Railroad Tycoon 3 on Windows 7

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Railroad Tycoon 3 is known to have issues with running on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. The most common issue appears to be related to hardware transform and lighting (hardware t&l) – an option that is enabled by default in Railroad Tycoon 3. The beauty of this setting is that you normally have to start the game to disable is. Seeing as it causes game startup crashes this isn’t really possible. Luckily there’s another way:

  1. Install either patch 1.05 or unofficial patch 1.06. If you installed the game on steam, you’ll automatically be patched to version 1.05 so you don’t have to worry about this.
  2. Download the “Vista Fix” (aka modified engine.cfg):
    Download link 1 <– Hawk and Badger (account required)
    Download link 2 <– Local mirror
  3. Overwrite the engine.cfg with the downloaded version. The original engine.cfg is located in:
    Railroad Tycoon 3\Data\Configuration
    If you installed the game through steam you can find this file in the following directory:
    steam\steamapps\common\Railroad Tycoon 3\Data\Configuration
    To install the “Vista Fix” simply replace your version of the engine.cfg with the one you downloaded and restart the game!

If you’ve followed the above steps and are still having issues running Railroad Tycoon 3 on Windows 7, please post in the comments below. To increase your chances of a solution being found include as much detail as possible (which version of the game you’re running, what operating system you have, what video card you have and steps to reproduce the issue). Screenshots are also very useful!

Sources: link 1, link 2, link 3

    March 6, 2013 at 8:06 am

    Have Win 7 64bit installed
    Installed RR3 from my orginal cds
    Installed the coast to coast expansion pack – attempt to start program gives the directx 8.1 message
    Have installed patch 1.05
    downloaded the engine.cfg from the mirror
    copied the engine.cfg over to the appropriate folder and overwrote the orginal engine.cfg file
    Tried launching program again, still have directx 8.1 message

      I am also running Windows 7 x64 and this is the error I got before I changed the engine.cfg (happens right after the opening cinematics) -> “Railroad Tycoon 3 has stopped working – A problem has caused the program to stop working correctly. Windows will close the program and notify you if a solution is available.” There are a few things you can try:
      1. Make sure you have a version of directx higher than 8.1. You can check your directx version by hitting start then typing dxidiag. I have directx 11.
      2. Double check to make sure you have the right engine.cfg
      3. Try uninstalling both the game and the expansion, and reinstalling just Railroad Tycoon 3 and trying the engine.cfg fix. I don’t have coast to coast so it’s possible that the fix only works for the original version of the game, though this is unlikely.

      If none of the above work, please post the exact error message you get, when it happens during game start up, as well as your directx version. Thanks!

      Joseph Nicol
      November 17, 2014 at 10:16 am

      Robert – I’ve tried this 6 times now with no luck.
      Have Win 7 64 bit installed
      Loaded patch 1.5
      Can’t find engine.cfg

        engine.cfg should be in your Railroad Tycoon 3\Data\Configuration. If it isn’t you might have an incomplete installation.

        There’s a chance this file is generated the first time you try to run the game so you could try pasting it in this folder even if there is no file there to begin with and then starting the game.

          Joseph Nicol
          November 27, 2014 at 8:18 am

          Ok – I found it – how do I fix it. I set the game to XP mode and 680 X 480. The video play, but when The play screen came up – the error for direct 8 displayed. My graphics is ATI 5700HD..

      November 23, 2014 at 10:04 pm

      The fix may be even easier than you imagined… Check your screen resolution. I changed mine to 1024×768 and 16bit color and launched via Steam … Bang… it worked. I had tried everything on the internet and nothing worked, but something that simple did.

      WORKS FOR ME !!! The fix may be even easier than you imagined… Check your screen resolution. I changed mine to 1024×768 and 16bit color and launched via Steam … Bang… it worked. I had tried everything on the internet and nothing worked, but something that simple did.

    March 6, 2013 at 4:59 pm

    Well, removed rr3 from the system.

    Installed rr3 from cd
    installed patch 1.05
    (did not install coast to coast expansion)
    checked directx — shows as version 11
    copied engine.cfg into data\configuration folder
    launch rr3, message says:
    “No hardware accelerated DirectX 8.1 devices/drivers were found

    To check/troubleshoot your video card and drivers, click on the ‘Start’ button, select ‘Run’, type ‘dxdiag’, then click on the ‘Display’ tab and verify that Direct3D is working”

    I have an NVIDA GeForce GTX 550 Ti, if I go into the troubleshoot tab / advance settings in my video adapter the “change settings” button is disabled (unlike my Win XP system). I attrribute this to the NVIDEA software that is installed for the video card.

    The opening movie doesn’t even play.

    March 6, 2013 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for suggestions so far by the way.

      No problem!

      In an unlikely turn of events I actually have the exact same video card as you do (GeForce GTX 550 Ti 4046mb). Since I have Direct 3D working as well as the game itself, as you pointed out what you have is likely a video card driver issue. Head to http://www.geforce.com/drivers and hit “AUTO-DETECT YOUR GPU” and download the latest driver. Once you’ve installed the latest one, you’ll probably have to restart your comp and then try starting Railroad Tycoon 3 again.

      Interesting, it looks like your Direct3D was disabled. Thanks for posting your solution!

    August 13, 2013 at 1:03 am


    I’ ve tryed the solutions above, but none of them worked for me. I use RT3 on Steam, Windows 7 Ultimate 64-bit (6.1, Build 7601) Service Pack 1, NVIDIA GeForce GTX 570.
    I tryed to set the RT3 EXE to compatibility Mode “Vista”, it doesnt work either.
    When I want to start the Game, it ask me for permission for changing. I allow it everytime.

    It keeps telling me, “not finding Steam”. After this happened, I cant restart, because steams tells me, the game is already runnig.

    Is there any OldWindows-Box, st like DOS Box or anything else, I can use? I really miss playing that game.


      The error you’ve described seems to be quite common, but isn’t related to the engine.cfg fix or changing the compatibility mode. Instead it is a general problem with your steam installation of the game. See this steam support thread for more info.

      Basically it seems there are a few ways to repair your steam installation of Railroad Tycoon 3:

      1. Quit and restart steam
      2. Verify Game Cache Integrity
      3. Start the game from the steam library. Go to your steam installation directory (probably C:\Program Files\steam) then go to steamapps\common\Railroad Tycoon 3 and start the game from the game .exe file manually.

      If none of those steps fixed your install try googling “Failed to find steam”. Hope that helps!

    May 14, 2014 at 6:55 am

    Recently bought the game on Steam. Had the same Issues with game options not being compatible to Win7.

    Got to run it in the end with this engine.cfg-file, BIG THANKS for that!

    Although imho STEAM should make sure the game can be played on contemporary machines.

    A tip from my side: I had problems running the game on high resolutions after using the engine.cfg fix. The game runs WAAAAY better when using windowed mode.

    1. apply engine.cfg
    2. start game
    3. change to windowed mode
    4. change resolution to whatever you want to use

    Playing 1600×1024 in windowed mode should not be a problem since most of the users have at least 1080p monitors nowadays.

    I did not try to alter any other Graphics Options, but it might work better windowed with any other Settings, aswell.

      Thanks for the tip! I’m glad the solution worked for you.

      I don’t know why Steam hasn’t patched it yet. Replacing the .cfg is such a trivial change, yet necessary for the game to work on almost all newer machines..

      April 12, 2015 at 8:17 pm

      How did you switch it to windowed mode?

    August 27, 2014 at 11:55 am

    Interesting dilemma? Downloaded cfg file as mentioned above. Game started perfectly. Next time same problem again. Copy and paste again. Game starts with my last saved campaign. I figured out that the game starts in safe mode. Save games but not settings. What next…?

      So just to clarify, every time you start the game you have reinstall the .cfg patch? You could try setting the file to be read-only so that RT3 can’t change it.

    August 28, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Did set the rights to read and execute for the system, right :-)? So now the game starts every time but only in “safe mode” and with the settings back to default. Tried to start from the “Normal mode” executable file, but again it crashed. But started again when I clicked the RailroadT3.exe. Again with the settings “disable hardware” checked and 800×600 resolution. :-(

      What operating system are you using? You might need to also try running the game with XP compat and as admin. Some people apparently need to force the game to run in windowed mode as well to get past the crashes.

      There is a more detailed video explaining the steps to get around the RRT3 crashes that you can watch here: http://youtu.be/-KpFOEFqC94 It might be helpful, perhaps you missed something?

    December 28, 2014 at 6:07 pm

    which version of the game you’re running, what operating system you have, what video card you have and steps to reproduce th

    RailRoad Tycoon 3 from steam
    Windows 7 64bit
    AMD Radeon HD 7600A Series

    I have tried all of the above, including running it as administrator and using XP compatibility mode. Please help.

      I’ve tried everything also. It came up to playing the start video and then the error “Can’t find Direct 8 ” came up.

      Windows 7 64 bit
      AND Radeon HD 5700
      Railroad Tycoon 3 Gathering

    February 19, 2015 at 5:48 pm

    I tried all solutions I can find to this problem, but I still cannot get Railroad Tycoon 3 to run on my PC after reinstalling Windows 8.1. It will run and be treated like a background process or close immediately. Here are the specs of my computer. I am running the 1.05 version of the game off of Steam.

    Mobo: Asrock FM2A88X+ Killer
    CPU: AMD Athlon X4 750k
    GPU: EVGA GTX 770 2GB SC Dual BIOS
    RAM: 10GB DDR3 1600Mhz
    OS: Windows 8.1 64bit

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