Sherman Hill - A Big Fat Review

Discussion in 'PlayStation Discussion' started by Krazy, Dec 18, 2021.

  1. Krazy

    Krazy Well-Known Member

    Nov 13, 2020
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    It's a Train Sim World route featuring Union Pacific trains in it. Which meant that I bought it on day one. And I obsessed over it every day before its release. So of course, I had to make a review of the route, which you are reading right now. I hope you're reading this, I might spend a long time typing this out. Will this even be a review, or will I ramble about random stuff like I'm writing a school essay? Let's find out, in this Sherman Hill "review" that I really care about and would be sad if you didn't read at least some of it.

    Before the Release
    There was a roadmap update on September 7th. It was the greatest roadmap update to ever exist, because I love all things that contain "[Route Add-On] NDD-R7 04 Sherman Hill with SD70ACe" in them. I remember when I was much younger, I had Train Simulator 2013, which included Sherman Hill. Sure, I was a youngster who didn't have the brains to properly operate a train, but I didn't care. Seeing a Union Pacific freight train run through the colorless plains was a magical experience for me. I was really sad when I lost my copy of that game. I also have no PC that can run Train Simulator, so Train Sim World was the way for me to relive my memories of a perfect American freight route. Ah, nostalgia. What a thing it is. Anyways, I was excited, yada yada yada, I purchased the route on Thanksgiving Day when it released. I was so excited to enjoy the route and write a highly positive review about two weeks later on these forums.

    Locomotives and Rolling Stock
    Sherman Hill includes two locomotives. One is a completely brand new locomotive that also happens to be my favorite locomotive in real life, and one is a slightly different version of a loco that has appeared in 3 previous routes.

    SD70ACe- All I was hoping for was that the horn would be good. It did not disappoint. The horn on this loco sounds just like an SD70ACe horn, which is great! Immediately a 10 out of 10. Sadly, all of the other sounds had to be reused from other stuff, notably the BR Class 66. At least it sounds fine, it doesn't break any immersion. It's just so weird hearing that Class 66 idle sound on a UP locomotive.

    The cab is nice and cozy. The driver's side has two screens, with one screen having all of the fancy functions such as the brakes, and of course the screen brightness. Okay, it's not much, but hey, the lights and horn things appear when they're active! Wow! The safety systems aren't much. The alerter is... an alerter. There's also a cab signalling system that doesn't work, nice!

    If I had to list one big issue I had with the SD70ACe, I would defintely say that the platform/step lights suck and are also bad. They're so bright! I always turn them off in all of my lead locos at the start of a service. At least I have plenty of time to do that.

    SD40-2- It's surprisingly different from the SD40-2 on Cane Creek. First, the essentials: the horn is AMAZING. Genuinely my favorite horn in all of Train Sim World. It sounds just like the beautiful horns that I hear on the Burlington Northern SD40-2s running around in Seattle. I love it and will use any opportunity I get to blow the horn.

    The cab is quite different as well. A cab signal system is present it seems, and some switches and bops are a bit different. Overall, it's an SD40-2, and drives quite similarly to the older CSX and UP versions. I have a big criticism that I find really annoying with this locomotive though: the windows are BAD. I can not see out of them. They're so foggy and really weird to look through. Just open the side window and see the difference. When doing switching services with this, I usually just hop to the external cams.

    Sherman Hill also features 7 types of freight cars to be run on the route. These are:
    - Intermodal Well Cars
    - Open-top Coal Hoppers
    - Autorack Cars
    - Reefer Cars
    - Boxcars
    - Covered Hoppers
    - Tanker Cars

    My favorites are the boxcars and the UP coal hoppers. Really the biggest criticism is the lack of variety. Autoracks and covered hoppers make up unit trains, why only one version for each of them? I'd love to see new colors of hoppers, and perhaps some brown Southern Pacific autoracks. Otherwise, the rolling stock is pretty good on this route.

    There are 6 scenarios included with the route. That's more than 5! To be fair, one of them is a free roam scenario. That would be quite unfair if there were 5 scenarios, and one was just a free roam scenario. Anyways, what better way to review scenarios than to rank them?
    1) Magnet for Trouble - This genuinely feels like I'm an actual Union Pacific engineer. Talking to the dispatcher improves the whole experience a lot. Also, it's just a fun storyline with a bunch of action and excitement.
    2) Switcheroo - Switching is fun! It's nice and simple, and is some nice classic switching action.
    3) Get Over It - It's easy, but sure is fun running light before you couple up to the other train.
    4) Sandbox Switching - Cheyenne is big and there's a lot of stuff.
    5) Something Old, Something New - Honestly quite boring. It's just moving some stuff and then moving another thing.
    6) Build Up - The snow hurts my eyes, the ride is slow and boring, I am sad.

    There are 121 services on the route currently. That's a lot for an American freight route, so I'm happy with it. 110 are for the SD70ACe, while only 11 are for the SD40-2. Once again, the UP SD40-2 gets the short end. The switching services are quite fun, so I'm sad that there are so few.

    For the SD70ACe, there are a few types of long services that can be driven, with two main portions along the route.
    - Laramie-Hermosa services are great. Just a peaceful hour to drive up/down a slight slope, and then you're done! Great stuff.
    - Downhill from Hermosa to Cheyenne is fun. You start not far from the summit, which really lets you enjoy the exciting portion of the route. It really teaches you to manage your speed well before the dynamic brakes get too weak.
    - Uphill services from Cheyenne to Hermosa are pain. You get a promising start where you get up to speed out of Cheyenne. Your hopes and dreams then proceed to get crushed as reality kicks in, and your train gets slower and slower as you go up the hill. 15 mph, how fun. If you're really lucky, you'll reach 30 mph. No skill is involved, you just power up the hill until you reach the summit many miles later. If you don't enable the alerter, you can go AFK for nearly an hour and you'll be fine. But why do that when you can click a button every minute? Exciting!

    I really shouldn't have expected much. It's Wyoming. I doubt that there is anything in Wyoming. There is a lot of grass. Nice looking grass, but still grass. I can't love the grass too much as it sucks up all my frames with a straw and swallows them whole. But sometimes the route has those sections where you just want to go into the external cam and just admire the view. There is one section that has windmills. There are some pretty rocks. The depot at Cheyenne looks very nice and I like it. Overall, good scenery for a rather boring Wyoming setting.

    Except for the Granite Quarry. The Granite Quarry is bad.


    Issues with the Route
    Nothing in TSW is perfect. Sherman Hill has some ugly parts that make me sad because they're bad.
    - Most railroad crossings are poorly made. Some crossings are missing the actual crossing signs, and some that do have signs don't work. For example, the crossing closest to Cheyenne Yard is modelled well, but the lights never flash. In fact, it doesn't even display on the map as a crossing. Quite a few crossings don't display on the map. My least favorite crossing is the one very close to Cheyenne, where it is a four track crossing using a crossbuck on one end, and literally traffic lights on the other. On a four track crossing. Sure.
    - The stop markers. Oh my goodness, the stop markers. This is an issue with literally every American freight route. Just move them further away from the red signal, my goodness. Finishing a service at Cheyenne requires you to stop just a few yards from a red signal. It's especially bad in Sherman Hill since the trains are 100 cars long, and the brakes take longer to apply.
    - Manifest trains are boring. The exciting part about manifest trains is that they are varied and consist of different freight cars all over. It's not exciting to see a manifest train on Sherman Hill, because every single one is the same. That's not very realistic or fun!

    Conclusion, I Guess
    I was biased from the very beginning. It has Union Pacific, I'm always going to like it. If you are looking for an American freight route, then Sherman Hill will definitely be my top recommendation. It's not as fun of a ride as Sand Patch Grade, but Sherman Hill is a much better challenge. It's especially better if you compare it to Cane Creek, a very slow route with less challenging gradients. I can't compare it to Clinchfield as I don't have that route yet. Is Sherman Hill my favorite route in Train Sim World? Probably. The #1 spot has gone to the Cathcart Circle previously, and I think I have more fun with Sherman Hill? I'm not sure.

    I made this review just because I wanted to write about Sherman Hill. Because why not? What else was I going to do, make a thread asking for advice on what routes I should buy over Christmas? I just like to acknowledge Sherman Hill's existence.

    Anyways, get Sherman Hill. I like it, so you legally have to like it as well.
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2021
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  2. Tynmar

    Tynmar Well-Known Member

    May 23, 2020
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    Can’t believe I missed a legal requirement, yikes better add this to the basket asap ;)

    joking aside thank you for taking the time to share your review in such detail, I found it useful and am certain others will too.
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  3. Lamplight

    Lamplight Well-Known Member

    Aug 20, 2020
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    Thanks for sharing your thoughts in such detail, Krazy.
    I agree with you on most things, but especially this:
    Stopping 4 yards in front of a red signal is neither fun nor realistic. Even the stop markers that are supposedly moved out further (the ones in Hermosa and Laramie) are still way too close to my mind as they‘re usually 50-100 yards in front of a red signal.
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  4. kekanha#4892

    kekanha#4892 Active Member

    Mar 12, 2021
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    just a note, the best reproductions of union pacific locos are in penninsula corridor.
  5. grdaniel48

    grdaniel48 Well-Known Member

    May 20, 2020
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    Krazy... Thanks for your detailed "report" about your feelings about Sherman Hill.

    I love UP (But also BNSF), and I also love SD70ACE (No other locomotive in this case. Design wise is unique!)
    I also purchased the launch date.
    I have the same "mixed" feelings about the route.
    There are things I love to much, others are a bit disappointing.

    The "big issue" I found, it is I can not make an entertaining Scenario, like on other routes!.
    This is due to the lack of intermediate starting points.
    Even there is no one for the mine, starting there.
    Just going all the route with green lights from Laramie to Cheyenne and vice versa, and some times up to Hermosa, it is really boring.
    Mainly once you have the experience to "manage" those big trains. Which you got it on Sand Patch Grade.

    It was really a very sad surprise the Hermosa tunnels issue, which become transparent!
    The only route with this really weird issue

    Agreed with the steps and boogie lights. Mainly this last ones.
    Fortunately I realize to turn off them quickly.
    Even to turn on the light of the DPU locomotive at the end of the train.
    That must be turn it on. Just the one at the top. Not the lower ones.

    The only way to make this route more "enjoyable" is to "play" with the weather conditions.
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