Written by: TrainSim-James
Introducing the West Highland Line Extension for Train Simulator! Today we bring you a preview of this new route being produced by Thomson Interactive and Krossrails.
To quote the developers of this route:
‘The Greatest Railway Journey in the World’ – this is how travellers from around the globe have described the 41 miles of line from Fort William to the small fishing port of Mallaig on Scotland’s northwest coast.
The West Highland Line extension, often known simply as Fort William – Mallaig, is a well-known Scottish line and one often requested for Train Simulator. Now we can announce that Train Simulator users will not have to wait too much longer to enjoy driving on this scenic and highly detailed route, which has been developed by Thomson Interactive (Edinburgh-Glasgow, GARL) and Krossrails (WCML Over Shap, Western Lines of Scotland). Looking at the features and details included, it is clear that the partnership has strived to do justice to this exceptional British line.
RETB signalling is effectively a token system: solid blue lights mean stop, flashing blue lights mean proceed.
Star of the show: all-new Class 37/4 carries the Scottish large logo scheme. Note the new road assets evident in this shot.
Infrastructure & Scenery
Within the route’s 41 miles, there are 11 tunnels and 8 major bridges, including the Glenfinnan and Borrodale viaducts. Ben Nevis, Loch Eil, Loch Linnhe, the Glenfinnan Monument and the famous Neptune’s Staircase (a series of lochs which lifts the Caledonian Canal 20 meters) are all featured, resulting in some dramatic surroundings. New trees and foliage, new rock faces, new terrain textures and high-altitude snow effects, new semaphore signals, new skies, new road assets (signs, Armco barriers, road markings), more than 60 new houses and commercial buildings and more than 50 unique rail and road bridge models are utilised along the route, not only enhancing the accuracy of the route but also providing a mine of useful new assets for route builders. There are also three types of signalling to master: a mix of colour light and semaphore around Fort William, then RETB (Radio Electronic Token Block) signalling onwards to Mallaig.
A wintry loch scene. New seasonal textures add to the effects of winter and autumn scenarios.
Seasoned Train Simulator users will probably be familiar with the original ‘RailWorks’ Class 37, but the Class 37/4 included with this route is all new – and it shows. Thanks to an extensive survey carried out at the North Norfolk Railway, the new ‘tractor’ is highly detailed and boasts newly-recorded sounds. It also features functioning RETB signalling, enabling the driver to conduct a pre-journey token test – complete with spoken audio – and use the RETB signalling system correctly along the route.
Time to get familiar with RETB (full instructions are included!)
Livery is Scottish large logo, with the stag or ‘Scottie’ dog logos included, relevant to locos stabled at Inverness or Eastfield. Snowploughs are fitted automatically depending on season, and interact realistically with the new snowdrifts, punching through the snow and leaving clear rails behind. Other details include individual wipers and opening doors and windows (all visible in-cab and from outside), two-tone horn and 8 different driver camera views. Even the exterior fuel gauges work. Rolling stock includes BR Mk1 FK, SK and RMB coaches in green West Highland livery with new passenger views, Mk3 sleepers, OAA and OTA wagons, PCA and TTA tankers and YGH ballast wagons.
Crossing Lochailort Viaduct, one of the 50+ unique bridges which form part of the rail and road network on the route.
A total of 8 different driving view positions allows you to find the right view for any task.