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RailWorks review

Warning! This review may contain "tender behind" jokes


  • New routes
  • Extended view distances
  • Smarter AI trains


  • Relies on a lot of recycled parts
  • Some legacy signaling issues
  • Sound shortcomings

What does RailWorks have in common with a Class 57 diesel? Answer: both rely on a lot of recycled parts. The Class 57s – or ‘bodysnatchers’ as they’re known – were built with bits of the long-serving Class 47s. RailWorks is built with bits of 2007’s Rail Simulator.

If you own Rail Simulator and buy RailWorks you’re going to end up with a lot of content you already possess. The three English lines, the athletic Deltics, the downtrodden Duffs, the Deutsche Bahn stuff... it’s all essentially unchanged. This makes a recommendation a little problematic, but not impossible. The parts of RailWorks that are genuinely new (perhaps 20% of the total) pleased our inner train enthusiast, Norman, no end.

Norman loves that RDSL have provided another UK route, even if it is a fictitious one. Hedborough, a grimy Yorkshire branch line bustling with container, oil and coal traffic, is the perfect habitat for the sim’s best diesel yet, a craggy, claggy Class 37. Norman’s also rather taken with the extra US routes and rolling stock, not to mention the Heidi-flavored Seebergbahn line.

He’s pleased by the plumper scenario folders, extended view distances, and smarter AI trains, too. The only things making him scowl at present are some legacy signaling issues and sound shortcomings. For cab sway and evocative track music he still swears by free rival OpenBVE. With Microsoft’s promising train project as dead as the proverbial APT, and Trainz and MSTS looking increasingly haggard, it’s good to have a sim like RailWorks forging ahead. Albeit rather slowly.

Jul 21, 2009

More Info


For the very specialized audience a railroad simulator is meant for, this one has the goods, though repeats some things from its predecessor Rail Simulator.

US censor ratingEveryone
UK censor rating3+
Alternative namesRail Simulator 2
Release date12 June 2009 (US), 3 July 2009 (UK)
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