Review: BluearrowTS - Electric Heritage Pack|
Developer: Bluearrow TS
- UK Publisher: Bluearrow TS
Reviewed By Matthew Peddlesden
Date: 1 July 2004
Continuing their series of loco packs, the Electric Heritage pack Volume 1 is their third offering following
on from the LNER Pack and the Scotsman twin-pack that were released previously. The price of the pack is
their usual £11.95 which represents exceptionally good value as compared to offerings from other publishers
and makes the product that much more accessible. The only thing that would have made the overall distribution
of this product better would be for it to appear in the shops.
Blue Arrow are well known for their on-the-shelf add-on 'Severn Valley Railway' which has received wide
acclaim for being perhaps the most accurate and detailed add-on that's available for Microsoft Train Simulator,
their LNER pack featured a number of extremely detailed locomotives and coaching stock and their Electric
Heritage pack looks set to continue that trend with great success.
The overall presentation of the product is excellent coming in a slimline jewel case (the same as the
UKTrainSim £4.50 community CD's) with autorun and a PDF manual on the CD which has been superbly produced
providing a great deal of background information - a veritable encyclopedia of the history for each of the
The pack is endorsed by the AC Loco Group and as I understand it that's not been an easy task - however the
group are used to working hard in such circumstances as their approval by the Severn Valley Railway wasn't
a walk in the park either.
Let's look at what you get for your £11.95 -
Each class is presented in its original all-over blue livery and in its later livery with the yellow
warning panels on the front. Additionally, every locomotive has a night-time equivalent with an excellent
night time rendition of the cab.
- Class AL1 (TOPS Class 81) - 2 Locomotives
- Class AL2 (TOPS Class 82) - 2 Locomotives
- Class AL3 (TOPS Class 83) - 2 Locomotives
- Class AL4 (TOPS Class 84) - 2 Locomotives
- Class AL5 (TOPS Class 85) - 2 Locomotives
- Class AL6 (TOPS Class 86) - 2 Locomotives
There is an assortment of 22 different freight wagons from CCT wagons, through vans, car carriers,
container wagons, oil tankers, grain wagons and much more.
In coaching stock there are Maroon Mark 1's, LMS coaches and the white and blue Manchester Pullman set.
There's even the odd coach that's been weathered and it looks wonderful!
The locomotives are superbly detailed and there's not a blurry texture to be seen anywhere. The cabs are
absolutely fantastic with a night version included to make your night time driving experience that little
bit more engaging. One thing that has been commented on in the forums is the lack of lights for driving
at night and while it's a bit of a pain (because you can't see anything) it is actually quite correct,
lights on the front of locos are not so the driver can see - they'd need some massive search lights on the
front of the loco before they'd show up enough of the line ahead to be of any use! The lights are there
so that everyone else can see and identify you and indeed if you put the lights on and step outside you will
see that they are illuminating the head code identifier. For those that find it a little dull not being
able to see outside while driving at night it would have been nice for the manual to include some simple
instructions (or alternate ENG files) for how to put the light effect in that most other locomotives
have got (as I say, BlueArrow have got it right, it's just not necessarily all that much fun
to drive at night like that :) ).
The freight stock looks absolutely fantastic, as do the passenger coaches. Superbly detailed and again not
a blurry texture in sight. The passenger interiors are possibly the best I've seen - although comment has
again been raised on the forums that they might not be particularly accurate in one case I think that
the vast majority of users probably would never notice so the overall enjoyment of the product is largely
The sounds for the locomotives I found to be a bit on the annoying side and Blue Arrow have released a patch
for the pack which completely replaces the sound set with a totally new one, it's good to see Blue Arrow
continuing their excellent level of customer support. Having downloaded and installed the two patches
that are available for the pack I can confirm that the updated sounds are indeed vastly superior.
Each loco comes with a small selection of consists so that you can get up and running immediately after
installing the pack, however there are no activities included. Evidently there were some in production for
the product but they didn't make it in time for its release, I have to say that I think I would have held off
the release a week or two in order to get some activities in because I personally feel that having some
activities - whether they are using the latest routes or just using the default North East Corridor - is
an absolute must for the less experienced members of the community to be able to enjoy the product. The
word is that these activities will be released soon however so look forward to another patch for the product
on the site for those that want them.
If you are interested in this period of BR then this pack is a definite one to consider purchasing, it is
exceptionally good value for what you are getting in it and everything is done to a very high standard
I am not particularly familiar with this era myself, so I can't comment on technical accuracies, but from
the perspective of someone who just wants to drive different classes of stock on various routes around
the country I can certainly recommend it as an enjoyable experience.