The Birmingham City route was released at the tail end of 2022, and brings us the 37 miles of track between Lichfield – Bromsgrove – Redditch, it’s one of the most impressive routes on Train Sim World, so let’s have a closer look at why it’s not quite perfect.
The route is packed with 25 stations, ranging from the gigantic Birmingham New Street, to various smaller stations, you’ll find some are close together requiring quick acceleration and careful braking to keep up with the timetables, while others allow a little more of a run to stretch your legs and reach speeds up to 90mph.
This is all done in a sole locomotive, the BR Class 323, this is the only route that has the Class 323, and while it shares some similarities to other BR passenger stock you’ll find from other add-ons for TSW3, it’s still pretty unique.
The route also lends itself well to the dynamic weather effects of TSW3, with the first scenario “Snow problem” proving how well the dynamic weather works, especially with snow and those close-nit stations testing your braking under tough circumstances.
In total there’s 2 training scenarios and 5 main scenarios, the training sections offer the usual introduction to both the Birmingham Cross-City Line and the Class 323 locomotive, while the main scenarios include snow, storms, busy peak times and coupling with another unit mid-route.
The length of these scenarios is pretty impressive with the first estimated at 1hr 15 mins, the second at 25 mins and the last 3 all 45-50 minutes.
These estimates are pretty accurate although the first took me well over 2 hours after I managed to misread the breaking distances on a snowy decline and massively overshot a station, which ruined over an hour of work trying to keep up with some often-tough timetables.
But in total, you’re looking at 4-5 hours just to get straight through all scenarios on the first attempt, more realistically, with a little exploration it’s likely to be 7-8 hours before you even tough some of the timetabled services.
Fans of timetabled routes will be pleased to know there’s plenty on offer, with a total of 223 services for the Class 323, and a few bonus services depending what other locomotives you already own, I had a total of 248 routes, with the Class 37/5, Class 66 and HST all giving a handful of extra services.
With most of the services taking anywhere between 20 and 80 minutes, there’s definitely a lot to work through, and anyone hoping to finish all of the timetabled services is likely to be spending 150-200 hours with this route.
As usual you’ll find plenty of collectables to pick up on your journeys, this time as well as placing route maps, you’ll have the chance to dress bears in high-vis uniforms, place flowers and sample chocolates, there’s 25 of each and many are well hidden, meaning there longevity stretches far beyond those timetables.
Graphically it all looks very good, possibly one of the best Route add-ons visually (and I have over 20 to compare it to), there’s very few sparse areas, plenty of detailing, buildings, and the pop-in that plagues some routes is only very minimal and, in most sections, barely noticeable.
The surroundings look realistic and fairly accurate, the locomotive is mostly well detailed, and it’s one of the smoothest performances I’ve seen (though that could easily be improvements over the last few months in TSW3 as a whole).
Equally I have heard a few complaints about the accuracy of the sounds, but from my experience, this hasn’t been noticeable enough to cause an issue 9playing via TSW3 on Xbox Series X).
With one of the best looking, best performing, and best populated routes, you might be thinking this is the best route add-on, and while it’s very close, the single locomotive does make things feel a little barren, If there’d been 2, or even 3 locomotives then this could have easily been the best DLC available, but the downfall of sticking with authenticity means the limitation of the only rolling stock (Class 323) on this route.
The route is fairly short, but for anyone looking to concentrate on a single locomotive and fully complete a route with all timetables and collectables, this is some of the best value of money in TSW3 route-addons.
TSW3: Birmingham Cross-City Line DLC
One of the best routes available for TSW3, packed with timetable services, collectables, and stations, only let down by the limitation of a single locomotive.