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Review: BluearrowTS - LNER Pack
Developer: Bluearrow TS - UK Publisher: Bluearrow TS
Reviewed By Matthew Peddlesden
Date: 1 July 2004


Following their very successful add-on 'Severn Valley Railway', the Blue Arrow team have been busy working on a pack of locomotives and rolling stock for those who are fans of the LNER. The locomotives and rolling stock from the SVR add-on were widely acclaimed to be some of the best available UK stock and this pack does everything it can to prove why they are held in such high regard by their customers.

The pack contains three different classes of locomotive with multiple colour schemes for a total of 8 locomotives, a complete set of Pullman stock (21 different coaches) with very detailed interiors, two rakes of LNER coaches in BR (blood and custard) and LNER (teak) liveries and 15 goods wagons from both BR and LNER periods - and all for just 11.95, this represents extremely good value.

The rolling stock is without doubt some of the best seen in Train Simulator, the three classes represented are the Class B1, Class A4 and one Class W1 'Hush Hush' loco (which is streamlined like the A4). The B1 comes in four different presentations, two in BR Black, one in LNER unlined black and one in LNER apple green. The BR Black ones really look the part as well used work horses as they are nicely weathered, in contrast the LNER versions are clean and shiney - the apple green one is very attractive indeed.

I wasn't particularly enamoured with the B1 sounds, they are better than using the defaults for sure, but I the chuffing seems to be representative rather than anything else. The whistle sounds a lot like the 1501 whistle from the SVR pack although I don't know whether it actually is the same sound file or not. The cab for the B1 is exceptional, another trademark that Blue Arrow are well known for.

One of my own personal favourite class of steam loco is the A4 (for those with any interest, the other is the BR 9F) and this has to be the best representation of that class that I've seen so far in the simulator. The sounds and cab for this loco are equally fabuluous as well. The A4 class locomotive is presented in three variations, the obvious choice for one was 4468 Mallard and that is present, another obvious choice and one that I hinted at in the review of Severn Valley Railway when I bemoaned the lack of it in that add-on was 60009 Union of South Africa, and finally the last one is in Apple Green.

The physics have had the magical touch of Blue Arrow applied to them and they are touch above the physics that came with even the Severn Valley Railway add-on. If you drive manual fireman it's more critical than ever that you remember various things as you go such as 100% dampers or the reverser as the physics have been set to be very sensitive to these settings and their defaults might not always be the most useful or optimal setting! They are a pleasure to drive and fire manually - you'll always been watching what's going on trying to get that bit more out of your engine, definitely not a hands-off experience!

The LNER coaches are upgraded from their original presence in the Severn Valley add-on, they are noticeably more detailed and the textures are better with a bit more weathering on the roof for example. The Blood and Custard versions provide a little extra variety to the teak coaches.

The Pullman set that is provided continues the trend for this package, exceptional. The interior detailing inside the coaches is marvellous and with 21 different coaches to complete the set, all correctly numbered or named, you can now recreate the original Pullman trains on your own system.

Finally, the freight provided adds a little broader appeal to the add-on giving you something different to run behind those grubby BR Black B1's that are included. There's a nice variety and they are all completed to a high standard.

There is a small selection of activities included on the CD that will get you going, some of them are for the default Settle and Carlisle route and the rest are for the Severn Valley route. You do not need to have the Severn Valley route installed unless you specifically want the Severn Valley activities because the activities are separately installed, you just choose what you want at install time. I tested some of the activities and they are an interesting bunch that will keep you amused, though I was a little disappointed at the lack of static consists in some of them.

Overall, the decision about whether this product is for you is going to come from the title. If you want a pack of LNER locos, LNER and Pullman coaches then this pack will not disappoint.

Final Score:

92%



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