Microsoft Train Simulator (known in the Train Simulator community also as simply MSTS 1) is a train simulator for Microsoft Windows, released in July 2001 and developed by UK based Kuju Entertainment. On January 19, 2007 Microsoft informed the community about the development of Train Simulator 2 based on the Microsoft Flight Simulator X platform. However, with the closure of Microsoft's ACES Studios on January 23, 2009, development of the game was immediately halted making it highly unlikely that MSTS2 will ever be completed or released.
The simulation allows players to drive a train on various routes in Europe, Asia and the United States. Players need to stop and start the train, couple wagons, using the computer keyboard or a third-party add-on to operate the controls. Sound effects are enabled.
Version 1.0 features
The original game featured the Arlberg railway in Austria in the 1930s, with the Orient Express, the Settle to Carlisle Railway line, with the Flying Scotsman, the Northeast Corridor in the United States with Amtrak's Acela Express and Metroliner, the Northern Transcon (referred to in-game as Marias Pass) in the United States, and the Odakyu Odawara Line and the Hisatsu Line in Japan.
Included with Train Simulator was the Editors & Tools program, which allowed the user to build routes. Users could also create activities for any route, create custom cabviews, or edit the default ones.
Various third party modifications were made to add other locomotives and rolling stock. New routes, trains, sounds, cabviews, and other Train Simulator accessories are available either as freeware or payware from various websites and companies.
The original version contained many bugs. For example the "front coupling bug", where the locomotive's front coupler would not work, the "white void bug", where the route scenery disappears, leaving a white void, and the "end-of-the-line bug", where the locomotive, if it crashes through the last buffers on the route, would fall into an empty void. There are also issues with the signalling and AI dispatching. Some of these bugs could be either removed or avoided by applying "unofficial" user produced patches to the program. The game is also notoriously unstable with unusually high tendencies to hang, crash without giving reason, and display error messages incorrectly and/or at the wrong times. In many instances, out-of-place error messages, usually for missing files, will cause a highly undesired crash at the wrong time.
Version 1.2 features
This version added a few items of British and American rolling stock, namely the British Rail Class 50, British Rail Mark 1 Coaches, an EMD SD40-2 and general US freight cars.
A range of commercial and non-commercial add-ons for MSTS are available. These include route, activity, scenery, locomotives and rolling stock add-ons to the game.
The main producers of commercial add-ons are:
Making Tracks Online
These include: The Glacier Express, The London to Norwich section of the Great Eastern Main Line (Train Simulators flagship route), The Scottish Capital Express route from Edinburgh to Glasgow, the London to Bedford section of Midland Mainline, the London to Brighton Express, London and the South East railways, Mideast UK, the Nene Valley Railway, the Severn Valley Railway and many more.
In terms of non-commercial add-ons, Train-Sim.com has become the hub of the sites, with up to five new files daily and a thriving forum community. This site is where Port Ogden and Northern and Sea View 5, famous routes, originated.
UKTrainsim.com host a vast amount of content for the simulator, along with another thriving forum community. It is also possible to purchase community CDs of add-ons from them.
MSTS 1.0 today
Microsoft stopped publishing MSTS1 in the United States in 2005. Since then, the game is distributed in the US by Atari as value software. In the European Union, the game is distributed by Empire Interactive and Ubisoft. Ubisoft also distributes MSTS1 in small quantities in Australia. The Game is also distributed in Britain by Xplosiv, and can be found for a budget price in many video game retailers. Possibly due to its age, sites like UKTrainSim have released thousands of amenities such as trains, routes and patches.
Microsoft Train Simulator 2
On May 7, 2003, Microsoft announced that it would be making a sister game of MSTS called Microsoft Train Simulator 2  and it was first demoed to the public at E3 on May 15. Seemingly its main improvements were the addition of people to the game (e.g. passengers waiting at the stations, people operating the new locomotive roster, etc.), more realistic crashes and other accidents, and turntables. It was being developed by Kuju Entertainment, the original MSTS creators. Despite restructuring efforts at Kuju, the project was however handed over to Microsoft Game Studios on August 18, 2003.
This project was ultimately halted, as the following statement on April 24, 2004 from Microsoft confirmed:
|“||Microsoft Game Studios has halted the Windows-based game "Train Simulator 2.0." The decision to halt "Train Simulator 2.0" was made some time ago and was based on a long, hard and difficult look at our business objectives and product offerings. We remain focused on the simulations category with successful, platform-driving franchises such as "Microsoft Flight Simulator."||„|
On January 19, 2007, Microsoft announced the relaunch of the Microsoft Train Simulator project. This time the game was being made in-house by ACES Game Studio (Microsoft Game Studios) known for its long line of Microsoft Flight Simulators, as a part of the "Games for Windows" initiative. The game would have used the Microsoft Flight Simulator X graphics engine and it was planned to be compatible with both Windows Vista and Windows XP. A post on the 'The Little Wheel Goes in Back' blog, written by one of the developers, on August 23, 2007 suggested the working title was 'Train Simulator 2'.
On January 23, 2009, Microsoft announced that it was permanently closing ACES Game Studios, the internal development studio responsible for both Microsoft Flight Simulator and Microsoft Train Simulator. As a result, all future development on Train Simulator 2 (which was entering the final stages of development at the time of the closure) was immediately halted, marking the second time that the project was terminated. While Microsoft states that they are committed to both the Flight Simulator and Train Simulator brands, it is currently unknown if the Train Simulator 2 project will ever be resurrected and completed sometime in the future. Although Aces Studio has closed, they have reopened under the name of Cascade Game Foundry, and they are planning on continuing the Flight Simulator and Train Simulator Projects.
- Train simulator – reference article to other train simulator products.
- DailyTech - Microsoft Flight Simulator Devs Part of Job Cuts. www.dailytech.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-24
- Microsoft shuts down its Aces Studio. blog.seattlepi.nwsource.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-24
- Marchelletta, Courtney. Fuill Product Review Microsoft Train Simulator. About.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-20
- MSTSbin homepage. Retrieved on 2009-01-20
- Microsoft Train Simulator Review for PC: It's good, but It could be better..... A LOT BETTER - GameFAQs. www.gamefaqs.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-20
- Train Simulator 2 Impressions - PC News at GameSpot. uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-20
- Microsoft takes over Train Sim 2 - PC News at GameSpot. uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-20
- Train Simulator 2 canceled - PC News at GameSpot. uk.gamespot.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-20
- The Little Wheel Goes in Back : Guter Tag von Leipzig!. blogs.msdn.com. Retrieved on 2009-01-20
- Microsoft Train Simulator official website
- The original website of Microsoft Train Simulator 1
- Microsoft Train Simulator at the Open Directory Project