Diesel Railcar Simulator – Route Guide

Route Editor How to Use? Start the route editor from the main menu either by right-clicking […]

Route Editor How to Use?

Start the route editor from the main menu either by right-clicking on an existing route or by clicking on the “Route editor” button in the route list. The second option starts the editor with an unsaved minimalist route template which you can clear by removing the track nodes (the small squares) if you want to start from scratch.

Use the free roam key [8] and the map key [9] to switch between 3D and 2D views. Camera movement in the 3D free roam mode works the same way as in the actual driving simulation. The keys are configurable. Scroll the 2D view by holding down the right-hand mouse button. Zoom using mouse scroll wheel.

Try right-clicking on things or empty space to do stuff, the same way as you’d do in the timetable editor. The editor is divided into infrastructure (tracks, signals etc.) and scenery modes which you can switch from the right-click popup menu.

In general, the left-hand mouse button accepts or confirms things or moves to the next phase. The right-hand mouse button cancels or moves back to the previous phase. In some editing modes you can also hold down the left shift key for alternative behaviour: for example, when creating a siding you can snap and align the siding to follow the main track.

Don’t forget to save often [CTRL+S] if you’re doing any serious route building with the editor. It’s also a good idea to make backups of your route folder.

It’s ok to save a copy of the existing routes included with the game and continue from there, making your own version of them and uploading them to the workshop.

The editor may hang or stutter when opening the editing popup menu and making changes to the tracks or scenery in 3D-mode. In 2D-mode the hangs should be less noticeable.

There’s no built-in route removal feature (to be added) but you can see where the route folder is located in the route properties window and manually remove the folder and the files within.


The editor starts in the infrastructure editing mode. To switch back to infra editing from the scenery mode, right-click on empty space and choose “Switch to infra editor”.

You can use the editor to create routes similar to the existing ones (UK, semaphore signals). Since the scenery features are still quite limited, the editor is best suited for creating urban and suburban routes. It’s not yet possible to customise the signals, the appearance of the track, or use your own scenery items (3D-models).

Laying Tracks

Right-click on empty space and choose “Add track”. Left-click to place track nodes or right-click to cancel the most recent one. Hold down the left shift key to force the track go straight. Put the last node twice in the same place (which is essentially the same as double clicking) to complete the track.

The track nodes can be freely moved, lifted and rotated afterwards. Hold down the left shift key to move a node in straight line or to snap the direction of the node to 22.5 degrees. When lifting a node, hold down left shift to sample the terrain elevation under the mouse pointer or snap the pitch.

Removing a node from the end of the track shortens the track. Removing from the middle of the track bypasses the node instead of cutting the track in two pieces. See “splitting” if you need to cut the track.

Track nodes can be bound individually to other tracks. If you move or change the shape of a track, nodes bound to it will also move. If the two nodes of a track section are bound to the same other track, the track section follows the shape of the other track. Avoid binding tracks mutually or in a cyclical manner as this can yield unexpected results. (Warning: the beta version of the editor can crash in this situation!)

Holding down the left shift key while moving a bound node will move it in steps. You can change the snap/step/jump distance by right-clicking on empty space and selecting snap properties.

Track end buffers are created automatically and cannot be customised yet.

Turnouts & Sidings

Right-click on an existing track section or a node to create a siding. The siding can loop back to the main track or another track, or it can be a dead end. A siding is like a normal track but it has no curve superelevation and is automatically bound to the track it originated from. Both can be changed afterwards.

Sections of track that overlap one another near a turnout or a crossing are shown in lighter colour. Two trains running on adjacent tracks within the overlapping area would collide to each other, therefore only one train is signalled to the track at a time. Avoid placing signals to the overlapping track sections to ensure correct operation.

Double Track

There are two alternative ways to doubling (or tripling etc.) a single line:

1. Add a siding off the start of the single track, then hold down the left shift key while placing nodes of the siding to make sure they’re a constant distance away from the single line. Also hold down the left shift key while setting the node directions to make sure they’re properly aligned. Finally, you can remove the first node from the siding track to separate it from the main track.

2. Add a separate track with only two nodes, then bind both nodes to the main track. Finally move and align the nodes while holding down left shift key.

Siding nodes are automatically bound to the main track so changing the main will also move the siding. You can unbind the nodes one by one by entering the binding mode and pointing the mouse to the node itself instead of another track.


To make a track crossing (where the two tracks cross each other without points) and have it work properly, you’ll need to add a common node for both of the tracks. Otherwise the trains may run through each other.

Start off by adding a node near the intersection point to one of the tracks, then another one to the other track a bit farther away. Then move the second node on top of the first one so they’ll merge. Finally make the crossing node undirected by clicking on the node itself when setting the direction. The node should turn pink and the tracks go right through it.

The “make symmetrical” editing mode for the pink node can be useful for changing the shape of the crossing. The flatten mode moves all nodes to the same elevation.

Track & Section Properties

Open the track properties window to change the name, type, superelevation or running direction of the track.

A track consists of one or more track sections (the bit between two nodes). Editing the track properties affects all the sections. Some of the properties can be overridden for a particular section, for example, to set a different track type than for the rest of the track.

The property windows have tooltips which pop up if you hold the mouse still over the label of a field.

Splitting & Merging

You can split a track into two parts at a node if there is no platform at that location. Splitting a track can be useful if you need to change the name, default train running direction or other properties of the other part, or if you need to make a gap between the parts.

It’s also possible to reverse the split by merging two tracks together. Merging can only be done for tracks where the merging node is the last one for the first track and the first one for the second track.

Other Railway Infrastructure

Bridges & Tunnels

Bridges are completely automatic. There’s no way to customise them yet. Tunnels are not yet supported.

Stopping Areas & Stations

A stopping area can be a passenger station platform, a staff platform, a depot stabling track, an invisible waypoint etc. Stopping areas show up as places in the timetable editor where you can order trains to start, stop and terminate.

Right-click on a track to place a stopping area and set its direction and length. Only trains that travel on that track in the specified direction and fit within the area can stop there. The stopping area properties window has more details that you can change. Each field label has a tooltip which pops up if you hold the mouse pointer still over it.


Platforms are “just graphics”. In order to actually make the trains stop, you’ll need to add one or more stopping areas to the track. Stopping markers for the areas will appear on the platform automatically. Some platform features like the positioning of canopies and text on the name signs can be changed, while details like textures and colours cannot be customised yet.


To create a portal add a long stopping area near the end of the track (one in both directions). To have a train enter or exit the portal at speed, make the corresponding service order non-stop in the timetable editor by leaving the dwell box unchecked.

Signalling & AWS

Place signals by right-clicking on a track. The signal applies to trains running in the specified direction on that track only. The possible paths onwards from a signal are determined automatically based on the allowed train path directions of the tracks and track sections. See the track and track section properties for details. Each path will get its own semaphore arm. In some cases the paths don’t quite go via the tracks you’d expect them to, but unfortunately it’s not possible to manually edit them yet.

Distant signals can be placed manually or automatically by right-clicking on a signal. The automatic placement adds a distant 1/2 or 3/4 mile down the track depending on the speed limit.

AWS magnets can be placed automatically by right-clicking on a signal or a distant. The editor places one permanent magnet and one electromagnet a set distance away from the distant signal. The electromagnet is automatically linked to the distant so that it works as expected.

AWS magnets can also be placed manually as “beacons” and their type changed from the properties. Although you can change the type to an electromagnet, the magnet cannot be manually linked to a distant and therefore remains unfunctional. Permanent AWS magnets always trigger an AWS caution when a train fitted with the safety system passes in either direction.

Speed Limits

Adding a new speed limit in the middle of the track does not change the speeds: they will initially be the same on the both sides of the limit (unlimited if there are no other limits around). Change the speed from the limit properties. You can only change the “high” direction speed (the direction the track was laid in, shown by the arrow head when highlighting a track). To change the “low” direction, change the speed of the previous limit instead.

A 3D-sign for the limit can be added by right-clicking on the limit. The sign can then be moved and rotated like a track node. If you change the speed of the limit, the sign will not be updated automatically. Instead, you’ll have to remove the old one and create a new one.

Highlighting a track shows its name and the speed limit at the location under the mouse pointer.

Right-clicking on a track gives you options to automatically generate curve speed limit reductions, clean up unnecessary limits and to create signs for all limits. Generated curve limits are based on the curve radius: the smaller the radius, the lower the limit. Cleaning up unnecessary limits removes ones that do not change the speed or define a limit area too short to make a real difference to the running of the trains.


There are a few built-in models like station buildings and signal boxes that can freely be placed in the world. The models can be moved and rotated like track nodes. It’s not possible to import custom models yet.


Enter the scenery editing mode by right-clicking on empty space and choosing “Switch to scenery editor”.

The scenery features are still quite limited, so the editor is best suited for creating urban and suburban landscapes. For example, fields and water are not yet implemented.


Ground is defined as a triangulation of terrain nodes where the elevation at each point inside a triangle is interpolated from the corner nodes’ elevations. The triangulation is easy to see in 2D-mode. In addition each terrain node can have a type which adds additional variance (noise) to the ground.

To start off with terrain nodes, surround your route with at least three nodes so that the tracks fall within a triangle. Edit the “height” (elevation) and type of the nodes to create some distant scenery or horizon, then proceed to add more nodes near the tracks to create local terrain formations.

The idea of this system is that you can create vast areas of varying terrain in just seconds. In addition the nodes take very little hard drive space so the route files will be very small and fast to download.

Roads and Streets

Roads and streets are placed using grids that can be resized and rotated. The number of streets within the grid can also be changed. There’s no other way of placing roads yet, but you can use a large grid without inner roads (a square) to create the impression of a road that’s not part of a town or village. The streets snap to each other when grids are placed close enough (the grids themselves do not snap).

Overpasses, underpasses and level crossings are created automatically where the roads cross tracks. There is currently no way of choosing what kind of crossing appears where. A level crossing may appear near a station if the following conditions are met: the ground around the crossing is level with the track, the crossing is not too wide, and there aren’t any turnouts within the crossing area.

The current beta version has some problems with the roads not connecting to each other properly, but these will be fixed before the testing is over.


Buildings will only appear next to roads that are roughly within the radius of nearby building area circles. The selection of buildings can be defined via the properties window. The properties have tooltips which pop up if you hold the mouse still over the label of a field. It’s not possible to use custom 3D-models yet.


Trees are placed by adding tree circles which the editor automatically populates. The type and density of trees can be changed from the properties window. The properties have tooltips which pop up if you hold the mouse still over the label of a field. It’s not possible to use custom tree models yet.


Fences are fully automatic and cannot be customised yet (missing from the current beta).


It’s not yet possible to place individual scenery 3D-models or use custom models.


When submitting a route to the Workshop, the whole route folder is uploaded, including any timetables or other files in the folder. There’s no need to submit the timetables separately if the files are in the route folder.

To add a preview or cover image shown when browsing the Workshop, save an image with the filename thumbnail.png, thumbnail.jpg, thumbnail.jpeg or thumbnail.gif to the route folder before submitting.

Submitting the same route multiple times will replace the old version. The upload may fail (“file not found”) if you’ve already deleted the item through the Workshop interface. In this case open the route.txt file located in the route’s folder and manually replace the steamItemId value with zero. (Check the location of the route folder from the route properties window.)

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