Train Sim World 4
Birmingham Cross-City: Timetable Deep Dive | Pre-Order | Release Day Update
Birmingham Cross-City release date update:
After reviewing the most recent build of the route overnight, we need a little more time to iron out a couple of lighting issues that the team have identified.
Whilst we are confident in providing a fix, as it is so close to release it does mean we need a couple of extra days to implement and test it ahead of submitting it to the respective platforms.
As a result, we will be delaying the release of the route by a couple of days, and moving the preview stream to next week.
- Pre-order remains live today on Steam (and is available now)
- Release will move from Tuesday 15th to Thursday 17th November
- The live stream preview for the route will now be Tuesday, 15th November, at 17:00 UTC
Thanks for your understanding. We want to ensure the finished product is as good as it can be, and the extra time will allow us to sort the issues we’ve seen today.
Timetable Deep Dive
In this article, much like the Southeastern Highspeed article before it, we shall be taking you through all the fun nuances and layers you can look forward to on your Cross-City journey!
Before we continue, we’re happy to say that once again, the following is true for ALL PLATFORMS, there are no missing or altered services on “Gen 8” consoles. So, if you own the add-ons required to activate certain layers, you can play them regardless! If you’d rather wait and see what the timetable contains when it releases, then please consider this your spoiler alert.
The best timetables come from collaborative efforts and the same rings true here. Firstly, we have Daisy from West Midlands Trains, who you may have read about in our last Roadmap, she has been instrumental in research and reference for this route, including the timetable. Then on the Dovetail side we have the stalwart Michaela and Joe; Michaela taking the lead on implementing the timetable and Joe offering his assistance, and lastly myself (James) for suggesting different layers and ideas, as well as playing it and offering feedback during the creation process.
West Midlands Railway Services
After the learnings taken in previous releases, and how current timetables are still showing the effect of the pandemic, the first decision was easy – to use the 2019 Working Timetable. This helps show the Cross-City line in its full capacity, with more variety in service patterns, for example:
- 2 Trains per hour between Lichfield Trent Valley and Bromsgrove
- 2 Trains per hour between Lichfield Trent Valley and Redditch
- 1 Train per hour between Four Oaks and Bromsgrove
- 1 Train per hour between Four Oaks and Redditch
- At certain times of day, mainly around rush hour, services also originate/terminate at Longbridge, Lichfield City and Birmingham New Street
- Several rush hour services also skip select stations
- Empty Coaching Stock moves to reposition trains where they are needed
This means that throughout the day, you can expect on average to see a train every 10 minutes in each direction between Four Oaks and Barnt Green, as well as experience the line in shift patterns – stick with a single unit for a few hours and you will have soon visited the entire network. All in all, the Class 323 has 223 services on the Cross-City Line.
It takes a little over 15 formations to fulfil this timetable, performing an average of 15 services each. One formation represents 6-car services, while the rest represent 3-car services - the bulk of the traffic as per the 2019 timetable.
Here we see 323211, twinned with 323201, rounding the curve outside Aston bound for Four Oaks on 2U06, passing 323214 in the process (above). After performing this service from Redditch, the pair will turn tail and embark on 2O14 for Bromsgrove (below).
Amidst very different weather, 323211 is seen again powering carefully out of Kings Norton on its northbound journey across the city (above). The next station is Bournville… is anyone feeling peckish? (below).
Rail Head Treatment Train
The first layer of note and it’s a busy one! At Kings Norton on the southern half of the route, just south of Bournville, lies an engineering depot which has the prime purpose of housing RHTT equipment during the leaf fall season. With the Rail Head Treatment Train having not long released for Train Sim World 3, it felt only natural to include some seasonal services for Cross-City.
Operating between September and November, RHTT circuits make their way around the route, departing from the depot and running both north and south before returning later in the day.
As the sun rises on an Autumnal Cross-City Line, Class 66s prepare for RHTT duties at Kings Norton Depot, while the early morning rush is already well underway (above). Later on, clouds have set in over Birmingham, giving 3J01, an early afternoon RHTT service bound for Birmingham New Street, an overcast horizon as it passes through Selly Oak (below).
Remember, thanks to loco decoupling in Train Sim World 3, and despite the RHTT being for Southeastern Highspeed, this is not a requirement. If you don’t own Train Sim World 3 and pick up the Birmingham Cross-City Starter Pack, you can also pick up the RHTT and learn how to drive it on the Training Center, before embarking on these leaf-blasting services.
Being such a dense commuter network, the Cross-City Line is not one which is bursting at the seams with freight, especially not in the core section of the city itself. Instead, much of the freight is focused on the lower portion of the route, between Bromsgrove and Kings Norton. This section, while short, does however offer the unique challenge to tackle the famed Lickey Incline, both the steep climb and the hair-raising descent. Similarly, much of the freight is kept to quieter hours on the line.
The core of the freight timetable is based on the BR Class 66, as featured in Southeastern Highspeed, however other Class 66s can substitute into this so you can pick which one you want to drive. The JNAs are also used on occasional AI services on the West Coast Main Line at Lichfield Trent Valley. Remember, if you already own Southeastern High Speed in Train Sim World 2, when you buy Train Sim World 3 you get the extended version for free – the same rings true if you kick-off your journey with the Birmingham Cross-City Starter Pack.
Owners of Great Western Express will find they have 3 additional freight services in the timetable; a container service using the FKAs before the sun rises, and a pair of HKA aggregate services under the shadow of night. The FKAs are also used for more occasional West Coast Main Line AI traffic.
Next up is Tees Valley Line, using the BBA wagons, a trio of steel-laden services await the daring rise and fall of the Lickey. Lastly, if you also own the Class 31, the included PCA wagons are used on another 3 cement services.
As dawn sets in, 6V82, which is onward bound for Avonmouth, makes its way south after joining the Cross-City Line at Kings Norton (above). Meanwhile, its slip and slide for Corby-bound 6M96, which embarks on the climb out of Bromsgrove (below). Even with the double-headed power, all we can say is, good luck!
For the railtour in this timetable, we decided to go diesel, and wanted to put the Class 37 to good use. Set around dawn, and limited to summer months, owners of Tees Valley Line and Northern Trans-Pennine can look forward to a double-headed treatment of tractors, running from Lichfield City all the way down to Bromsgrove, with a return timed for late at night. As per usual, all layers are inspired by real-world events, photographic research was instrumental in piecing together this timetable – so if you happened to get some Cross-City Class 37 haulage in June 2019, this may be familiar to you!
A duo of diesels wakes up the locals of Shenstone, powering their way south on 1Z80 (above). Picturesque scenes of canal parallel running await on the other side of New Street. A busy day on the Cross-City Line later, and the pair are now making their return under low light, easing through University station (below). Could you focus on studying when your Uni is the only one in the UK with its own railway station? We for sure could not!
High Speed on the Move
The last layer of note focuses on a series of rather unique moves which happened quite a lot during 2019. With the retirement of HST trainsets on mainline GWR services, and their planned introduction on secondary duties in the Western Region, many Class 43s and Mk3 coaches were sent to and from their depot in the west to Doncaster Works in South Yorkshire for refurbishment and maintenance. Their path necessitated traversal of the Lickey Incline.
If you own Great Western Express and Northern Trans-Pennine (more on that in a minute), you can enjoy a handful of services showcasing these HST refurbishment moves. Sent on an ad-hoc basis, they were rarely ever travelling as complete formations...
Power cars aplenty on the Cross-City Line! Back-to-back on 0E23, this HST could not be much shorter, and should make easy work of the Lickey Incline (above). And now for something really cool, 3 is a magic number as this most unique formation reaches the top of the incline (below) – featuring a triple line-up of HST power cars, 2 Mk3s, a barrier Mk1 coach and a trailing 47 to boot!
It goes without saying that no two routes are the same, and based on location, fleet and real-world frequency, timetables will vary in-game just as much as the routes themselves. It is fun for us to work on such diverse experiences, they each offer something so unique which makes hopping from route to route that much more enjoyable and exciting, and once again it has been a pleasure to deliver another UK timetable in Train Sim World 3’s first route add-on.
So, there we have it, it might not be the 4000-word behemoth that the Southeastern deep dive was, but we hope this serves as a nice insight into the timetable and what you can look forward to when Birmingham Cross-City Line arrives on November 17th – be sure to let us know what you intend to drive first!
We’re also very keen to see what journeys and experiences you make for yourself on Scenario Planner. What will you attempt the Lickey Incline in? And if you’re feeling creative, don’t forget that West Midlands Railway is an operator logo available in the Livery Designer, so get out your orange and purple paint buckets and go to town!
You can pre-order Train Sim World 3: Birmingham Cross-City Line: Lichfield - Bromsgrove & Redditch on Steam, and if you want to see it in action, tune in to our Railfan TV preview stream Tuesday November 15th at a NEW streaming time of 1700 UTC, we look forward to seeing you there!
Birmingham Cross-City Line: Lichfield - Bromsgrove & Redditch arrives for Train Sim World 3 on the 17th of November for Xbox One, Xbox Series X|S, PlayStation 4, PlayStation 5, Epic Games Store, and Steam!
Join the Railfan TV team on Twitch, YouTube, or Facebook. on the 15th of November at 1700 UTC to catch your first proper glimpse of Birmingham Cross-City Line
Find out more about the Birmingham Cross-City Line: Lichfield - Bromsgrove & Redditch, Train Sim World 3, and more by following @trainsimworld on Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, YouTube, Twitch, and TikTok.
Train Sim World 4
Birmingham Cross-City: Timetable Deep Dive | Pre-Order | Release Day Update