Rod Fergusson On the Franchise's Past And His Optimism For The Future". Game Informer. GameStop. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
  5. "Microsoft Train Simulator Review for PC". GameFAQs. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  6. "Train Simulator 2 Impressions – PC News at GameSpot". Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  7. "Microsoft takes over Train Sim 2 – PC News at GameSpot". Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  8. "Train Simulator 2 canceled – PC News at GameSpot". Archived from the original on January 30, 2009. Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  9. "The Little Wheel Goes in Back : Guter Tag von Leipzig!". Retrieved January 20, 2009.
  10. "The Simulation Game – games TM". Retrieved April 2, 2012.
  11. "Discover - Open Rails". Open Rails. Open Rails. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  12. "The Open Rails Open Source Project". Black Duck : Open HUB. Open Rails. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  13. "Discover - Our Mission". Open Rails. Open Rails. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  14. "Learn - FAQ". Open Rails. Open Rails. Retrieved 13 October 2016. Why does my train operate differently in Open Rails?
  15. "Milestones: Open Rails". Launchpad. Open Rails. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
  16. "Discover - Version 1.1". Open Rails. Open Rails. Retrieved 13 October 2016.
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