The “Stable” version of Open Rails is now at version 1.3. This will be the official release version until the next major one, which tends to occur at roughly yearly intervals. If you’ve been using the frequent “experimental” releases, you’re already running with all the features in 1.3, and the “experimental” branch will continue to add new features and bug-fixes as they’re developed instead of waiting for the major version roll-up.
Some highlights from Version 1.3:
- Working transfer tables added to complement working turntables
- 3D cabs can now support mouse control
- Timetable operation can support splitting and joining trains
- “Evaluation” of completed activities is working (Frequently requested feature to carry over from MSTS)
- Activity operation now supports extensions with additional, external files and randomization of events in activities
- Car spawner (road traffic generator) upgraded to support animated people in scenery
- Environment sound improvements – curve and switch sounds in routes, cab radio chatter support
- AI trains can open and close doors at station stops
- Improvements to vacuum brake simulation
- Improvements to steam locomotive exhaust and steam effects from rolling stock
- Various improvements for creating upgraded content beyond MSTS standards
- Improvements to timetable-based operation
- Improvements to signal scripting
- Wind resistance of trains can be simulated
For anyone new to Open Rails, the original Edinbugh-Glasgow demo route is available from the “Content” section of the Downloads pages on the Open Rails website. Additionally, the Australian (New South Wales) steam-era Great Zig Zag Railway freeware route is conveniently linked from the Open Rails site.
And finally, TrainSimulations (Formerly Streamlines) is also offering a starter route for free, which is based on their BNSF Scenic Subdivision. It contains the route and a smaller selection of locomotives and rolling stock, complete with activities ready to try.
These are complete routes including all necessary locomotives, rolling stock, and activities to operate — no additional downloads (or pre-existing MSTS files*) are needed.
Links for these are available on the Open Rails website, or try the links here; however they are subject to change over time.
* Remember that many freeware routes have dependencies which require equipment, scenery, and track assets from MSTS. Open Rails itself doesn’t require them to run, and the sample routes mentioned above are entirely self-contained and don’t have these requirements. It’s recommended to purchase and have an install of MSTS if you want to take advantage of the wide range of pre-existing MSTS content and MSTS-derived content in Open Rails.