My route suggestion for April is the London Victoria Line. Although the Victoria Line has been suggested before, I feel earlier proposals have not really grasped the uniqueness of this route or how it could completely transform Train Sim World. In fact, I think the person who originally suggested the Victoria Line simply picked a London subway service at random without any idea just how special the Victoria Line is. And the Victoria Line is special: when it was opened in 1968, it was the most advanced railroad anywhere in the world. So why choose the Victoria Line? Subway services are popular – just look at the number of threads asking for them on here. It is a complete route. No more frustration after you’ve seen 1C73 London Paddington to Penzance in the GWE timetable – a journey that takes over 13 hours – and you set aside a whole day to drive it, only to get kicked out 30 minutes later at Reading. With the Victoria Line, you can start at 05:28 on Train 203 Trip 1 and take it out of the siding at Brixton and into Platform 1, and the game lets you drive all the way, without booting you out. Okay, you say, but Brixton siding to Brixton platform 1 doesn’t sound very far – but that isn’t all! If you Return to Free Roam, you can then walk to the other end and take Train 203 Trip 2 from Brixton to Walthamstow Central, right to the end of the platform. No Alight Here. No Please Exit the Vehicle, no Cannot Drive Service, no You Do Not Have Permission to Drive This Service, no End of Session and no You Have Reached the Edge of the Represented Area. With the Victoria Line, you can never reach the edge! When you get to Walthamstow Central, Free Roam lets you take Train 203 Trip 3 all way back to Brixton, but it isn’t Platform 1 this time. Oh no, it’s Platform 2! And still you aren't politely asked to leave or forcibly ejected. If that isn’t enough for you (and who could possibly get enough of the Victoria Line?), you can return to Free Roam and take Train 203 Trip 4 all the way from Brixton to Walthamstow Central, followed, if you like (and who wouldn’t like the Victoria Line?), by Train 203 Trip 5 from Walthamstow Central to Brixton. By now it’s gone eight o’clock and you might be feeling in need of breakfast, but it’s rush hour and there are passengers waiting, so it’s back to Walthamstow Central, and still the game is happy to let you drive all the way. Then there’s Trip 7 from Walthamstow Central to Brixton, and Trip 8 is from Brixton to Walthamstow Central. It’s nearly ten o’clock now, and commuters have been replaced by shoppers and tourists, so there’s no time to rest. Trip 9 goes from Walthamstow Central to Brixton, Trip 10 is from Brixton to Walthamstow Central and Trip 11 is from Walthamstow Central back to Brixton, and still you can carry on driving. Trips 12 to 21 follow very much the same pattern as Trips 2 to 11, as do Trips 22 to 31. Train 203 Trip 32 is from Brixton to Walthamstow Central and Trip 33 is from Walthamstow Central to Brixton, but now, right at the end, there’s a twist in the tale (unless it’s a Tuesday), for now you have to take the train back into the siding. To quote from the timetable: To 21 Sdg arr 00 46 00 Stop And that’s it. Over 19 hours of continuous driving. What other route could give you that? It has lots of trains. It really does. It’s not like LIRR which was billed as having “America’s busiest rail junction” but then most of the trains were removed because they ran some place else – this won’t happen with the Victoria Line. It’s the busiest route in England, with 36 trains an hour at peak times – that’s a train every hundred seconds – and all of them go from Walthamstow Central to Brixton and from Brixton to Walthamstow Central, so DTG has no reason to remove any of them. Of course, since the entire line is in single track tunnels, you won’t actually see any of the other trains, but they’ll be there nonetheless, doubtless faithfully rendered in all their graphical detail even though you cannot see them, utilising computer resources and slowing down the game in a way we can only admire. There’s variety. Apart from Walthamstow Central to Brixton and Brixton to Walthamstow Central, some trains only go as far as Seven Sisters. Then there are trains between Seven Sisters and the depot at Northumberland Park, and staff shuttles as well, going to a private platform at the depot. Finally, there are two special workings that run as required, empty stock from Northumberland Park to Victoria only, and into the sidings there. They are probably a bit too special to include in the base game, but they’d make a nice expansion DLC though, don’t you think? It’s iconic. The Victoria Line’s original trains (1967 Tube Stock) were the first in London to be designed by an artistic designer rather than an engineer. They feature wraparound windows for the engineer and fireman, and large picture windows for the passengers, ideal for viewing London’s many famous landmarks that the trains pass close by in their tunnels. Later on, the trains were painted in a rather garish red white and blue livery (https://www.flickr.com/photos/24772733@N05/4840765601/in/photostream/), but I think they look nicer in silver, don’t you? The stations, too, contained distinctive features. Every platform has a tile mosaic to suitably illustrate the station name. Blackhorse Road, for instance, has a black horse (https://www.flickr.com/photos/grebo_guru/147231238/), while Brixton has a ton of bricks. This scheme was so well-liked that it was going to be rolled out across the rest of London’s subway network, but problems were encountered on the Piccadilly Line where no one could think of anything that could possibly illustrate Cockfosters or Arsenal, so the plan was quietly shelved. So, what’s in it for DTG? These suggestion boards are full of threads that the hardworking people at DTG couldn’t possibly accommodate. Much as we might like to see the 5,600-mile Trans-Siberian Railroad from Moscow to Vladivostok or the 50-mile Connecticut Shore Line East from New Haven to New London, let’s face it, we’re never going to get those – they’re just simply too long. DTG have shown us what to aim for with Oakville Subdivision: 24 miles max. Well, the Victoria Line is 21 kilometers long – that’s 13 proper American miles – so it fits nicely within DTG’s decreasing length policy. Another benefit is that it’s entirely underground, including the terminal stations, so modelling the scenery shouldn’t be too difficult, and best of all there are no trees and no leaves to get us continually adjusting r.foliage.LODDistanceScale to make them look right, and no fog or clouds which never look right whatever we do to adjust them. The depot line to Northumberland Park adds a couple of miles (and it’s above ground too) which might stretch things a little, but I am sure it can be accommodated somehow, even if it means losing a little of the detail in the tunnels. Then there are the trains. The 2009 Tube Stock currently used on the route might be a little tricky with its four types of vehicle, but the original 1967 Tube Stock only has two: Driving Motors and Trailers, so this is probably the best option, and it has the best sound too, the memorable tic-tic-tic of pneumatic camshaft control, a sound once heard on all of London’s subway trains but now largely replaced by the modern whine of variable frequency inverters. But for many people, that tic-tic-tic as a London subway train accelerates away from a station is as much the sound of London as the chimes of St Paul’s. Okay, so it’s a great route which tick-tick-ticks the boxes, but why should I buy it, you ask? What’s it got that other routes don’t have? Well, I don’t know about you, but often I find I don’t really have time to play Train Sim World, or I am tired and not really paying attention and forget about that 15 mph speed limit, or I get distracted by something on my phone. The problem is that Train Sim World is very much a hands-on game. The engineer has to do everything: accelerate, brake, stop, look for signals, obey speed limits, couple, uncouple, and so on. With the Victoria Line, the engineer doesn’t have to do any of that. Actually, there isn’t an engineer; the person who sits in the seat is called an “operator”. Nor are there any signals. Just think! No more needing to restart a scenario just because you didn’t quite manage to stop at that red light right at the end. Here’s the cab, where the “operator” usually sits. Just look how simple it is. Take a close look, just a few buttons and switches (which are mostly for keeping the operator at the correct temperature) and a rather primitive emergency brake valve: Now I know what you are thinking, that English engineers sit on the left, but this is the right-hand side. How can the engineer drive from the right-hand side? Well, I told you the Victoria Line is special, didn’t I? The operator usually sits on the right because most of the platforms are on the right, and the operator has to open and close the doors, one of the earliest trains anywhere in the world where the engineer was thought sufficiently skilled and responsible to be given this important duty. There is a driving position on the left, with rather more conventional controls: So why, you may ask, does the driver not need to sit on this side? The answer is in the selector key master controller on the right, which not only has the usual “off”, “forward” and “reverse” positions, but also has an “automatic” position. When set to “automatic”, all the operator has to do is press those two little buttons below the speedo (and there is another pair of buttons on the other side of the cab as well) and the train starts, accelerates, brakes and stops, knows what the speed limits are, where the platforms are, whether there is a train ahead and what to do about it. And it does all this while you can sit watching cat videos on your phone. Just think how much more time you could spend playing Train Sim World if you didn’t need to concentrate on driving trains. That is what the Victoria Line has to offer.