Just Trains has just recently released a slew of train add-ons for Train Simulator 2013 and most all center around the era of steam, along the way I will be introduce you to the Class 3700 "City Of Truro" and the GWR Manor Class Steam Engines and their associated content along with the Rebuilt Bulleid Light Pacific engine. Each is a separate add-on and is available via Just Trains by digital download or disc.
The Class 3700 "City Of Truro"
The Class 3700 is a magnificent steam engine from Europe's past and was designed in 1903 by George Jackson Churchward and ultimately built by Swindon Locomotive Works. Fitted with a 4-4-0 wheel arrangement it was used mainly for passenger and mail transport.
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The Class 3700 is probably best known for its speed record in May of 1904, though heavily questioned of its validity the 3700 was supposedly clocked at a speed of 102.3 MPH while descending the 1 in 86 Whiteball bank with the Ocean Mails Parcel Service, this scenario is available to try in this add-on!
This add-on includes 8 real world models of the Class 3700 and offers tons of eye candy with a lot of moving parts! The models presented in this add-on are the 3440 'City Truro' both a modern version (2004-2006), 3700 'Durban', 3704 Lyttelton', 3710 'City Of Bath', 3716 'City Of London', 2 3717's "City Of Truro' (2010-2012 and 1912-1931) and the 3719 'City Of Exeter'. All of the different engines come with their own tender that is relevant to the age of the engine and each locomotive also comes with the Just Trains Mk 1 Coaches that are all in their own distinct liveries that pertain to the each of the Class 3700 locomotives.
There are 12 different scenarios to choose from and all can be accessed via the scenario menu in Train Simulator. The scenarios are designed specifically for the Somerset and Dorset route, Bristol to Exeter, Bristol and Avonmouth, London to Brighton and even Isle of Wight routes so it is important to know that if you do not already own one or two of these routes as you will not be able to use certain scenarios.
Most of the scenarios are passenger related, but you will find that there is quite a bit to do during each of them. Meeting schedules, coupling and uncoupling cars and picking up passengers is what you will find yourself doing and the scenarios typically range anywhere from 10 minutes to 3 hours. I found that I especially liked the scenarios for the Isle of Wight add-on as it gave me a whole new perspective when using that route and I found that I enjoyed it much more from the cab of the 'City of Truro', then some of the faster more modern trains the route was set up for.
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The engines and their attached tender are an impressive sight as each are magnificently detailed and offer some fantastic exterior views of this wonderful train, that along with a complex cab and a realistic look, feel and control of the engine makes it train simulating at its best! This coupled with an excellent sound set derived from the real train makes it an excellent addition to the TS 2013 family and a must have in my book.
I like that they decided to include modern instrumentation on some of the engines that are still being used and kept the older, out of service trains, less complex as it adds a real authentic feel overall. For instance, the modern 3440 sports a digital speed readout and an AWS alarm system to where the original 3717 from 1904 does not and that just goes to shows the level of detail and work put into each individual model of the Class 3700.
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The Class 3700 can be purchased from the Just Trains website and runs about $21.99 via download or boxed product. I was surprised that there was not a manual with the boxed version I received, but a PDF version is available after install of the add-on.
GWR Manor Class and Add-on Pack (7800 Class)
The Manor Class engine was train that was designed and built by GWR between 1938 and 1939 and was used well into the 50's. It used the GWR standard 4-6-0 wheel arrangement and it was known for dependability and cool running and was seen through much of the GWR system up until the 1950's. Each engine's individual name came from a specific manor home, of which there were many, that littered the British country side where the Great Western Railway had run.
The GWR Manor Class add-on comes with the GWR Manor in three different liveries along with a selection of different models, it comes with the BR Lined Green, BR Lined Black and the GWR Lined Green 7827 engine. Engine Models include the 7812, 7821, 7823, 7827, 7828 and each has their associated manor plates and signage on the engine, coal car and their associated content. Also included in this package are 3 different coaches that represent the British Railways, Great Western Railway and the 'Blood And Custard' coach for the British Railway, each car comes with its own interior view and is particular to the model of engine it used during its time.
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The Manor Class comes ready with 10 different scenarios for the following routes, the Somerset Joint Railway, Bristol and Avonmouth, Great Western Mainline, London to Brighton, and the Isle of Wight routes. Do keep in mind that these scenarios are created for both existing stock routes and payware routes that you may not own, so you will find that some routes may not exist in your current installation of TS 2013. The Scenarios will have you hauling passengers, moving freight and even moving cars and other train related content around the different routes.
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The cab of the GWR Manor Class is extensive and you will find that most everything works, dials and knobs turn and levers pull. You will also find that if you are not familiar with steam engines you might find yourself sitting on the track and not going anywhere because the GWR Manor requires that you drive the train like its meant to be driven, though not all of the trains complex systems are modeled it is still a challenge to try to stay ahead of it. The manual makes it clear that even though some of the levers and knobs appear to turn, they really serve no purpose and that they are there merely for animation because of the limitations of TS 2013.
The exterior of the GWR Manor Class is a sight to be reckoned with, for anyone into the steam era of trains this package brings this engine to life with tons of eye candy and realistic sounds that are derived from the actual train. Lighting, dynamic shine and lot of moving parts makes for an impressive sight as this train lumbers down the track.
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If you still need more you can also purchase the GWR Manor Class Add-on Pack, this package offers 6 more engines to choose from and represent the engine as it appeared in the GWR unlined livery and it even features an earlier style lipped chimney instead of the ones seen later on. The engines also feature early and late style emblems along with the tenders as well and nine more custom scenarios. Another nice feature that is included allows the user to customize the Manor Class thus making it his or her own train.
The scenarios included in the add-on package feature Somerset and Dorset, Bristol to Exeter, Bristol to Avonmouth, London to Brighton and the Isle of Wight routes, take into consideration that some routes are payware and are not stock to TS 2013. Again you will be tasked with passengers and freight depending on which route and scenario you choose.
The GWR Manor Class sells for $21.99 and its add-on pack sells for $7.99 through the Just Trains website and the product is available either via download or boxed product. For me, if I was to go out looking for this engine I would want both the main add-on and its add-on pack to get the most out of the Manor Class.
Rebuilt Bulleid Light Pacific
The Bulleid Light Pacific was the result of a need for a post war engine that would replace the Merchant Navy Class that existed at the time. The train in its initial design was known for introducing the chain-driven valve gear which was ultimately a problem and resulted in many of the existing engines to be totally rebuilt, thus the name 'Rebuilt Pacific', and with the chain gear removed it ultimately became the Rebuilt Bulleid Light Pacific. This occurred in 1957 and was seen as a major improvement , but as time progressed it became clear that steam was a dying legacy and the future of diesel had arrived and many of the Pacific's were scrapped after having just being rebuilt by the company.
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Most interestingly is the fact that Rebuilt Pacific introduced electric lighting that was powered by a steam driven generator in the cab of the engine along with gauges in the cab that were lit using ultraviolet light that allowed for better night vision from within the cab. Though interesting, this is not the case for the Just Trains Pacific, though it does have cab lighting it does not feature individual gauge lighting.
The Rebuilt Light Pacific comes with one engine and includes 10 different nameplates that are relevant to the engines past. If you want to make use of the different nameplates then you will need to specify which name plate you want to use when setting up the individual scenarios. This process is explained in the manual and if you do not make the necessary adjustments prior to using the engine in a scenario the plate will show up blank in the game.
You also get the Maunsell Coaches that are specific to the Rebuilt Pacific and that includes the brake coach, composite coach, third brake coach and the third coach cars and each are designed to match the color of the locomotive and its respective service. In all the train and its content look very good together and does make for an excellent addition to Train Simulator 2013.
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The Rebuilt Pacific comes with 4 scenarios that will have you traveling the Bath Green to Templecombe and the Newcastle to York routes and it will have you running passenger and freight service from 1957-1980 depending on what route and scenario you have selected. I was a little surprised that there were only 4 scenarios, but the great thing about Train Simulator 2013 is the Quick Drive option and this engine will allow you to drop it into any route, European or otherwise so you can just enjoy it and use it and not worry about having to meet schedules or meet the goals of a specific scenario. This can also be achieved with the other 2 add-ons in this article.
Controlling the Pacific is done just like any other steam engine in TS 2013, though it is not as complex as say the 3700 or the GWR Manor it is still an interesting locomotive to control and move around your virtual railroad. I would have really liked to have seen more emphasis on how this train operated. The manual explains how to change the head and shed plates, but does little on explaining how this engine works or what its primary use was during its time of operation and is only 14 pages in length.
The Rebuilt Bulleid Pacific sells for $21.99 and offers yet another excellent addition to the TS 2013 family and can be purchased from the Just Trains Web Site.
Summing It Up
| Publisher: Just Trains |
Reviewed By: Gene Davis
The Class 3700, GWR Manor Class and the Rebuilt Pacific are fantastic additions to the Train Simulator fleet and offer hours of steam train enjoyment. They are all equally good visually and audibly, but I think the 3700 and the Manor Class are more complex when it comes to operation versus the Pacific, though I do feel the Rebuilt Pacific fits in well and offers a more casual driving environment and it is still far above par when it comes to the stock steam engines that come with Train Simulator 2013.
In all, these three add-ons from Just Trains offer some of the best steam engines I have seen to date for Train Simulator 2013. They are not so expensive that you can't consider getting them all and they offer hours of fun. All three of these add-ons are a journey into a time of rail that no longer exists and never will again, but with the talented folks at Just Trains we can experience these marvelous wonders once again and continue to enjoy them into the future with Train Simulator 2013!