While it might sound a bit of a mouthful, Train Sim World 3: Midland Mainline – Leicester – Derby & Nottingham – Route Add-on, may be competing for the longest DLC name, but is it any competition for the best route add-ons for Train Sim World 3.
The Midland Mainline stretches as far northwest as Liverpool and northeast to York then all the way down to London, but this route add-on features the small mid-section covering 37 miles of track from Leicester north to the East Midlands Parkway near Ratcliffe power station and then onto either Derby or Nottingham.
Being born and bred around Nottingham, it’s a station I’ve visited many, many times over the last few decades and while I own a staggering 28 routes for Train Sim World, this is definitely the most local to me and quite a surprise it’s taken so long for TSW to bring us such a central line that covers the backbone of Britain.
There are two locomotives included, including the fantastic Class 43 HST and the reliable Class 158 Sprinter and if you already own the Class 45 you’ll find a few bonus timetabled routes added.
There’s a total of 13 stops between Leicester and Derby including a depot at either side with the addition of Attenborough, Beeston, Nottingham and Eastcroft Depot.
Being born and bred around Nottingham I’ve visited a number of these stations and it’s great to see how well they’re represented in game, especially Nottingham’s main station, which except for the main lobby-area being blocked off, is otherwise incredibly accurate including the clocktower on approach and the deceivingly narrow entry tunnels as you reach the station.
There’s a total of 7 scenario’s available, with 5 concentrating on the Class 158 and two focusing around the HST, these scenarios are rated 1 & 2/5 for difficulty, but a few definitely feel tougher due to the more dated systems found on the locomotives making accurate breaking that little bit tougher than some will be used to.
Add to this a couple of scenarios based in the snow and there’s a great mixture of events and situations to navigate, for each locomotive there’s a longer scenario (40 mins & 1hr) with the remaining 5 all taking about 15-20 minutes to complete, giving a good 3-4 hours of gameplay for the scenarios alone.
There are also 18 guided routes, and an impressive 136 timetabled services (though 2 of those seem to be a bonus due to already owning the Class 45 locomotive).
As you venture around the stations, you’ll find the standard selection of 100 route tasks (collectables) to trigger, with 25 litter bins to tidy up, 25 posters (route maps) to place, 25 ticket machines to fix and 25 benches to repaint.
Each category proove relatively easy to spot and are well-spaced, with just over half spread across the three main stations of Leicester, Derby and Nottingham and the remaining 40 or so, scattered around the smaller stations in between.
You’ll also find plenty of landmarks on your travels from the familiar sights at major stations to the massive Ratcliffe-on-soar power station, Attenborough waters nature reserve and plenty of bridges and tunnels across the length of the track making for one of the better looking route add-ons available for TSW3.
Likewise the audio feels accurate, and unlike many situations, I’ve been on the HST and Class 158 many times as the Class 158 was used on my journeys home from School on the Nottingham to Skegness line with the HST handling any trips down to London in my younger years.
There’s enough nostalgia knowing many of the stations, but driving the locomotives I used so frequently just reinforces the level of detail and accuracy Train Sim World 3 brings us time and time again.
Obviously, there’s no miracle cures here, you’ll still get a little distant pop-in, most noticeable on large structures like the power station chimneys, but anyone who’s ever played Train Sim World will know what to expect, but as you’ll see from the accompanying screenshots (all taken in game via Xbox CVR or TSW’s “RailFan” screenshots, things look accurate, realistic and high quality even travelling at over 100mph.
On the bright side, as this is a more recent TSW3 add-on, you’ll find stations well populated, with accurate signage even for routes not included such as Nottingham to Matlock which you can board when exploring on foot, but expect to get thrown off the train as it reaches the end of the map.
Overall though I feel Midland Mainline offers something fresh, with so many routes feeling quite similar to others, the more dated locomotives on the Midland Mainline are only really replicated back in the three-year-old Great Western Express where you’ll also find the HST, but with the varied route, great scenarios and two fun to drive, but not too automatic locomotives on hand, Midland Mainline is one of the better route addons we’ve seen since TSW3 released.
TSW3: Midland Mainline Route Add-on
with the varied route, great scenarios and two fun to drive, but not too automatic locomotives on hand, Midland Mainline is one of the better route addons we’ve seen since TSW3 released.
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