General principles of mathematical modelling of transient heat transfer in cross-flow tube heat exchangers with complex flow arrangements which allow a simulation of multipass heat exchangers with many tube rows are presented. First, a system of differential equations for the transient temperature of both fluids and the tube wall with appropriate boundary and initial conditions is formulated. Two methods for modelling heat exchangers are developed using the finite difference method and finite volume method. A numerical model of multipass steam superheater with twelve passes is presented. The calculation results are compared with the experimental data.