Have Trainz 2012, MS Train Simulator and RW Train Sim. This nicely fits in as a train sim which can hold its own. Positives: Significant amount of options regarding content, editing, multi-layered complexity. Animated individuals are the best even better than Railworks. Why? Because they employ collision detection and move nicely around other characters although they will go through objects. Not like Railworks which go through things and other characters. Also more animation on them like the woman who is using her cellphone. Nice touch! Great range of trains and rolling stock. For example I like the TGV. None of the current Train players have any TGV trains included in the content. And as varied as they are. So if some of you are whining about some cost issues keep in mind the trains and stock beats hands down the trains and stock in Trainz or Railworks. Both of these latter you'll have to buy separately comparable stock if they exist or buy a ticket (Auran's Trainz) to download the freeware stock.
You can make large routes and so this is not just limited to a so-called table-top type creation.
Love the choice in animated animals such as a flock of pigeons flying over your train station, or those fish in the river, or as your train is going in the country animated farm animals and farm equipment.
There are various animated industries for your train route.
Love the environmental editing features: scales for controlling, wind, rain, fog, snow, clouds or random. You can isolate areas of your route for different types of weather. So for example your train may be moving from a warm dry area, climb to higher levels and you can start to experience snow and a driving wind - all zones you are free to create.
Like the choices of rail types and catenaries, gantries, platforms, etc. No shortage.
Huge number of animated grasses. No shortage of various trees.
Huge number of base textures to paint your world with.
Wide variety of sounds easily added to the layout or make your own.
You can use the Omega feature.This is a novel and quite exciting addition to the animated people. You can make your animated people do certain things like go down stairs as if they are leaving the platform, checking out the arrivals/departures. They can be constrained in certain areas. Lots to learn and adapt here for your train world. You can also use the animated people on invisible tracks to walk up and down platforms and in buildings. For example, I have a river going through the city with people walking up and down the sidewalk by the river enjoying the scenery. All the while a sailboat is sailing by on invisible tracks set in the water and flocks of birds are flying overhead complete with sounds of all sorts.
You can use invisible tracks for many other things such as helicopters, planes which bring life to your layout.
Wide use of cameras. You can hop in a car for example (clicking on it) and all of a sudden you're being taken for a nice ride around your city wherever you've made the road paths or if in a train on your train route. Cameras can be placed strategically and triggered by events such as a train arriving at a station.
There are certain train engines you can actually enter and drive. Hope this is improved as time goes on.
Can't access the PDF help from within the game. If you have Windows 8.1 will need to right click the pdf file and use the reader. Editor takes some getting used to as there consists of the 2D editor and 3D editor, Tunnels through mountains is an exercise in huge frustration. Better to make a flat plain, make your tunnels, then raise terrain over. There are excellent english tutorials on You Tube - Ruud Boer. Thanks to his tutorials will make route creation a lot easier.
Searching for content in the game is not easy and seems limited (right clicking a folder for example).
Layers: These appear to be handled by clicking off certain things such as properties for example. The buildings will disappear allowing you to manipulate objects which would have otherwise been impeded by the properties.
Content creation: Where is the facility for this? The content is in the 3DM format which the Rhino 3D program is known for. Every other competitive Train programs lets its members freely make content. For Trainz as an example I'm making a route in Strasbourg, France. I can freely create my own content in custom buildings, stations, etc. by using any number of 3D programs such as Blender or Sketchup. With the plug-in for Sketchup or Blender (or 3DS Max) the content is easily inserted in the route. I don't want to use buildings which have nothing to do with the area I'm creating. If you protect your content like the family jewels than you are inhibiting creativity and interest.
CAUTION: The Mod here who appears to be a developer with EEP stated the Norstructor program a plug-in to make your own content would work in Railroad X. Well I bought it, installed it and it won't allow me to run the program. Appears it is searching for the EEP version and not Railroad X and thus wont install. Moreover, I thought I'd purchase the EEP-X Basic so I'd be able to use it. A folder called Trend is created and both the Nostruktor and EEP-X each have a folder inside it. Problem: Still doesn't work! Moreover, you can't operate both the Steam version Railroad X and EEP-X. It's either one but not both. To go back to Railroad X you'll have delete Railroad X and reinstall it - this will concurrently deinstall EEP-X. Wow. I did this just so I could use Nostrucktor only to find it doesn't work anyway. Now I'd be looking for my hard earn money back. This has to be a significant negative. Anyone not making German routes, everywhere outside of Germany, France, Britain, etc. North and South America, will be severely disappointed because of the issue of personalized content creation. There is very good and high quality content on the pay site but not having personalized content creation is a significant negative. All the major players in RR simulation have an abundance of content creation because of the ability to personalize your layouts.
NOTE: Good news! Have been advised that Nostrucktor will be made available and compatible with RR X in a few weeks.
Suggest Heights Explorer from the site in route creation. I"ve purchased this. With this program I can take a Google image of a layout and with the height aspect imported for use as the base for the layout. It can also generate numerous images for use. For those wanting to use Google images without messing around with that I'd suggest a neat little converter program from this site: http://www.mm2eep.de/.
Downloading and installing will allow you to use the base objects as a base for the Google images. That way you can overlay your tracks, objects, etc. on top.
There have been several crashes and it's wise to have the auto saving feature on while constructing or save often. Specs: i7-920 9 gbs and ZOTAC GTX 650Ti 2 gb card with 340.52 driver.
Very thankful this was finally made available in english and look forward to exploring it more and improvements as it has gone through several incarnations. This program can be as complex and multi-faceted as you make it. It has all the elements to create a rich and varied layout really in my mind unequalled to the current incarnations in train simulation but for significant exceptions I've noted like in personalized content creation and customer service. But big thumbs up as there is a new english player in town worthy of the time and effort. It would be a huge mistake to think this is limited to small model railroad situations. You'd be dead wrong. I'm currently working on a 20 km layout which I've limited only because I'm finding so many aspects and features in which to vary and populate the layout it would take a huge time to finish.