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Woodhead in Blue – A Class 08 Introduction

Written by: Edward Fisk

Edward Fisk, of Partner Programme developer MeshTools, delves into the re-worked and Pro Range-suited simulation of the Class 08, which is to be included with the upcoming Woodhead Electric Railway in Blue route!

I think the best place to start on our look at the Woodhead locomotives is the Class 08. The Class 08 first appeared in the Train Simulator catalogue back in early 2008 and since then, apart from the odd bit glued on, rain effects added to the windows and some minor texture improvements, it hasn’t actually changed all that much since it first appeared in game. For the Woodhead line, I thought it was about time to change that.

The first thing to be changed was the traction physics, the Class 08 has quite an interesting throttle control system. Initially between Notch 1 and Notch 2 the generator field strength is varied, between Notch 2 and 3 the engine RPM is varied between Idle RPM and the maximum RPM and in Notch 4 the full generator field strength is made available. Interestingly, Notch 4 can overload the engines causing the engine RPM to drop, to protect against this Class 08s are fitted with a relay which will automatically drops it back to Notch 3 if the generator output voltage drops too much. Oh, and the series/parallel switch has been made to function. In addition, the loco has been fitted with my standard dynamic adhesion model which has also been applied to all locomotives in the Woodhead pack (as found on the LNWR G2 and Class 419 MLV) which can make shunting on wet leaves interesting to say the least!

Next to see improvements were the brakes. The Class 08 is fitted with vacuum brakes operable only on the train, and a straight air brake operable on the locomotive. Typically, while shunting, the straight air brake is used as the vacuum brake is quite tricky to use, it is slow to release, even with the exhauster speed up operating it can take quite some time to draw a full vacuum.

Next to be improved with the sounds, recording Class 08s is quite tricky as they don’t frequently run on passenger trains. Luckily in 2016 I managed to record Longsight 08 (No. 08721) on a run from Bury to Heywood at the East Lancs small engine weekend. Combined with a cab ride I got about 10 years ago and a handful of my platform recordings, hopefully I’ve managed to improve the sounds to make the driving experience just a little more enjoyable (and it finally has an air whistle!).

Then we came to the loco livery itself, initially DTG-Ben decided to spruce up the textures for the typical BR blue livery with yellow coupling rods and buffer beam, however as we looked closer at the Class 08s found typically operating in and around Guide bridge, we noticed a few livery quirks. These 08s were originally from Longsight shed and appear to have received a livery unique to this depot (an interesting coincidence with the Locomotive recorded!). Firstly, we noted that these 08s unusually had red buffer beams and coupling rods. In addition, the roof was usually painted black and most unique of all, a number of them had received unofficial names. To make things a little more interesting, we decided to repaint the 08 into this unique Longsight BR blue livery. The named locomotives that have been included are as follows:

  • 08820 Guide Bridge
  • 08599 Gorton
  • 08399 Great Central
  • 08283 North Western
  • 08611 Dewsnap
  • 08915 Dinting
  • 08604 Ardwick

And finally, as a closing note to this first look at the Woodhead locomotives, if there’s one thing I will advise you all, don’t exceed 15mph and above all really don’t exceed 25mph, you will regret it! ■

WD08_0002 WD08_0003 WD08_0004 WD08_0005

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