World's Largest Repository of MSTS Tutorials
Over 150 Pages Of Tutorials On Everything MSTS

Latest News: 19 Jan 2014

With most new desktops and laptops now arriving with 64-bit Windows 7 or 8 operating systems, MSTS users will find "challenges" with installing some of their favourite software as some installers are only 16-bit and 16-bit is not supported on 64-bit systems.

One of the perennial favourites thus affected is Train Sim Modeler. Ged Saunders has come up with a simple and elegant method of installing TSM into a 64-bit system that solves the problem. Click on the "Read More" link below at right or find it by clicking on the Modelling in TSM link at left.

Posted on Sunday 19 January 2014

28 May 2011

Working on preparing a route for release, I needed to update the route by adding extra cross-over nodes, including one over a three-way junction. Having done this, I thought I would share this work by writing a tutorial, or more precisely, adding a section to Jeff Kraus-Yao's tutorial on creating cross-over nodes.

That then led me to respond to a few emails from people wanting to know if it was possible to fully protect double-slips: I don't think they realised that the problem could be solved by using the Signalling Gantlet Track tutorial. I decided I better create a tutorial on fixing double slips. Click on the "Read More" link below at right.

Posted on Saturday 28 May 2011

24 December 2010

I ran into a problem installing MSTS with a new computer, Windows 7, an ATI graphics card and a widescreen monitor. It seems that ATI have made it "difficult" to enable GPU scaling, required to enable MSTS to be displayed in a correct aspect ratio: I've solved the problem and you can Click on "read More" below to start reading the tutorial.

Posted on Friday 24 December 2010

27 November 2010

Following lots of requests, I've now written a tutorial on installing MSTS on a Windows 7 equipped machine. It follows a similar format to the MSTS-on-XP tutorial, but attempts to guide you through the extra pitfalls Micrsoft has installed with Windows 7. Click on "read More" below to start reading the tutorial.

Posted on Saturday 27 November 2010

12 July 2010

Rick aka "thegrindre" on most MSTS forums has applied his not inconsiderable skills to creating some fine models for MSTS using 3D Canvas Pro. He's written an excellent tutorial on how to create realistic-looking three-dimensional chain to attach to your models. Fully illustrated, his lucid step-by-step insturctions will enable modelers of all skill levels to create 3d chain. Click on "read More" below to start reading the tutorial.

Posted on Monday 12 July 2010

25 May 2010

Matt Austin is one of team-ALCO's skilled model builders and arguably one one of Australia's best modellers. Many Australian MSTS users know of his fine work with the VR D3, the team-ALCO Spirit Spirit Of Progress passenger stock and the extraordinary forthcoming "Tait" suburban train stock. One of the reasons Matt's been able to produce such detailed models that run reliably in the sim is that he has used the freeware application for TSM, Polymaster.

Matt has written a superb tutorial on using Polymaster to improve the quality and reliability of models created with TSM. Browse to his Mastering PolyMaster for comprehensive, lucid instructions on using this valuable application.

Posted on Tuesday 25 May 2010

18 May 2010

Finally, after many hours' work, all tutorials (over 150 HTML pages' worth) are now available for your education and assistance. They represent a huge store of research and knowledge about the game many of us seem to be addicted to: the authors have shared their knowledge and work generously for the whole MSTS community.

So it is with much sadness and a distinct feeling of despondency that I note that the sledging on flamesim.com (aka train-sim.com) has resumed with some offensive comments by one of their members. A Mr Erick Cantu has slammed a sound tutorial on the steam4me site, saying "it contains some half-truths and a few outright lies".

For the record, Mr Erick Cantu has, to my knowledge, never emailed me to offer corrections or point out errors in any tutorials on this site. It seems he finds it much easier to offer abuse and sledge the work of others than constructive criticism. To accuse the author(s) on this site (or me) of telling lies is completely offensive, slanderous and totally outrageous.

There are days where I wonder why I bother......... this is one of them.

Posted on Tuesday 18 May 2010

22 April 2010

By my count, there are now 110+ tutorials returned to the site. The double-asterisk (**) adjacent to the title name in this list of contents indicates that the tutorial is not yet returned to the site in its new format. I will continue to return tutorials and all should be back by the end of May 2010. Then it's onto the new routes awaiting release and then the rolling stock.

Thanks all for your support and patience.

Posted on Thursday 22 April 2010

12 March 2010

The demise of Railpage and subsequent loss of the steam4me site on their servers has necessitated some "re-organisation". As you've no doubt discovered (otherwise you wouldn't be reading this), I've set up my own site. I'm taking advantage of my move to a new server to rewrite many of the tutorials, with more links within pages to enable them to be more easily accessed and linked to.

As time permits, I am progressively returning tutorials to the site in what I consider order of importance. Email me (see Contacts page) if there's one you need returned more quickly.

This menu contains the titles of all the tutorials that have been written. You will get an error message for the tutes that haven't yet been uploaded. I will post again here when I think I've uploaded all the tutorials.

Posted on Friday 12 March 2010

7 December 2009

Frank Carver, best known for his sensational GWR Toddington Route, has written a tutorial showing you how to create a building with windows that light up at night without there being an ACE file in the Night Textures Folder. "Read More" of Frank' tutorial which should simplify things for MSTS content creators and route builders.

Posted on Monday 7 December 2009

2 April 2009

Jeffrey Kraus-Yao's cross-over nodes started me thinking about other vexing track-building / signalling issues within MSTS. After some investigation, I've discovered that Jeffrey's cross over nodes can be used to protect non-intersecting track such as gantlet track or mixed-gauge track.

I've documented the process of protecting a stretch of gantlet track in a tutorial - Signalling Gantlet Track in MSTS - but the process will be useful to route-builders working on routes covering South Australia, Brisbane Metro area, Switzerland and America's Colorado narrow gauge systems where more than one gauge was in use and mixed- or dual-gauge trackage was used at stations and in yards.

Posted on Thursday 2 April 2009

21 March 2009

Jeffrey Kraus-Yao has made an astounding discovery that could revolutionise complicated track-work construction in MSTS and still allow correct signalling. Route-builders can now build complicated junctions and know that they can be protected by signals that will work correctly in activities.

Up till now, only specialised shapes with a crossing node have ensured correct interlocking. His technique will ensure that two tracks laid one over the other can be made to provide protection by signals for use in activities.

Browse to Creating a Diamond Crossover complete with Track Node to read the results of Jeff's painstaking investigative work which in my opinion has opened a new horizon for both route-builders and activity creators.

Posted on Saturday 21 March 2009

22 February 2009

Many MSTS users are using widescreen laptop and desktop displays: here's how to set your graphics card to ensure that you don't have "stretched" distortion.

Browse to Using MSTS with Widescreen Monitors to read how to change your laptop or desktop screen scaling.

Posted on Sunday 22 February 2009

News Archives

Previous news items in the News Archives.

Route Design & Construction (47 tutorials)

"Step by Step Guide to Building Routes Version 3" by Michael Vone, is absolutely indispensible if you're in the least bit serious about route building.  It'll save you countless hours of research and "trial and error" stumbles.  I can't recommend this volume highly enough. Five stars and an elephant stamp!

The prominence I give this publication is thoroughly deserved. Michael Vone has now generously released this guide as freeware. Click on the publication title to download.
File size: 15.1 MB (15,890,029 bytes)

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If you're starting a new route, the following eleven tutorials (in italics) should be read and followed in order as they contain answers to just about every question a "newbie" to route design has.

An Idiot's Guide to Extracting A New Route by Jim Ward. This is where it all starts - the Route Geometry Editor: Jim in his own inimitable style makes this whole process as painless as possible.

Get Stuffed! - Adding All MSTS Objects to Your New Route by Jim Ward. Jim shows you how to get all MSTS default content into your own route.

 A Primer in Track by Yuri Sos.  All MSTS track pieces, lengths, radii, gradient conversion table.

Useful Keyboard Shortcuts by Yuri Sos. Useful in both the Route Editor and the sim.

Selecting and Placing Terrain Patches by Yuri Sos.

Constructing a Passing Siding by Jim Ward. A simple passing siding or crossing loop made child's play.

An Idiot's Guide to Dynamic Track by Jim Ward.

Creating Tunnels in MSTS / How to create Transfers  by Chris Jennings

Creating Tunnels - some additional pointers  by Jim Stevens and Jim Ward

An Easy Way to Change Track Textures in Your Route by Jim Ward.

A Primer in Creating Marker Files by Yuri Sos. What are markers, how to set up marker files.

What folders do what in MSTS by Jim Ward: with a few screenshots, he describes the effects each part of MSTS has (WORLD, TILES folders and the role of the .TDB files).

The Truth about Embankments and Cuttings by Jim Ward.

Making Mountains out of Molehills  by Jim Ward.

Perfect orchards and Perfect Long Bridges by Michael Vone.

Perfect Bridge alignment by Lawrence Kellie and Bill Burnett.

Implementing Multiple Water Levels by Cal Rasmussen.

Modifying Track Textures by Jim Ward.

Changing Ground Textures by Jim Ward.

Understanding and Exploiting the FOREST.DAT file by Jim Ward

Tunnel Walls with a Rock Face by Jim Ward.

Creating a Small Stream in MSTS Route Editor by "Saddletank" 

Changing the Route Start Tile Position by Yuri Sos.

How MSTS Route Editor Handles Memory by Jim Steven.

Increasing Route Editor Window Size by Jim Steven. 

About the Wireframe Grid by Jim Steven. 

A New Method for Fencing Routes: by Joseph Realmuto.

Removing catenary from Spur lines by Lukas A Lusser

Using Hidewire to Remove Catenary Over Part Of Your Route by Wayne Campbell

Building an Incline Railway by Wayne Campbell

Activating Interlocking Signals by Using the Hazard feature by Wayne Campbell

Using Maps/Aerial Photos as Transfer Objects in Route Editor by Wayne Campbell

Carspawners - their care and feeding by Yuri Sos

Fixing Level Crossings Where Cars Don't Restart by Devin L. Ever wondered why cars in the carspawner will remain stopped at mast-only signals after a train has passed? Devin did and found the solution.

Setting up Signals in MSTS - A Primer by Russell Beer

Using The Auto-Placement Function (gantry.dat) in Route Editor by Yuri Sos

Fencing your Roads by Geoff Forrest

Adding Yard Camera to An Existing Route by Jim Ward

Xtracks - how to place a zero degree node by Yuri Sos

Scalerail - how to place a zero degree node by Yuri Sos

Creating Static Trains to fill Up Yards by Jim Ward

Using Google Earth To Create Marker Files in RE in MSTS by Yuri Sos

Using Google Maps To Create Marker Files in RE in MSTS by David Coverdale

Making Signals Work on Diamond Crossings by Vince Cockeram

Creating a Diamond Crossover complete with Track Node by Jeffrey Kraus-Yao

Signalling Gantlet Track in MSTS by Yuri Sos

Route Folder Structure & Packaging a Route by Jim Ward. Lots of information here to enable you to understand the MSTS file and folder structure. Most of these techniques have been largely automated by Route Riter.

Route Riter Written by Mike Simpson: (this is a brilliant piece of work by a talented programmer) - the "Swiss Army Knife" of MSTS and one of the most important freeware software available for the sim: cleans out unnecessary/unused shapes and textures from your route for economy of disk space and distribution.  Also (un)compresses .S files, adjusts consists, fixes wagons, activities.

There are also another 19 tutorials on the Route_Riter page.

Route Construction: Track And Signal (15 tutorials)

 A Primer in Track by Yuri Sos.  All MSTS track pieces, lengths, radii, gradient conversion table.

Constructing a Passing Siding by Jim Ward. A simple passing siding or crossing loop made child's play.

An Idiot's Guide to Dynamic Track by Jim Ward.

Xtracks - how to place a zero degree node by Yuri Sos

Scalerail - how to place a zero degree node by Yuri Sos

Modifying Track Textures by Jim Ward.

Activating Interlocking Signals by Using the Hazard feature by Wayne Campbell

Fixing Level Crossings Where Cars Don't Restart by Devin L. Ever wondered why cars in the carspawner will remain stopped at mast-only signals after a train has passed? Devin did and found the solution.

Setting up Signals in MSTS - A Primer by Russell Beer

Making Signals Work on Diamond Crossings by Vince Cockeram

The Mystery Of The Frozen Points (Switches) Solved! by by Stephen Masters (images by Otto Wipfel)

Creating a Diamond Crossover complete with Track Node by Jeffrey Kraus-Yao

Signalling Gantlet Track in MSTS by Yuri Sos

Fixing Double Slips For Correct Signal Protection by Yuri Sos

Getting Rid Of Phantom Signals by Yuri Sos

Model Construction And Design
- General (15 tutorials)

Which 3D Modelling Software to choose? by Yuri Sos: a collation many of the messages and comments I've collected along the way and put them all together in this article.  I'd welcome further comments and feedback.

How to adjust your (animated) pantograph height by Paul Gausden. I don't know where Paul finds the time, but he's written up some advice on how to adjust the pantograph height on your models to make them conform to the route's wire height.

Introducing Shape File Manager (designed by Paul Gausden) information compiled by Yuri Sos.

Understanding Hierarchies by Richard Osborne: actually Chapter 12 of his coach-building tutorial, this tutorial is a great standalone document which de-mystifies the use of hierarchies in MSTS.

Achieving perfect car length parameters by Yuri Sos: a tutorial walking you through setting the correct numbers for your rollingstock's WAG and SD files.

Front coupler issues: a summary and some solutions by Lukas A Lusser. This is an excellent summary on the current thinking  of the vexing issue of the "front coupler".  Some solutions to minimising the problem are also presented.

How to add loads to your wagons or crew, parts to your rolling stock by Tim Muir & Chuck Zeiler. Tim and Chuck present a lucid, illustrated tutorial on using the FreightAnim parameter to enhance your models.

Manual for .ENG and .WAG files by Rudolf Richter:  latest version is 2.0e; - a great tutorial on understanding the ENG and WAG files. The latest version is always here.

Better Lighting for Locomotives by Robert Fontaine. Robert has created a new ACE file (based on default liteglow.ace) that has, in my opinion, revolutionised the science and art of lighting for MSTS models. He has named his ACE file the "LightFx" ACE file.

Adding AI-lighting to MSTS locomotives and Wagons: by Yuri Sos:a simple step-by-step illustrated tutorial on how to make the lights shine on all your locomotives in an activity.

Placing the Wheels on the Rails by Otto Wipfel. A simple but effective way to make sure that your carriages' wheels are planted *on* the rails, not under or in the rails.

Adding Shine to MSTS models by Paul Gausden. Master of the shape file Paul "decapod" Gausden has used a recent discovery about textures in MSTS to open up possibilities to attain shiny and reflective surfaces on models in MSTS.

Constructing Wagons with Hideable Loads by Ian McMillan: a very clever use of "Door animation" within MSTS-Bin to generate wagons that can be loaded and unloaded very quickly.

Model Construction Using TSM (26 tutorials)

Installing Train Sim Modeler into 64-bit OS by Gerald "Ged" Saunders. The popularity of 64-bit Windows systems has created install problems for users of TSM ...... until now. Ged demonstrates a simple and elegant way to get TSM up and running in the 64-bit OS of your choice.

Constructing A Steam Loco Using Train Sim Modeler by Richard Osborne. This superb series of six tutorials takes you by the hand and gently leads you through the process of creating your own steam locomotive using Abacus' TrainSim Modeler.

Adding Steam Effects with TSM by Paul deVerter: an adjunct to Richard's steam loco tutorial, Paul shows you how to use Reference parts in TSM to accurately place smoke and steam effects.

Understanding Hierarchies by Richard Osborne: actually Chapter 12 of his coach-building tutorial, this tutorial is a great standalone document which de-mystifies the use of hierarchies in MSTS.

Animating Valve Gear by Richard Osborne. Suitable for both GMAX and TSM users, Richard walks you through the isuues you need to consider to successfully animate valve gear.

Animating Walschaerts' Valve Gear by Richard Osborne. A follow-up to the previous valve gear tutorial - Richard's been asked to write something more specific to Walschaerts' gear. Suitable for both TSM and GMAX users.

Exporting a Freight Car from TSM to MSTS by Paul deVerter: The steps to exporting a simple freight car explained in full.

How To Animate A Scenery Object (Part 1) by Paul De Verter. Paul has written this amazing tutorial which should guide everyone through the frustratiion of getting a model to animate properly.

How To Animate A Scenery Object (Part 2) by Paul De Verter. Paul has written this follow-up showing you how to animate a cylindrical object in MSTS.

How To Animate An Electric Loco (And Make Parts Move Using The P Key) by Paul De Verter. Paul has developed his animation theme into rollingstock: in this epic of eight tutorials, he shows us how to create animation for electric locos (and they don't have to look like electric locos). Somewhat in increasing order of complexity, the eight topics include:

  1. A rail gun whose barrel goes up and down;
  2. A trolley car whose trolley pole goes up and down;
  3. A linecar having a lift that raises, and a gangplank that extends;
  4. A linecar having a lift that raises, with a gangplank that rotates;
  5. A side dump gondola whose container slides and tilts;
  6. A crane having a cab that pivots on the body, with a cable that lowers a hook;
  7. An .ENG file for a side dump gondola that is no longer than a short wag file and which does not have, nor need, the Sound and Cabview Folders;
  8. Finally, How to animate a trolley wheel on an electric car, which rotates backwardly compared to the wheels on the track.

How To Make Your TSM-built Aircraft fly in MSTS by Frank "Emu Farmer" Carver. Frank walks you through the process of animating your aircraft to have them take off, fly and land in MSTS.

Wheels With Spokes As Separate Parts - Making them Rotate together by Paul De Verter. Paul deVerter continues his struggles with TSM and exlpains his victories in this useful tutorial.

How to Make a Symmetrical Part using TSM by Paul deVerter. A commonly needed procedure is de-mystified and simplified by Paul.

How to Animate Walschaert's Valve Gear using TSM by Mike Wilson: Mike has written an lucid, illustrated tutorial on how to animate driving rods in TSM.

Adjusting Level Of Detail (LOD) In Train Sim Modeler by Alan Heath. This technique enables the progressive appearance of objects in the sim depending on their distance from the camera, thus saving the software unnecessary work in creating models that can't be clearly seen.

Creating a vehicle for MSTS using Train Sim Modeler by Ted Curphey. Ted shows you how to construct and texture vehicle shapes.

Creating Transparent Windows in a Locomotive (using TSM) by Brian Piotrowski. Great tutorial on a vexing problem.

Mastering PolyMaster by Matt Austin. Matt has written a superb tutorial on using Polymaster to improve the quality and reliability of models created with TSM.

Model Construction Using 3D Canvas (15 tutorials)

Background Images as a Reference Source in 3D Canvas by Trouble Pryor:  use this technique to design your model to the correct proportions based on a reference plan and then scale the whole thing to the proper dimensions.

How to build a Steam Locomotive (Complete) by Paul Gausden, better known to many of you as "Decapod", the author of Shape File Manager. Paul has written a magnificent set of nine tutorials on constructing a steam locomotive using the highly regarded 3D Canvas Pro, a popular 3D editing program from amabilis.com, offering excellent support and features. Paul has designed and written a variety of plug-ins to simplify the more vexing problems in model building such as rod animation.   This surely will help many MSTS users delve into the wonderful world of 3D modeling and I'm proud to host this benchmark-setting tutorial.

3D Canvas Tutorial - Pipe Builder Plug-In by Brentton Smith. Illustrated and clearly and simply explained, Brentton leads you through the processes of making Paul Gausden's Pipe Builder plug-in work for you. The results are sensational and can be achieved in only minutes. This plug-in will save model builders lots of hours, hair and polys!

Inventive Uses for 3DC Pipe Builder Plug-In by Paul Gausden. Paul demonstrates how to build low poly highly effective spring hangers in a concise, illustrated mini-tutorial. Sensational result! Then Paul shows you how to create a ladder with a curved top illustrated mini-tutorial. Another sensational tute! and Paul's clear instructions make it look so easy.

Nick Fletcher's MSTS Content Creation Video Tutorials by Nick Fletcher. This series of videos begins with a look at the basic skills you'll need in order to work with 3D Canvas. Nick assumes you've never seen the program before or worked with 3D modeling software. Subsequent video tutorials walk you through the procedures to assemble a model. View the tutorials online at Youtube, or download ZIP files of each part, or a single ZIP file containing all parts in one.

Using the Rod Animator Plug-in in 3D Canvas Pro by Scott Brunner; follow this checklist to ensure you animate your steam locos with a minimum of fuss.

Making A 3D Chain In 3D Canvas Pro v7 by Rick aka "thegrindre"; an illustrated easy-to-follow tutorial on creating realistic 3D chain for your models.

Model Construction Using GMax (15 tutorials)

A Coach made with GMax by Richard Osborne: a great "how to" tutorial showing you how to build a coach but there's a wealth of information on learning how to use Gmax's powerful tools. Highly recommended. Twelve seperate chapters.

Understanding Hierarchies by Richard Osborne: actually Chapter 12 of his coach-building tutorial, this tutorial is a great standalone document which de-mystifies the use of hierarchies in MSTS.

Animating Valve Gear by Richard Osborne. Suitable for both GMAX and TSM users, Richard walks you through the isuues you need to consider to successfully animate valve gear.

Animating Walschaerts' Valve Gear by Richard Osborne. A follow-up to the previous tutorial - Richard's been asked to write something more specific to Walschaerts' gear. Suitable for both GMAX and TSM users.

Cab Views and Passenger Views (three tutorials)

Cab View Tutorial by Ian Morgan: the Cab Editor remains a "black hole" for many simmers -  Ian Morgan has written this wonderful tutorial which should shed light into the Cab Editor's darker corners and assist many designers to tackle the vexed issue of creating cabs for their models.

Passenger Views - The Definitive Tutorial by Yuri Sos: describes what a passenger view is and how to set it up to work correctly in the sim.

Cab View - How To Set Up Your View From The Cab by Yuri Sos: this is part of a tutorial on cabviews I've been writing for ages, but the question of setting up or altering the view out this window crops up all the time, so I thought I'd publish this part now.

Sound Creation And Modification (five tutorials)

An Introduction to Making Sounds for MSTS by Chuck Zeiler: this excellent article walks you through the basics of getting a .wav file to work in MSTS.

Deciphering .SMS files by Ralf Hagen: a great tutorial, originally available in German, now translated into English

Improving the Quality of MSTS Sounds by Stuart Williamson: Stuart sheds some further light on the issue of MSTS sounds, this time with a quick tip on hearing everything that's happening in MSTS.

The Sound Test Interface - What it is and how to use it by Stuart Williamson and Jeff Ashton: the two sound gurus from uktrainsim.com introduce this previously undocumented feature of MSTS and give you some tips on how to use it. Cutting edge stuff!

Sound Source Placement Error Causes MSTS to Crash by Lukas A Lusser. Values for the x- and z- coordinates in the Position line in .WS files that are outside the range -1024 to +1024 will cause the simulation to crash without warning. Lukas discovers the cause of the problem and Mike Simpson fixes it with Route_Riter.

Texturing (19 tutorials)

A Pictorial tutorial for creating MSTS Trees by Michael Sinclair: a 192-image epic which will surely become the definitive work on creating trees for MSTS.

Write in a Circle Using PaintShop Pro by Paul De Verter. Invaluable advice and yet more techniques to add to your skill set.

Sean Lim's MSTS Texturing Guides. Sean Lim (aka Trackdancer aka KnightTrain) wrote some excellent tutorials which disappeared in late 2003. They're back and are hosted here at the steam4me site.

Chapter 1: How to Make an Alpha Channel Using Paint Shop Pro and TGATool2 by Paul De Verter, showing you a simple way to create alpha channels without having to understand PSP's masks (chapter one of a series); and a follow-up tutorial......

Chapter 2: How to Make Additions to an Alpha Channel Using Paint Shop Pro also by Paul De Verter. Logical follow-up to the tutorial immediately above (chapter two of a series).

Chapter 3: Changing the Transparency of an Alpha Channel Window Using Paint Shop Pro by Paul De Verter.

Chapter 4: Alpha Channel Generation Using the TGATool Alpha Channel Template Option by Paul De Verter. Chapter four in this series. Paul describes the use for a button we've all seen on the TGATools screen, but have never used or even understood: sounds tricky, but Paul's explanation make it quite simple.

Achieving Sharp lettering on your models by Tim Muir: Tim shows a simple technique he uses in TSM (but it'll work for any 3d software) to achieve sharp lettering on the sides of his models.

Getting Rid of Moiré Pattern by Altering the Shape File by Scott Miller: a simple technique to reduce or eliminate the Moiré effect when looking at models in the sim.

Removing perspective distortion from pictures by Ron Picardi: Ron demonstrates how to straighten pictures for use in texturing your creations (see also Larry Bolch's tutorial below).

Weathering techniques using Paintshop Pro - A Primer by Wayne Campbell: Wayne will get you started on techniques to achieve more realistic weathered textures using Paintshop Pro 7.x (though his techniques could be applied to Photoshop or any other imaging software).

Making a Building for MSTS with Windows that light up without the Ace being in the Night Textures Folder by Frank Carver. Frank's technique will enable you to have realistic looking buildings in your route which are dark, rather than black at night and have "lighted windows" without the need for a separate night texture.

Creating the Locomotive image that appears when you press "Details" in Route & Activity Selection by Yuri Sos: there's no need for a 1MB 512x512pixel square loco.ace - it's a waste of disk space and only increases the size of downloads: this tutorial shows you how to create an effective loco.ace file of ca. 100k.

Re-Skinning / Texturing Models by Matt Peddlesden (link to page off-site)

Creating the Splash Screen that appears behind the Start Up Menus Using PaintShop Pro and/or
Creating the Splash Screen that appears behind the Start Up Menus Using Photoshop Elements by Yuri Sos.

Creating the (Map) image that appears under the list of Routes in Route & Activity Selection by Yuri Sos.

Creating the (Locomotive) image that appears when you press "Details" in Route & Activity Selection by Yuri Sos

Perspective Control with Wide-Angle Shots by Larry N Bolch (link to page off-site). While not MSTS-specific, Larry writes a brilliant tutorial on how to straighten perspectives in photos.  This tutorial is sure to be useful when using photographs for modelling purposes.


 

Activities (13 Tutorials)

I just Want A New Starting Point by Yuri Sos. You just want a new starting point in a route - this is the tutorial for you.

A Guide To Creating Your Own Consists by Yuri Sos. There's nothing wrong with MSTS' built-in Consist Editor: here's a definitive guide to creating or editing your own consists.

A Pictorial Tutorial For Creating Activities in MSTS by Michael Sinclair: 140 page screenshot tutorial enabling you to "learn-by-seeing". This tutorial will walk you through the creation of activities, including player and traffic trains, paths and consists.

Step by Step Guide to Train Sim Activities by Rich Garber: US$10 for a downloadable copy from Abacus.  This is to Activities as Michael Vone's book is to Routes. Highly recommended.

Activities, Consists - what goes where and who's dependent on whom by Jim Ward. When you have errors in Activities, it pays to understand the files involved in an activity. Jim explains the various files and their inter-relationships.

An Idiot's Guide to Creating A New Activity by Jim Ward. Start here to learn the basics of activity creation by one of the masters of the sim.

Hacking Activities: Drive the trains you want!: by Jim "Sniper" Ward.

Editing the Timetable For Passenger Trains by Yuri Sos. It's a simple matter to update the timetable in Activity Editor.

Fixing broken paths using Activity Editor by Bob Latimer. Broken paths are usually the result of paths created for one version of a route being used on a different version: Bob walks you through the steps (and tricks) required to correct this problem.

AI trains overtaking player trains - a simple solution by Greg Coote and Gary Gagnon.  How to make your player train wait in a siding while an AI train overtakes you. 

Setting speed control for AI trains by Jim "Sniper" Ward.  Jim's turned his attention to unravelling some of the mysteries of the Activities Editor.  With a little help from his friends, he explains parameters controlling speed in AI trains.

Verify Starting State by Jim "Sniper" Ward. Test (and debug) your activities before they cause grief in the sim.

Using Route Riter to Change the MSTS Registry Settings to Unpack Activities for mini-Routes by Mike Simpson. Don't fiddle with the registry yourself - Route Riter does it painlessly and accurately.

Miscellaneous (or I don't know where it goes) (five tutorials)

MSTS Re-installation Guide by Yuri Sos. Whether you're installing MSTS for the first time or, as many of us seem to, for the umpteenth time, this checklist of the basic "essential" steps will get your MSTS installation "back on the tracks" in a minimum of time with a minimum of frustration. Windows XP and Windows 7 versions.

Using MSTS with Widescreen Monitors by Yuri Sos. Many MSTS users are using widescreen laptop and desktop displays: here's how to set your graphics card to ensure that you don't have "stretched" distortion.

Using MSTS with ATI Video Cards with GPU Scaling by Yuri Sos. You've set up your monitor, but recent versions of ATI Catalyst Centre don't allow you to enable GPU scaling. Yes, they do and here's an illustrated tutorial to demonstrate the procedure.

Using the ConTEXT Editor in MSTS by Yuri Sos, based on ground-breaking work by Pete Willard. This freeware Unicode-aware editor is an excellent replacement for Wordpad when it comes to editing MSTS ENG, WAG, SMS, CVF and CON files: line-numbering, coloured keywords and simple bracket-matching make this a perfect all-round editor.

Changing the MSTS Registry Entry the Easy Way by Otto Wipfel: another way of changing MSTS Registry settings - probably useful if only to keep a set of registry entries to avoid having to completely re-install MSTS if you have a computer crash.

Increasing memory that can be used by MSTS compiled by Yuri Sos, contributions by Otto Wipfel and Joseph Hoevet. George, of MSTS-Bin fame, discovered this undocumented feature that can be used in both default MSTS and MSTS-Bin installations to increase the amount of memory that can be used by MSTS. A must-read must-do to improve stability and frame rates.