Trains in Games: EA’s Rail Simulator

Electronic Arts: Rail Simulator

HST Engine rendering from Rail Simulator

HST Engine rendering from Rail Simulator

I always wondered what I’d do if I weren’t doing my current job.  I could be an urban planner, but then I’d have to go back to school.  Or I could become a train driver.  Here was my chance to see if I would qualify.  I picked up a $10 copy of Rail Simulator to try my luck.

EA’s Rail Simulator is likely not a very popular game in North America.  I only happened to come across it at London Drugs and I thought what’s $10 for a video game.  I loaded it up and found out what the rail enthusiast’s answer to Flight Simulator was like.

I can tell you the game is a little too detailed at times and will often crash my Vista computer (I hate Vista).  However, it is sort of fun in a detail oriented way.  I played some of the smaller simpler missions like delivering commuters from one part of London to another.  My very first accomplishment was to send a First Great Western commuter train off the rails.  Not a good start to my train driver career, eh?

The game covers three different main scenarios:  Southern England, Germany, and California.  I haven’t tried too many of the scenarios. The fun part is to actually look at the scenery as your train speeds (or turtles) along the tracks.  Although, I can tell you that I have trouble stopping the train exactly within the confines of a train platform.  I keep undershtooting.

However, if you are looking for a really detailed rail simulation game, this game is for you.  Electronic Arts is still creating add-ons for the game, so there must be a following somewhere in the world, but probably not here in North America.  Here’s my wish to EA for one add-on.  Please create a Japanese scenario.  Apart from Europe, Japan is a very heavily train friendly country with large numbers of rail and train fans.


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