HowTo/Create a Route in 10 Minutes

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This page provides a step by step guide to the Surveyor workflow and will guide you to create a simple Route and Session that will take just 10 minutes to create.


Naming your Route

To begin, click Start Trainz from the Launcher then Click on “Create Route” at the bottom of the Routes screen. Change the name of the route then accept the defaults provided in the dialog by clicking the Checkmark. Your blank baseboard awaits...

Making Mountains

Click the Topology Tab (F1) then the Height Up tool. Click on the radius knob, and drag it until the dial is in about the 12 o’clock position. Do the same for the sensitivity dial. Move the mouse cursor into the 3D world and it changes into a dotted circle called the “circle of influence”. Click and hold and a hill will begin to form. The longer you hold, the higher the hill becomes. Move the mouse around while holding the mouse button and you can create various peaks and ridges. Tip: Use the Undo/Redo buttons (Ctrl-Z/Ctrl-Y) that are found on the top menu panel to retrace your steps if you make a mistake.

Ground Texturing

Click on the Paint Tab (F2) and the Topology menu is replaced by the Paint menu. Use the scroll bar to scroll through the texture palette or type in the edit box to look for a specific texture. Click to select a texture and it will show between the Direction and Scale dials. Click and drag to apply the texture to the terrain. Select and apply a different texture and play with blending textures (overlapping), rotating them using the “Direction” tool (or the “[“ or “]” keys). Change the size of the pattern (the scale of the texture) by using the Scale tool (or “Ctrl-[“ or “Ctrl-]”). Change the size of the area being painted using the Radius tool or the “+” or “-“ keys.

Placing Objects

Select the Object tab (F3) from the tab panel and select an object. As you click on an object from the list, a small 3D preview appears in the preview window. The Add Object mode (“A”) is enabled by default. Click in the world to place the object. Use the Move and Rotate tools by first enabling the tool in the Menu then click dragging the object in the 3D world. Tip: Save regularly in Surveyor to ensure you don’t lose your work should the unforseen happen.

Laying Track

Select the Track tab (F4) and choose the track “TS15 Trk Oak V6”. Ensure you are in Add Track mode and lay a short section of track by clicking twice on the baseboard; firstly where you want to start the track, and then where you want it to end. The white circle at each end of the track is called a “Spline Point”. Click on the Move tool (M) and click and drag one of the spline points. Notice that the track follows you. Release the mouse button where you want to place the spline point. Select the Add tool again, a click on a spline point (the white circle). As you move your mouse away you will see the track is being extended. Click again on the map to complete the second track segment. Next click on the Straighten Track tool (B) then click on one of the spline segments between the spline point circles. The track is immediately straightened. Try each of the other tools including the advanced tools to insert, raise and lower spline points and even to smooth the ground under the track.

Adding a Turnout

In the Track Tab, click on the Add Track button, and then click on a section of your existing track in between two spline points. A new spline point appears and you can now Click again, away from the exisiting track, to create your turnout. Use the Move tool to position the direction of the track to give the best appearance. Notice that the check rails and sleepers are placed automatically, and move as you move the rail.

Adding a Lever

Trainz will automatically add in a junction lever, which controls the direction of the junction, whenever you create a junction. The Red and Green arrows indicate which way the turnout will be set when you begin to operate your new Route. To change the turnout’s default direction when in Driver, select the “Junction Direction” (J) found in the Trackside menu (Y) then click on the arrows to toggle the direction. Note: The Switch lever can be deleted using the Trackside Object Delete function, but you must replace it with another of your choice if the Turnout is to function properly.

Adding Spline Objects

Just like adding track, it is possible to lay roads, fences and other spline based objects. Click on the Objects Tab and then click on the Spline tool. Follow the same process as laying track to lay down a road and a fence alongside the road.

Understanding Session Components

Now that we have created some terrain, scenery and track, it is time to move onto the “Session” components - the variable parts of the experience such as the locos and Rules governing how the Session will operate. A Session can be as simple as driving a specific train from Point A to Point B or as complex as the author desires. As the Session author, all the decisions are up to you. To set up a Session, the author needs to decide upon a range of factors including:

  • the route (which part of the world) where the session will take place
  • the locations on the route (are you going from one end to the other or working in a single section of the route?)
  • the quantity and selection of locos and rolling stock
  • the driving mode required
  • placement of trackside cameras
  • placement of trackmarks and triggers
  • level of instruction provided to the user
  • what penalties will be applied for poor performance
  • whether scoring will be used

Changing to Session Layer

When you create a new Route, you are by default working in the Route Layer. Anything in the Route Layer is also present in any Session created for the Route. To switch to working in a Session layer, open the Layers tab (F6). Click the Session-Layer entry and any objects you add will now be placed in the Session layer.

Adding Locos & Rolling Stock

Select the Trains Tab (F7), select a locomotive from the list then Click on any position on the track to place the locomotive in the 3D world. Arrows will appear above the loco defining which direction will be “forward” in your Driver Session. Next, select a freight car from your list of rolling stock. Click on the track just behind the placed locomotive. Keep on Clicking just behind the last car in the consist to add cars. Lastly, add one more loco which will be our “AI Driver”

Adding a Trackmark

Select the Track Tab (F4), then the Trackmary Mode (V). Select a a trackmark and click on your track ahead of your AI loco. Click on the Checkmark to accept the default name of the trackmark and close the window.

Assigning a Driver

To define how your Session will operate, click on the “Edit Session Rules” icon (CTRL+R). There are 6 default rules already included and these are configured so it is possible to start a Session and run it without any amendments. Click on “Driver Setup” Rule, then Click on the Edit button to open the Properties window for that rule. This Rule is responsible for assigning driver characters to each train placed on the tracks for the Session. Click on the driver character icon (not the name) to bring up a list of drivers. Choose any driver from the list and click on the Checkmark to return back to the Driver Setup rule properties window. The driver you chose is now assigned to the locomotive.

Issuing Commands

Next we are going to add a driver command. Click on the green arrow in the command area. Choose Drive to trackmark from the list and then choose the Trackmark you just placed. When your sessin starts, your driver will head for that trackmark. Close the Driver Setup rule properties window by clicking on the Checkmark. Then exit the Edit Session window with changes saved by clicking on the tick near the bottom right corner.

Save and QuickDrive

Click on ‘Main Menu’ and Click on the Save option to save your creation and make it available in the Routes and Sessions lists. To jump straight into your Driver Session from Surveyor (and back again into Surveyor when you are done driving), Click on the ‘QuickDrive’ icon (CTRL-F2).


The Driver mode will now be loaded and the route you just created will appear with your two trains. Your camera will be focused on one train, and the AI Driver will be operating the other one, heading for the trackmark. If this isn’t happening, choose Main Menu > Exit Driver and you will load back into Surveyor to make any adjustments. Re-read this section to see which aspect you may need to change.

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