Guide to the Best Train Simulation Games

High Angle View Of Train In Countryside
Jayne Walters / EyeEm / Getty Images

Train sims bring the world of model trains to your desktop. These games allow you to manage railroad systems and sit in the engineer's seat. Whether you are business minded and want to expand a railroad empire, are fascinated by train technology and development, or you love the classic era of the railway boom, these train sims are packed with action and offer a variety of play strategies to match your style.

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Sid Meier's Railroads!

Sid Meier's Railroads Box Cover
Courtesy of Pricegrabber.

Time to get to work putting together railroad systems and getting them connected to run efficiently. Laying down a track and making sure goods and transported with ease is your main job. Sid Meier's Railroads! introduction of ​game concepts gives the game a low learning curve, making it great for new players to the genre.

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Chris Sawyer's Locomotion

Chris Sawyer's Locomotion Box Cover
Box Cover © Atari.

Based upon Transport Tycoon, the goal is to build a transportation system between cities. Transportation is not limited to only trains, it includes buses, ships, trams, and other methods. The graphics are outdated, the upside is that the gameplay is addictive.

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Railroad Pioneer

Railroad Pioneer Box Cover
Box Cover © JoWood Productions.

You are the owner of a railroad company in the 1800s. You must lay the tracks to connect cities together so they can trade goods and people can travel. 

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Railway Empire

Railway Empire for PC
Railway Empire for PC.

Create your own rail network in 1830's United States during the railroad boom. Buy railway stations, or build your own, and purchase trains from over 40 detailed types. Build your infrastructure, including factories and maintenance buildings, develop new technologies—there are more than 300 available—to improve efficiency and service, provide tourist attractions to keep your company ahead of the competition, and keep it running on time by hiring and managing a workforce.

Railway Empire takes through five different eras of railroad innovations and features industrial espionage and sabotage as ways to keep your empire ahead of the pack.


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Microsoft Train Simulator

Microsoft Train Simulator
Microsoft Train Simulator.

Microsoft Train Simulator gives you the opportunity to be in the engineer's seat for over nine trains. You can even make your own routes and activities. Train Simulator was released in 2001, was a great game for its time, but still offers a fun and challenging experience. 

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Railroad Tycoon 3

Railroad Tycoon 3
Railroad Tycoon 3.

Railroad Tycoon 3 offers gameplay that has changed from previous versions. In this version, the campaigns provide you with goals to be completed a certain way. There are 25 scenarios to play through.

Railroad Tycoon 3 provides a world editor that allows you to modify landscapes.

You'll need to secure enough capital to build your own railway company, but once you have it up and running, you can take a step back to fully appreciate your creation using the games full on 3D layout with Pop Top design.

While Railroad Tycoon 3 is a good game, the economic system is far from perfect.

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Trainz Simulator 12

Trainz Simulator 12
Trainz Simulator 12.

Trainz is a long-running series of railroad simulator games, and this version opens up gameplay to include other players from around the world.

You can operate railroad networks with friends in the multiplayer game, design and build your own railroads with the editing tool, plus find and use hundreds of thousands of assets created by other players.

And, of course, you can feel the thrill of controlling your own powerful locomotive as you drive through cities, towns, and the countryside.