Train Sim World
TSW: The Western Reign
Built to work top-link expresses, the BR Class 52 spent its days racing through BR’s Western Region and now enjoys retirement on heritage railways. This iconic locomotive design will soon come to life in Train Sim World – further bringing to life our West Somerset Railway diesel gala!
1955, the modernisation plan of British Railways was published. The plan called for all regions to gradually phase out steam locomotives in favour of more modern diesel motive power. Most of the network opted for diesel-electric technology, the Western Region however took a different approach, and started chasing the idea of using hydraulic transmission.
A handful of designs would be produced in the following years for various duties, but none would be as striking as the “Western” which first rolled off the production line in the early 1960s. Derived from German diesel hydraulic technology, the “Western” was fitted with two engines, that when combined resulted in a much higher tractive effort than the previously built efforts.
The Westerns were classified as the BR Class 52, and were put to work on top-link expresses out of London Paddington and deep into Great Western territory. Each locomotive was named with some heraldic term, prefixed by the work ‘Western’ – which is where the locomotives got their overarching name from.
The Class 52 was capable of achieving 90mph, and unofficial records claim they reached speeds of 110 mph, nevertheless, they defined the standard for GWR express operation throughout the 1960s and 1970s, proving diesel-hydraulic traction could be used effectively. However, this reign was not to last.
While hydraulic equipment could in theory beat diesel-electric traction thanks to being lighter, offering greater power to weight ratios and putting the rails under less strain, it could not win in terms of fuel efficiency and maximum raw power, and the technology would be put to the wayside for future motive power. The Class 52s lasted until 1977, at which point, they were quickly put out of work by Class 50 locomotives and the brand new High Speed Train sets.
In all, a total of seven Class 52 locomotives would survive into preservation, which isn’t many regarding the fact that 74 were built, but it’s still the most prolific of the diesel-hydraulic designs which evaded the cutters torch. The remaining few exist in various conditions, some are operational however, and call the West Somerset Railway their home.
Soon, it’ll be their time to shine in Train Sim World as well, as the BR Class 52 “Western” shall be joining the line-up and bring a new twist to nostalgic services!
Next in the West Somerset Railway line-up is the BR Class 52, which is set to make a bold appearance in Train Sim World with its striking BR Maroon livery shimmering under the Somerset sun.
Embark on heritage services with the power of not one, but two Maybach MD655 engines – each powering their own hydraulic transmissions to haul passengers through time and give them a taste of heritage motive power.
Out of all the preserved locomotives on the West Somerset Railway, none quite match the Class 52’s expansive windscreen, so when in control of the “Western”, you will be rewarded with unrivalled views of the countryside.
Large locomotives aplenty: a Western awaits its next duty from the bay platform at Bishops Lydeard, meanwhile a Class 47 rolls past preparing to run around its train. The BR Class 52 for Train Sim World will be the second 6-axle bogied locomotive to be yours to drive on the West Somerset Railway.
Prepare to experience what it was like to be around during the mighty Western’s reign, as the BR Class 52 will soon come roaring into Train Sim World!
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Train Sim World
TSW: The Western Reign