Trainz/File formats

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The follow articles describe the format of various user-editable files used within the Trainz environment.


When creating files for use with Trainz, care should be taken to follow the specified format accurately. Even if a particular deviation from the documented format is permitted by the current game and tools, it may become disallowed in future versions as loaders are updated and validation techniques are improved.

Index of Trainz File formats

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The following pages are in the category:Trainz File formats:




Reading N3V File Formats

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If you develop software which reads these file formats, you should accept and ignore minor deviations where feasible, in order to future-proof your software. Base your file reader on the documented format, not the particulars of the current Trainz implementation.

  • It is far more likely that implementation-specific details will change between Trainz versions, whereas the file formats are typically extended but not often replaced.

Writing Binary Files

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There exist a number of binary file formats which are produced by N3V or by N3V-provided utilities and which are not formally documented. We strongly recommend that third-party developers do not write directly to these formats. N3V does not support any such tools or any files created by these tools. Reading from these undocumented binary formats is considered harmless but unsupported.

Copy Protection

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The use of any N3V binary file format should not be considered as a strong protection mechanism against snooping or modification except where specifically stated otherwise by N3V. Custom binary file formats are used to allow high-performance access to data from within the game environment. Security and obfuscation are neither primary not secondary goals for these formats, and N3V may provide mechanisms which convert from the binary formats back into "common" formats without prior notice.

It should be noted that the technical capability of reverse-engineering the contents of a file does not equate to the legal right to modify or distribute said file. Nonetheless, experimentation and adaptation of others' assets has a long tradition in Trainz communities, but recognize there is a difference between doing something experimental locally on your own computer, and that of doing such and uploading it—thereby violating strict international copyrights laws.
Bottom Line: Before modifying someone else's content and sharing it with anyone in any way, please seek the permission of the creator.
If you are in any doubt as to your rights in this area, please seek advice from a legal professional.
  • In general, copyright laws in English speaking nations that were formerly part of the pre-WW-II British Empire are much stricter and have far more serious penalties for violations than those found in North American cultures.