The Class 153 train and Totham route is the latest add-on available from Just Trains and like all of their other add-ons for Railworks this one does not disappoint. You will find yourself at the helm of a complex Class 153 DMU engine and traveling a route that is, in my opinion, one of the best routes available for Railworks 2!
The Class 153 DMU
The Class 153 that comes in this add-on has been built from the ground up to match that of its real world diesel counterpart. It incorporates a complex cab with realistic controls and gauges for the virtual engineer and a highly detailed passenger view for those moments where you need to just get out of the cab and watch the world go by. The engine includes accurate lighting both inside and out and features animated doors with external interlock lights along with authentic sound set recorded from the real world Class 153 DMU.
The diesel engine comes in 8 different liveries and includes 2 scenarios for the default Oxford to Paddington route and includes scenarios for other route add-ons available from Just Trains as well; these routes include Newcastle to York Modern and Bristol to Exeter. If you buy this package with the Totham route then there will be 2 additional scenarios designed specifically for use with that route. Both are passenger services covering two different areas of the Totham route, these are the Shollet to Merryhill run and the Portsbridge Circular that covers the Portsbridge run.
The engine itself incorporates some nice features that have been designed specifically for Railworks by the Just Trains team. Most notably is the ability to incorporate destination blinds using ActivScript functionality thus preventing accidents within the game by ignoring signals and warnings; I found out about this one the hard way as I was travelling towards my next stop and noticed that there was a yellow signal, and because I failed to slow my train, I was brought to an immediate stop.
I realized that there was already an inbound service from the other direction that hadn’t cleared my next stop and I needed to wait for it to clear so I could proceed; reminding me of how important it is to watch the signals and other markers along a route.
Another feature is the DRA, also known as the Drivers Reminder Appliance, and it to uses ActivScript to prevent unwanted acceleration at a station stop. For me this was the hardest part of the add-on to get used to because it requires that you wait; and wait for the required departure time before clearing the station to allow for other services that could interfere with your run later on; I guess it’s just human nature to be in a big hurry!
The braking system designed for this particular engine also stands out from all of the others because it also incorporates an ActivScript that allows for Westcode stepped brake operation; giving this train add-on an even more realistic feel and it does take some getting used to when compared to some of the default stock of this type in Railworks.
In all, the Class 153 DMU is a masterful work of art and really does add a lot to the virtual world that is Rail Works. You can incorporate it in just about any route that you have using the World Editor and overall the Class 153 DMU more than enhances or even replaces what we have come to expect from the default rolling stock that came with Railworks.
The Totham route is by far one of the best routes I have seen designed for Railworks yet! It incorporates 30 miles of drivable track that includes the Mainline Merryhill Parkway to Shollet, Coal Dock Branch, Axford Branch, Fulwell Branch, and Halloaks Junctions. You will find yourself in bustling urban areas of Portsbridge, north to the flat estuaries of Bleaton, to the countryside of Planview Halt and onto Merryhill Parkway.
The route includes 13 different passenger stops throughout the entire route along with realistically modeled towns, cities and landmarks. The cities and towns are so intricately modeled and the attention to detail is almost mind-numbing.
Along your way you will find accurately modeled buildings and objects such as the Merryhill coal power station, Burntash coal power station, Axford Nuclear Power Station, Totham Freight Yard, Calverley Mail Depot, Axford Yard, Westerton Container Depot, Royton Freightliner depot, Royton Docks and Car Terminal, the Forely Refinery, Nortsholt Train Care facility and the Westerton Container Diesel Shed.
One of the things that really impressed me was that of the design of the complex road systems and bridges that are adjacent to the actual routes. Freeways and overpasses are modeled correctly and although they only serve the virtual drivers that are on them and are nothing more than eye candy, just seeing them makes the whole simulation all the more real from the cab of whatever train you choose to command.
There is no shortage of scenarios with this route either as it includes 7 different scenarios that will have you doing everything from long passenger runs to short hauls, hauling coal, oil and freight. Most interestingly, if you own the Class 20 and the rolling stock from Cargo IWB you will be able to partake in two different scenarios that will have you hauling used fuel rods or clearing debris from the tracks.
My personal favorite is the scenario that puts you at the helm of an HST passenger train at sunset doing a non-stop from Portbridge Central to Merrhill Parkway simply because it just shows off the scenery so well. Each scenario has diverse weather conditions and an ample supply of stock travelling the rails, so you will need to be on your toes.
If you buy the Class 153 and Totham package you will also have two scenarios designed specifically for the Totham route using the 153; one route has you on the Portsbridge Circular and the other has you making a run from Shollet to Maryhill. Most of the scenarios involve using default stock, most noticeable was the Class 166 (Default), Class 37 (Default), Class 47 (Default) and the Class 20 (Just Trains) if you own it.
Where this add-on really stands out is that it is so versatile, where we are used to seeing just passenger routes, or just freight routes. This route allows for just about everything from passenger service, freight service, the hauling of chemicals or coal and even track service and cleaning to the hauling of nuclear rods. I have been looking over this add-on for almost 3 weeks and I still have yet to see everything and every time I think I have seen it all, I go back and find something new!
The route also features all of the new additions that were incorporated into Rail Works 2, most notably are the working crossing guards and stopped vehicles along the track as you move along the route. This is such a welcome change from the ghost cars that would just cross willy-nilly in front of your train as in the earlier version of Rail Works. And of course, you will see moving vehicles and people along the route as well as birds and other animals throughout the route.
You really can’t put an add-on like Totham into words, as it is just so huge that you need to see it to believe it! This is a must have for just about any train-sim aficionado as it really brings the Rail Works world to life and runs well on the system it was designed for.
The Class 153 and Totham is a fantastic package and like I said before, it is a must have for just about any train sim user as it adds both a complex Engine and a versatile route that will keep you train simulating for hours.
Just Trains has both add-ons available as one single package or they can be purchased separately via download. Separately you can buy the Class 153 DMU for around $20, and the Totham route can be had for about $22. If you buy it as a package it runs for about $35 so you do save some money that way and it is available either by download or boxed product.
Really, if you are looking at either one I would just bite the bullet and buy the all in one version because you really do get your monies worth with this package.
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