Purpose This article focuses on a novel Advanced Train LocAtion Simulator (ATLAS) for on-board railway location using wireless communication technologies, such as satellite navigation and location based systems. ATLAS allows the creation of multiple simulation environments providing a versatile tool for testing and assessing new train location services. This enhancement reduces the number of tests performed in real scenarios and trains, reducing the cost and development time of new location systems as well as assessing the performance level for given tracks. Methods The simulation platform is based on modular blocks, where each block can be replaced or improved. The platform uses Monte Carlo Simulation to generate results with statistical significance. This implementation allows the modification of the development platform to cover multiple requirements, such as, ranging errors in the input parameters or including other positioning technologies. In this paper, the generated input parameter errors have been taken from the results of the field tests realized by the 3GPP ensuring the validity of the used parameter errors. However, these could be easily adapted by the user to particular characterized environments. Results Case studies for the validation of ATLAS will be also introduced, including preliminary results related to the use of Global System for Mobile communications in Railway (GSM-R) and Universal Mobile Telecommunications System (UMTS) technologies for positioning. The validation stage provides a way to test the platform functionalities and verify its flexibility. Conclusions The versatility of the platform to perform simulations using same configuration parameters for different case studies can be highlighted. Furthermore, first conclusions are drawn from the obtained results. The characterization of the infrastructure for the simulation and the performance improvement of the location systems in the tunnels (e.g., by including Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU)) are necessary to achieve accuracy levels that can be valid for ETCS level 3.