The hands on aspect definitely appeals to me, I like to fiddle with switches, levers, etc to bring the monster to life. Most readily available engines in Train Simulator unfortunately skimp on that aspect.
Before VR headsets, and without specialist input devices, the player was limited to interacting with the equivalent of one hand only, that is also bound to their head. As a result, a number of controls are mapped to the keyboard to sidestep the delays, due to having the mouse alternate between servicing the view point, and operating the in-cab controls. In time-sensitive situations, that can be quite frustrating, so I’m guessing Derail Valley must have followed the same path.
What kind of system are you running this on, if you don’t mind my asking?