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Installation Questions from the FAQ

Which platforms does Open Rails run on?

Open Rails works well on Windows PCs from Windows XP* onwards (including Windows 10). It does not work on Windows XBox, Windows Phone or non-Windows platforms.

* Windows XP requires Service Pack 3 (SP3).

32-bit or 64-bit Windows?

Open Rails is currently a 32-bit program that will run on either 32-bit Windows or 64-bit Windows. When run on a 64-bit Windows system there are some benefits as follows.

Programs compiled for 32-bit Windows are always limited to using a maximum of 2GB of memory. Many current PCs, especially 64-bit systems, have more than this. Fortunately it is possible to compile a program, for 64-bit systems only, which can use up to 4GB of memory and this is called a Large Address Aware (LAA) option. The downloads include both the usual version and the LAA version and you choose between them in the Options form.

What hardware does Open Rails require?

  • Processor : 2.0 GHz (32 or 64-bit)
  • Memory : minimum = 0.5 GB, recommended = 2 GB
  • Hard drive : 40 MB (but models require lots of space. The 6 routes in Microsoft Train Simulator require 1.4 GB)
  • Graphics Hardware : minimum = 128 MB dedicated video RAM with Pixel Shader 2.0, recommended = 256 MB RAM with Pixel Shader 3.0
  • Graphics Software : as provided by Windows. Open Rails currently uses DirectX® - version 9.0c
  • Sound : compatible with DirectX® - version 9.0c

Do I need Microsoft Train Simulator installed to use Open Rails?

You do not need Microsoft Train Simulator installed in order to use Open Rails.

When Microsoft Train Simulator is installed, then Open Rails can safely make use of all the Microsoft Train Simulator content as it does not change any Microsoft Train Simulator files.

Most non-Microsoft Train Simulator routes, activities and rolling stock make use of some Microsoft Train Simulator content, usually sound files, textures and cab interiors. If products designed for Microsoft Train Simulator are used on a PC with Open Rails but not Microsoft Train Simulator, then they are likely to work but some sounds and textures will be missing. Such files will be listed with warnings in the Open Rails log file.

How can I recognise add-on products for Microsoft Train Simulator that require Microsoft Train Simulator files?

Add-ons designed for Microsoft Train Simulator may rely on files from the Microsoft Train Simulator product. For instance:

  • Routes provided with an Install.bat file that copies shapes and textures from the routes on the Microsoft Train Simulator CDs.
  • Locomotives that re-use cabviews or sounds from the locomotives on the Microsoft Train Simulator CDs (see folder TRAINSET).
  • Rolling stock that have sound management (SMS) files that refer to wave files from the Microsoft Train Simulator CDs (see folder SOUND).

If I install Open Rails, will it change my Microsoft Train Simulator files?

No, Open Rails does not modify any Microsoft Train Simulator files.

Does Open Rails suppport RailDriver?

Yes; this cab controller from P.I.Engineering is suitable for Open Rails and support for it is built in to the simulator. Installation instructions are included in the installation download (and also from this webpage). Eric Conrad has posted a detailed review on his MSTS Roundhouse blog which provides valuable advice for using this product.

Does Open Rails report data back to its creators?

Not at the moment. Data on how Open Rails is used will be very helpful for the project but, if we wish to collect usage data, we will inform you beforehand and you will always be able to opt out.

Recent Code Changes

  • X1.3.1-162-g0152260d Merge pull request #177 from cjakeman/bugfix-windowsize
    added more checks to GetValidWindowSize()
    • b1482465 added more checks to GetValidWindowSize()
  • X1.3.1-161-g628549fe Merge pull request #196 from Sharpe49/update-french-locales
    Updated French locales (with contribution of septf) and fixed some translation bugs
    • 3c0cba61 Update French locales (with the contribution of septf) and fixed some translation bugs
    • 9ac2b8e8 Merge remote-tracking branch 'remotes/origin/master' into update-french-locales
    • defcc94b Update French locales (with the contribution of septf) and fixed some translation bugs
  • X1.3.1-160-g2626ba7c Merge pull request #197 from openrails/revert-143-update-french-locales
    Revert "Update of French locales, by septf"
    • 24ce28ce Revert "Update of French locales, by septf"
  • X1.3.1-159-gd33adc70 Merge pull request #143 from Csantucci/update-french-locales
    Update of French locales, by septf
    • 01b78ec5 Update of French locales, by septf
  • X1.3.1-158-g12230e64 Merge pull request #103 from peternewell/new-vacuum-brakes
    Changes to vacuum brakes
    • 1f1de08d Small corrections and documentation for manual.
    • 709fe362 Correct merge issue
    • f315db60 Reverse merge conflict issues
    • ff992c7d Revert "Attempt to fix merge issue"
      This reverts commit fffc416f706760c92f319badc8e26ecdd600320a.
    • fffc416f Attempt to fix merge issue
    • 683f09af Fix issue with OR not reading user input
    • 25ef6559 Further adjustments to brakes cutting power
    • 6694d461 Changes to Brake cuts power
    • 3975da0e Add Brake cuts power feature
    • f2390e2e Adjustment to diesel vacuum brake.
    • 123baed6 Adjustments to vacuum exhauster operation
    • 369fc6c9 Change text notification on vacuum exhauster
    • 2ce78cfe Add control for vacuum exhauster on diesel locomotives.
    • fad1e482 Addition of diesel locomotive vacuum brake (initial)
    • 51fbe5f3 Set Simple Controls/Physics for Adhesion coefficient selection.
    • cc78055d Further adjustment to GWR controller
    • e4c2b213 Adjustment to Dreadnought brake controller
    • 88555e37 Adjustment to vacuum brake to allow application of brake for combined controller
    • 657335a1 Adjust brake release to "automatically" release if Large Ejector not fitted.
    • 12254a05 Minor change to vacuum reservoir "pressure" as brakes are applied and released.
    • 88ba8cac Adjusted error in volume calculation
    • 7d81a7f4 Changes to vacuum reservoir calculation to compensate for volume changes as cylinder piston moves
    • 65378265 Adjustments to GWR brake token
    • 6b1e28f1 Adjustments to GWR Controller
    • 4987c5f3 Correct an issue with cabview control not animating correctly
    • 0a54f5ff Modifications to allow trailing cars to take same brake system as lead locomotive - overcomes incorrect brake release when incompatible systems are coupled together
    • 5625dddc Incorporate working Large Ejector and switch for Simple/Advanced Control/Physics
    • aa54d7e2 Adjusted Engine Brake to conform with BR standards, and added new engine brake notch
    • 1619306c Changes to fix engine brake
    • 6f6ad6ca Changes to vacuum brakes
  • X1.3.1-157-g476319a1 Merge pull request #180 from peternewell/new-manual-firing-#2
    Rewrite Steam Heating Code
    • b050ef89 Update to manual for steam heating function
    • e4456702 Corrected water fill problem, and save/restore issue
    • 667afd40 Correct issue with water filling, and save/restore
    • 6869dfea Enable water refilling for diesel locomotives with steam heat boilers
    • 5a62e5ab Expose some additional parameters and steam locomotive such that steam heating pressure can't exceed boiler pressure.
    • 3e578c80 Added steam usage value to Diesel HuD to assist in fault finding.
    • cd7aac77 Add warning message left out of previous patch
    • a2bb5baf Correct operation of user inputs & lock boiler out if steam usage exceeds capacity
    • 7672cc83 Additional changes missed in previous patch
    • 4422ad6d Adjustment to steam heat - turn off steam heating if boiler fuel or water < 0
    • 25578be8 Expose user parameters
    • 49450152 Move components for broader usage
    • fe3d2416 Revert "Expose some user parameters for steam heating"
      This reverts commit ba5b66b77b0001546c2e3dc6736c3d7871c93b52.
    • 644b4db2 Revert "Corrected user input parameter names."
      This reverts commit 317ba4ae2ec3229a6eb8a349b844449ee5d4eb9c.
    • 317ba4ae Corrected user input parameter names.
    • ba5b66b7 Expose some user parameters for steam heating
    • 02acac37 Further tuning of steam heating
    • 785f08ef Add stf reader for temperature to allow correct input of degC or degF
    • 49d28789 Correct issue with with steam heat pressure gauge not reading correctly due to "other train" resetting it in an activity.
    • ebac2897 Add some basic parameters for user to self configure.
    • ca2fd8d4 Add working steam heat boiler van
  • X1.3.1-156-g35cdf601 Merge pull request #187 from cesarBLG/mp_update_speed_signals
    Bug fix for - SPEED signals not being updated in multiplayer clients
    • f0012315 Update SPEED signals in MP
  • X1.3.1-155-g6a2e6551 Merge pull request #182 from Csantucci/remove-unneeded-options
    • ae8a7cab Update the OR manual.
    • dd2c7bdf Fix bug when saving in explore mode
    • 4de4917b Merge branch 'master' into remove-unneeded-options
    • a579994e Restore code parts needed to start explore mode
    • 0f87b1bd Reversed temporary debugging patch
    • 2ea43b6b
  • X1.3.1-154-g10706b1f Merge pull request #179 from peternewell/new-diesel-modifications-3
    Update Diesel Performance
    • 747eccc7 Correct an issue when train hits reversing point
    • c155ed6a Attempt to fix issues with AI trains -
    • 3199ce37 Correct an issue where reducing the throttle doesn't decrease TE fast enough.
    • db2de6ad Further refinement to non-linear throttle vs rpm
  • X1.3.1-153-g39142b5e Merge pull request #189 from Csantucci/increase-maximum-gauge
    Bug fix for Maximum gauge allowed smaller than Iberian gauge
    • 0e7e6d42 Bug fix for Maximum gauge allowed smaller than Iberian gauge

See more code changes

Installation Guides

Note: No installation is necessary and multiple versions of Open Rails can co-exist in different folders.


The built-in updater checks this website for new updates once per day. The testing version is updated once per week, usually on Friday around 7pm UK time.

Unstable Version

To support development, the latest unstable version is also available, which is updated as and when we make changes to it. Previous unstable versions are available. The unstable versions are more likely to contain serious bugs and are only recommended for users wishing to help with Open Rails development.