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Review: Great British Diesel Locomotives
Developer: Contact Sales - UK Publisher: Contact Sales
Reviewed By Matthew Peddlesden
Date: 1 July 2004


Full Disclosure
I was involved with the development of the activities and the manual for this product as well as beta testing the stock. I will therefore not comment on the activities other than to describe them factually and let other reviewers and commenters in the forums express their own thoughts.

Great British Diesels is the second in a series of three loco packs published by Contact Sales, the first one was Great British Steamers and the third and final one will be 'Great Electric Locomotives'.

After the disappointment of the Steamers add-on I was curious to see whether lessons would be learned for the Diesels add-on and indeed there was interest in making sure that the two major ommissions from the Steamers add-on were resolved in Diesels - consists and activities.

On the Great British Diesels add-on you will find a selection of diesel locomotives, coaches and some modern freight, so it's got a pretty well rounded selection that will keep most people happy.

The diesels included are:

  • Class 08 (Freightliner and BR Blue)
  • Class 37 (Large logo scotty, Green and Railfreight Grey)
  • Class 40 (Two in green)
  • Class 46 (Green)
  • Class 50 (Network South East and large logo with yellow ends)
  • Class 58 (Railfreight Coal)
  • DELTIC (DP1 Prototype)

I found the locos largely to be very good, although the brakes on DELTIC are particularly worthless for some reason.

The wagons are:

  • BCW (loaded and unloaded)
  • JGA Plane
  • IBPP and GWG
  • BR 20 Ton Brake Ban
  • PeaPC
  • OHWL (three examples)

Physics on the wagons appear very good, they all have different weights - someone is listening!

The coaching stock included is:

  • Mark 2 Blue/Grey
  • Mark 2 Scotrail (blue stripe)
  • Mark 1 West Highland Line
  • Mark 1 Blue/Grey
  • Mark 1 Network South East
All of the stock is completed to a good standard and the classes are all instantly recognisable with a clean and tidy appearance. I will get on my soap box at this point and say that it is not a Gala day on all railways every day of the year - I want to see dirt on loco's! Weathering is very often missed off on loco's that are produced and yet by far the most realistic looking loco's include weathering.

The only ommission from the stock, for a 'Great British Diesels' add-on is the lack of a Class 47 loco which must arguably be one of the greatest British diesels. I have however noticed that Peter Harvey, who created all the stock for this add-on, has recently uploaded a Class 47 to UKTrainSim - so downloading File ID's 9442 and 9443 will add this missing item to your collection.

There are six activities included that all use the default Settle and Carlisle route, this was chosen because it's a route everyone has got. Already by the time this review has been written one UKTrainSim user has developed a set of activities using the stock on the North West England 2 route.

The activities range from simple passenger runs along the route to shunting in a yard and rescuing broken down trains. They are all very busy with AI traffic and should provide a few hours entertainment to get you used to the stock on the pack before you begin writing your own activities or indeed downloading some of the others that are available on the Internet.

All of the consists provided are used in the activities however they form a good start point for making your own activities or even simply exporing routes using the stock as most of the items have consists provided with varying loads and liveries being hauled.

I still do not believe that this add-on is of great interest to those users who download and install add-ons from the Internet as everything on this pack can probably be found online already for download (albeit by different authors of course).

The big disappointment with this pack is the lack of unique sounds. The Class 50 uses the default Class 50 cab and sounds and the two class 40's have a class 40 sound set. The rest of the locos are either aliased to the GP38 or to the Class 40 sound set, so for example DELTIC and the two 08 shunters all have Class 40 sounds... I guess it's better than sounding like a Dash 9 or a GP38 but not really something that one would expect from a commercial pack.

For me and I suspect many others, the very unique sounds that these locos all have should without doubt form part of the celebration of them in a pack such as this and the showing that sounds have made is very disappointing.

Where this pack does become more valuable however is for those users who are not very good at downloading or installing, or indeed those who simply don't use the Internet - so if you have a friend or relative that wants more diesels and wouldn't know what to do with a ZIP file even if you wrote it down (there are lots of people that fall in to this category!) then this would be an ideal gift for them.

If the pack had custom sounds I would have to say that this would be a pretty decent loco pack, however with no custom sounds it's not the add-on it should have been, it has a nice set of locos, passenger stock and freight with custom cabs but is let down by that one major omission. For those who are not fussed about sounds and just want some stock to drive and are not able to download and install add-ons from the Internet, it does at least provide a nice selection of stock to add to your collection and if you get proficient at installing items later you can always download correct sounds from here and add them in yourself.

Final Score:

65%



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