Friday, 4 May 2018

GWR County (1000 Class): On The Footplate

Just a few pictures today of the GWR County footplate. This is the BR Green version, the GWR and BR Black versions being the same but for a different colour scheme.




The speedometer is an optional part (along with the outside equipment) as these were only fitted under BR from 1951/2 onwards.



As always there are 2 headout views as part of the cab so you can drive operate the controls as well as look down the side of the engine.



Seats, front windows and roof vents are all moveable.



A working, animated water scoop is included, controlled by the screw lever on the tender, along with our "by the shovel load" stoking system controlled using the fireman's shovel.


And finally a nice close up of the 3D effect name and number plates, we think you'll agree a big improvement over the default texture replacement system for dynamic numbering/naming.


Friday, 20 April 2018

GWR County (1000 Class): In game!

It's been a few weeks since the last update but we have been very busy working on the GWR Counties (and also eating too much chocolate over Easter!).

Dovetail Games were given a pre-beta set of engines and posted the following article the other day with some very nice pictures in it.
https://live.dovetailgames.com/live/train-simulator/articles/article/the-county-crosser



They also included a clever little animated gif cycling through some of the variations but we wanted to clarify which engines are coming with the add-on and what their modifications are.
In short... all of them are included!

There were 30 members of the County class and the pack includes all 30 of them, correctly named and numbered and carrying the 3 sizes of nameplate board, depending on the length of the county name that they carry.
For example, No. 1016 "County of Hants" carried its name on 72" plates whereas No. 1022 "County of Northampton" had its moniker on an 87" plate, with a 78" plate in between for the "medium" length names.

There were essentially three main versions of the 1000 County class - the original version as built under the GWR from 1945 to 1947, the modified version which was updated under British Railways during 1956-59 and then No. 1000 "County of Middlesex" which was distinct to the other members of the class.
The Counties also carried a few different liveries and we have included all of them in this add-on. So, with the help of some images we will try and summarise the life of all of the County class engines and show you what you will be getting in our latest DLC.

We begin in 1945 when the first Counties were built and they carried the standard 1945 GWR livery. At this time the engines ran at a whopping 280psi boiler pressure giving them a tractive effort of 32,580 lbf (almost 1000 lbf more than the Castle class) and they were fitted with a standard single, round GWR chimney.
In 1948 when all of the Big Four railway companies merged to become British Railways many GWR engines had a short stint carrying the new company name but still in the old GWR style font.


However this did not last very long and soon the Counties were painted in the new BR Mixed Traffic Black livery. The logo on the tender changed twice during this time: initially just the words "British Railways" in a simple white font, and then from 1950 this was replaced with the famous "Cycling Lion".
Also under BR during 1951/2 they were fitted with speedometers and these are an optional part for all engines in game.
In 1955/56 the Counties were repainted in lined green which they retained until the end of their lives in the early 1960's and in 1956 the old BR logo was replaced with the equally famous "Ferret with a Dartboard" crest.



Those of you who are keen eyed will notice that the top right engine suddenly seems to have lost 30psi somewhere on its travels!
In late 1954, No. 1009 "County of Carmarthen" was modified for a set of trials to look at the possibility of fitting the County with a 4 row superheater (instead of the previous 3 row version), an improved blastpipe and a double chimney. The engine was specially modified for this purpose being fitted with a temporary double chimney made of sheet steel and also had what can only be described as a "cabin" built on the buffer beam to allow engineers to monitor the modifications during test runs.



And it would really be remiss of us not to include this version in the pack for some unusual scenario fun!


During these changes the working boiler pressure was also reduced to 250psi as there was concern that the County class was producing a hammer blow effect that could damage the rails they ran on. The full set of modifications were applied to all members of the class from 1957 to 1959.

So the above liveries and variants covers 29 of the 30 County class engines. But what of No. 1000 "County of Middlesex"?
1000 was unusual in that it carried a double chimney for its entire life so it has its own set of options in game, including the change to the superheater, blastpipe and pressure reduction.



In total that makes 13 different versions of the County that you can drop into Train Simulator covering their entire existence, and with a new No. 1014 "County of Glamorgan" currently being built at Didcot there is the opportunity for preserved running as well.

In the following weeks we'll take a look at more details of the GWR County class add-on: we have a cab to explore, advanced features to discuss and rolling stock to show.

Monday, 26 March 2018

Poll: Coaching Stock Packs

It's opinion time! Please nobody get upset, there are no right or wrong answers, just individual thoughts.

Somebody asked us today if the GWR County pack would come with GWR Pullman coaches. The fact is that coaches take almost as much work to build as a loco (although variants are quicker once you have a base version) and adding a passenger view increases the job hugely.
Consequently there is no way we could add coaches (of the quality we would want to produce) to an engine pack when we already provide a dozen or more liveries and options, advanced features and custom sound sets.
Please note: There will be some new rolling stock with the Counties, just not coaches.

So, we got to thinking, how would people feel if we produced a coach pack? Good idea, or not a good idea?
The other thought that's quite important is the passenger view - how important is it to people? To my mind they are a pleasant novelty - you load up for the first time, you jump into the passenger view and you think "Hey, that's really cool". And then you never use it ever again!
Because Train Simulator doesn't have a self driving passenger mode isn't it hard to ever sit comfortably for more than 20-30 seconds and enjoy a journey in a passenger view?
A passenger view is a TON of extra time and work (and also loads additional resources into a sim that people often struggle with to get decent performance), and it doesn't feel to me as if it's worth the time.
What would be better.. 1 coach and passenger view, or 5 variations of that coach with no view?

I could be completely wrong on this and I would love other opinions hence why we have the survey below and please feel free to comment as well - here, on forum threads or on Facebook.

Or you might just prefer we stick to locos and you don't want/need any more coaches anyway
Important: We're not suggesting we stop making locos but maybe we throw in a coaching pack or two at some point between locos.

So lets us know your thoughts, and thank you.

Thoughts on coaching stock packs

Yes, build some coaches, no need for a passenger view
Yes, build some coaches but they MUST have a passenger view
No, no, no! Build nothing but locos!
Created with PollMaker

Friday, 23 March 2018

GWR County (1000 Class): More Modelling WIP


Continuing from our last blog post, the County receives a thorough riveting. Seen here with a temporary British Railways lining to help get the correct placement.


And finally the engine is complete - on both sides!



Next task was the tender. These tenders were rather unique, being an 8'6" wide version of the 8' Hawksworth tender and built specifically for the Counties. They held 7 tons of coal and 4000 gallons of water as well as being fitted with a water scoop for additional collection en-route.



The basic outline takes shape and then we add the details.



Due to the location of the tools in a "tunnel" on the left hand side of the tender it's a tricky task to create a coal load that will animate as it's used. Here we have WIP images of a coloured coal load (in about 4 parts) to check that it can seamlessly run down without leaving large gaps or breaking through other parts of the tender.
Also seen are some small piles of coal overspill - a common sight on working engines that were filled via large coaling stations.



So that gives us an engine and a tender...



Next up, the cab!

Friday, 16 March 2018

GWR County (1000 Class): Modelling WIP

Continuing with work on the GWR County from last week...

The cylinders are now formed, the smokebox has a door on it and outside pipes fitted, and the very distinctive straight splashers are in place - with a nameplate and 3D name for testing. There are three sizes of nameplate used on the Counties; 72", 78" and 87" depending on the length of the name.


A view from the other side shows the difference in the splasher due to the reverser rod. This exits the cab, passes behind the nameplate (which sits further out than on the left side to accommodate this) and meets the reverse arm which goes through a cut-out in the splasher. The right hand side also has the typical GWR vacuum pump.


Back to the other side and the double chimney is now in place. As we said last week we will be creating all versions of the County which will include the single, double and test chimney versions in GWR and BR specifications. This side will also have the speedometer equipment on the rear wheel which was fitted to the Counties in the early 1950's under BR.


The safety bonnet and injector feeds are added, along with the cab roof.


Back to the other side again and you can see that the rails and much of the pipework have been added along with the BR fittings for the smokebox door.


The main engine is very nearly complete and ready for a going over with the digital rivet gun!

Friday, 9 March 2018

GWR County (1000 Class): First Look

With the LNER Raven Q6 now released it is time for us to show our next project and as promised it is the last of the GWR two cylinder 4-6-0 engines, the 1000 Class County (not to be confused with the same named 3800 County class, a series of 4-4-0 engines that were designed by Churchward and built four decades earlier).

Credit John Sydney

The "Late" County (as it was also known) was the final development of the two cylinder Saint class (which we also built for Train Simulator) by the Great Western Railway and was designed by Frederick Hawksworth as a test bed for his idea of building a GWR 4-6-2 (Pacific) locomotive, which actually never happened as no more express locomotives were needed at the time. Built at Swindon from 1945 the County had many of the improvements that were taken from the Modified Hall class and with a very high boiler pressure of 280psi as built they had 1000lbs more tractive effort than the Castle class.
No. 1000 "County of Middlesex" was built with a double chimney, whilst the other 29 members of the class were built with single chimneys however under BR No. 1009 "County of Carmarthen" was fitted with an experimental double chimney and 4-row super heater and after successful testing all members of the class received these modifications between 1956-59.

We will be producing all 30 members of the class, in both the late GWR livery and BR livery along with options for double and single chimneys as well as the experimental version. All of our usual standard and advanced features will be included and maybe some extra surprises as well.

Always wanting to improve our products we have already experimented with a new way to create numbering and nameplates for the County and have had some excellent results.
Compare this image of old vs new for the number plates...


Sadly none of the 1000 class Counties were preserved at the end of steam however the Great Western Society at Didcot are currently working on a new build (using many existing, compatible parts) of 1014 "County of Glamorgan" and details can be found at http://www.gwcountyproject.org.uk/index.html

So with the short history lesson aside, how are we getting on? As usual we start with the wheels and a rough boiler shape.


Then the lower frames are added.


Next come the cylinders (just simple shapes at this point), the firebox and a simple cab outline. Add the front buffer beam (and buffers) along with driving and connecting rods and she's starting show those fine lines of a GWR engine.


Lots more WIP images to come next week.

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Raven (LNER) Q6: Features and Contents



With the release of the Q6 closing in we thought we would provide our usual features and contents list so you know exactly what to expect from our latest DLC.

Taken from the manual..

  • Simple, standard and advanced driving modes
  • Xbox controller support SIMPLE AND STANDARD MODES ONLY

  • Raven Q6 (NER Class T2) Locomotive
    • NER Early Lined Livery (Small number plate)
    • NER Late Lined Livery (Large number plate)
    • LNER Black livery
    • LNER Wartime Black Livery
    • LNER Post-War Black Livery
    • British Railways 1948-49 Livery
      • Clean and Dirty
    • British Railways 1950-56 Livery
      • Clean and Dirty
    • British Railways 1956-67 Livery
      • Clean and Dirty
    • Preserved NER Lined Livery
    • Preserved British Railways Livery
  • Optional parts and fittings including steam heat dial, external vacuum brake pipe, 5 types of piston cap, overhead warning labels and more
  • Custom sound sets inside and out
  • Realistic cab with multiple views, including dual “head out” and fully modelled firebox and coal
  • Realistic wheel slip physics and effects ADVANCED MODE ONLY
  • Simulated steam chest ADVANCED MODE ONLY
  • Proportional engine brake
  • Realistic train pipe and reservoir vacuum braking (preserved version) ADVANCED MODE ONLY
  • Cylinder cock management  ADVANCED MODE ONLY
  • Boiler management with priming possible ADVANCED MODE ONLY
  • Realistic injector control ADVANCED MODE ONLY
  • Realistic “by the shovel” stoking with synchronised sound ADVANCED MODE ONLY
  • Dynamic steam and smoke colour and quantity
  • Realistic boiler water gauges effected by gradient, acceleration and speed and with blow down test
  • Opening windows (with rain effects) and roof hatch
  • Dynamic lamp setting
  • Cab light effects including flickering firebox glow
  • Atmospheric AI effects

  • Rolling stock
    • BR Conflat S
      • Empty
      • Dry ice containers
        • White
        • White with tarpaulin
        • Wood
        • Wood with tarpaulin
    • NER 20 ton Hopper
      • NER Grey
        • Empty
        • Coal
        • Coal Dust
      • BR Grey
        • Empty
        • Coal
      • BR Unpainted
        • Empty
        • Coal
    • NER 12 ton 6 Plank Wagon
      • NE Grey (Unfitted)
        • Empty
        • Heavy load with tarpaulin
        • Light load with tarpaulin
        • Ceramic pipes
        • Sacks
      • NE Oxide (Fitted)
        • Empty
        • Heavy load with tarpaulin
        • Light load with tarpaulin
        • Ceramic pipes
        • Sacks
        • Carboys
      • BR Grey (Unfitted)
        • Empty
        • Heavy load with tarpaulin
        • Light load with tarpaulin
        • Ceramic pipes
        • Sacks
      • BR Bauxite (Fitted)
        • Empty
        • Heavy load with tarpaulin
        • Light load with tarpaulin
        • Ceramic pipes
        • Sacks
        • Carboys
    • NER 13 ton Steel Wagon
      • NE Grey (Unfitted)
        • Empty
        • Heavy load with tarpaulin
        • Light load with tarpaulin
        • Ceramic pipes
        • Sacks
      • NE Oxide (Fitted)
        • Empty
        • Heavy load with tarpaulin
        • Light load with tarpaulin
        • Ceramic pipes
        • Sacks
      • BR Grey (Unfitted)
        • Empty
        • Heavy load with tarpaulin
        • Light load with tarpaulin
        • Ceramic pipes
        • Sacks
      • BR Bauxite (Fitted)
        • Empty
        • Heavy load with tarpaulin
        • Light load with tarpaulin
        • Ceramic pipes
        • Sacks
    • LNER/BR Brake Van
      • Dynamic lamps


Work continues apace on the GWR Late County and we will start showing pictures of our progress very soon. But it seems fitting to finish with one of our favourite images of the Q6 from one of the included scenarios which reflects the current weather for much of the country.