Review by Gene Davis. When it comes to train simulation there is always something new and exciting to see, learn and do when a new add-on comes out and it seems like Just Trains is always right on that cusp of new and exciting things. This time, Just Trains has spared no expense bringing us the advanced Standard 4MT Advanced engine!
This add-on will have you not only learning how to drive a steam engine, but also how to manage it and keep it going for those cross country passenger runs.
Purchase, Download & Instructions
The Standard 4MT can be purchased from the Just Trains website for $21.99 and it includes both the engine, coal car and a full set of MK. 1 Coaches. Once purchased install is easy, simply download the file, run it and enter the log in information for your Just Flight/ Just Trains account when prompted and the installer will do the rest.
Once installed you will have full access to the 4MT manual (required reading) and it includes a switcher utility that will allow you to switch the package to an easy mode if you are not so inclined to jump into the advanced mode. The manual is quite extensive and explains the 4MT in great deal, in total there are 60 pages of information regarding train operation and the 4MT.
There are also some free files available via Just Trains and they are the weathered versions of the 4MT and they can be downloaded and installed at no cost.
Standard 4MT Advanced
The Standard 4MT from Just Trains comes with 2 historical locomotives and one blank so you can add your own identifiers to it. The two that are included with the add-on are the 76084 and the 76079. The 76084 is one that is based out of North Norfolk Railway, where the developers actually studied the train and the 76084 is one that is based out of North Yorkshire Moors Railway and is currently undergoing restoration.
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Included along with the 4MT is a set of tender, (coal etc.) you also get the Mk. 1 Set of passenger cars. The set includes Brake Standard Open, First Open and Tourist Standard Open all in different liveries depicting both era and the railways that used that particular engine and cars. All of the cars even feature a special steam heating system that can be turned off and on from the cab.
The add-on comes with 8 different scenarios along with two free roam scenarios, it is important to note that these routes are not included with the engine and some are not default to TS 2014 so that means that if you want to use some of the routes that you may not own you will need to purchase them separately either from Just Trains or Steam.
One of the great things about TS 2014 is the quick drive option and that means that you can literally drop this train into just about any route you would like to try it out on and the only thing you will need to do is set up the content for the engine first though as a separate mod. This is quite easy and is done in the menus prior to using the train.
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As an example, I dropped the 4MT into my Portland Terminal route for some tourist hauling through town. This can also be done on just about any route you own, I have added it to my Pacific Liner San Diego route as well and though it may not be realistic it’s nice to be able to use the train where you want instead of being limited to free roam and individual scenarios.
Externally the 4MT is beautiful, there are so many different moving parts and animations that there are times you forget you are looking at a computer simulation. The whole wheel mechanism is just fun to watch as it chugs down the track!
Many of the exterior functions and access points are also accessible via key strokes, take the smoke box for example you actually have to open it and perform maintenance on it before using the engine. Even the way the engine expels steam has been accurately and beautifully rendered throughout the entire model and is also dependant on the engineer’s actions in the cab.
Nothing drives me more nuts then the way some of lighting was implemented in some of the earlier trains for Train Simulator and it has really come a long way with TS 2014. But, there are still the occasional engines that just don’t have very good lighting looking forward and I have to say that 4MT has some of the best lighting features I have seen yet as the head lamp totally illuminates its surroundings and ahead of the train.
There is also internal lighting in the cab that can be turned off and on with the click of a mouse and its little things like that I tend to notice especially when traveling at night or through tunnels and you want that extra detail!
The cab of the engine is probably one of the most sophisticated trains I have seen yet from Just Train’s when it comes to steam engines. Almost all of the dials, valves and levers work and are pertinent to the trains function during a run. The train controls will have you running from one side of the cab to the other and if you are using the train in “Advanced Mode” then you will definitely get a better understanding of how a steam engine functions. I have learned a lot about steam engines since I received this add-on!
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The sound that comes with the 4MT is above par also, it captures all of the sounds, rattles and clanging a steam engine makes as it makes its way down the track. One of the things I really liked about the sound was that you could actually tell what the engine was doing based solely on the sound it is making. All of the sounds have been captured from the real world 4MT; in fact you can go to the product page and watch the video they made when they were capturing said sounds. How did I envy them!
Driving the 4MT
In Train Simulator you will have the option to drive the train in either “Advanced Mode” or Simple mode and let me tell you, if you are thinking of changing it to simple mode for your first try then you will be missing so much of what makes this add-on so great.
In Advanced mode the engine has two different modes to select and one is hot and the other is warm. Hot will have you ready to go without having to do any of the preliminary work to get the engine to where it can move.
In warm, the mode I recommend, you will start with a warm engine and you will need to do things like clean out the smoke box, fill the sand boxes and even prime the lubricator. Failing to do any of this will result negatively on the engine and the engine will react accordingly. Take the sand boxes for instance, you are literally filling them in the simulation and if you skip over them then you are out of sand and the sander will have no effect when turned on.
In “Hot” mode the engine is ready to and all you have to do is get it rolling, but you must still follow proper engine control and watch the steam gauges. Failing to follow procedures with the 4MT will have a negative effect and can actually damage or destroy the engine in Train Simulator which is something that isn’t normally seen in a steam type add-on.
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For those that want to just jump in and go there is the “simple” mode, this mode is set outside of the Train Simulator and is merely a batch program to switch between advanced and simple. Simple will give you full control of the engine and there will be no consequences for not following proper operations and procedures.
Control is actually simplified and is geared more towards the basic controls in Train Simulator to where using the “advanced mode” you will be pulling levers, opening and closing valves and using the actual train control instead of the virtual control panel that comes with TS. With simple mode you will lose much of the actual function from and accessibility from within the engine.
Initially, don’t change anything just start up Train Simulator and go to the Drive/ Standard/ menu and select JT BR4MT=Driver Training scenario and it will walk you through everything you need to know and teach you how to operate the 4MT. I have done this scenario over and over trying to get myself comfortable with the engine and after several failed attempts, mainly running out of water, I was able to complete the scenario given the information provided.
The folks over at Just Trains never cease to amaze me, just when you think you have seen the best of the best they come out with something that pulls you further into the simulation and gives the kind of control and experience you want in a simulation like this!
The 4MT Advanced is a magnificent add-on and if you enjoy trains like I do it is a must have for this program as it will keep you busy for hours and in the end you end up learning something about the Steam era of rail.