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This paper proposes an optimized transmission line modeling (TLM) method for the real-time transient simulation of systems with multiple nonlinearities. The proposed method allows the simulation to be carried out with larger time-steps while maintaining the accuracy. A detailed case study of a nonlinear bridge circuit is presented to illustrate the advantages of the optimized TLM method in comparison with other methods. The new formulation is then implemented in real-time for the transient simulation of the nonlinear bridge. Real-time simulation results are validated by comparing them with experimental measurements. A second case study includes a power system with several surge arresters which is also simulated in real-time by the aid of the optimized TLM method and verified using offline simulation.