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New program version released v2.1.0

We are pleased to announce the release of a significantly improved program version containing many new features, and all due to a new member of the development team – Stephen Smith.  Firstly Stephen has contributed very significantly to the user interface as detailed below.  Secondly he has contributed behind the scenes in improving the readability of the program code and bringing it more into line with good programming practice.  Thirdly he rekindled Albert’s enthusiasm for the project so he too has been busy making some functional improvements and correcting errors.  After all that it hardly needs saying that Stephen is a very welcome addition to the ROS team!

User interface improvements:

Icons have been added to many of the menu items and buttons.

Speed and distance conversion facilities now work both ways.

‘Hotkeys’ have been added for frequently used functions.

A website link has been added to the help menu.

Presentation has been improved in terms of clarity and ease of use. 

Functional improvements:

The railway can be repositioned by dragging with the right-hand mouse button in both zoom-in and zoom-out modes.

The screen can be resized and still retain full functionality.  Xeon recently mentioned this limitation when not in full screen mode and Albert promised to add scrollbars at the next release, but full function resizing is much better than the inconvenience of scrollbars.  Interestingly he had thought that scrollbars were available but after Xeon contacted him found that v2.0.0 didn’t have them.  Further investigation revealed that they were available in v1.3.2 and earlier, but disappeared for some unknown reason in v2.0.0!

Routes can be cancelled when they are occupied by trains with a ‘route locking’ warning as given for trains approaching signals.  Albert had earlier thought that route cancellation when occupied should be disallowed as SPADs are more likely in these circumstances, but it meant that long automatic signal routes couldn’t be removed when there was heavy traffic and the route was never free of trains.  One user, Brian Clancy, commented on this back in 2016, pointing out that it is allowed in real railway operation when circumstances require it, which it has to be to avoid a no-way-out situation.  This change therefore brings operation more into line with real railway operation.

More information has been added for trains that have yet to enter at continuations, including repeat number, entry speed and timetable, to allow better planning for when the train arrives together with earlier route setting.

The help manual and on-screen help have been updated to reflect the latest changes.

Errors corrected:

The timetable screen caption now reads correctly when creating or editing timetables.  Formerly the earlier loaded timetable name remained in the caption in error.

Signal behaviour on locked automatic signal routes exiting at a continuation when a train has exited has been corrected.  Before, signals continued to clear in sequence in spite of the route being locked.  All now remain at red.

There was a potential error when pre-setting automatic signal routes, in that a pre-set route could be set across a diagonal that was fouled by an adjacent track that cut across it.  Now such situations can’t arise when pre-setting routes, though they can still be created by the user during operation if required.

BUT – it’s not all good news:

The bad news is that for operating systems later than Windows 7 the earlier compatibility issues are likely still to be present, requiring 256 colour mode and possibly also disabling display scaling on high DPI (dots per inch) settings. These and a new one that has surfaced in some circumstances are described in the ‘Known Compatibility Issues’ box on the Downloads page. These changes only have to be done once but they are a nuisance, so we are trying to track down their source and hopefully avoid them in a later release.


As ever please be on the lookout for and report any unexpected behaviour, especially if changing the compatibility mode doesn’t cure it, and please send in any error files that are produced if the program crashes so that we can correct any problems that might arise – many thanks.

We hope you approve of the changes and enjoy the enhanced program.

Best regards,

The ROS team

Chinese Spring Festival Greetings from Xeon

Xeon sends his greetings for 2018 in his own unique style!  Click on the picture and watch the trains racing round the system (all headcode 2018 of course).

Below is a video of GuangZhou Nan railway station and surrounding lines.  Xeon tells us that GuangZhou Nan is the busiest High Speed railway station in China, possibly even the world, with 44 trains per hour in and out at peak times!  If you look closely you will see that some of the signals have a blue aspect – Xeon changed the signal graphic to correspond to Chinese signalling practice.

When you play it be sure to have your sound system switched on.



New Project Submission: Abbey Park and Abbey Road by Max Wilkinson

This project simulates a model railway layout (00 gauge) called Abbey Park which is owned by John Polley.
John Polley used to be a London Underground driver before he gave it up for a desk job in network control.
He says: “At least I have my little trains to play with and they are much less trouble.”
It is currently under construction in real life but I provide here a sneaky preview of what it will look like.
This is a replacement layout of a popular, well known London Underground layout called Abbey Road, which
is also provided. The rolling stock is mainly tube stock and dates back since the 1930s. You can also buy
these trains from this website: The fiddle yard (area not in the green box) is
supposed to have 3 way points but as this simulator doesn’t have 3 way points I have had to modify it.
In addition, it was supposed to have a traverser for the 5 sidings on the upper level.

Don’t forget to check out Abbey Road on the Model Railway Channel and on YouTube.

Download it here

Website Overhaul – Part 2

Website Overhaul – Part 2

Greetings Virtual Railroaders and Operators!

We’ve nearly completed the major overhaul part 1, and we’re moving into the next part of the major overhaul: Downloads, Ads & Newsletter. If you have any comments, please comment on the post on our website, or send us a message on Facebook or Twitter.


As Albert has so eloquently put it: “we’re victims of our own success”, and the amount of projects that have been submitted to us has been overwhelming over the years. Awesome! The current way we manage our downloads has proven to be somewhat cumbersome and prone to errors (empty (?) files, projects unwilling to download at all, etc.). To provide a more reliable way to handle the downloads, we’re moving to a different plugin: WooCommerce.

Yes, I know, WooCommerce is a webstore, but no worries, we have no plans on charging you for the downloads. We just need a better and more reliable way to keep track of the downloads and be able to edit them afterwards. I hear people asking “You cannot edit them afterwards?”, well, yes, we can, but editing them afterwards resets the downloads counter… And contributors like to see how many times their project was downloaded over time. It is by no means a measure of success, but it is great to see that in x years your project has been downloaded over 500 times or more. This motivates both the creators as well as ourselves to continue the website and offering this service.

So we are slowly moving all the downloads into WooCommerce, and as soon as all the projects have been added, we will switch to using the catalog instead of the individual pages we have now. We are aware this move has pro’s and con’s, but at this point in time the pro’s outweigh the con’s by a landslide.

Some Pro’s

  • Better statistics on downloads.
  • Less prone to errors.
  • More ways to sort the downloads (name, popularity, etc).
  • More & better ways to spotlight new submissions.
  • Easier management.
  • Can expand almost infinite.
  • No counter reset after editing.
  • Feedback integrated and people can actually “rate” the project.

Some Con’s

  • Users may have to register to download.
  • Still no (easy) way to have authors manage their own submissions.


This service, although sponsored, isn’t free for us. It costs us money, and we don’t mind as long as we can display a few ads on our website. Over the past 5 years we have seen the ad revenue drop from $50 (£35 / €40) a year in 2012, to almost nothing ($8,10 / £5,80 / €6,50) in 2017. We understand people have installed adblockers and this is showing. We do understand the reason behind adblockers, but you, as user, also have to realize that what is free on the internet really isn’t.

We will maintain the same level of ads on our website, so no change there, but we will start warning/nagging visitors using adblockers that they are doing us a disservice by blocking our ads. Advertisements are not paying our bills (far from it, actually), and are merely there to provide a few cents towards the costs of running and maintaining this website. The ads we serve are served by Google AdSense, and that ought to be a reliable partner without malicious ads. We know ads are not popular, and we promise to keep them to a minimum.

If you are really inclined to help us, click on an ad every once in a while. It may sound stupid, but if every visitor on this website clicked on one (1) ad once a month for a year, we would be running break even. We do not expect you to start clicking ads en mass now, but keep in mind that there is a reason why they are there. After all, if Albert wanted money for it, he would not have made the program freeware…

TL;DR: So please, IF you run an adblocker, which is totally fine (I do as well on some websites that are more ad than content), consider disabling it on our website. And if you really want to help us out, click one every once in a while.


As some of you have noticed on the homepage, we’re pushing the newsletter a bit more. We have plans to send at least 1 per year, and preferably 1 per month, but no more than that.

“Why?” you may ask, and that has to do with convenience. Our old newsletter-system was hopelessly outdated, and the new version that the author was pushing was so exorbitantly expensive, that it literally wouldn’t “pay” to buy it (pun intended). We have switched to using MailChimp, a semi-free service, that we can lift along with our hosting provider (Ergens in NL) without having to pay much if anything at all.

So you will get the latest news (if there is any) delivered to your mailbox free of charge. If you visit our website regularly, you may not need it though. It’s free, it’s convenient, it’s without spam (news only) conveniently delivered to your mailbox to read whenever you feel like reading it.

That is it for now, Stay tuned, I will keep you posted.

Major website overhaul

After celebrating 5 years of the new website, it was time to give it a more modern overhaul. As such some things have changed and some things are in the process of changing. We are still working to improve the user experience for all our community members!

Changelog (thusfar):

+ New Theme
+ New Layout
+ New Menu

o Reorganized Project Pages in the menu (for easier navigation)

– Removed all names (attribution) from the projects in the menu (ONLY in the menu! The page names were way too long for the menu to handle).

In Progress:

+ Updating ALL the static pages to the new format starting with all the functional pages, finishing with the project pages.
+ Creating templates for all static and project pages and changing the current pages over into the new templates.
+ Updating the menu structure to easier navigate through the site.


If you have any suggestions, remarks or have found any bugs, please let us know in the comments or use our contact page.

New Project Submission: London Marylebone by Zac Partridge

This is a real life, working section of rail at the Terminus Station of London Marylebone.

The timetable is fully real with all correct platforms etc.. and I have completed a half day timetable from 05:45 – 12:00 (Noon) however I will not be completing the 2nd half of the day as this timetable is particularly repetitive after 11am.

London Marylebone is a small Central London Terminus and has a connected London Underground station, Marylebone (serving the Bakerloo line) in the Marylebone area of the City of Westminster. On the National Rail network it is also known as London Marylebone and is the southern terminus of the Chiltern Mainline to Birmingham. The accompanying underground line is located between Edgware Road and Baker Street in Transport for London’s Fare Zone 1.

I chose London Marylebone as it is one of the smaller yet still relatively busy London Terminus’. The station has 6 buffer platforms and 1 additional siding adjacent to platform 1.

I really hope you enjoy the project and please make sure you check out my document named MUST READ MYB.txt to find out specifics of the timetable and operating this specific layout etc.

Download it here

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