Java and Route Riter

Mike Simpson’s Route Riter is the go-to utility for both Open Rails and MSTS for checking and fixing rolling stock and route files, plus it has an invaluable set of tools for route builders and a good consist editor. It also includes the TSUtil suite and provides an interface to the TSUtil tools inside the Route Riter interface. TSUtil, however, needs Java to run, and that’s added some extra manual configuration steps to get it working in modern versions of Windows and Java.

The most common problem is that, after installing Route Riter or after taking a Java update with an existing, working Route Riter installation, you get an error when Route Riter Starts that says “You do not have a Java Runtime system” and Route Riter won’t work. It sounds bad, what’s really happening is usually fairly simple to fix.

First off, you’re thinking, “What? I’m sure I already have Java on my computer. It just updated the other day.” Yes, as a matter of fact you’re probably right. Or maybe you just installed Java and you can’t figure out why Route Riter is saying Java isn’t there. What Route Riter is really missing, though, isn’t Java at all. Ever since Java 7 came out, what Route Riter can’t find is a way to agree with Java on where a special folder is.

When Route Riter was written, the versions of Java available then allowed Java itself to run Java code from anywhere on the computer. Because of that, Route Riter simply placed the Java-based TSUtil suite inside of RouteRiter’s own folder and told Java to run it. It was simple and worked quite well. Then Java 7 came along with enhanced security. Java wasn’t free to access other folders on the computer beyond its own, and suddenly Route Riter and Java couldn’t see eye-to-eye on how to access the TSUtil folder and run the utilities. The solution has always been to copy everything TSUtil needs inside a special folder that’s in Java’s own folders. Route Riter asks Java to run TSUtil, Java finds it in a place it expects, and everything works.

Putting the TSUtil files in a special folder for Java is still the solution. Java has just gotten a little more complicated in later versions of Java 7 and now Java 8. So what follows are what you need to know to get Route Riter, TSUtil and Java to talk to each other.

Before doing anything else, make sure you’ve installed Route Riter somewhere other than \Program Files\ or \Program Files (x86)\ in Windows Vista and later versions. The special security rules applied to those locations will wreck Route Riter’s ability to function. Install it by itself or in a folder that’s a collection of your MSTS utilities that’s not in a “Program Files” folder.

Now, navigate to the folder where you installed Route Riter. Find the folder named “TSUtil” and open it. Inside, you’ll find a lot of files. Use the Windows Explorer menu and go to Edit > Select All. Everything in the folder will be highlighted. Then do Edit > Copy. Everything is now on the system clipboard. (If you don’t see the menu, tap the “Alt” key for versions of Windows newer than XP to make it show.)

Now, navigate to Java’s folder, and here’s where it’s a little tricky. Go to the C:\ drive and look for the Program Files folder. If all you see is one folder named Program Files, then you’re running 32-bit Windows and this will be fairly simple. If you also see a folder named “Program Files (x86)”, then you have 64-bit Windows and you need to be a little more careful.

For 32-bit Windows (Only one “Program Files” folder) – Open “Program Files” and find your “Java” folder. Open it. You’ll find another folder or folders, named “JREx” where “x” is a number or group of numbers. If there’s more than one, open the highest-numbered version. Look for a folder named “classes”. If it’s there, open it, right click you mouse, and choose “Paste” to drop the TSUtil files inside. If there’s no “classes” folder, make one. Be sure to make the name all lower-case. Open the “classes” folder you created and paste the files. You’re done! Route Riter will now work as expected when you launch it.

For 64-bit Windows (Has both “Program Files” and “Program Files (x86)” folders) – Here, you need the “Program Files (x86) folder! Open “Program Files (x86)” and look for the “Java” folder. If it’s not there, hold on a moment. You need to download 32-bit Java. Go to the Java download web page at and find the link that says “See all Java downloads”. (It can change, so I won’t link to it here.) When you follow the link, you have various options instead of an auto-download. Pick “Windows Online” or “Windows Offline” to get the 32-bit download. (64-bit versions will be noted as such, and you don’t want them right now.) Run the installer, then check back in “Program Files (x86)” — you should now find a “Java” folder. Once you have a “Java” folder, you can proceed with making and/or pasting into the “classes” folder just like in the 32-bit instructions above.

In short, all you have to do is have a “classes” folder inside your JRE folder and copy the contents of TSUtil into it from Route Riter. You can make a “classes” folder if you don’t have one. That’s it!

How did Java and Route Riter get confused? The newer Java installers tend to overwrite your old Java installation, so perhaps your old configuration simply got wiped out by an over-zealous Java installer. It can happen. If you downloaded Java with Internet Explorer 8, 9, 10, or 11, the Java auto-installer may have detected your browser running in 64-bit mode and only installed 64-bit Java, which won’t work with Route Riter and TSUtil. Using Firefox or Chrome will always cause the Java auto-installer to detect 32-bit operation, so it’s less troublesome that way.

Note about versions of Route Riter beyond 7.6.26: The versions numbered higher than 7.6.26 are modified by another programmer. This is rather controversial. My tips above are for Route Riter wholly written by Mike Simpson, only up to version 7.6.26. For newer versions, you should check whatever documentation comes with the download.

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