Looking back at the earlier days of being involved with model trains brings back a lot of different memories for me. Gone are the days that I would spend hours laying track, building and painting landscapes to drive my model trains on and not to mention the countless trips to the hobby store that to where I would ultimately spend money that I didn't have on the next great engine, or stock and or buildings that thought I needed for my setup. Growing up, I never got that good at building these models but I remember having 3 large squares of ply-board that were strung across my basement floor and that is where I drove my Trains in my own little world.
I remember starting a project and getting halfway through, then changing the project because I found something new at the hobby store and I needed to change my theme. I loved making the little towns, adding the people and building the little model kits for the buildings in my little make believe towns, this was mine and it was my creation and no one could say otherwise.
As time went on, I spent fewer days building and making fewer trips to the Hobby Shop, I think it was called the Clover Leaf and I had spent many afternoons there. My virtual creations were soon put away and later on I think I ended up using the ply-boards to close off the openings of a small trailer we made into a dog house for our German Shepherd dog, gone were those days of building model railroads!
Train Simulation has been around for a number of years, but it wasn't until programs like Train Simulator 2013 and Trainz that we could easily build and model our own routes using our own imaginations. Now, a trip to the hobby store is usually replaced by logging onto a site like Just Trains and finding that next great engine and or route that is going to be added to my collection!
This time around we climb aboard the new Class 60 Advanced & Freight Wagons from Just Trains and again get lost in the world of Train Simulation that makes those so distant memories not so distant anymore.
Purchase, Download and Install
The new Class 60 is available from Just Trains and can be purchased several different ways, the first is the Class 60 & Freight Wagons for $29.99, the second is just the engine for $20.99, the third and fourth options are for current owners of the Class 60 and either can be purchased as an upgrade for either $7.99 for just the engine or $10.99 for the engine and the freight wagons.
If you own either the download or boxed version you are entitled to either one of the upgrades at the reduced cost. Simply log into your Just Trains account and purchase, download and then install. During the install process you will be asked for your log in information and password for the Just Trains website.
Just Trains has made it pretty easy once the installer is run and once the install process is complete you will also have access to the manuals. The installer should locate your Steam directory where TS 2013 is installed without any hassle, but if you are unsure about where the folder is it is usually in X:\Steam\Steamapps\Common, X being whatever drive you installed the Steam application onto.
The manuals that come with the Class 60 are required reading because this package is not a simple jump in and go type of train. The manual itself is 39 pages and explains just about everything you need to know about running and driving the Class 60.
The Class 60 Advanced and Freight Wagons
The Class 60 Advanced comes with 11 different liveries all of which are real world users of the Class 60 Engines. The Class 60 includes the following: BBS, British Steel, Coal, Construction, Corus, FW & S, GWR, Load Haul, Mainline, Petroleum, and Transrail. The list of features is also impressive as it includes different visual effects such as a dynamic exhaust, visible sanders, realistic lighting, independent wipers and even a custom driver model. This along with an excellent sound set that features realistic brake noise, startup and shut down sounds, horn sounds, coupling sounds and engine sounds gives the Class 60 a very realistic feel from both inside and outside the cab.
The new Class 60 is also Advanced, what does advanced mean? Well, it means that it simulates the function and control of a real world Class 60 and requires some amount of knowledge before just getting in and going and that you can't use the 3D control panel that is stock with TS 2013 with this engine. You will need to control the engine from the actual controls from within the cab using your mouse and or keyboard; the engine simulates a fully working cab and clip board that allows the virtual train engineer to manipulate the engine realistically from within the cab.
Features include a working train length button, Auto Slow Speed Control, working Slow Speedometer, Working Drivers Key (Engine will not run until key is used!), An electronic power control system that regulations traction motor current and engine RPM, Fully simulated Emergency Brake systems and simulated brake pressure reaction times based on the amount of rolling stock you are hauling.
If you purchase or upgrade to the Freight and Wagons version of the Class 60 you will also have access to the Just Trains Mk. 1 Coaches, which come with the Brake Standard Open, the First Open and Tourist Standard versions of the Mk. 1 Also included is the YGB Seacow Advanced in eight different liveries that allows for full control of the actual ballast drop doors on the rear platform of the car and even include extra features like the virtual operator on the car when it is being used and can be loaded or unloaded.
The Freight and Wagons package doesn't stop there, you will also get the Cargowaggon IWB in eight different liveries and each is rich in detail and function to go right along with your Class 60 Advanced engine. This is an excellent package and well worth the additional cost to the Class 60 if you do not own it already.
The Class 60 comes with scenarios for 5 different routes and it will have you travelling on East Coast Mainline, Great Western Mainline, Hedborough North, London to Brighton, and the Somerset and Dorset Railway. It is important to note that you must already own some of these to make use of them, so you may or may not have access to all of the scenarios. In total there are over 12 different scenarios to choose from.
I recommend starting with the tutorial for the Class 60 Advanced as it will have you taking the engine on a short run from a cold and dark cab. This is an excellent way to get familiar with the engine and how it works before heading out on a long run.
Driving the Class 60 Advanced
Climbing into the Class 60 Cab you will be greeted by a full array of instruments, switches, and levers. The gauges in the cockpit monitor speed, slow speed, airflow, an Ammeter, brakes and brake pressure and most of the switches and levers all have function, though some do not and it's pretty obvious because the ones that do not simply do nothing.
If you are driving the train in "advanced" mode then you will need to insert the key to start the engine. Once that is done you need to access the panel right above to the left of the engineers head as it will allow you to turn on interior lighting, exterior lighting and get the train ready for departure.
If starting it for the first time make sure to watch the engine from the outside to see the exhaust effects from starting it cold! As the train's engine comes to life the sound will get louder and then whine down; then make sure to check the instruments in the cab to make sure everything is where it needs to be. In the center of the cab is the throttle, AWS, ignition and the reverser and the brake levers are all to the left of the engineer.
Controlling the Class 60 using the mouse is difficult because in order to access those particular systems you need to avert your view from looking forward to access them and then click on them to get the desired adjustments, I recommend just using a key stroke for the reverser and throttle then using the mouse on the brake levers and other systems as you go.
It is important to remember that most all of the lights, gauges and switches do have some kind of function throughout the cab and it is important to know where they are for when you may need them. I was impressed with the way the entire engine feels as it has excellent in cab motion giving a true to life feel and physics when in motion.
As I progressed through several of the different scenarios and tried out the different types of rolling stock I was amazed at how the cars hauling concrete felt much heavier then say the ones carrying freight or just passengers and you could actually feel the strain in the engine as it tries to pull the cars filled with concrete just from the way the sound is simulated.
Throughout your train adventures you will do a lot of dropping and picking up rolling stock and I was impressed at how easy it was to control the Class 60 when grabbing the new stock using the auto slow speed functions of the Class 60 and I didn't find myself slamming into the rolling stock like I normally do!
You can also switch the Class 60 between "Advanced" and " Simple" modes as well, once installed there will be a batch utility that is accessible via the Start Menu that allows you to switch between the two different modes, but once you get used to using the train in advanced mode there is really no going back to the simpler one!
If you enjoy train simulation and enjoy a good challenge then the Class 60 is for you! It is not so overly complicated that it will have you pulling your hair out while trying to learn it but will have you spending some time actually learning how an engine like this function. The price is right and if you own the old Class 60 it is even better because it really is that much better!