In recent months, thanks in no small part to Partner Programme developers Milepost Simulations and Skyhook Games, Train Simulator has made its introduction into the world of vintage era and narrow gauge railroading. With the introduction of these routes I have pondered the idea of further vintage and narrow gauge routes being released by either DTG or a Partner Programme member.
In an attempt to spark conversation in the community I will provide a selection of vintage and narrow gauge routes that I personally believe would be great addons for Train Simulator. Of course, feel free to add your own suggestions in the comments of this article.
Above: The Northwestern Pacific Railroad was a primarily lumber hauling line from the San Francisco Bay Area north to the redwood forests of Eureka. The line was interesting as it had a wide variety of transport from steam passenger and freight trains to a fleet of ferry boats that regularly crossed the San Francisco Bay to an electric interurban railway, ahead of its time, serving the small communities of Marin County on the lines south end, to a tourist railway which used shay locomotives to climb up to the summit of Mt. Tamalpias. For Train Sim I would suggest the route from Sausalito and Tiburon to the lumber town of Willits CA. Included content probably being the Baldwin-American 2-6-0 steam locomotive, St. Louis Car Co. Steel Interurban, Mt. Tamalpias and Muir Woods Railway shays, passenger cars, and gravity cars, era appropriate freight and passenger stock, SP EMD SD9 for later era operations. The era for the route would be about 1930-60’s. Photographs copyright and reproduced courtesy of sunnyfortuna.com.
Above and Below: The North Pacific Coast Railroad was one of the predecessors to the NWP and was built in the 1870’s to bring lumber from the Russian River down to the San Francisco Bay. Along the way the line ascended steep White’s Hill and ran along the picturesque shores of Tomales Bay before reaching the redwood expanses of the Russian River at Cazadero. The route for Train Sim would run from Sausalito north to Cazadero and would include the Baldwin 4-4-0 steam locomotive plus a selection of passenger and freight cars. The era would be set in the 1910-20’s. Photographs copyright and reproduced courtesy of fineartamerica.com and sparselysageandtimely.com.
Photograph copyright and reproduced courtesy of WPLives.org.
Above: The Sacramento Northern was an electric interurban and freight railroad that operated as a subsidiary of the Western Pacific. The line ran from a cramped yard in Oakland CA east through the Oakland Hills on over 4% grades requiring two locomotives on either ends for safety concerns. The line was home to the only rail ferry under catenary wire which ferried trains from the southern portion of the line to the northern portion which ran to Sacramento and Chico. For a time the SN also carried its passenger trains across the SF Bay Bridge to the trans-bay terminal in San Francisco. For Train Sim, the route would best work if it encompassed the SN mainline from Oakland to Sacramento plus the extension over the Bay Bridge to San Francisco. Included content being Holman Car Co. Interurban with trailing coaches, the GE Steeplecab freight locomotive, and both wood and steel boxcar and caboose. The route’s era would be 1930-50’s. Photograph copyright and reproduced courtesy of WPLives.org.
Above: What would narrow gauge be without the Denver and Rio Grande Western? This particular section of D&RGW’s once expansive narrow gauge network runs from Chama NM to Antonito CO and is today known as the Cumbres and Toltec Railroad. For Train Sim this route would be set in either the 1950’s or in the modern day as the Cumbres and Toltec. Included content being, the D&RGW K-27 2-8-2 locomotives plus era appropriate passenger and freight stock. Photograph copyright Mitch Goldman and reproduced courtesy of RailPictures.Net.
Above: The Milwaukee Road (Chicago Milwaukee St. Paul and Pacific) was once a class 1 railroad operating a transcontinental route from Chicago to the Pacific. One aspect which drew many railfans to its remote trackage in Montana and Idaho was its mainline electrification which took place after WW1 and held onto until 1974. The Train Sim route would cover either from Avery ID to St. Regis MT or to Missoula MT., included content being the GE EF4 “Little Joe” electric, the GE “Boxcab” electric plus an MILW EMD SD40-2 with a selection of appropriate rolling stock including the Milwaukee’s home built bay window caboose. Photograph copyright and reproduced courtesy of Drew Jacksich.
Above: The West Side Lumber Co. was not surprisingly a logging railroad that operated out of Tuolumne California east to the lumber camps in the vicinity of Deadwood CA. Such as many logging railroads the West Side had a roster of 3 truck shay locomotives. The route in Train Sim would include the line from Tuolumne to Deadwood and several lumber camps, included content being the WSLco. 3 truck shay and lugging equipment including the railroads unique style caboose. Photograph copyright John West and reproduced courtesy of RailPictures.Net.
Photograph copyright and reproduced courtesy of alaska.org.
Above: Skagway Alaska’s White Pass and Yukon Railway is regarded as one of the great tourist railways of the world. Running from sea level at Skagway to over 3,000 FT in less than 20 miles at the Canadian Border. The line then continues to Fraser BC and ultimately to Carcross Yukon, a distance of about 70 miles. The route in Train Sim should encompass the entire route from Skagway to Carcross and should include the GE 90 class and ALCo C14 series diesels plus the routes passenger and freight rolling stock. Photograph copyright and reproduced courtesy of klondikegoldfields.com.
Some of the reasons I think these routes should be in Train Simulator is that these routes really seem to capture the current direction of Train Simulator, with more challenging routes with dramatic scenery and interesting operations. Such as the case with many of my suggestions. Another reason for suggesting these routes is I either live near or have been on many of these routes and therefore represent something near to myself. Also bringing these routes to Train Simulator will bring these routes to a modern day, younger audience where you get to experience the operations of the routes first hand in virtual instead of reading it out of a history book or watching an old VHS tape about it. So it is with great hope that this article will spark conversation about more vintage era and narrow gauge routes in Train Simulator ■