@hert: There is Wait full load (any) and Wait full load (all). Meaning it can wait for full load of any kind or wait for everything to be full, example iron + coal in the same train.
@baronjutter: That happens for passengers. The vehicle will wait a bit more in every station and be synced. I did not observe this for freight.
1) Timetabling is only frustrating because ppl do not understand the system. Every public transport system have late vehicles. The thing is that ppl are not robots and if the vehicle comes 2 or 5 minutes late its not a problem. But if they are computers, any second late is a problem: Vehicle was late. I talk about that in the reddit of CIM2. Anyway, as speedcoaster said, TF goes by in days. In fast speed months goes by very fast. So timetable makes no sense for TF. You have frequency that is in minutes, real minutes, that is only to guide you in order to know if your line need an increase in frequency or not.
TF have a such beautiful system that station gathering area is unnecessary and your train lines can be right or left hand side or even both.
2) The way you lay tracks are not as easy as CiM but that is because its more complex. CiM is very dynamic and simple but it makes a lot of automatic choices. In TF you have more choices, so more manual things. One huge improvement from CiM 2 is the fact that you can create a junction between 2 tracks anywhere. So your trains can go from one track to another side track easily.
3) Route highlighting is very similar to CiM. Roads are better in a way they can be upgraded, no need to delete. Bus lanes can be placed by upgrading the road. And you can upgrade from 2 lane to 4 lane without demolishing any house. Like in Cities XL the extra space is taken from the sidewalks. Still there are things I have to take a better look at it. I saw for example 2 types of 4 lane road, both were 4 lanes but one had thicker lanes than the other. It might be related to the houses on the sides. Its a pretty smart system.
About the trams you can either make a loop or just don’t make anything and they will turn anyway. I like that, because since the game is more about freight and transport between cities, someone that doesn’t want a very detailed tram system can just not worry about details.
4) The signals are block signals. Normal and oneway like speedcoaster said. But there was a post about signals saying they would introduce path signals as well. So I don’t know. I’m new to signals and only recently I learned the difference between block and path signals.
5) Definitely can play with trains only. I get huge amount of passengers to fill a TGV without the need to transport passengers to my rail station by trams. Trucks in the other side are necessary at the beginning of the game, because trains are expensive and trucks can give you enough cash to build the expensive tracks. Plus the industries that are not producing anything because they are far from their suppliers, once you start to feed them, the production increases slowly. With low production, trains won’t be profitable. But once you have money you can just take this cost for some years like I do.