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Black Forest Routes

You can purchase Black Forest at any store that carries Train Simulator add-ons, direct from Contact Sales (the UK Publisher) or through UKTrainSim (click on CD Ordering on the left hand side). The price is 24.99.

Lots of lush greenery DABbuz being pushed DABbuz Getting ready to leave the station

Black Forest is the latest in a very long line of German products that have become available for Microsoft Train Simulator since it arrived. New entrants to this busy product area must produce even better quality than those releasing for other regions of the world simply because there is so much out there for Germany - and just about all of it is extremely good.

The packaging of the product is up to a good standard with a very comprehensive manual that includes both English and German versions and covers topics such as:

  • History of the Route
  • Features of the Route
  • Description of all the Rolling Stock
  • Activity Guide
  • Speed Tables
  • Station Track Plans

    DABbuz Doors Closed DABbuz Doors Open BR-85 awaiting depature from Titisee BR-85 guards wagon

    It all installs easily from a single CD that auto starts, so newcomers to PC's will not have a problem installing this product.

    The product features a route, a selection of locomotives with appropriate freight and passenger rolling stock and a decent selection of activities. Let's take each one in turn.

    The Route

    BR-85 with 4-wheel set BR-85 with bogie coach set BR-85 bogie coach Yes, this is a screenshot, not touched up in any way

    The route is obviously the cornerstone of the product and it is this that most users of it will be comparing with the many other German products that are available.

    It doesn't take long to realise that a lot of effort has gone in to this route, there is some extremely beautiful scenery as you go from one end of the route to the other. It is all custom modelled from the looks of it and quite densely detailed, so you won't be driving past lots of flat fields with this route!

    The biggest feature in the route is the massive 5.5% gradient that comes out of Titisee but there are plenty of other gradients to be had along the route - you will need to keep your whits about you in order to remain within the speed limit at all times while still being able to meet your timetables.

    BR-85 leaves Seebrugge Passenger view from BR-85 bogie coach BR-85 Cab View Very nice specular lighting on the BR-85

    The route is primarily single tracked so there is little scope for passing other trains in an activity - however the stations along the route are often four or more lines so quite often you will find other AI trains coming in to and leaving stations during an activity.

    It really is a pleasure to drive this route from end to end, the many stations range from some fairly large affairs down to local stations that don't even have a platform to speak of, you definitely can feel the difference between running a 'through' train and running a local stopping train.

    DABbuz awaiting departure BR-143 on DABbuz duty BR-143 in AEG livery on freight Some of the freight wagons

    There are extra sidings along the route and there are some services dotted around so there is scope for Freight activities as well as the expected passenger activities.

    In general the track has been laid very well (though with a single track route this is not a tricky thing to achieve!) although there were one or two spots along the route where I wasn't quite sure that the sudden extreme bump or dip should have been there in reality.

    Overall the route is extremely impressive, there's loads to see and from a technical perspective there's enough variety to keep you amused for hours.

    BR-143 in AEG livery on freight BR-101 awaiting departure Express coach Express awaiting departure

    The Locomotives and Rolling Stock

    The product comes with a very nice selection of stock for you to use. With both Passenger and Freight stock included fans of either will find plenty to keep them amused. The freight stock included is quite plentiful and there's a fair bit of variety including logging wagons, covered wagons, containers and more.

    The loco's included are the BR-101, the BR-143, the Steam BR-85 and the DABbuz, which functions much the same as a British DBSO allowing a loco hauled train to run in both directions.

    Loading screen Information screen

    One very nice surprise was that the DABbuz passenger cars can open and close their doors, as usual this is linked to the Pantographs - so press P to open and close the doors as well as raise and lower the pantographs. It has the side benefit that while the doors are open the train won't go anywhere because the pantograph is down and you don't have any power! The final nice touch was the correct beeping sound as the doors close.

    I was recently on a business trip to Jena where among the many trains I had to take to get there from Berlin Schonefeld Flughafen I also had to take one of these DABbuz trains - so I can definitely say that it models the real one very well indeed, including the interior. It does not have a passenger view unfortunately.

    The nice surprise in this add-on is the BR-85 steamer. Absolutely beautifully modelled, this 2-10-2 monster (which surprisingly has no tender, the coal bunker is on the back of the loco) is fantastic to watch in motion. With specular lighting on the boiler she looks the part. The developers have also included two different sets of coaches specifically for the steam engine, you can either have the two axel coaches or the bogie coaches depending, I presume, on exactly what period you want to simulate the loco running in.

    143 Cab View DABbuz Cab View

    The coaches have passenger views showing their small and cramped nature very nicely.

    The cab views for the loco's are very well modelled and all have transparent windows. One artifact I did notice on some of the coaches was the presence of LOD (Level of Detail) - which unfortunately seemed a little too aggressive as from a '4' (Trackside) view the coach would have solid white in the distance, then it would get transparent windows but no interior so it would flip to appearing dark inside and finally the interior would appear with the white cushions on the seats and once again it appeared to be light inside. Only a minor point but it was a little distracting.

    The only negative comment I have is that some of the wheels seem a fair bit too thin - indeed the DB-101 almost seems to have a 2D Disc for the wheels! The rest of the loco's look good though so I wasn't too bothered by it.

    Overal the loco's and rolling stock are very good indeed, the addition of the opening doors on the DABbuz was a great extra touch.


    With the majority of the route being single track there isn't much potential for passing AI trains, however the activity authors have applied ingenuity and imagination to their activities - you will find a lot of static consists all over the activity leaving you feeling you are very much part of a working railway, there are other AI trains that you will see - more often than not you will find them waiting for you in a station, or you will be waiting for them in a station.

    The included activities range from local stoppers to express trains, it's not unusual to find yourself redirected off the mainline at a station in order to let another train come past you and free the line ahead for you - so you need to keep an eye on signals as well as speed limits.


    From a pure entertainment value (I know very little about the DB so I can't speak much about realism or accuracy) I found the product to be superb. I normally shy away from a single track route as I like to see other things happening while I'm driving - but there's enough scenery to keep you occupied, plenty of stations that you need to watch out for, plus some tricky gradients and trains in the stations that you'll not notice.

    I definitely approve of the inclusion of a Steam locomotive - my personal favourite kind of loco to drive.

    With the caveat as above that I cannot speak to it's accuracy as I am unfamiliar with the real route, this product is getting a score of:


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