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

Discussion in 'Route Suggestions & Proposals' 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: Sep 24, 2019
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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. :)
     
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  3. jedi247

    jedi247 Well-Known Member

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    Flying Scotsman wold be so awesome.
     
  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 New Member

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    I would definitely buy. I live local to this route
     
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