openbve — train/railway simulator and game


openbve [/route=route.csv] [/train=directory] [/controls|/newgame|/options|/review]


OpenBVE is a realistic rail simulator.

The driving simulation is restricted to following a pre-determined loaded route, with the focus being on the realism of the train driving experience. OpenBVE also has an Arcade mode where driving style and timetable-keeping affect a running score.

The simulator is backwards compatible with existing 'BVE Trainsim' route and train datafiles, which are readily available for no cost. It is cross-platform using CLI and Mono.

Getting started

To move the train, you need to do the following (with the default keyboard settings):

f Move the reverser to the forwards position. (Opposite is v).
, Release the brake one notch; will be required 4-8 times before movement. (Opposite is .).
z Increase the regulator (power) one notch; may be required 1-2 times before movement. (Opposite is q).

The major controls keys are arranged closely together q-a-z for power control; ,-. (comma and full-stop) for braking and f-v for forwards/backwards direction. Some electric trains have a combined accelerator+brake with a coast (neutral) in the centre. This is controlled with just the q-a-z combination (and forwards/backwards). Pressing the a key moves the controller one notch closer to the coast/idle positioh, regardless of whether in power or braking mode.

Return/Shift-Return operate the horn. Keys F1-F5 select alternative camera angles. C-r unlocks the camera to allow free movement (r to reset). A large number of other keys exist for interacting with complex signalling systems and operating the passenger doors whilst in a station. Most routes have a supplied timetable that can be displayed by pressing C-t.


For laptops/notebooks, there is an alternate keyboard mapping (called "Default keyboard assignment for Notebooks.controls"), which can be imported via the Customise Controls tab. The basic keys are the same, but camera controls are moved off the numeric keypad.


Show Customise Controls screen; keyboard/mouse/joystick selection.
Show Filemanager/route selector screen; choose activity (default).
Show Options screen; display and quality settings.
Show Review performance; score and incident log from previous activity.
Path to the file with the route file ending .csv or .rw which describes the track, scenery and time-table.
A train/cab. This should be a path to the directory, which contains the train.dat description for the locomotive, train or cab.


Two elements are required, a route, and a train (often just a cab view and performance metrics). These can be selected using the filemanager after OpenBVE is started. Most routes have a corresponding recommended train (for instance a particular model of Tube train on the London Underground); if this train is located it will be selected by default.


Saved keyboard configuration, display settings and score log.
Default location for packaged train directories (containing train.dat).
Default location for packaged railway route .csv files.
Data used by OpenBVE to start up.


OpenBVE was written by Michelle Boucquemont <> and placed in the public domain.
This manual page was written for Debian/Ubuntu by Paul Sladen <>