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W M Trains Local Services & Cross Country Line (323, 172, 220/221, 66)

Discussion in 'Suggestions' started by Factor41, Sep 6, 2019.

  1. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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    I was thinking about what makes routes interesting to drive on TSW and I think the answer is in variety. The trains on MSB are smart and nice to drive, but it all looks very similar. I think LIRR's quality, even though there's only the L7, comes from having the various branches to mix things up, along with many of the stations being distinctive. From that perspective, I'd like to see the route south from Birmingham New Street Station added to the game, with local and cross country services...

    Local Services, West Midlands Trains

    New Street (Originating at Lichfield Trent Valley / Four Oaks) to Bromsgrove / Redditch
    via Birmingham New Street, Five Ways, University, Selly Oak, Bournville, Kings Norton, Northfield, Longbridge, Barnt Green, Alvechurch (Redditch branch)

    Local-Services.jpg

    The EMU stopping service along this line brings quite a lot of variety. There are initial tunnels from New Street station through Five Ways, before the line joins the Birmingham-Worcester canal. They pass side-by-side through University, then over a twin aqueduct/rail bridge around Selly Oak, past the iconic Cadburys chocolate factory and purple painted station at Bournville, industrial estates near Kings Norton, residential estates through Northfield and Longbridge, before heading out to green rolling hills around Barnt Green and Alvechurch before terminating/returning at Redditch or the new station at Bromsgrove. The Redditch branch is a dead end and the line electrification has recently been extended as far Bromsgrove on the other route so EMU services are limited to this section.

    The descent into Bromsgrove after Brant Green is also notable as it contains the Lickey Incline, the steepest sustained main-line railway incline in Great Britain. The climb is a gradient of 1 in 37.7 (2.65%) for a continuous distance of two miles (3.2 km).

    The trains are BR Class 323 EMUs. They will eventually be orange/purple livery, but are currently in a transitional orange/grey with only the ends painted over the old London Midland livery.

    Wolverhampton_-_WMT_323201_Walsall_service.jpg

    The extended part of the southbound route after Bromsgrove (green line on route map below) is completed by the Hereford train which runs hourly and has fewer stops in Birmingham:

    Birmingham New Street to Hereford
    via University, Bromsgrove, Droitwich Spa, Worcester Foregate Street, Malvern Link, Great Malvern, Colwall, Ledbury

    After the variety of the New Street to Bromsgrove leg, the further route through Droitwich and out to Worcester brings views of the Malvern Hills. This branch could potentially run as far as Worcester Foregate Street, as that section rejoins the canal and in places runs high enough to provide views over Worcester and its cathedral. There is a tunnel through the Malvern Hills to Colwall, but if resources prevent the full route out to Hereford, i'd cut it at Worcester.

    Due to the lack of overhead wires after Bromsgrove, these services are run by BR Class 172 DMUs mostly in the final West Midlands Trains orange/purple livery.

    WMR_Class172.jpg

    Cross Country Services - Arriva CrossCountry

    Birmingham New Street - Cheltenham Spa (Plymouth-Edinburgh Service, Bristol-Manchester, Cardiff Nottingham routes)
    Some services via University and Ashcurch for Tewkesbury. Worcestershire Parkway is also under construction.

    This express service runs three times an hour, once each as part of three longer services. It follows the same line from New Street as far as Bromsgrove, splitting off before Droitwich to head south to Cheltenham, giving the trains a chance to stretch their legs, with some of the services stopping early on at University and then at Ashchurch for Tewkesbury. If resources allowed, the route could continue to Bristol Temple Meads and beyond.

    XC-A.jpg

    These services are run with Class 220/221 Voyager/Super Voyager trains in Arriva CrossCountry livery, which I think would be a very welcome addition to the game.

    221129_Durham.jpg

    The inclusion of Birmingham New Street station would be welcomed by many, and could be an easy win if the station is already under construction for a West Coast Main Line route. Both local and cross country routes would provide a decent length for services.

    Freight Bonus!

    As an additional bonus, you could run some freight services up the Lickey Incline and in as far as Kings Norton. The EWS Class 66 which already exists in the GWR route would be a perfect fit so the extra work required to add this could be limited to adding appropriate start and finish locations. Here's one going up the Lickey Incline with a banker behind it (Pic by Matthew Wilson).

    [​IMG]

    Steam Bonus!

    On a final note, the company which runs day trips on the Flying Scotsman uses Bromsgrove as one of the stops on one of its routes, so down the line, if steam trains do eventually make it into the game, a LNER Class A3 4472 Flying Scotsman DLC could add services onto this line up to New Street.
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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  2. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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    As an extra note, I just read that the Cross Country Trains Super Voyagers had their tilt mechanism removed to improve reliability and because it wasn't required on the routes they ran, so presumably this would simplify the simulation aspect of setting up the train in a stickler-for-accuracy TSW. Not sure if it's even the Super Voyagers or just the non-Super versions they use on this stretch, but either way, no tilting required!

    I'd be really keen to see a Voyager of some sort on TSW (or a Pendolino if the WCML gets the green light). Currently, all the UK routes are heritage or just plain dated with the two northern ones being particularly grim and grimy, and the most recent express being the HST! A nice, shiny, modern (less than 20 year old) UK train would be good to see. :)
     
    Last edited: Feb 19, 2020
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  3. jedi247

    jedi247 Well-Known Member

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    Flying Scotsman wold be so awesome.
     
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  4. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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    I found a drivers eye video of the route from Birmingham New Street to Bromsgrove. This is from 2015 on a DMU running the Hereford service, but as of last year, this stretch is now electrified as far as Bromsgrove with regular EMU services.

    The brand new Bromsgrove station at the end is now a bit further down the track than the previous station shown. The Selly Oak stretch at 08:00 has also been quite extensively redeveloped in the last few years (for location, the bus at 08:06 is travelling on the A38 Bristol Road which is marked on the first map above).

    Other sights: 03:03 are the deep cuttings leading into Five Ways station. 05:50 is University station with buildings of the university and Queen Elizabeth hospital on the right before and after it. The Cadbury's factory and distinctive purple-painted Bournville station are at 09:30. Starting at 13:25 is the four track approach to Longbridge where there are two EMUs running the New Street to Redditch service. At 15:43 is Barnt Green station where this train continues on the main line and the split to the left is the Redditch branch. 17:10 is getting on to the downhill Lickey Incline and passing one of the Cross Country Voyager services. Again, this stretch is now all electric.

     
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  5. Deltic00

    Deltic00 Member

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    I would definitely buy. I live local to this route
     
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  6. A_normal_name

    A_normal_name Member

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    Bump (so more people can see)
     
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  7. Trim

    Trim Active Member

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    I saw another thread suggesting Gloucester to Birmingham (but this thread came first). To me, this is one of the most interesting British routes that could be made, and I entirely agree with including Worcester Foregate Street and Redditch, and I think Cheltenham is essential to give the widest range of trains up Lickey Incline.

    Personally, I would also add Worcester Shrub Hill to Abbotswood Junction and the Camp Hill line from King's Norton to Birmingham plus, depending on the era, Saltley depot and Washwood Heath Sidings (my own interest is in the 1970s/1980s, hence wanting to include these).
     
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  8. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for the bump. I agree entirely - it's got such a mix of scenery, a mix of trains, it's got fast services, stopping services, freight options, electric, diesel and the gradient challenge at Lickey. I could really see this being a popular route and one that could easily be added to with extra loco DLC over time - as long as they built it in such a way that they could include all of the various end-points (or extend the route to them when the locos arrive). I'd happily pay for the Redditch/Bromsgrove/Worcester section with the West Midlands Trains 323 and 172, and the re-used EWS 66, and then I'd definitely buy a CrossCountry DLC pack with the Voyager and maybe their 170 (a simple build from the WMT 172?) plus the extension to Cheltenham and beyond, with all the services focused on Birmingham New Street. Or just build the whole thing as a mega pack and charge £35 for it - I'm in!

    I'm guessing the issues they currently have with amending/extending routes stems from the fact that services would normally have different end points as a result. In this case, only the new additions to the timetable would use the new sections of track so it shouldn't cause any problems to the local/stopping services to add on the Voyager services.
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2020
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  9. sophieclarke1983

    sophieclarke1983 Active Member

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    Right let’s make it happen awesome routes along where my aunt and uncle lived and the trains are cool also
     
  10. sophieclarke1983

    sophieclarke1983 Active Member

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    Make available for consoles I’ll definitely buy it
     
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  11. Olaf the Snowman

    Olaf the Snowman Well-Known Member

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    Nice idea.

    *cough* money *cough*

    To be fair, it is true that they don’t really need tilt as they don’t operate many services on the WCML. The only places where tilt would be beneficial is between Stone and Cheadle Hulme (and vice versa) for the Manchester services. Even between Wolverhampton and Stafford where speed with tilt (EPS speed) is 125mph, there is an MU speed of 125mph.

    Other than tilt, the Class 220s and Class 221s are almost identical. If you want to start getting technical, there are some very minor differences such as Class 220s having their own hot axle box detector (HABD) and Class 220s having parking brakes on all axles as opposed to just half.

    Only thing I would add is, include a remodelled HST as Cross Country do operate them between Scotland and Cornwall including the stretch between Birmingham and Cheltenham.
     
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  12. Trim

    Trim Active Member

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    Apart from the 220 having what look like ambulance bogies. :)
     
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  13. A_normal_name

    A_normal_name Member

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    Really, really, really hoping this is the next dlc
     
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  14. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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    Do the bogie differences make much difference in practice or was it just to make extra room for the tilting bits to be added?

    1280px-Trains_2_054.jpeg
    220 left, 221 right.

    I guess it's mainly the 220s used on this route. Not seen many HSTs coming through Bromsgrove on that but if the route, so wouldn't want them worrying too much about that at least until the 220 is in place!
     
    Last edited: Mar 15, 2020
  15. Trim

    Trim Active Member

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    When you see them, the 220's bogies seem very simple affairs, far more so than any other powered rolling stock I can think of. I suppose this is because the bogies don't have traction motors mounted on them. The 221's relative complexity (which just makes them look like a "normal" bogie) is presumably just for the tilting.

    221s were still common on the route when I travelled it regularly, up to about 5 years ago. Virgin had a lot of them, but Cross Country retained quite a few.
     
  16. Olaf the Snowman

    Olaf the Snowman Well-Known Member

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    I just assume that it was to make extra room for the tilt equipment as you said. If I get time, I’ll see if I can upload a picture from a manual which shows how and where all the tilt equipment is. Practically, the only difference is that the Class 220s seem to accelerate faster because they have smaller wheels. Another very minor detail between CrossCountry Voyagers and Avanti 221s is that the Forward Facing camera on XC is on top of the window whereas Avanti it is on the right side of the cab in front of the secondman’s seat.

    The power brake controller (PBC) is very similar to that of the Electrostar which is not surprising as they are both Bombardier units. The PBC is of the same style apart from that the Class 22x has no steps or notches but it is almost fully variable so you can just slide up and down. Hill start is the same so you just hold the button and hill start will automatically release when power circuit is made. The gate between brake and power is the same so you just ‘shift’ to the left to enter the power section of the PBC.

    As I’m sure you’re aware, there are also Class 222 Meridians that are on the Midland Mainline.

    You’re quite correct that it’s mainly 220/221s that you will see because CrossCountry only have 5 HST sets and even then there are only 3 or 4 diagrams each day. I’m sure you’re biased towards the Voyagers because it’s not like your profile picture has a Voyager on it :cool:. I just want the HST on the GWE to be fixed but I know they won’t touch it so I’m hoping for a new and improved HST on a different route. The HSTs now have sliding doors as well so no more slam doors on Cross Country.
     
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  17. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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  18. sophieclarke1983

    sophieclarke1983 Active Member

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    Blimey that’s shocking someone must have passed a danger signal for that to happen or misaligned points what we need is a nice new British route to beat the corona blues and for consoles
     
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  19. Factor41

    Factor41 Well-Known Member

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    Not sure. It's just downhill of the Lickey incline, so may have been an issue that caused it to hit the buffers at the end of that siding - when we had the bad weather over winter some of the trains were sailing straight past Bromsgrove station without stopping. Not sure what it was pulling at the time as everything else had been moved away.
     
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  20. sophieclarke1983

    sophieclarke1983 Active Member

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    Just fortunate no one injured or worse
     
  21. baimgamingroberts

    baimgamingroberts Member

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    25.00 Worth it
     

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