TrainPlayer News, June 2011 -- Announcing 4.0 / Ops

No doubt more than once you have had to explain to the family that what Daddy is doing is not "playing with trains."  It's called "operating a railroad."  It involves moving goods for impatient customers.  It calls for an inventory of proper rolling stock.  It requires detailed paperwork.  It means showing up for work on time, armed with clipboard.  It's not play, there's commerce going on.

TrainPlayer 4.0 brings this experience to the armchair!  It delivers a new package of features called Ops, which brings you new concepts, devices, windows, displays, and dialogs for setting up your layout and simulating freight traffic between industries and consumers.

The heart of Ops is the switchlist generator, a device which issues sets of instructions like "send empty hopper from yard to coal mine."  In order to do this, it needs to know about the industries on the layout, what goods they ship and receive, the available cars, where they are located, what kinds of goods they can carry.  Ops cranks all this with the click of a button and gives you your work orders -- your job is to start up the loco and deliver the cars.

You can set all this up yourself, or take a shortcut.  Let the Ops Wizard lead you through the steps of preparing your layout, generating random stations, industries, and yards.  Easier yet, download one of the hundreds of ops-ready layouts we've already prepared on the web.

Want to give it a try?  Click here to download ==>

You can buy or upgrade from within the program.  See How To Buy or How To Upgrade below.

There is more to 4.0 than Ops -- a year's worth of great new features adding style and interest to your trainplaying.  For more, click here ==>


Industries. Create named locations on the layout and indicate what sorts of goods they ship and receive.  Choose from a list of standard railroad industries in the Industry Browser.  Or let the Wizard create you different random industries for each session.

Click any picture to enlarge

Yard & Interchanges.  Name and identify the yards and interchange tracks on your layout, or let the Wizard do it.  [Plug: there is not another program on the planet which can look at a railroad layout and recognize where the yards are.]
Car Loads. In the real world, if goods ship by flatcar, you can see them as they go by.  The same is now true in TrainPlayer.  Cars carry specific loads, which you can choose from a large catalog of little pictures.  A load definition includes the list of car types suitable to carry it, so you can't, say, put logs into a tankcar.  Loading and unloading is an easy one-click operation -- Ops does this for you automatically when you deliver a car to its destination.
Switchlists. The Ops Generator creates a new random switchlist for every session.  This is presented in two forms: as a paragraph of instructions in a text window, and an equivalent set of rows in the grid.  Use either one -- the grid takes more getting used to, but it's more flexible and interactive and fun.
Ops Windows. Ops involves a lot of data. To manage it, we've introduced a new type of docking window containing a full-featured grid from our favorite component vendor.  It's like a miniature spreadsheet you can dock to the side of your screen, to keep track of switchlists and cars.  You can set it up as you like -- rearrange columns, group, sort, copy, print -- and watch it dynamically update as you operate.  
Waybills. A waybill is an order from a customer for services from the railroad.  The Ops Generator creates these automatically and uses them to build switchlists.  They are produced and used behind the scenes, but we made them visible for the educational benefit, and because they look cool.  
Ops Setup Wizard. Preparing your layout for Ops involves a number of steps, so let the wizard lead you through.  Starting with a layout having tracks and trains, it can generate random stations around the layout, turn them into random industries, identify yards and interchanges, let you make adjustments, then generate your first switchlist. 
Default Cars. In the old days, you had to go to some trouble to make the cars look good on your layout. Not any more. In 4.0 we provide several sharp sets of cars to replace the old cartoon images.  Included are Steam and Modern; on the web is a great Lionel set, and one from the famous Gorre & Daphetid. Ops-Ready Layouts. Our team of Ops experts has been systematically going through layouts on the web, creating stations and industries and populating with typical freight cars. Layouts prepared this way are marked "ops-ready" in the layout chooser, so you can see at a glance that there are many -- almost all 101 Track Plans, and many ops-suitable User and Premium layouts.
Lots more.  A new graphical menu of trains.  A new train naming scheme which makes a lot more sense than the old one.  User manual fully updated and revised.  More layouts, car collections, sounds, scenery, everything. 4.0 is the best version yet. 

How To Buy

If you are new to TrainPlayer -- welcome!  Grab a credit card and click one:

    TrainPlayer 4.0 / OPERATOR with Ops


      TrackLayer 4.0 / BUILDER with Ops


* Before buying, see Special at the top of the newsletter

TrainPlayer / OPERATOR -- for running trains on pre-built layouts. Includes TrainPlayer, standard layouts and car collections, 101 Track Plans, ops, scripting tools.  TrackLayer / BUILDER -- for building and running layouts. Includes all the above plus: track tools, scenery toolkit, premium layouts and cars.  Click takes you to the checkout page, where a credit card will be required.  Purchase includes free e-mail support, free updates with bug fixes and enhancements until next major release.

How To Upgrade

If you are already a licensed user -- thank you!  You can upgrade free to 4.0 and get many new features.  For the full Ops system, there is a $29 charge.* To proceed:

1.  Click to download and install 4.0 ==>

2.  When you start the program, you get a Welcome to 4.0 dialog. To upgrade to Ops, click the Purchase Upgrade button.  Or choose Purchase Upgrade from the Help menu.

*If you purchased the program recently (since 12/1/10) -- you are entitled to a free upgrade.  Send e-mail to to request your license.

Features free with 4.0 upgrade: Industries, Loads, Yards, Interchanges, Default Car Sets.
Features in the $29 Ops upgrade: Switchlists, Waybills, Generators, Ops Windows, Ops Wizard, Color Codes.

Fine Print

Requirements.  Programs run under Windows 2000, XP, Vista, and Windows 7.  An internet connection is useful but not essential -- you need one to browse and download content from the web, but you can run without it when using content from your disk or DVD.  Disk space: you need only about 30MB to install the program files, but will want more than that to download content from web or DVD -- around 1GB for the full content.

Delivery on DVD.  Products are available on DVD for a $10 shipping charge.  This includes all purchased content, so no download is needed.  To request a DVD, use the Shipping drop-down menu on the checkout page, as shown here ==>

Note: Version 4.0 DVD's will be shipping around June 15, 2011.

License agreement.  Our license agreement is displayed during install and reproduced in the Readme file.  It says you are allowed to install the program on as many computers as you like, as long as you don't sell or give away the license key.


TrainPlayer Software

4200 Arcadian Drive
Castro Valley, CA  94546 
Tel: (707) 320-4246 

Visit the lively group on our Yahoo forum

Thank you for your support.


Ops Introductory Special!

4.0 with Ops


Top-of-the-line package, reg. $99.  Includes all of TrainPlayer, track tools, scenery toolkit, premium layouts, and the full Ops system

To get the discount, purchase TrackLayer 4.  At checkout, enter the following in the Coupon Code box, in upper case as shown, then click Recalculate.


Limited time offer.  Expires 9/1/11


Try full program free for 30 days.
Windows 2000,XP,Vista,W7.  Send e-mail to request an extension.

Grab a credit card, pick from our simple product line.

Upgrade instructions for all users.  Some features free; Ops extra.


Version 4.0

TrainPlayer / OPERATOR

TrackLayer / BUILDER

Scenery Toolkit

101 Track Plans

Premium Layouts & Cars

Standard Layouts

Featured Content

How-To Clinics


"This is probably the best model railroad program out for computers. I can think of nothing that surpasses it for simplicity and elegance."  Doug Parrish, May 2011

"TrainPlayer has put an incredible amount of time and effort into Ops and it's paying off ... I'm having a ball working through the switchlists."   Mark Johnson, Mar 2011

"Not only is the TP program pure genius, but the group enjoying it is beyond great -helpful, humorous, and always hungry for more. You can't beat it anywhere!"  Hans Olson, Mar 2011


Byron Henderson Collection

A dozen great plans from the noted layout designer, available in Featured Layouts