I use Trainz and a simulator from Germany called EEP-X. They have converted the software to English and it's marketed by Steam under the name Railroad-X. Unfortunately the updates to the English version happen way after that of the German one, especially since the latest plugin will give us a scripting language.
I am new to this forum. I have been using TS 20xx for two years now. There have been some major improvements in that time. The two that help me the most are the Google Earth linkage, it is so much easier than the tile procedure that I used before. The other is the adjustable asset block for scenery.
Yes there are issues, but the program doesn't crash nearly as often and there is a robust and active group of users that can be reached on the RailworksAmerica.com and the uktrainsim.com forums.
I live and travel in a motor home and I am no longer able to have even an "n" gauge pike. Instead I have created a model of the United Railway branch of the Spokane, Portland and Seattle Railway in the 1940's in the TS 20xx simulator. I am a volunteer at L. L. "Stubb" Stewart State Park near Vernonia, Oregon and I use the simulation as a visual aid for a weekly talk about the Banks Vernonia State Trail that comes through our park. After my talk I turn the simulation on and let prospective junior (and senior) engineers take a train out for a spin. It is a great visual aid for giving folks a delightful dose of local history.
If any of this forum's members are local to Banks or Vernonia, or even the greater Portland Oregon area I would love to hear from you.
If you want the most user friendly PC set up TRAINZ is brilliant . . . you'll be running in no time. Microsoft Train Sim is so convoluted it will put you off sims altogether . Speaking from experience over the years ! I still use Trainz 2004 as the new ones don't copy over the tracks made with 2004 into them properly. Stick to 2004 version it'll last you years !
BMMECNYCJust wait until the next new thing comes out and they stop supporting it. READ and heed the warnings in the Steam forum about Railworks.
I see very few Run 8 users here, and that surprises me; I would think that its realism as far as the physics of real railroading is concerned would be extremely attractive to folks here. Yes, it is a simulator worthy of the name, not a game. Yes, it is not particularly user-friendly. Yes, it will punish you for not knowing how a real loco is operated. And yes, there are more locos, rolling stock, and scenery on other, older programs. So -- you will have to learn how the real thing behaves, and that will take some time and effort, involving some research and talking to real hoggers.
But it will all be worth it when you take BNSF's Q-CHISTO , a 6000' double-stack with four ES-44's down Tehatchapi Pass safely the first time!
For those addicted to MSTS, have you tried Open Rails, the freebie that can use all those MSTS files?