Train Simulator 2016 Now Chuggity-Chugging Away

2015 is not the year that Train Simulator makes its promised switch to the Unreal Engine 4. Instead, this year’s revision Train Simulator 2016 [official site] brings a small set of updates and a new selection of content for the base game. Even as Train Simulator updates go, this year’s seems pretty slim. An optimist might say that could indicate developers Dovetail Games are focusing on the new Unreal Engine TS, while a pessimist might say Dovetail are getting stingier. Me, I’d probably just invent two hypothetical people and use them to distract from my handwaving.

Train Simulator 2016 comes as a free update to TS2015, bringing a revamped user interface, better searching, and an update to the tutorialising Train Simulator Academy.

Train Simulator also comes as a new package you can buy, with a different set of routes and content included in the base game. You’ll get a historical journey down the Cornish Riviera in the age of Steam, some freight-hauling through a harsh and snowy land, and more. If you already own TS, I believe you can still simply buy 2016 to get this new stuff added to your collection.

At this point, I’d turn to Steam user reviews to get an idea of how people are receiving TS2016, but Train Simulator is one of those fascinating games where people who’ve played it for hundreds of hours will tell you it’s awful. Everything I’ve heard – and the little I’ve played – says TS has a whole load of problems, but it’s the biggest game in a niche market where people don’t have much choice. One can play it while disliking it because it’s the best you’ll get. Also, it must be hard to not feel you’re being mugged off when the base game is shoddy yet has literally thousands of pounds of DLC. Hmm!

In closing: if you want to get into driving virtual trains, this is wonky but one of your better bets; if you’ve played TS before, you know the score. TS2016 is on Steam for Windows at £25.49.


  1. trooperwally says:

    That trailer… seems like a piss take but I know there are few things more earnest than train geeks. But come on, “are you ready for the extreme?” – then the trailer shows you that the ‘extreme’ tension arises from monitoring dials with the implication that if things don’t turn out right the freight arrive at its destination behind schedule(!).

    • Hunchback says:

      This whole game series is a mystery to me…
      I always tell myself that there’s a special group of special people who DO get it and all this means a lot to them. So when i saw the “Extreme” part in the trailer and the dials and stuff, i again told myself that this all must be really intense… for some people.

      But yeah, i really don’t get this thing.

      • FurryLippedSquid says:

        I’m the same with the OMSI games (which seem to be quietly revered around these parts). I suppose, at least, you can steer the damn thing, but still…

    • charlesg says:

      Dovetail Games really have the worst marketing department. I was rather pleased to find out that despite its new “EXTREME” title, it’s still the same old game, which I actually consider quite relaxing, like OMSI or Euro Truck Sim. But I suppose that doesn’t sell very well.

      If you don’t like trains, this game will have little appeal for you.

  2. vorador says:

    You hit the nail on the head. The base game is completely barebones, and the DLC is a spit on the face.

    But still, people will buy it because if you want a modern train simulator, there’s very few choices.

    • rochrist says:

      If you /had/ all the DLC, you’d never be able to play it all in THREE lifetimes. It’s intended that you get the areas that /interest/ you.

  3. Premium User Badge

    Aerothorn says:

    I’m confused about all the DLC – can the community not just mod in additional tracks?

    • charlesg says:

      Yes. The steam workshop is full of free content, although it often requires you to own certain DLC for it to work. There’s some real gems on the workshop, such as Majestic Falls, but with the workshop being the way it is, it’s tricky to discover the good stuff.

      Then there’s also a big pile of free stuff not on steam. But here, too, they often depend on assets from specific DLC.

      I’m a big fan of link to

    • KastaRules says:

      When it comes to Train/Flight Sims, the community gets very little content for free unfortunately. Mostly it’s overpriced DLCs.

      I honestly hope that the add-on creators for Military/Racing/Truck Sims won’t follow this trend as well.

  4. damaki says:

    Until Trainz: a New Era stops being a laggy and ugly joke, Train Simulator 20XX is pretty much the only contender to the train simulation crown.
    The DLC thing is not as bad as it seems. Sure, the whole thing cost much. But if you were to buy everything, you would never have enough time to play the whole bundle of tracks and trains. You wait for discounts, you buy one or two of these that looks nice, then, you enjoy these.

    • charlesg says:

      Once you get over the idea that a game is somehow incomplete if you don’t own all the DLC, the vast amount available is actually a good thing.

  5. charlesg says:

    Damaki hit it right on the head: despite all its flaws, it’s the best train simulator on the market. Which is probably why Dovetail Games doesn’t really care about fixing the flaws, they’re already the best and they know it.

    One of my biggest issues is that the quality of DLC is all over the place. Some of it is good, some of it is bad. I’ve personally found the sound effects on trains to be most lacking – but there are exceptions.

    Some of the content contains obvious bugs, and often the community has created a patch to address these bugs. Which proves that most of these bugs are trivial to fix. Yet it is the community that provides the patch, not Dovetail

    Thanks to Steam refunds, this is now less of a problem, but it’s important to do your research before buying anything.

  6. buzzmong says:

    This game confuses me as a product.

    It might be because I’ve now been spoilt by DCS and its level of interactivity within its aircraft, but after firing this up for the first time last week after picking it up in the 2014 Christmas sale, I was suprised just how basic and buggy/unfinished a lot of it is.

    I know trains aren’t that complex and considering the price of each of the DLC, I was expecting more than just the basic modelling of the train systems that make it move or stop.

    Dozens of buttons in some of the trains yet they do nothing, plus what little interactivity is just bad at times. With one of the basic steam locos, it was basically impossible to alter the reverser using the mouse; on a couple of the diesels there’s a multi-way horn switch which will only operate in one way when clicked. There’s plenty more examples and it’s just poor.

    • buzzmong says:

      Also, seems if you buy 2016 you get some goodies, whereas if you previously own it and get upgraded to 2016 you get nothing extra.

      • CookPassBabtridge says:

        Its like they took the business model of FSX – base simulation plus endless stream of third party addons – and tried to repeat it for trains. The difference is FSX kind of eveolved into that almost organically, and Dovetail just repotted it into a fresh planter. I think thats why it comes off as cynical, especially as base TS is not on a par with FSX, no matter the latter’s memory issues and crash proneness. (Not that it bothers me much, being a P3D user).