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In this colour still from Train Sim World 3 a BNSF ES44C4 locomotive in its usual orange livery powers through the Cajon Pass in heavy rain. Lightning rages overhead.

High Speeds, Heavy Weather

A new and improved Train Sim World releases today on PC and consoles. It brings some impressive upgrades including dynamic weather and more realistic lighting effects, a reworked Livery Designer and an Off the Rails mode which allows you to drive any loco on any route, all to immerse yourself in the world of train driving.

Today Dovetail Games, whose work we have covered before, release Train Sim World 3, a new and improved train driving simulator. This game offers the most immersive railroading experience yet with better weather and lighting effects, three new routes as well as a whole new Training Center, nine locos and novel gameplay options. It even allows you to import add-ons purchased for the previous game.

In this colour screenshot, a BNSF ES44C4 negotiates a curve on a murky and snowy day. Snow caked in its cowcatcher contrasts with the instantly recognizable orange livery.
A BNSF ES44C4 hauls its train through falling snow.

Rain and rails
The most substantial improvement brought by Train Sim World 3 is the dynamic weather system. In the previous games the weather conditions had a noticeable effect on the handling of the locos, but they were set at the start of your route and remained the same throughout the drive. With the new system, the weather changes in a realistic manner. You can set out from London St Pancras in brilliant sunshine, but as you leave the city and make your way south-east, the skies may begin to cloud over and start to rain. You could even get caught in a blizzard or a thunderstorm.

This colour screenshot shows the view from a German ICE 1’s cab as it proceeds through a station. The windscreen wipers can deal with the rain, but the visibility ahead is extremely poor.
Rain and mist are a serious threat to visibility and handling. Drivers of the German ICE 1 will need to take care if they are to survive the gruelling runs the new weather system can produce.

You will need to adapt your driving style if you want to make it to your destination in one piece. Snow and rain not only make it difficult to see but reduce adhesion, making it hard to start and stop. With the newly implemented wind physics, howling gales may batter your train and blow leaves on to the rails, reducing stability and dictating a lower speed. In the brand-new Training Center, returning players can acquaint themselves with the new weather effects.

Passengers also react to the weather. Arriving at a platform in the rain, you will see them huddled under shelters or umbrellas. Dovetail Games have even re-engineered how rain lands on the ground. Previously, rainy conditions would apply a wet texture to the ground and raindrops would disappear on contact. Now water lands on the ground and pools realistically, then sprays up behind your train as it thunders past, as does the snow. It may seem like minute detail, but it shows the extent to which Dovetail Games are willing to go to deepen your immersion.

In this colour screenshot, passengers with umbrellas hurry down the rain-drenched Greenhithe platform to board a Class 375 towards Ramsgate Depot.
The new rain effects are gloriously detailed, producing reflective puddles, drop splashes and umbrella-wielding passengers.
In this colour screenshot, the sun shines through a thin layer of cloud, creating dark bellies on some of the thicker ones.
Dovetail’s impressive new weather system allows clouds to behave realistically, even casting live shadows.
In this colour screenshot, two sets of tracks stretch forward towards the exit of a tunnel. The light at the tunnel’s mouth is blown out.
Train Sim World 3’s new lighting system creates an eye adaptation effect, realistically simulating the iris reacting to sudden changes in light levels.

Light at the end of the tunnel
To make the most of these incredible new weather effects, Dovetail Games have implemented a full volumetric lighting system. Light now changes convincingly throughout the day, reflects differently on different surfaces and reacts to the weather conditions. Where cloudy skies were once a static, wispy texture, now clouds gather dynamically. They constantly move, grow, shrink and change shape. They even occlude light, casting realistic shadows or god rays. This new lighting is so sharp and the detail so fine that at first glance screenshots of the game can look like photographs.

The lighting systems do not stop at photorealism. Rapid movement between light and dark environments produces blinding effects to simulate your irises reacting to the change in light intensity. The developers have stated that Train Sim World 3 is the closest thing to driving a real train available on the market, and they’re right. The atmosphere (pun intended) is immeasurably improved by these additions. The handling of the locomotives was already excellent in the previous game, but Dovetail’s efforts have added an extra level of realism.

Grass routes
There are content additions too, including the green fields of England and the Alpine pastures of Bavaria. The three new routes are all iconic ones. Britain’s Southeastern HS1 service that runs from London St Pancras to Ashford and Faversham makes an appearance. This route will see you blasting over the fields of Kent at the helm of Britain’s fastest domestic passenger service, the mighty Class 395 Javelin, as well as Class 375s on the Chatham Main Line with its complex coupling and uncoupling procedures. 

In this colour screenshot, the yellow-nosed HS1 darts along tree-lined tracks. A low sun casts dramatic shadows across the scene.
Britain’s fastest domestic passenger service, HS1, links London and the Channel Tunnel, and now you can take control of the Javelin yourself.

Then there is the Schnellfahrstrecke line between Kassel and Würzburg. This route allows you to drive ICE 1, Germany’s first true high-speed train, for 186 km into the Bavarian countryside. The timetable changes at night, with fewer passenger services and more freight traffic. Players will have to approach this route in a totally new way if they want to master it.

In this colour screenshot, the white ICE 1 passenger train crosses a viaduct with tree-lined hills in the background.
Take control of the 280 km/h ICE 1 between Kassel and Wurzburg but beware the night-time freight services.

Also included in Train Sim World 3 is California’s Cajon Pass, famous among railfans for its dramatic terrain, steep grades and regular freight traffic. The route equips you with the BNSF’s most powerful workhorses to help you tackle the stiff ascents and vicious descents.

In this colour screenshot, a series of BNSF ES44C4s haul their train through the mountainous desert scrubland of Cajon Pass.
The Cajon Pass route is gruelling, with steep gradients, sharp descents and the risk of heavy weather.

Off the rails
Dovetail Games want to eliminate any feeling of being railroaded (pun intended again). Where before players were limited to using only certain locomotives on specific routes, now every loco is available on so-called custom routes in the ‘Off the Rails’ mode, which allows you to drive the loco of your choice on any route you wish. You can even share your custom routes or use other players’ ones, greatly increasing the diversity of what you can play.

In this colour screenshot, a red and yellow Class 66 locomotive hauls a train of MFA wagons through Dartford station. A Class 365 passenger service approaches the platform in the background.
Glancing at this screenshot of a Class 66 hauling grain through Dartford one could mistake it for a photograph thanks to the stunning level of detail Dovetail has put into the game.

Dovetail have completely reworked their Livery Designer tool, so if you are fascinated by locomotive branding and design like us, you can design your own liveries for the engines and rolling stock and take them out on the tracks. These are shareable with friends and other railfans. For a comprehensive set of American liveries, see our trail-blazing guide Logomotive.

Passing the torch
Players of Train Sim World 2 need not worry about losing their previously purchased add-ons. If you are buying the new game, you can import your profile straight from the previous game. The transfer will preserve your completed levels, Livery Designer and Scenario Planner creations, as well as anything you have uploaded to the Creator Club.

In this colour screenshot, HS1 approaches a platform in dusky light. The patchy clouds create a dramatic skyline.
Train Sim World 3’s new volumetric clouds produce dramatic sunsets. Late evening trips between London and Ashford are sure to be a joy.

Dovetail have made sure that all of the previous routes and locos are compatible with the new game, though plenty of new routes and other content will be released to make the most of the new systems over the coming months.

Train Sim World 3 will be available today on PC from Steam and the Epic Games Store, as well as on PS4, PS5 and Xbox.

In this colour image, the German ICE 1 darts from a tunnel, kicking up snow around its red waistband.
You can purchase Train Sim World 3 on Steam by clicking on the image above.

Logomotive: Railroad Graphics and the American Dream by Ian Logan and Jonathan Glancey, Foreword by Norman Foster is available direct from us. Readers in the UK will find the details here, and in the US you can click here.

All image credits: Dovetail Games.


In this colour photograph of Ian Logan’s book Logomotive open at the title page, his photograph of a Missouri Pacific eagle logo is the frontispiece, painted in white on the side of a diesel locomotive. The pages have a black background with the title and byline dropped out in white.
In these pages you will find hundreds of livery designs collected by the railfan designer Ian Logan.

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