Train Sim World 4
Blackpool Branches – Coming Soon to Train Sim World 4!
Plenty of you will no doubt have been pacing back and forth eagerly awaiting our first route Add-on for Train Sim World 4. Well, the wait is almost over! Blackpool Branches: Preston - Blackpool & Ormskirk is coming on November 14th and available to Wish List now on Steam.
We’ve teased, announced and spoken at length about the exciting content that Partner Programme Developer Just Trains has been working for around the last 18 months. For a reminder, you can go back and read our first TSW4 Roadmap, when we first showed off the route. Or relive the excitement altogether and rewatch Dovetail Direct, when we announced the route along with Train Sim World 4.
Introducing the Pacer to Train Sim World 4
It’s time to head back to the 1980s, when the blue hues of British Rail were common sight across the network and efficient changes were being made to make railway services cheaper. Exemplifying this attitude was the introduction of the Pacer classes of DMU which were derived from Leyland buses and initially intended to be a temporary measure to replace older DMU classes.
Much derided by many an enthusiast and commuters due to their loud engines and bumpy ride, these cheap, utilitarian ‘buses on rails’ lasted many decades in service, prompting headlines of “the train that never dies” and “Britain’s hated Pacer – the train that just won’t go away”. Their ‘temporary’ services lasted from 1984 right through until 2021 and saw them take to the rails across Britain – from Carlisle and Dumfries in the north, to Devon and Cornwall in the south as well as Wales and of course the northwest of England, including Blackpool.
In recent years, this whimsical train has gathered a passionate fan following, particularly since their withdrawal from the main line and second life on a number of heritage railway lines, either as reminders of a specific time in British railway history, or as cheap shuttles for larger heritage railway events.
Blackpool Branches: Preston - Blackpool & Ormskirk features the Class 142 Pacer, with its unique headlight arrangement, squared cab and destination board above the large cab windows. In 1986, when this route is set, these units were brand new to local services in Lancashire, showcasing their breezy folding leaf doors and jittery performance to both residents of Preston and Ormskirk, as well as holidaymakers heading to the seaside at Blackpool.
The route Add-on features three liveries for the Pacer: BR Provincial Blue, Skipper Chocolate & Cream and Greater Manchester Orange liveries.
Class 47/4, Class 08 and other rolling stock
Two more perennial locomotives are included with this route Add-on with both the Class 47/4, previously seen in Northern Trans-Pennine, and the Class 08 which was previously seen in both Tees Valley Line and BR Heavy Freight Pack.
For this release, the Class 47 is available in BR Blue and two new liveries: BR Large Logo and BR Intercity liveries. Whereas the Class 08 is seen in two new variants of the BR Blue livery: a Crewe depot variant and that of 08744 Wigan TMD with a white roof. Being hauled for passenger services are the Mk1 BG and Mk2 coaches in new BR Blue / Grey livery and for freight, the 100t TEA tanker wagon.
These locomotives have received a number of updates and changes specific to this route Add-on, including some retexturing, lighting changes and smoke effects. You can see the full list of Class 47/4 and Class 08 changes in the latest Just Trains Dev Update.
These locomotives and items of rolling stock are all included with Blackpool Branches: Preston - Blackpool & Ormskirk.
Though the Pacer might be the star of the show for this Add-on, the route is similarly a unique and varied prospect for players wanting to operate a network of branches and different types of services. The in-game route has four end points at: Blackpool North and Blackpool South at the western ends of the route, Ormskirk to the south and Burn Naze Halt to north, which lies on a disused branch closed in 1970 having previously served the area around the Burn Naze public house, after which it is named.
Blackpool will be a fondly remembered holiday destination for many, conjuring up memories of their visits to the popular seaside town from the past – perhaps even, for some, from the 1980s. Being the first person to spot the iconic Blackpool Tower from either the railway or motorway remains an exciting prospect for holidaymakers today and this conspicuous structure stands proud in-game behind Blackpool North station. The Pleasure Beach theme park also features, with an animated rollercoaster running alongside the railway for players and passengers to admire.
Elsewhere, the busy interchange station at Preston (then just a mere town, with city status being granted in 2002) provides the mid-point for trains heading from Blackpool through to Ormskirk and features the ornate stanchions and canopy across each of its six platforms. And Ormskirk Station, at the route’s southern extremity, is overlooked by the town’s church in a rural pocket of West Lancashire which includes Croston, Rufford and Burscough Junction.
The environment will make best use of all the additional and improved features in Train Sim World 4, with Volumetric Fog enhancing the seaside atmosphere, Free Roam facilitating your own paths and journeys along each of the branches and Photo Mode available to capture this part of Lancashire in all its glory.
Services, Layers and Gameplay
Echos of yesteryear depart Blackpool as the smell of steam, coal and smoke fill the air on a springtime jaunt for preserved LMS motive power. Before the days of diesel, the Class 8F was a common sight on Blackpool shed, and thus makes a fitting return on this enthusiast special. While no 8Fs are main line operational today, they were out and about aplenty in the 1980s!
With passenger, freight and shunting services available from the route’s three main traction providers, there’s plenty of services to operate across the route’s branches. The 24-hour cycle, based on full, real world working, seasonal timetables has over 250 drivable services ranging from local, express and freight workings to summer extras and shunting operations plus numerous AI workings to give a very authentic feel.
Class 20s crawl their way along the freight-only Burn Naze branch in the middle of The Preston Docker railtour. Taking place in the chilled winter months at the start of the year, short days and dramatic skies make for quite a condensed atmosphere in this tightly packed industrial haven.
With the 1980s British Rail era being a feature of previous Train Sim World route Add-ons, there are additional playable services for owners of Compatible content:
- Tees Valley Line: for the Class 101 DMU.
- West Cornwall Local: for the Seacow Wagons.
- Northern TransPennine: for the Class 45 Diesel locomotive.
- Spirit of Steam: for the LMS Stanier 8F steam locomotive, Mk1 Coaches, 16t Mineral Wagon and 20t Brake Van.
- BR Heavy Freight Pack: for the Class 40 Diesel locomotive.
- BR Class 31 Loco Add-On
- BR Class 20 Loco Add-On
In addition, Tees Valley Line and West Cornwall Local will implement AI services using the Class 37 and wagons from those route Add-ons.
Along the way, players will have to go round putting up posters and fixing signs to gather up all the collectibles, as well as finding abandoned golf clubs and building sandcastles! There’ll also be some cheeky looking Gingerbread figures hiding in various places – Ormskirk is famous for its Gingerbread!
The Blackpool Branches route features a few signal boxes with interiors, including the rather impressive Blackpool North box. From diagrams and junctions to paperwork and a cuppa, sit back and watch the action unfold, perfectly demonstrated by a Gronk rolling by on shunting duty.
There’ll be five Scenarios included: Two with the Class 142 Pacer, two with the Class 47/4 and one shunting Scenario with the Class 08. Pacers will need rescuing; shuttles will need shuffling and passengers from the south will have an illuminated evening.
Train Sim World 4: Blackpool Branches: Preston - Blackpool & Ormskirk route Add-on will be available from November 14th for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Epic Games Store, and Steam for £29.99/€35.99/$39.99.
Join the Railfan TV team, with special guests from Just Trains on Twitch and YouTube at 18:00 UTC on Thursday November 9th for a preview of Train Sim World 4: Blackpool Branches: Preston - Blackpool & Ormskirk.
Have any questions for the Just Trains team? You can ask them over in our Q&A thread on the Forums.
Find out more about Train Sim World 4 by following @trainsimworld on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok.
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Train Sim World 4
Blackpool Branches – Coming Soon to Train Sim World 4!