RailWorks is a train simulator. It is the successor to Rail Simulator. It allows the player to drive both steam, diesel and electric locomotives on eight different routes with many more being available as downloadable content. The player can choose between free roam driving and scenarios. Scenarios are activities with assignments that the player has to accomplish. This can for example include picking up passengers, delivering freight or to meet a timetable.
The game can be played with three control methods each offering a different level of difficulty. These are simple, intermediate and expert. In the simple mode much is automatized and the player only has to handle three commands: speed up, slow down and change direction. The intermediate mode is more complex. Here the player has to increase or decrease the throttle, reverser, train brakes and locomotives brakes. In the expert mode he also have to handle dynamic brakes and handbrakes, warning systems, sander and power pickup. The driving can be done with either mouse or keyboard. When using the mouse the player simply points and clicks on the different controls in the cab.
The game comes with a numbers of tools that can be used to create new content. This include a world editor for creating or new routes and a scenario editor for the creation of new scenarios.
The following routes are available in the base game:
Oxford – Paddington (UK route set in 2006)
York – Newcastle (UK route set in 1978)
Hagen – Siegen (German route set in 1998)
Bath – Templecombe (UK route set in 1955)
Barstow – San Bernardino (US route set in 2005)
Hedborough North (fictional UK route set in 1968)
Seebergbahn (fictional Alpine route set in 2009)
CastleRockRailroad (fictional US route set in 2009)