Essence of an Era
Posted by Dovetail Games Support on 19 May 2017 09:59 AM

The Baltimore & Ohio Kingwood Branch route rekindles the hard-edged, tradition-rich Appalachian mountain railroading of the 1960s

For American railroading, the 1960s were the closing act of an era, a time when the long-held rich traditions of railroading still held firm, when the first-generation diesels that had replaced steam still dominated the high iron, when railroad companies still catered to passengers, and when coal was king. The remarkable B&O Kingwood Branch route takes us back to that time.

Just as they did in creating the acclaimed Virtual New Haven Springfield Line, which so perfectly captured late 1950s-era railroading in New England, so has the talented VNHRR team magnificently re-created the compelling essence of 1960s Appalachian railroading.

In my youth, I had the opportunity to roam the remote “hills and hollows” of West Virginia and witness first-hand the branch-line, old-school, hard-edged coal railroading of the Appalachians as practices by the likes of the Baltimore & Ohio, Chesapeake & Ohio, and Norfolk & Western. The B&O Kingwood Branch route rekindles that experience and that railroading magic.

Branch line railroading in the Appalachians was tough and unforgiving. It meant reaching into remote valleys and climbing rugged slopes to serve coal mines; it meant totting heavy tonnage of bituminous coal; it meant grinding up steep grades in notch 8 and ever-so-carefully descending twisting steel paths with air brakes applied and dynamics screaming. It was, in short, challenging work. And that is the remarkable experience that awaits you on the now available Train Simulator B&O Kingwood Branch route.

The B&O Kingwood Branch route is based upon the West Virginia Northern Railroad, a short line coal hauler built in the 1880s that existed into the late 1990s. The route is semi-fictional in that it re-creates the WVNRR property as an early 1960s-era Baltimore & Ohio branch line. The route includes a 10-mile roller-coaster main trunk between an interchange with the Baltimore & Ohio main line at Tunnelton and the Kingwood Branch’s namesake northern terminus; a backwoods 7-mile branch to a large coal seam at Birds Creek, two additional short branch lines, and numerous spurs serving a total of 14 diverse coal mines and coal-loading facilities.

Coal-haul railroading is the heart and soul of the Kingwood Branch, but it is far from its only intriguing aspect. The B&O Kingwood Branch route features a variety of non-mining lineside freight customers, freight houses, and team tracks, and the branch is also host to classic flag-stop passenger operations – complete with operating flag-stop signals at its small-town depots!

Among the hundreds of diesel locomotive types that have served American railroads, few have been more successful nor more efficient than the Electro-Motive GP9, of which more than 4,000 were constructed between 1954 and 1959. And with the B&O owning a large roster of 193 GP9s, the classic “Geep” is perfect as the featured motive power for the Baltimore & Ohio Kingwood Branch. The GP9 is provided in both its original Baltimore & Ohio livery and in B&O’s early 1960s-era “Capitol” scheme. And the Geep will have its work cut out, given the simply extraordinary variety of included rolling stock. A traditional heavyweight 65-foot coach in B&O blue and gray livery is provided for passenger service, and the route’s freight equipment includes B&O class I-5, I-5D, and I-12 cabooses; 36-, 40-, and 50-foot boxcars in multiple liveries (including B&O, Chesapeake & Ohio, and Western Maryland); a B&O flatcar; B&O 52- and 65-foot gondolas; 55-ton and 70-ton coal hoppers in multiple variations and railroad liveries; a 1950s/60s-era tank car, B&O Airslide covered hopper; and wood- and steel refrigerator cars.

The Baltimore & Ohio Kingwood Branch puts you right to work with 13 authentic and challenging career scenarios that include freight, switching, and passenger duties as well as training runs on this rugged railroad line. The unique and timeless appeal of tradition-rich and hard-working railroading, 1960s Appalachian style, will be yours with the new B&O Kingwood Branch route, available now at the Dovetail Games and Steam Stores! – Gary Dolzall

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Introducing New York – New Haven Scenario Pack 02
Posted by Dovetail Games Support on 11 May 2017 11:41 AM

By popular demand, New York – New Haven Scenario Pack 02 delivers more railroading action around the Big Apple!

The recent New York – New Haven Scenario Pack 01 proved a Train Simulator best-seller and, by popular demand, the all-new New York – New Haven Scenario Pack 02 now brings you even more bustling and challenging Amtrak passenger and Metro-North commuter railroading!

Extending north and east from New York City’s two great passenger stations – New York’s Penn Station and Grand Central Terminal – to New Haven, Connecticut, Train Simulator’s NEC: New York – New Haven route represents one of America’s busiest and most famous rail lines. Available now, New York – New Haven Scenario Pack 02 puts you to work on this famous line, as you take the throttle of a variety of Amtrak intercity passenger and Metro-North commuters trains in 10 new and realistic career scenarios!

New York – New Haven Scenario Pack 02 brings to vivid life challenging everyday operations on Train Simulator’s NEC: New York – New Haven route, and re-creates some intriguing special services. Let’s take a closer look at the challenging duties, diverse locomotives and trains, and authentic operations that await you as a Train Simulator engineer in this new career scenario pack which I’ve had the pleasure to develop on behalf of High Iron Simulations and Dovetail Games’ Train Simulator Partner Programme.

Amtrak Acela

You’ll take the throttle of America’s fastest and sleekest train in the two-part scenario “Amtrak Acela 2190.” As engineer of the first scheduled morning Acela service from New York to Boston, you’ll board your passengers at famed New York Penn Station, make your way over Amtrak’s famed Hell Gate Bridge and Hell Gate Line to Shell Interlocking in New Rochelle, New York, then handle the early morning run over busy Metro-North trackage to New Haven, Connecticut.

Metro-North Kawasaki M8 EMU

The EMU workhorse of Metro-North’s New Haven Line is well represented in New York – New Haven Scenario Pack 02. During rush hours, Metro-North operates “Harrison Flip Backs,” which run from New York Grand Central Terminal only as far as Harrison, New York, then return to GCT. In the career scenario “Harrison Flip Back,” you are the engineer of Kawasaki M8-equipped MNCR Train 1279, the New York-bound return portion of a flip back, ready to board passengers at Harrison, then proceed with intermediate stops to busy Grand Central Terminal.

And in the scenario “Yankee Clipper,” you’ll experience an unusual but highly authentic MNCR service. During the Major League baseball season, Metro-North operates direct services on the New Haven Line to legendary Yankee Stadium and its 153rd Street Station located on the Hudson Line. In this scenario, you are the engineer of “Yankee Clipper” service 7523 on the New Haven Line bound for New York 153rd Street for a Saturday afternoon Yankees game.

Amtrak ACS-64 City Sprinter

Amtrak’s newest and most advanced electric locomotive, the Siemens “City Sprinter” will be your charge on a snowy day in the two-part scenario “Bound for Richmond.” Amtrak Train 93 is a Monday-through-Thursday service operating from Boston, Massachusetts to Richmond, Virginia, and as engineer of Train 93 you’ll proceeded from New Haven to New York Penn Station amid daunting winter weather.

Metro-North “New Haven” FL9

The distinctive Electro-Motive FL9 was an iconic fixture on the New Haven Line for nearly half-a-century until finally retired with the arrival of GE P32AC-DM locomotives. And during the era of the New Haven Railroad, the dual-mode locomotives regularly operated over the Hell Gate Line. In the two-part scenario “Return of the Patriot,” a pair of MNCR FL9s in New Haven “McGinnis” livery take command of a special railfan weekend excursion that begins on “rare trackage” at the Long Island Railroad’s Long Island City station, then proceeds via Hell Gate Bridge and MNCR’s ex-NYNH&H trackage all the way to New Haven Union Station.

Amtrak HHP-8 “Hippo”

In the career scenario “HHP-8 Hippo Finale,” it is October 2014 and only two of Amtrak’s often trouble-plagued HHP-8 electrics remain in service. You are the engineer of Amtrak Train 173 on a rainy autumn afternoon in 2014, making your way over a congested Metro-North New Haven Line and Amtrak’s Hell Gate Line southbound to New York Penn Station.

Metro-North GE P32AC-DM

Metro-North P32AC-DM “Genesis” diesels and Shoreliner commuter coaches that work the MNCR Danbury Branch from time-to-time make their way to Metro-North’s shops in New Haven for servicing and inspection. In the scenario “Danbury Deadhead,” it is a Sunday night and you have been called to pull together a consist at New Haven with a P32AC-DM, then run deadhead to South Norwalk in anticipation of the following day’s services.

In its 10 career scenarios, which provide eight hours of all-new and realistic operations, New York – Haven Scenario Pack 02 puts you in the cabs of six different Amtrak and Metro-North locomotive and train types, and covers the breadth of the popular NEC: New York – New Haven route across the seasons and through a variety of conditions.

The best of Big Apple railroading action awaits you in New York – New Haven Scenario Pack 02, now available at the Steam Store!

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Living, Breathing History
Posted by Dovetail Games Support on 10 May 2017 01:34 PM

Now available, the Smokebox Central Pacific “Jupiter” – of Golden Spike fame – takes you back to 1869 and into railroading history!

Among the millions of railroad photographs taken over the decades, perhaps none are more famous than the glass plate images created by A. J. Russell on May 10, 1869, as two locomotives – Central Pacific No. 60, the “Jupiter,” and Union Pacific No. 119 – stood pilot-to-pilot at windswept Promontory, Utah, and America was linked from ocean to ocean by rail.

And now, one of the famed historic participants in the Golden Spike ceremony – Central Pacific 4-4-0 No. 60, the Jupiter – comes to living, breathing – and colorful – life in Train Simulator!

From Smokebox and that maestro of steam locomotive creation, Mike Rennie, the Train Simulator CPRR Jupiter is a marvel. Authentic in every detail – including its stunningly beautiful black, blue, and crimson livery – the 4-4-0 delivers the true and challenging experience of taking the throttle of a mid-19th Century wood-burning steam locomotive.

Built in the summer of 1868 by the Schenectady Locomotive Works (a predecessor of the famed American Locomotive Company), No. 60 was one of a quartet of identical 4-4-0 locomotives built for the CPRR. The Jupiter was designed for dual service, with 60-inch-diameter drivers and 16 x 24-inch cylinders and a total engine weight of 65,400 pounds and was typical of its era in that many of its operating features were relatively primitive (including a lack of air brakes!). Smokebox has meticulously re-created the Jupiter in its “as built” condition, which promises a new, different – and demanding – experience for Train Simulator locomotive engineers.

For a full history of the historic Jupiter, as well as details on the features of the locomotive as re-created by Smokebox for Train Simulator, be sure to check out these three articles: “Witness to History”, “An Icon of Steam, the Man Behind ‘Jupiter’”, and “The ‘Jupiter,’ What’s Included?”.

The Jupiter itself is a true masterpiece – and accompanying the Jupiter are the historic locomotive’s three CPRR sisters: the “Storm,” “Whirlwind,” and “Leviathan.” The Smokebox Central Pacific Jupiter pack also features authentic flat cars, two styles of Emigrant coaches, baggage car, and a coach-caboose. Fittingly, given that Central Pacific’s crown-jewel accomplishment was its crossing of California’s Sierra Nevada Mountains, the pack includes three captivating and challenging career scenarios on the Train Simulator Donner Pass route. And there’s still more: For those wishing to create their own 1860s-era Train Simulator route or scenarios, the pack includes a variety of period-authentic assets, including trackage, a wooden trestle, switch stand, water tower, and locomotive fueling point.

From the noted creators of the acclaimed Union Pacific FEF-3 4-8-4 and AT&N 2-8-0 “Connie,” the CPRR No. 60 Jupiter DLC is now available at the Store, ready to take you on a remarkable and challenging journey into railroading history!

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Scots & Steam!
Posted by Dovetail Games Support on 05 May 2017 08:35 AM

A Scottish classic, the BR Standard Class 6, is ready for steam-era service!

Following the nationalisation of Britain’s ‘Big Four’ railway companies into British Railways in 1948, it was decided that many new steam locomotives would be built with a standard design in mind. This practice would ensure common parts were used across a variety of locomotive types, nation-wide, avoiding the significant cost of maintaining older designs that differed greatly from region to region.

Robert Riddles, former apprentice of the LNWR, subsequent Stanier-assistant and Vice-President of the LMS, was appointed ‘Member of the Railway Executive for Mechanical and Electrical Engineering’ of British Railways. Riddles, along with two assistants (both former LMS), were to oversee the design and construction of Britain’s new standard locomotives.

The standard locomotives were to incorporate the best of the ‘Big Four’s successes, however naturally, with three ex-LMS men in charge of constructing the new locomotives, many aspects of the former operator’s designs were present and this became apparent as new traction rolled off the production line. Common features found on the locomotives were high running plates, taper boilers, two cylinders and streamlined cabs. For express operations, the reliable 4-6-2 Pacific design was used.

One such 4-6-2 rolled out of Crewe Works in December 1951. Designated the BR Standard Class 6, or 6MT (Mixed-Traffic), this new locomotive was primarily based on the previous 7MT Britannia Class, and was destined to work in Western Scotland. To be useful ‘up north’, the Standard Class 6 was built with a smaller boiler, increasing the route availability by saving weight. A total of 10 Class 6 locomotives, which were named the Clan Class, were constructed; the last of which was ready in March 1952. More were planned, another 15 in fact, however continuous steel shortages delayed the order, and the publication of the 1955 Modernisation Plan put paid to any hope of seeing more Clans.

The 6MT Clan Class got its naming from a desire to represent Scotland on the rails. Previously, the Highland Railway had its own ‘Clan Class’, which was steadily disappearing after a lengthy working life. Each of the 6MT locomotives, 72000-72009, were named after a Scottish Clan, specifically; Buchanan, Cameron, Campbell, Fraser, MacDonald, MacGregor, MacKenzie, MacKintosh, MacLeod and Stewart, 5 of which were in common with the older Highland locomotives. The to-be-built expansion of the fleet had already been named, although a select few were not actually ‘Clans’ as they would’ve served the Southern Region if constructed.

In service, the Clan Class was subject to a mixed reception. Those who were trained to make her steam had little quarrel over performance, the fleet could cope with any duty it was designed for. Many crews out of Carlisle and Glasgow, where the Clans were based, found them trickier to master as the low number of locomotives hindered effective training. Nation-wide trials took place in 1958, and while inherently similar in performance – regardless of location – their utter similarity to the Britannia Class caused confusion. The Clan Class was often booked to operate Class 7 duties, naturally, being pressed into services that required more power resulted in falling behind schedule and, unfortunately, damaged the Clans’ reputation to the point of being deemed a failure.

Despite what management said, and the lack of chance to improve the fleet, those who had the chance to man the Clans were taken by them – when steamed and stoked properly of course. In many regards, the Clans succeeded in fulfilling their duties as a standardised, all-purpose locomotive.

As is the case with all BR Standard Classes, the end of the steam-era saw plenty of locomotives retire long before their operational lives were at a close. The Clans were no exception, with the eldest having survived only 14 years on the rails. Due to only 10 being in service, it did not take long for all the Clans to be scrapped, none survived beyond August 1966.

There is some light at the end of the tunnel for the Clan Class. In recent years, the Standard Steam Locomotive Company have begun work on what would’ve been the 11th locomotive in the class, 72010 Hengist. This loco, when first planned, was one of five bound for the Southern Region and could have lived a rewarding life racing down to the Kent Coast. With any luck, 72010 will one day be reality, resurrecting the Clan Class and becoming the 1000th BR Standard steam locomotive ever built.

From the Just Trains Advanced Range, the BR Standard Class 6 comes to Steam to recount the bygone era of Pacifics in Scotland, and provide a glimpse into the potential future where 72010 is brought to life.

The BR Standard Class 6 includes all 10 named members of the 4-6-2 Pacific locomotive, in clean, intermediate and weathered BR Brunswick Green livery and features the standard BR1 tender; also included is the in-production 11th member, 72010 Hengist, complete with modern safety features and modern BR1B tender. First Open, Tourist Standard Open and Brake Standard Open Mk1 coaches are also included in multiple BR liveries.

A selection of career scenarios are included which see you put the BR Standard Class 6 to work on the Western Lines of Scotland route, and a variety of Quick Drive consists will allow you to experience the Class 6 wherever you may choose!

The BR Standard Class 6 is available now, head to the Store for more details.

Pro Range

The products in our Pro Range are guaranteed to provide a detailed and unique experience, the content in this range is aimed at advanced players where simple controls, HUD and controller support are not required as standard. Each Pro add-on will feature a comprehensive manual to educate you on how to drive each locomotive.

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London Transport Ensemble!
Posted by Dovetail Games Support on 05 May 2017 08:34 AM

Available now, the London Transport Heritage Collection ushers in classic maroon-on-the-rails operations and provides a creative call-back to the Capital’s traction of yesteryear.

Featuring iconic locomotives such as GWR’s prolific Pannier Tank, the 5700 Class; English Electric’s definitive Type 1, known today as the BR Class 20 ‘Chopper’; and of course, the long-serving 1938 Tube Stock, which has served DC rails for nearly 8 decades, the London Transport Heritage Collection is the perfect way to experience a wide variety of operations. From passenger commuting to freight hauling, behind the controls of either steam, diesel or electric.

The bonus, and fictional, London Transport Heritage route is included to provide challenging and unique operations for each distinct locomotive. Work hard along the tough gradients of Stony Bay Quarry before coasting down to the quaint Breakwater docks, get busy on the loop and pass the scenic locations of Channel and Jurassic Halt, stoke up the fire at Vindelis and steam along to Stony Point. There’s no end to the potential of the London Transport heritage route, and with the plethora of route assets available, you’ll be able to create whatever you desire.

The London Transport Heritage Collection features the 1938 Stock, as used on the Northern Line, in London Transport Maroon livery; and in Maroon & Gold livery comes the BR Class 20 ‘Chopper’ (20142), and ex. GWR 5700 Class ‘Pannier Tank’ (L.92, L.94 & L.99), both of which didn’t start life in London, yet proved useful on the Underground when required and have such received commemorative liveries for their efforts.

The included fictional route is set as an ex. Southern Region line which was preserved in Network SouthEast condition, the result is a wide selection of NSE assets, perfect for 1980s and 1990s recreations; in addition to this, First, Second and Guard Mk2 coaches are included in the classic ‘toothpaste’ livery of NSE for ‘mainline’ passenger use, and preserved SR push-pull coaches are also present to fulfil more sedate ‘excursion’ journeys.

With a dock and quarry fully ready for service on the route, freight rolling stock is an essential foundation of the London Transport Heritage Collection. BR Standard Van, TTA Tank, Conflat Wagons and a suitable brake van are all featured, and will help form your trains plus make the sidings come to life as you pass by on other duties.

A selection of career scenarios will put your skills to the test in each locomotive, across all areas of the included route, and the Railfan Mode scenarios will let you take in the action at some of the route’s most scenic locations. With quick drive, you can not only run whatever you like on the included route, but you can make the included stock feel at home on our various London-based routes.

Make sure you head to the Store, as the London Transport Heritage Collection is available now!

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135 Tons of Southern Steam
Posted by Jio Butler on 20 April 2017 10:37 AM

Robert Urie’s freight-hauling masterpiece, the S15 Class, has arrived for challenging Train Simulator service!

The S15 Class was originally formed from the mind of the London & South Western Railway’s Chief Mechanical Engineer, Robert Urie, as there was a need for a new locomotive to fulfil heavy freight duties in the early 1920s. Urie’s original mixed-traffic H15 design, which helped the LSWR in the midst of the war effort, would serve as the basis for his future locomotives.

With a more modern requirement – that would see a locomotive capable of serving south coast ports and running express dairy trains in and out of London – still in place, Urie changed key aspects of his H15 Class to produce a freight-dedicated locomotive. The result rolled out of Eastleigh Works in February 1920 as the S15 Class, and it was quickly established that this locomotive would be a very successful worker.

The first batch of LSWR’s S15 locomotives was 16-strong and finished production by May 1921. Two years later, the LSWR would be amalgamated into the Southern Railway as part of the Grouping Scheme, creating the “Big Four”. With this, Urie stepped into retirement and left Richard Maunsell to take over as Chief Mechanical Engineer, and with his new position, Maunsell took the opportunity to further develop the quickly proven S15 Class before a second batch was produced, and the resulting modifications were continued to see the class excel in service.

Based across the Southern Railway’s Western Region, from London to coastal ports of Southampton, Weymouth and beyond, the S15 Class was a well-abled freight locomotive that could shift heavy loads, at speed, with relative ease – and would often find itself at the helm of nightly express goods. Surprisingly, despite the specific design, and classification, that make the S15 a freight locomotive, the fleet was also found to be very capable at passenger work when required. This would make the S15s the longest lasting LSWR 4-6-0 engine in service.

The S15 Class held onto regular duties far into the 1960s, with the last being withdrawn in 1966. All 45 locomotives were sent to South Wales for scrap, but thankfully, a total of 7 were rescued and were only 2 of those have yet to be operational in preservation. Akin to being the longest lasting, the S15 is also the most prolific LSWR 4-6-0 to have survived the end of steam, and many enthusiasts get to enjoy a hint of yesteryear behind the powerful S15 Class.

The Southern Railway S15 Class, from Partner Programme developer Bossman Games, features the 4-6-0 locomotive in both Southern Olive Green and Southern Black liveries, both with optional smoke deflectors, accompanied by the Maunsell 8-wheel tender in both liveries. Additionally, Bulleid 59ft Brake Third, 64ft 6in Brake Third, 59ft Composite and 64ft 6in Composite coaches are included in Southern Malachite Green livery.

Three career scenarios are included for the West Somerset Railway route that will put your skills to the test, let you take charge of preserved S15 locos, and get to work hauling some lucky passengers through the sedate and beautiful countryside.

The Southern Railway S15 Class is available now for Train Simulator, head to the Store for more details

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