From: Somewhere in Time
The better pick? I'd go with TRAINZ 2004 to get your feet wet. Afterwards, if you want more depth and complexity (and have a heavier duty computer) you could move up to 2006. I just found 2006 to be extremely impressive, but just not as much fun for someone like me who isn't a hardcore train buff. A lot of people on the TRAINZ forums would agree. 2006 was greatly improved by a massive patch (and I mean it was HUGE)which was necessary to fix a lot of issues with the original release. One issue with 2006 was with the utility to manage all of your downloaded content - it was complex, confusing, and often buggy. 2004 was easier to add new content to IMHO. Honestly, there is so much stuff out there to download that you can easily end up with thousands and thousands of trains, rolling stock, scenery, and routes. Each new route may add it's own list of additional terrain and building items that need to be downloaded which further complicates things when you try and run a route and suddenly find the track ends at a bridge that you don't have <LOL>. The "download station" has always been the strength and weakness of the series for this reason: tons of great stuff to download, but increasing complexity to manage it all if you take advantage of the huge library of assets.
It's all worth it though... at the prices being charged now they are all worth having in your gaming collection. If you go with TRAINZ 2004 be sure and visit TRAINZ Pro Routes and download their Clinchfield Route... it's my favorite!
Well, there is the collection, and it isn't much more than the Trainz 2006 by itself. I am really interested in city routes with elevated trains or trams (I live in NYC). Does 2004 have these, or is it all locomotives? Why is 2004 more "user-friendly"? I have both demos and literally can't tell much of a difference.
Incidentally, and a bit off-topic, anyone try Ship Simulator 2008? If there is anything I like more than trains, it is ships!
Part of it is the 2004 just runs faster on my PC, things are "snappier", the screen refresh does't hang when jumping from one train to another. Some of my favorite content wasn't supported for 2006, I had endless problems with installing new content and getting it to run properly, and just a ton of little annoyances that got in the way of my just setting up a train and running it.
If you like cities there is a detailed route of Toronto, Ontario with lots of street car tracks. Personally, I'd just buy the collection and experiment. The old UTC version made it very easy to put a train together and run it. In the later versions you have to go into the route editor and place the engine and cars on the tracks which can be a bit tedious, especially with thousands of different engine and car options available. Sometimes I missed the old original TRAINZ that had entire routes on one section (pretty much like a home HO Gauge layout). Very simple to understand... of course... then the custom routes with hundreds of sections and routes that simulated over a thousand miles of trackage came along. Very impressive, but it comes with a cost for the casual user. It's kind of like comparing AH's "Africa Korps" with SPI's monster "War in Europe" or even Matrix and War in the Pacific.
Signature? Maybe someday over the rainbow.