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    Bristol & Avonmouth (B&A)


    Gaiiden

    All Aboard for yet another fantastic route made by the folks over at Just Trains, this time around you will climb aboard European rail and travel between Bristol and Avonmouth. This route offers a lot on a grand scale and is probably one of the most sophisticated routes I have seen yet, in both design and complexity that really shows off what Train Simulator can actually do!

    Purchase and Installation

    Bristol and Avonmouth can be purchased from Just Flight / Just Trains at Justtrains.net for $30.65 either via download or boxed edition. The version I received was the download edition and all that is required for installation is a valid installation of Railworks 3: Train Simulator and online verification during the install process to validate the purchase of the route through Just Trains. Please note, this route will work fine with the newly released and updated version of Train Simulator, aptly named Train Simulator 2013.

    Bristol & Avonmouth (B&A)

    I know I say this often and I usually say it for almost every route for Train Simulator that I review when it comes to Just Trains, but I have to say that B&A has to been one of the most extensive routes I have seen yet as it offers miles of track, tons of eye candy, complex route management and switching along with multiple types of activities ranging from passenger transport, shunting, to multiple types of freight and coal transport.

    The geography of this route is astonishing as it covers over 21 different stops both north and south from Bristol Temple Meads. Along the way you can travel under the River Severn in the four mile long Severn Tunnel that ends in Wales, travel through Bristol Park Way or head south into Portbury docks and have a look at the Clifton Suspension Bridge and then take a gander at the Concorde that lies just opposite of the Brabazon Hangers at Filton airport.

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    Once you have finished with the mainline you can move onto the Bristol Harbor Railway section of the route (my personal favorite) as it offers views of the SS Great Britain and the M Shed Museum which resides at the former Bristol Industrial Museum building in that region.

    Another interesting part of the route is the Portishead railway station which is currently not in use in real life, but it has been beautifully added to the B&A route for you to explore and use and offers service the between Pill and Portishead with the idea of relieving some of the congestion on the mainline A369.

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    Route Highlights:
    • Dock areas at Avonmouth and Portbury. Avonmouth includes working coal towers, dockside freight loading, and St. Andrews Road Sidings. Portbury offers bulk freight delivery and coal yards along with a transfer unit to the Avonmouth Docks.
    • Bristol Harbor in the Cities center.
    • Super Elevation banked track.
    • The Avon Gorge, including Brunel's Clifton Suspension Bridge.
    • The M Shed Industrial Museum and the SS Great Britain
    • North of Bristol on the Henbury Loop that offers views of the Concorde and the Brabazon Hanger at Filton Airport.
    • Includes the re-opening of the Portishead line and includes the Severn with views of the Avon Gorge. Tunnel Junction and travels north under the River Severn.
    • Access to the sidings, HST Yards along the line to Keynsham
    • Addition siding along Lawrence Hill that provides further freight options and a container loading point.
    • Bunkering and refueling at Barton Hill
    • Includes the Severn Beach Line which allows for a scenic glimpse of Wales

    The B&A add-on comes with 21 accurately modeled stops throughout the entire route, these stops are Avonmouth, Bedminster, Bristol Temple Meads, Bristol Parkway, Caldicot, Clifton Down, Filton Abbey Wood, Lawrence Hill, Montpelier, Parson Street, Patchway, Pill, Pilning, Portishead, Redland, Sea Mills, Severn Beach, Severn Tunnel Junction, Shirehampton, St. Andrews Road, and finally Stapleton Road. Each has their own custom buildings, signs and other assorted objects.

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    The towns, villages and rural areas that also make up the route are designed beautifully to match their surroundings; the foliage and trees, depending on season, are accurately modeled as well and offer some of the finest scenic views in Train Simulator I have seen yet in any add-on. This is definitely noticeable when travelling through areas like the Avon Gorge as the attention to detail is stunning and almost gives you a " I have been there!" feeling.

    All of the cities, towns and stops come to life with moving people, moving cars and even rail workers at most of the industrial stops along with moving construction equipment and other assorted train related stuff. Throughout the entire route you will find audible environments that are specific to the areas that you are travelling through, though some are custom most are sounds included with the Train Simulator program.

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    Content and Scenarios

    The B&A add-on will have you driving a series of different trains, some from the default stock of rail content from the Train Simulator package to some from Just Trains, though you must own them to take advantage of the additional scenarios. Out of the default stock you will climb aboard the 166, Class 43, and the HST. If you own the Class 153 DMU Advanced, Class 67 Advanced, Voyager Advanced and the Class 20 from Just Trains there will be substantially more select ability when it comes to choosing scenarios and will significantly open up the entire route giving you more options to choose from.

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    In total there are fifteen different scenarios along with four free roam scenarios, but realistically there are only 10 scenarios to choose from with the default rail content that comes with Train Simulator, the scenarios designed specifically for Just Trains engines will launch but will come up with an error when it tries to find the engine or engines it is looking for. The good news here is, you can either go and buy the engines you need or you can go into the world editor and add your own engine to the scenario making it playable.

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    The scenario list will have you doing everything from passenger transport, shunting, cleaning track, hauling different types of freight, hauling cars and recyclables, to coal transport, recovering downed engines and even taking an old steam engine out for a for a touring trip around Avonmouth for the day.

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    Traveling and Managing B&A

    The sheer size of this route is almost daunting as are the number of switches, signs, speed limit changes and other lines that exist off of the main line that you really need to stay aware of where you are at and what is going on way ahead of you. This route has taught me a lot about rail, simply because it has so much more to do than most routes which usually just take you from A to B and maybe C. But this one has you going from A to B to C, then over to E and then back to D, if you get my drift. I am sure there are still sections of the route I have yet to see!

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    The complexity of the switches and yards are also much more complex. It can almost be a maze of switches before you get your train going from East to North and then breaking off on a totally different line making it almost daunting at times to avoid other trains that you might come across.

    For me, controlling the switches is always best done from the map view, "9" key, because you are able to see way ahead and plan for switch changes but I also found that it is really important to pay attention to the signals as well.

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    This should be a no-brainer, but as with most free roam scenarios you are usually the only one on the track, but this is not the case with B&A. I actually found myself smashing into another train because I choose to ignore a signal that was red and also chose to bypass the on board warning system in the train.

    That brings me to the warning system built into this route and it works quite well throughout with whatever engine you choose to drive. I was impressed that at times during the scenarios, it would not let me proceed especially if I was hauling passengers and really threw a fit if I tried and I spent a lot of time stopping and going!

    In Closing

    Publisher: Just Trains
    Format: Download & Boxed
    Reviewed By: Gene Davis
    B&A is an excellent add-on and ranks right up at the top with the rest of the Just Trains Routes, but this one tends to stand out in my mind as one of the best! I have purchased many different routes via Steam for Train Simulator, but I have to tell you that the Just Trains Routes just stand out as the best and this route by far exceeds them all in detail, complexity and just sheer design!


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