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Review: Stanier Jubilee for RailWorks
Publisher: RailSimulator.com
Reviewed By Matthew Peddlesden
Date: 28 September 2009


(Thumbnail images can be clicked on to view the full size version at 1680x1050)

Along with the move from "RSDL" to "RailSimulator.com" and the release of RailWorks, there has been a definite shift in the company's interests away from the Modern era (with releases including the Class 08 and Class 66) to the Steam era, with every release recently being of the water-warming variety! Speaking entirely selfishly, i'm just fine with that, for me the real romance and beauty in the Railways comes from these wonderful machines.

RailSimulator.com's second Steam (in the traction sense of the word!) release is the Stanier Jubilee 4-6-0 locomotive. A Class 6 Passenger locomotive, introduced around 1934 by the London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) Railway, and lasting out until around the 1960's. Rather than prattle on here about the history of the Jubilee and its uses throughout its operational period, i'll just link over to this extremely interesting site that will tell you far more useful things than I can - http://www.jubilees.co.uk/.

I'll also link over to this review of the Bachmann Jubilee locomotive as it has some other excellent background information on the class: ModelRailForum review.

So, what do you get in the Stanier Jubilee pack?

  • Stanier Jubilee 4-6-0 Locomotive in BR Green Livery
  • Stanier Jubilee 4-6-0 Locomotive in BR Blackened Livery
  • Mark 1 FK (First) Passenger coach in Crimson with Gold stripe
  • Mark 1 SK (Second) Passenger coach in Crimson with Gold stripe
  • Mark 1 BG (Brake) coach in Crimson with Gold stripe
  • Three scenarios and Two free roams

The first and most obvious ommission and it really sets the theme for the pack is that there are only British Rail era liveries included; the beautiful and original LMS Red version is not present. I found this to be a great shame, particularly as it's my favourite, but hope that someone (or indeed the authors) will produce an update.

The Jubilee is rendered beautifully with very smooth animations and detailed texturing. The Cab included appears to be a very slight modification of the default one that comes with the Black 5; and while I can't be positive it sounds like the sound effects aren't much more than that either.

A feature of new locomotives that has started to be more widely available is the ability to use the "number" field of a loco to set other visual effects on it, for example it's used on the default Class 37 to set the 4 character Head Code and the number. With the Jubilee you can set the Shed Code and the name of the loco in addition to its number. I didn't find any documentation explaining how this was done but it's quite straight forward to work out:

There are ten characters, let's refer to them as : ABCDEFGHIJ. ABCD are for the Shed Code - the letter goes in A, a two digit code goes in BC and a single digit code goes in D - use a # symbol for the one of those you don't want. So if you want 5D (Stoke) then you would put D##5 in the first four characters. If you want 17A (Derby) then you put A17#. The name comes next in slot E; using a single letter to find it - so 'a' might pick "Silver Jubilee". Lastly, FGHIJ are where you put the number - e.g. 45552 for Silver Jubilee. So you could put D##5a45552 to get Silver Jubilee with number 45552 and a Crewe shed code (where Silver Jubilee was built in 1934).

I have included a few screenshots of my playing around with this functionality.

The Mark 1 coaches included are simply reskins of the default ones and infact you'll probably find that they are almost identical to the ones in the UKTrainSim file library by Paul Godber, though of course they were produced for Rail Simulator. Still, it's nice to have a little extra in the pack and it helps to add some variety to the scenarios that are included.

The scenarios that are included are interesting and are certainly worth playing through once at least. "Home Counties Return" is an interesting high speed run that starts near Didcot and will have you struggling to meet a schedule to get back to Paddington with a stop along the way at Reading. It's marked as a hard activity and other than finding it extremely difficult to get the train moving down the line the one or two miles in to the first stop at Didcot itself, I was in Reading about 7 minutes early and then in to Paddington about 15 minutes early.

The trick with these is to learn how to drive a Steam engine "properly" (at least as properly as the simulator will allow anyway!) - that is to say, learn how to use the regulator and cut-off to get the best speed out of the loco (I think I peaked out at around 61mph or thereabouts, which seems a little underpowered). Learn to brake properly - a nice efficient stop at a station without slowing down and crawling in can make more difference than a greater top speed. The scenario has some interesting AI but you can run it flat out the whole way except for the approach to stations (watch out fo the approach to Reading and the divergance warning as you approach Paddington!) and I felt that the mainline at Paddington was a tad on the quiet side for what would have still been extremely busy around 7pm.

"Inner Workings" is intriguing to start with because you're in the yard near York Station and your first challenge is to find out how to navigate around the yard to actually get to the wagons! Once there you just need to move them along the yard a bit, with the added wrinkle that it looks like a wagon or two have spilled all over the track so you can't just go straight in to the siding you need to go past it and back down from the other side. A neat touch to have a bit of scenery obviously affecting the gameplay here and something that i'd like to see more of. Once those wagons are dropped off you go to the next siding over and pick up some more wagons and then run them up the line for an hour or so. The AI on this one isn't too bad, but again it's a full tilt blast up the ECML with nothing to really get in your way except a short 30mph speed limit.

I haven't run the other scenario yet, "Get Ready" is a free flowing shunting exercise where you're in control of the points and all the scenario cares is that you end up with the right train, add an extra challenge and time yourself!

Time for the bottom line (of images...)

Ahem... Conclusions... Lovely loco, well modelled and I like the extra attention to detail permitting you to choose the name, number and shed code of your chosen locomotive. The lack of the Red livery is a shame since I personally feel it's the best of the three. The included coaches are a relatively minor addition but they do permit the scenarios to be a little more varied and if you haven't already installed Paul Godber's Crimson Mark 1's from here then it will provide those for you to use as well. The scenarios themselves aren't going to set the world on fire but they are certainly playable once. I do hope to start seeing better and more involved scenarios from railsimulator.com in the future however, as the guiding light and the best knowledge in how to create scenarios I feel that at least one or two scenarios in each pack they release should really showcase the best of what's possible and provide inspiration to us budding (or is that whinging...) scenario authors! I would have also liked to see a better cab and some different sounds too but the onces provided should suffice just fine for the average user. Overall if you're happy with the price (11.99) and the Jubilee is a loco that you think you'd like, I don't think you'll be disappointed with what's there.

To get the Jubilee you will need RailWorks, it is not available for or compatible with the older Rail Simulator. Now go to Steam and from the RailWorks product page you'll see a list of the "DLC" (DownLoadable Content) that you can get from it. You'll find the Stanier Jubilee listed there - once you've selected it and paid for it, it will automatically download and install itself right in to your simulator, which is really great.



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