How Far Back Can We Set A Route?

Discussion in 'PC Discussion' started by jolojonasgames, May 30, 2022.

  1. jolojonasgames

    jolojonasgames Well-Known Member

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    Hi all, with the release of Spirit of Steam and the most backdated route in TSW (by a margin) yet, I wanted to discuss a new topic: how far back can we set a route?. As shown by many articles and streams on Liverpool - Crewe, it was quite a challenge finding information on how a route looked over 60 years ago.

    [​IMG]
    4705 at Exeter St David's on the Riviera Line.

    This is also an issue I ran into with my own route suggestions. The information on my Preußische Ostbahn in the 1910's suggestion for example was little and hard to find, making this route nearly impossible to accurately represent in TSW (something I had barely thought about at the time of suggesting). However, comparing it to post-WW2 routes shows a world of difference. On my Moselstrecke in the 1970's (yes Deutsche Bundesbahn used steam engines for a decade longer then British Railways) suggestion for example, pictures of pretty much the entire route were plentiful. On British routes, like Liverpool - Crewe, there seems to be plenty reference material going back to the 1950's. Of course Liverpool - Crewe is evidence of this, but also my Riviera Line & South Devon Main Line in the 1950's suggestion was easy enough to do research on (no wonder this route is also included in TS classic).

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    A BR 01 with an express train from Paris on the Moselstrecke near Neef with it's beautiful vineyards.

    All in all I think the cut-off point for how far back a route can be realistically set depends on a few factors.
    • How big was the railfanning scene in the country/area back then?
    • How well and how long were documents kept by the railway company?
    • How attractive was the route to spotters and photographers, or even professional documentary makers? (depending on how scenic the route is, how interesting it's operation, which engines could be seen on it, how unique is was)
    • How big was the acces to cameras for the spotters back then?
    • How much has the route changed since the era you want to set it in?
    • Are the locos that ran on the route preserved? And in what condition?


    [​IMG]
    King Class 6018 'King Henry VI' with The Mayflower at Dawlish (on the Riviera Line), 1958

    I might come back and edit that list as I think more about it, but it feels like a pretty nice list already. Looking at for example Liverpool - Crewe, we can see that the change the route has underwent since then is probably the most problematic, as the route was in the middle of major overhauls and electrification during the 50's and 60's, and saw major yard shrinkage and simplification in the decades to come. My first example, the Preußische Ostbahn in the 1910's fails on pretty much all of these points. The Moselstrecke and Riviera line suggestions are more potent on the other hand, both having tonnes of reference materials, due to there nature as spotters havens, and their respective era's seeing a lot more spotters taking pictures aswell. In addition to that, both routes, although having been modernised intensely aswell, have not had changes as drastic as the major ECML on Liverpool - Crewe has, with the Riviera Line not even having been electrified.

    [​IMG]
    A BR 44 heavy freight engine on the Moselstecke.

    I do wonder what your thoughts on the feasibility of for example an interbellum UK grouping era route is, or a German one for that matter. So please do let me know what you think are prerequisites for a feasible historical route, and which historical routes that you think are feasible you'd like to see! :)
     
  2. Clumsy Pacer

    Clumsy Pacer Well-Known Member

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    I think it'll depend entirely on how far back we can get reliable reference (unless people are willing to accept a lot of artistic license). Going further back than the 1940s or 50s it tends to dry up, mainly because people were there to photograph the trains, not the rest of it. Realistically, I'd be doubtful we'll see a pre-WW2 route without much artistic license any time soon and a pre-1900 route I think will always remain a pipe dream, unless it's fictional or heavy artistic license.
     
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  3. Blacknred81

    Blacknred81 Well-Known Member

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    Smokebox was able to bring us 2 US routes from pre 1900's (Promontory Summit and Cheyenne 1869) on TSC, not to mention a good handful of locos and rolling stock to go with them. So it isn't impossible for a routes to be set pre-WW2. But the amount of route available to be built in that time frame are very limited....
     
    Last edited: May 30, 2022
  4. Clumsy Pacer

    Clumsy Pacer Well-Known Member

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    I was aware of them - How much artistic license did they take? It could just be they were lucky.
     
  5. Mich

    Mich Well-Known Member

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    Even nowadays a lot of the area remains undeveloped prairie land, so it's fairly easy to guess how it would've looked like. And I think in the case of Promontory Summit the tracks ended up being torn up only a decade or so after being put down. The area in real life I believe hasn't been messed around with much since, to the point where even the imprint of the trackbeds still exist and can be seen on Google Maps and the like. So realistically you could use a lot of real life reference shots from today to help, the only thing you'd need to figure out is the track area, and the few yards and siding along the route, and even those aren't that massive.
     
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  6. OldVern

    OldVern Well-Known Member

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    Of course, the further you go back the less people will be around to challenge the detail, or lack of it.

    Already with SoS1 route, you would probably need to have been born in the late 1940's to have reliable memories of that era making you at least 74 or 75 years old now.
     
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  7. royalscot#3684

    royalscot#3684 Active Member

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    The Liverpool and Manchester railway in the 1830s would be a lot of fun. We actually know a lot about how it looked from maps, plans and drawings at the time - because it was a world first lots of people took an interest. Some parts of the route would be conjectural but much of the line was rural back then anyway. We know a lot about the key civil engineering features - a surprising amount is still there.

    And if DTG gets a few bits wrong there aren't many people around who remember it as it was!
     
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  8. driverwoods#1787

    driverwoods#1787 Well-Known Member

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    The easiest for them it's probably era 5 1951-1990. That includes the divided Germany West Germany Deutsche Bundesbahn network Hauptstrecke Rhein-Ruhr Rhein-Ruhr Osten Main Spessart Bahn RSN Schnellfahrstrecke Köln-Aachen pre 2002 Köln Duren Rebuild. Deutsche Reichsbahn DDR Rapid Transit Nahverkehr Dresden and Tharandter Rampe Dresden Chemnitz (GDR era Karl Marx Stadt).
    West Germany DB retired them from 1974-1977. East Germany ran steam locomotives all the way to the reunification 52.80 65.10 18 201.
    . Owners of German Democratic Republic if these were made era 7 2011 present German routes get a chance of a DR BR132 243 250 running a timetable service. DCZ Railtours Altstadt to Chemnitz Hilbersdorf.
    For era 4 DTG can do Khasan Ussyurisk 250 km 150 mi or Ussyurisk Vladivostok 141km 88 mi FD Class steam locomotive Russian Railways Ye 2-10-0 The Russian Decapod.
     
  9. OldVern

    OldVern Well-Known Member

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    Era should not be a barrier to a historical route. I mean in recent times we’ve had two TV series (Vikings and The Last Kingdom) which attempt to draw a picture of life in the 9th and 10th century and do it quite well. We accept there will be compromises such as everyone speaking in modern idiom, but there is no reason why a train sim route - especially one backed by the resources of a large commercial developer - should be impossible to build. How about something from the Victorian or Edwardian era, hey GWR Broad Gauge would be an interesting possibility!
     
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  10. paulc

    paulc Well-Known Member

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    If DTG decide to simulate a horse or a winding house then 2/300 years or more hauling a mining train of some description :D
     
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  11. stewartforgie

    stewartforgie Member

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    I will be 72 in December and can barely remember what I had for breakfast so I think the route builders are safe for now :)
     
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  12. jolojonasgames

    jolojonasgames Well-Known Member

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    On the one hand, I do think you have a point, and for me at least if DTG would make a route like the Preußische Ostbahn in the 1910's for example, I could tolerate quite a bit of artistic license as long as they got the feeling right alongside the technical operation of the steam engines and signalling system. On the other hand, I don't think comparing this to TV series is entirely fair, as TV series don't have to accurately represent a location in the way a simulator does and focusses more on the story than just the history.
     
  13. solicitr

    solicitr Well-Known Member

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    Vikings? Well?
     
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  14. dhekelian

    dhekelian Well-Known Member

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    I thought I was the only one, lol. 1830 Liverpool - Manchester done in a train sim would be fantastic and as you said great fun, I'm sure even Jamie could manage to drive the early stuff. From the first day of it's opening it was so eventful, what with the Rocket killing a Liverpool MP. Even though a lot of that first Railway doesn't exist it has been recorded in Books and TV and was an engineering master piece that today is to easily forgotten, imo. If the will was there it could be done easily and as for sounds they have replicas running today like the The Rocket (Frieght) and the Planet (Passengers). I think there is a Locomotion No.1 which would be special.
     
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  15. Rybnicki

    Rybnicki Well-Known Member

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    I really liked the Sacramento Northern route, one of the oldest period settings for TSC but seemingly overlooked. I have never been to modern Oakland, let alone that of the 1930s, so can't really comment on how realistic it looks but certainly it had the atmosphere I was looking for - redolent of all the great mid-20th century Californian pop culture, with the cars becoming more elaborate and prominent, hamlets up in the hills and a vintage ferryboat. Think it effectively proves that you don't need absolute perfection to build a compelling route.
     
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  16. Mich

    Mich Well-Known Member

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    It always seemed odd that DTG never seemed keen on doing UK routes set during the 30's, back when the big four were still intact. Even if they couldn't do all four I think there's enough documentation and demand for a LNER route at the very least.
     
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  17. redrev1917

    redrev1917 Well-Known Member

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    Railway modellers manage to produce realistic layouts set in the 1930s etc. Yes there's always more artistic license the older a layout is set but whilst you might not be able to model the lineside 100% there's plenty of maps and imagery available to join up the dots.
     
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