Trainz/Trainz modules

Fundamentals for Trainz Trainees

Introductory Trainz — page by page instruction
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About Trainz modules edit

Trainz is a software suite, a group of applications programs designed to work together. Many of these modules determine the run-time look-see-and-feel of the program, and others, such as the loader, and main menus (the same 'screen' in many versions) serve solely to help navigate between the other applications modes, while one like the launcher, can allow you to navigate to the Auran/N3V website urls particular to that version, the Auran forums, or to set global options—some of which need initialized, and others which can be left defaulted.

Some terms edit

  • API - Applications Program Interface, several Trainz Modules have parts which aren't full programs, but are menu-like API's. The two most often used will be the Options menu and the Session editor; you'll need to set up some stuff on the former, and then when we teach you how to drive a session, we'll show you how to snoop the session so you can drive sensibly before getting frustrated.

  • GUI - Applications Programs using a Graphical User Interface (implied is different from the Operating Systems). Technically, Windows and MAC OS-X are GUI's themselves, but Trainz run-time GUI's are why we run the product.

Key Applications edit

The main run-time applications the new user, or veteran Trainzer will see most often are:

  1. The Launcher - this is the program linked to by any automatically created shortcuts, such as one in Windows > Programs > Trainz-directory and your desktop icon will have created; they will open the laucher exe file (Trainz.exe) and put you into the Launcher menu API. Tip: Windows Programs, Program Files, X86 Programs, or other such names available by ⊞ Win and then LMBdrag+click are all shortcuts. These can be copied and duplicated, with a little Windows knowledge and Windows skill. In the N3V era, these are universally named Trainz.exe and are located in your install's root folder.
    1. Launcher > Options has various Tabs much like similar API's in Windows or the MAC, and so allows you to set-up Trainz for your monitor, your software license key for accessing the Download Station, and setup things like backups preferences, graphics drawing/rendering parameters, and other esoteric matters.
    2. 'Launcher' is set up as the way to also load the other main modules, so you can use it to reach Content Manager, or Launch the Trainz run-time GUI modules.
  2. 'Content Manager' or 'CM' - is the user's data base manager and interface with the Download Station. It's powerful enough we dedicate no less than three pages just to covering it in basic, intermediate and advanced topics pages. It is used to edit assets, archive or disable them, search for assets to load into the pick list API, and import or export assets content to and from the data base. It can also be used to delete assets from the Trainz Asset Database (or TAD), which is the only way a new user can mess things up, so don't delete until you've got the hang of things!
  3. Railyard - once called 'My Collection', is a module that let's you see rolling stock assets (Loco's and traincars) up close and personal. It also will display the description of the asset. Most veteran users pretty much ignore it.
  4. Main menu or 'Loader' is the gateway to the run-time GUI part of Trainz. It was overhauled into a different look-see-and-feel during the TS10 releases, but the basic functions, albeit with different buttons remain: Launch Surveyor or Driver.
    1. The newer look also has a button for 'Updating Content' (not recommended[note 1]), and for running the built-in tutorials, or navigating to the TrainzOnline Wiki[note 2] This makes those easier to find for the novice.
    2. In the Trainz—TS2009 menu, one merely selected Surveyor, Driver, or Scenarios[note 3]


Notes, Footnotes & References edit

Config.txt files are endemic and ever present in Trainz assets, for no asset can be defined without this type of Computer Science container. The keyword-value_of_key pairing must always be kept in mind in editing or creating Trainz content. The TrainzBaseSpec contains values and containers which are most common in asset defining config.txt files.  


  1. Blindly updating content (the mode of that button), just because the DLS has a newer version available is a good way to get trouble you can't trace. Better to update systematically by using CM to search for updates for a particular route and session, then do only those.
     • Verify there are no problems,
     • then do a next route/session update, etc.
     • This will prevent having 8-10 routes or sessions suddenly showing missing dependencies, because some updated asset uses payware components, NOT ON THE DLS. It happens, so take systematic small bites!
  2. Several new hyperlinks were added in the TS10-TS12 interface to ease access to the Trainz Wiki. We find it of limited usefulness to the newcomer, but the HowTo menu and it's listed HowTo pages will be of some use learning the software suite.
  3. On Scenarios - an obsolescent module type to program the interactive activities of Driver, replaced now-a-days by a better offshoot: Sessions. Writing Scenarios was tougher than authoring Sessions, so few have been written after the TRS2004 Hey-Day.





  • Most Importantly, your 'Trainz Manual'. If you didn't get a boxed DVD release, there is a PDF file manual in your install's ..root\extras folder, or a level down in a 'manuals' folder. Get that printed and read it early and often. It makes a great bathroom book for making good use of those idle times one sits on the bathroom throne!