From Wikibooks, open books for an open world
Jump to: navigation, search
Fundamentals for Trainz Trainees

Trainz Annotated Reference Pages
TOC | BeginningsFun | AM&C | Creation | InBook Refs ORP Refs:  • Index • Containers • Kinds • Tags | Appendixes  • Vers
Loupe light.svg
  Mouse use
Shows 'extra content' in TRS2006 style Surveyor or Driver menu with ability to select both Route and Driver sessions to edit or Drive via the RHS Drop Down Menu.
* Driver drop down is shown selecting the payware Marias Pass Steam Session (one of nine) on the route Marias Pass.
* The RHS pane shows file structure of a veteran's TRS2006 install. "$" prefixed folders and 'FAT_local' are non-standard utility folders.
To enter Driver:
1) you must enter and then pass this menu from the Main Menu which replaced the TRS's Launcher Menu'.
 • Clicking on the double arrowhead to the right of the Session counts, one enters the Driver Menu.
 • The bottom pane gives the route creators description of the Route and it's attractions.
Trainz Driver Session Menu TS10 & TS12-style, Listing Sessions, and the first new routes seen since The TR's.
To enter Driver:
1) you must enter and then pass this menu from the Main Menu, which listed the routes and counts of sessions on it.
 • Clicking on the double arrowhead to the right of the Session counts, one enters the Driver Menu.
 • The bottom pane gives the route creators description of the Route and it's attractions.

About Driver[edit]

Trainz Driver is the part of the Trainz program suite that allows you to control trains on a layout and is the 'really doing things' (missions) or interactive 'Gameplay' part of the software system, and the part the new Trainzer first becomes comfortable with.


The Trainz Driver, a virtual reality GUI module is the active gameplay mode of Trainz, and the one New Trainz users will experience first. It may surprise the new user—Driver is probably the least used of the three main Trainz run-time modules by the dedicated Trainz ethusiasts—who are more likely Creating content, such as building that dream prototype railroad route, and it's special assets.

Most avid Trainzers are dedicated hobbyists who prefer and enjoy the many seductions of the creative side of the hobby to the entertainment side, not that we don't drive, just not all that often in relative terms. OTOH, there is a strong core of Trainzers with ten years of Trainzing who do nothing but drive. Trainz has the flexibility to satisfy all the shades of grey in between the two extremes.

Yet Driver skills will come into play as necessary skills if you do want to play, and some of us play so much we buy fancy expensive video cards able to drive three widescreen monitors, and expensive console controllers which mimic a real locomotives cab controls.  

Operations and scenarios[edit]

Trainz Operations can be as simple as driving a light engine around a circle of track or as complicated as operating a large marshaling yard, with many different trains arriving for you to manage by giving the AI Drivers apropos commands hopping busily between consists, directing the railyard operations.  

To be a Session or a Scenario,
... that is the question...

Driver game play adventures, designed 'scenarios' in the standard sense the word are called Sessions as opposed to Trainz Scenarios (the latter sense capitalized herein, an older tech[note 1]) with titles depending on the technology of how they are constructed. But regardless of their classification and or identifying data base keywords in the Trainz Data Model, both are the scripted interactive activities using a special extensible C-like GameScript programming language—making canned activities presenting Driving challenges[note 2]

Most such scenarios, of whichever data class, put you into the cabin of the locomotives and usually require you to perform to some "task and standard" (e.g. keep to a schedule, this type of drive is frequently scored, so you can beat your former best) or sort and place traincars in the correct places Switching scenarios) and many combinations of these in problem solving and skills hurdles. One might think driving a vehicle stuck between two rails with no way to turn to be simple, and perhaps easier than turning a supertanker—banish the thought, for the Trainz physics model lends realism to the task which increases significantly in difficulty as that loco adds a few cars of a consist, and increases again and again every time more cars are added, or get loaded and changes again when they get unloaded. Trainz will keep you on your toes.


Camera view, Camera position, Camera mode
Camera location, directional angles from that co-ordinate axis, and zoom are how we see inside the Trainz virtual world—they define a viewpoint from which we observe, all generated by the graphics engine. They place us within the game graphics.

Driver has four camera viewpoints or 'camera modes':

  1. 1 selects an Internal camera— there most often will be more than one; you know you're in an early loco model when there aren't at least five. Use [+] to select by toggling between them.
  2. 2 selects an External camera, this is attached to the consist somewhere and moves with the train, use + / - to select which traincar the camera follows by scan-toggling between them. This mode normally starts on the engine so - will move the camera towards the rear of the Train. This is also the camera mode in Railyard.
  3. 3 selects the Tracking Camera mode. This is a camera in a fixed location the route designer places in the world with a viewpoint to showing the Train externally either at a fixed direction & angle, or which stays in place, but stays focused on the train and rotates (tracks) to stay locked on the targeted car. Use ++- as in camera mode 2 to view a different anchor car.
  4. 4 selects the Free Camera mode, and is arguably the feature which lead to Trainz successful growth. This is also the Camera mode used in Surveyor and it's focal point is always at the center of your display.
     • The Mouse, mouse wheel, and keyboard arrow keys , , , & are used to position, zoom, and move this camera about including through objects.
     • Use RMBh and drag the tool pointer (cursor) right, left, up or down screen away from screen center to slide the camera around, or rotate the view angle. (Surveyor Options settings dependent, customize to suit self: two controls pan and rotation)
     • This lets us use LMB and clicks using the 'mouse pointer' (tool tip) to operate junctions, turn valves, turn the DCC Mode dial, operate slider controls, and generally toggle or select button options, and like actions.


There are four main camera modes available in Driver to allow you to enjoy your train from any angle. The external camera and free camera modes also allow tipping of the view—in effect letting you use your galactic conqueror's anti-gravity belt to fly and look down at the scene of interest. All but the tracking camera allow zooming using a mouse wheel rotation or key board. The modes are switchable by mouse click or hotkeys;the camera control buttons are situated on the top right of the Driver screen, just below the game time, current speed and speed limit indicators. From left to right and correspond to hotkeys 1 to 4, they are, Cab View, External View, Tracking View and Free or Roaming View. Some scenario writers will lock out one or more of these, to increase the driving challenge. Coupling a consist, once you get a little practice from the external mode a bit above and Trainz and Trainz UTC didn't have the Free Camera mode at all.  

  1. Cab View seats you in the cab of the locomotive, and allows you to operate the cab controls when in cab mode both or either using the mouse or keyboard control keys. Some mouse tool-tip operations have an advantage over hotkey controlling, notably braking operations, throttle adjustments, and especially in that later class, the fine tuning of the controls of a steam loco called the Collective and Reverser—which together make driving the 'Iron Horses' of the first hundred and thirty years of railroading something of an art.
  2. External View allows you to view your train from any angle while still retaining operating capability using the hotkeys, but the train remains in the centre of view and the camera revolves around it, including pitch rotations allowing looking down or up at it. To select a different vehicle simply click it. The mode also support successively connecting to the next car ahead (+) or the car behind (-) which if pressed and held, will visually let you experience riding a motor cycle from the caboose to Cab or vice versa. All the while, still using a heads up display to monitor your controls and instruments.
  3. Tracking Camera View allows you to watch your train from any of the tracking cameras placed around the route. These are implemented as essentially fixed viewpoints placed in surveyor; they don't move but as a choice made by the route creator can pan or remain showing a fixed view depending on the type of camera used. When the selected train is not in sight of any tracking cameras, the view reverts to external view until it is in range of another.
  4. Roaming or Free View was introduced in TRS2004 and the powerful feature is in all later versions. The Free Camera operates exactly as the Camera mode in Surveyor and allows you to move the camera in any direction using the arrow keys, without being anchored to anything. It is possible to zoom in and out using this view, and to pan or tilt; the pan and tilt is the same as elevating your View giving a bird's eye view and ability to fly and explore rapidly. In the TS10/TS12 releases rotating the bird's eye viewpoint up to look down while zooming far enough back (to see a panorama or wide view) will at one point transition the view into a large map view or spy plane's viewpoint (but without the clouds).

Trainz Controls Modes[edit]

In Driver it is possible to control trains in two ways: either DCC mode or Cab mode. When launching a driver session you are often asked which one to use, and then Trainz Driver operates in your chosen mode, what used to be—for the remainder of the session—but it is now possible to use the GUI Options Drop down menu to switch to the other mode (Session writer permitting).   Both modes have a set of hotkeys (cheat links to the page top-right) which allow keyboard control as well as mouse RMBh+drag tool-tip modes, which are arranged to be very intuitive and so the same key has a similar function in every mode and locomotive type. In fact, the major key controls are a double set—one for left handed and right handed drivers and flipped mouse modes.  

Driver controls, and this should be no surprise given a bit of thought, and driver operations will vary somewhat in CAB mode; in particular when in a different locomotive and especially between steam locomotives and diesel-electric classes. Electric locos also have a somewhat modified throttle set-up, having (correctly modeling) real prototype throttles with 32 instead of the 8 throttle settings of a Diesel or diesel-electric.  

One seemingly, but in time pressured situations, then not so trivial difference is British locomotive and railway conventions have the operator on the left side of the cabin, drive with oncoming travel to their right side, and have signals on the left side of the tracks (normally to the outside on double trackage corridors).  

In contrast, the fast accelerating, quick stopping, short consists result in light rail and commuter locos (people movers) which often have the operating controls centered, and the North American convention has the operator on the right side of the cabin, the signals right, and oncoming traffic normally passes on the left. Light rail and metro commuter services conventions are more situationally-driven for such railways often have tight turns and constrained track spaces (i.e. in tunneled caverns under cities!) so signalling can be found in such tight quarters any side, and travel directions depend more on the needs of connections with spur lines than on ideal main line practices, but with a nod to the national convention if, and where possible.

The British and American conventions were born in the age of Steam locomotives, and each convention also places normal trackage used for express travel to opposite sides and so also the signals relative to the direction of forward travel.

Happy smiley face.png

It has been said many times, and will no doubt be oft repeated in the years ahead... there is driving on the right side—the North American convention of driving the mainline to the right of on coming traffic—and then there is driving on the wrong side!


DCC Mode[edit]

File:Split screen Pictures of Trainz TS12 DCC mode views-In CAB and external camera camera modes
Split screen of DCC mode views-In TS12 CAB and external camera camera modes.
File:Split screen Pictures of Trainz TS12 CAB mode views-In CAB and external camera camera modes
Split screen of DCC mode views-In TS12 CAB and external camera camera modes.

DCC mode is designed to operate with a less realistic physics model than Cab mode, and is useful for people who wish to have a play with a layout or manage a lot of trains without getting too in-depth in operations with one particular locomotive. Route builders will often tour their developing route to spot places which are in need of further attention, to see if that panorama is as stunningly beautiful as they'd intended.

File:Trainz TS2012 DCC mode Heads up display and control buttons
Trainz TS2012 DCC mode Heads up display and control console buttons.
  • DCC mode essentially operates like a model train set - to move your train you drag with your mouse tooltip to manipulate a circular dial - where moving it clockwise is (usually) forwards and anticlockwise is (usually) backwards. The further away from the 12 o'clock position you move the dial, the faster your train will both accelerate and stabilize at speed in that direction under the relaxed physics modeling of DCC mode.
  • The mass and momentum of a train or consist has reduced effects giving a lessened degree of difficulty to driving. This has been termed an arcade style of game play, and the mode is useful for figuring out how to beat a tough session before returning to the greater realism and difficulty of CAB Mode.
  • This mode is often used by route builders and session writers to debug a route and establish degree of difficulty parameters and time-test obsticles, like loosing the right of way to an on coming train using the mainline when you were just settling into a comfortable speed—oops! Time to exercise those braking skills! Surprise!


CAB Mode[edit]

Steam Locomotive in Cab Mode — most of the labeled items respond to mouse LMBH+drag to control.
Main controls (Diamond labels) are:
1 Injectors - add water to boiler 2 Air Brake - Lever controls brake pipe system to whole train's distributed braking system.
3 Throttle - Lever, gates gross flow rate into the Steam Dome where 2nd throttle, the collective (4) gates amount of pressure in the steam dome to the pistons.
4 Blower - Variable air injection into firebox causing faster combustion and hotter heating, or slower burning and lesser heating.
5 Collective or Reverser - Lever deviation from center (0% or closed) controls the amount of each cycle where steam dome pressure is gated to the cylinder slide valves; -75% of cycle is reverse, +75% of cycle is forward, 75% being maximum power possible.
Various gauges, controls not labeled.
CAB meaning Cabin Mode
The more realistic and more challenging of the two driving modes in Trainz.

Train consists in CAB mode operate very differently for the full physics of each traincar is simulated, as is the delay for the air brakes systems versus train lengths come into play and to begin to have significant effect, as does wheel slippage on the Locos, speed of acceleration, over heating the power plant, having failures and a host of other Real World physical modeling that is one of the attributes of Train simulators where once, 'for a long while,' Trainz software separated itself ahead of other competing packages.[notes 1]

In Cab Mode the user can operate the driver's controls inside the 3D virtual cab by Click-N-Drag with the mouse, as well as use a superset of the hotkeys that are available in DCC mode; most of which operate similarly but with a few important differences, and there are a few other differences driving locomotives with Diesel, Diesel-Electric, Electric, and Steam Loco prime mover technologies.

Cab mode involves operating locomotives from their cabs and pulling levers and pressing switches for reversers, regulators, brakes and other controls, just like on a real locomotive. Instead of the DCC dial you get the Heads Up Display, which displays useful information such as throttle position, brake position and brake pipe pressure. Driving locomotives in cab mode is discussed in detail elsewhere in this Wikibook.  

See pages:

Managing Multiple Trains[edit]

At the bottom left of the Driver screen in TRS2004 and above is a portrait of a man. He is the driver for your train. If you have placed multiple trains with AI Drivers then you can click above your consist's driver-portrait to expand the left bar to show the drivers for the other locomotives in the session and then double-clicks to select them and their trains.

P train grey.png
Pragmatic Driving tips: If the other consist is distant (and with Trainz he might be hundreds of miles off far down the map!) the graphics engine will likely stagger, for it must create the virtual world of the new context for you to witness. In such a case, either wait, or better yet pause and stretch your legs. While the redraw will be fairly quick, stabilizing the simulation will speed the restart of operations and you can take a leak or grab a Coca-Cola or beer! In the newer Trainz, you should be able to Pause, then switch loco's/consists.

To operate two or more trains simultaneously is relatively straightforward - of course the easiest way is to simply set each locomotive up to run and leave them to it. The problem with this method is that the locomotives will simply travel until either the session ends, you stop them manually or they derail - they will not obey switches, signals or buffers. This is where your drivers come in handy.

The most effective way to run multiple trains in a session is to give orders to the drivers. The long rectangular pane at the bottom of the Driver screen shows the orders for the currently selected driver. The symbol closest to the driver's portrait is his current order, with other orders progressing from left to right across the pane. To assign an order to your driver simply right-click in the order pane and choose an order from the menu. The most common orders are 'Drive To', 'Drive to Trackmark', 'Drive Via Trackmark' (In TS2009 and later the word 'Navigate' is used instead of 'Drive'), 'Load' and 'Unload'. When carrying out orders. the drivers will drive the train, keep to the speed limits and obey signals. They will also change switches (turnouts/points), provided that the path is clear and that no other driver is already in control of them. The degree of success to which drivers execute their orders is largely dependent on how effectively the layout is signalled and tracked. Whilst carrying out orders the driver is in control of the train - the DCC control or HUD is inaccessible. To go back to manual control tell your driver to 'stop train'; He will bring the train to a standstill and the DCC control or HUD will reappear.

Scenarios and sessions[edit]

Driver Scenarios were modular interactive scripted software elements which acted as a adjunct to Trainz Driver, and provided the first game experience offering task challenges, scoring, and switching operations. Crude ability to load and load trains off-camera enabled distribution of cars and then picking up the same during the same gaming session; this involved substituting whole train consists, and was dependent upon the earliest cars equipped with queues containers and their load sub-containers, as well as the first versions of the script libraries, now so much a part of Trainz. Sessions supplanted use of scenarios as the TrainzScript module was not directly integrated into the game, whereas the session editor was part of Surveyor.

Trainz Driver Sessions are scripted Driver activities that create an interactive game play episode with tasks, conditions, and standards set by the Session creator. Sessions were introduced in Trainz 2004 as a better, easier user friendly replacement for scenarios. Sessions are written using the Session editor API in Surveyor, so were integrated into the game with mini-map features visible, and so easier to make than scenarios which used a separate TrainzScript editor module.  


main topic coverage: Scenarios

Scenarios were available from Trainz 1.3 (Trainz updated to SP3) into TS12[note 3], but some older scenarios were sometimes defeated (unrunnable, though CM was happy to import them) by changes (usu. mandatory values checks or defines not present in Trainz, UTC nor TRS2004—so had incurable faults) in the script libraries of newer Trainz releases.

Unlike their functional replacement, Sessions, writing a Trainz scenario relied upon the external Auran application TrainzScript, and relied upon a much higher needed level of programming ability and knowledge.

Support for Scenarios will not be continued after TS12's service packs.  


main topic coverage: sessions

Sessions came about because the Trainz of the day had trouble keeping context when switched back and forth from the Scenario editor and Surveyor modules, where one had to track what was to happen step by step. The solution was to incorporate the necessary scripts as other Rules configurable in the Session Editor API added to TRS2004 and up, along with an expansion of the standard script libraries made part of Trainz after Trainz 1.3[note 4]. This was not, and is still not an optimal solution, but it beats returning to Trainz Surveyor and only having a black screen displayed, or a disconnected mouse.

Other Controls[edit]


Switches (also known as turnouts or points) are controlled by a large set of arrows over them, the current selected path (left or right) is shown by the green arrow. It is possible to have a maximum of 3 diverging tracks from a switch, and in that case there are three arrows. Click the set of arrows to select which path to take. By default, no current version of Trainz uses with animated turnouts with blades due to the way that track is laid in Surveyor. Hpwever third party-created animated turnouts are available from the DLS, although they work in a slightly different way. If you click a switch and the direction does not change, there could be one of three reasons why:

  • 1) Your train is standing too close to or on the turnout and therefore the switch cannot be changed in case of derailment.
  • 2) You are not clicking in the right place. Particularly with later versions of Trainz and in areas densely populated with switches, you may find that the wrong switch is moving. Try readjusting your camera angle and try again.
  • 3) The switch is currently under the control of an AI driver because his path takes him in that particular direction and he's close by. Find which driver is causing the problem, tell him to 'Stop Train' to regain control of the switch and the tell him to 'Continue Schedule' once that you are clear. If you obey the signals of a layout that is well signalled, this problem should be rare.
  • From TS2012 upwards a yellow padlock icon indicates when a switch has been 'locked' by a train - either because a manually controlled train is too close or an AI driver has called a route across it.


Although not technically a control, signals are of course worth mentioning as a basic feature of Driver. Trainz features two basic types of signal, the modern colour light and the traditional semaphore. Signals are generally placed in 'blocks', but this is covered in more depth elsewhere in this wikibook. A feature of Driver is that if you hover your mouse over a signal aspect, Trainz will explain why the signal is showing that aspect. This is especially useful when a train reaches a signal at 'danger', as you can hover your mouse pointer over the signal to find out why it is at danger. Driver will then say for example, 'block is in use by another train'. If you then click on the red aspect, Driver will take you to the cause of it; for example in this case Driver will focus on the train currently fouling the block. The same system also works of the line is closed - Driver will take you to the closed turnout so that you can change it if required.

Couple/Decouple mode[edit]

There is no overt control to enable coupling—it is always enabled unless a session rule has the specific traincar couplers locked. This rule is rarely used, and observed mainly in some older tutorials written by the old Auran Development 'Brew Crew'.  

Decoupling mode

Decoupling can be activated by mouse click on the decouple button or more speedily and easily by using the hotkey CTRL+D. Should one enter decouple mode, using the mouse tooltip near a coupling of a pair of traincars will show that coupler pair in red with an exaggerated red icon; if one changes one's mind, or wishes to recouple some pair just decoupled by mistake, retoggle the coupling mode on, highlight the same coupler pairs and click to restore connections between the two traincars.

Basic Driving in DCC Mode[edit]

By another name: (simulated) Digital Command Control. The simpler of the two driving modes in Trainz. The 'DCC' term comes from the world of model railways where DCC chipsets automate railcar behaviors, but in Trainz, really applies to the dial type controllers used in electric powered Model Railroading, and copied as a mode in the game/simulator.

In Trainz, the term refers to a simulated dial controller or the 'power pack' that will be somewhat familiar to anyone that has played with a typical (non-Lionel) model railroad such as H.O. Scale trainsets from toy and department stores. This can be moved with LMB+drag operations to rotate clockwise or anti-clockwise, which with a standard set up speed-up more in the forwards-direction, or speed-up more in the reverse-direction. If the dial is half rotated, or some large rotation, the opposite rotation just slows the train, the top, or twelve-O'clock position corresponding to no throttle, which in DCC will also be 'stop-the-train', as well.

In CAB mode (and assuming a standard QWERTY keyboard arrangement) the keys in the four slanted-vertical columns under the 14 keys all have something to contribute to driving a trains Locomotive. In DCC, only those under the 2 key, the slanted column W, S and X do anything to control train motion. These have near equivalent throttle effects in CAB mode, so getting the two confused is unlikely.

  1. The W key, advances the throttle forwards, but with finer control than using the mouse to rotate the dial clockwise. So it speeds up train motion, or slows reversing motion.
  2. The S key, is a panic button of sorts, it immediately returns the dial to twelve-O'clock, so stops the train (hopefully before you derail) abruptly.
  3. The X key, rotates the throttle counter-clockwise, so if moving at speed, slows the train moving forwards, or speeds it up going in reverse; again with a smaller rotation notch than is easy to achieve with the mouse on dial operation.

Last but not least, the DCC Mode greatly simplifies the physics of driving a long train, but does not protect you from spastic activities. While juking the dial control to high accelerations may work fine in the tutorials and some "Easy" class scenarios, there are game physics Rules under the control of the session writer, and quite a few of those look with frowny faces on spastic behaviors which would, in a real train, break couplers or cause a derailment.

So long as a session is gamed in an arcade physics level, rapid changes in the accelerations from dial changes are not likely to bite you, however... if you form that bad habit, be prepared to spend time replaying a scenario you'd almost finished then messed up by such maladroit insensitivity to real train behavior. You've been warned. The surest way to have success with this simulator is to always drive with care, meaning accelerate carefully in small bites—and think two to five steps ahead. Sometimes the later, means working it out on paper first. (My, how old fashioned! But if you fail to plan, you are planning to fail!)

Other Screens[edit]

Map View[edit]

Map View shows a 2d birds-eye representation of the layout and all consists on it. It can be useful for learning a new layout or navigating a complex one—provided you develop the skills to interpret the symbols, notations, and more usefully, know how to toggle them on and off, so things cluttering the view disappear and stop confusing the view. The Map View button on the bottom right of the Driver screen, but if you're like most of us, will find the hotkeys M or CTRL+M far more useful. The keys operate as toggles, so shuts it off as well; the CTRL+M hotkey opens and closes the mini-map in Surveyor, so using that becomes habit for route builders since M has other uses ('Move' something) in various Surveyor tools and doesn't work there for maps. Key Map controls, all act as toggles:



In TRS2004 and later, the interactive industries, when they get below a certain stock level, send a waybill (shipping order) to the waybill menu which can be opened by mouse click in the lower right corner of the screen. These show you where products are most needed, and can be used in free play.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. Scenarios capability, has been discontinued in Trainz: A New Era out in late 2014
  2. The newer term, sessions are based on the phrase Driving session, meaning an scenario organized as an episode designed to run in one sit-down or Driving session from beginning to end. Sessions are also a class of Trainz asset {" kind profile"), which have the data keyword "profile" as the value of their KIND tag, a keyword-value pair, like most Trainz data elements.
  3. Scenarios were available from Trainz 1.3 (Trainz updated to SP3) into TS12... but based on personal experience, often older scenarios were unrunnable in newer Trainz releases, (though CM was happy to import them from the DLS then evaluate them with having faults) because of code incompatibilities. Changes (usu. mandatory values checks or defines [variable initializations]) not present in Trainz, Trainz UTC nor TRS2004—so had incurable faults in the eyes of newer CM's, since the Trainz Scenarios code was unavailable to tweak and fix). As John Citron would indubitably say of the programmer's: "They fixed it!", while meaning the opposite. Running these, are one reason to keep an older version of Trainz healthy and running.
  4. A version by version differential comparison of these using freeware tool kdiff3 shows the script libraries have been astonishingly stable, Trainz release to Trainz release, with at worst, half a dozen script files showing changes. Explorations by computer engineer/author, Fabartus