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Buy it Now!
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$7.95 direct from TS Speedworks
Review: TGV Add-on Pack 1
Developer: Train Simulator Speedworks, Publisher: Train Simulator Speedworks
Reviewed By Matthew Peddlesden
Date: 2 Feb 2002


Introduction

I was introduced to the TS Speedworks TGV model when it was accidentally uploaded to UKTrainsim by one of our users, after another user highlighted the file to me and I had removed the file and apologised to Clem Tillier at Speedworks I was then asked if I would like to keep a copy of it as thanks for quickly removing the file from the web site.

Normally the non-UK stuff wouldn't interest me - sure it looks like a nice train but my interests are with the British stock.

After Clem kindly offered me a copy I thought, why not give it a look and see what you think? I'm glad I did!

I had intended and hoped to do this review in tandem with a suitable TGV route, however having found one I approached its author and got no response, so this review is on the Speedworks Trainset only. If I can find a TGV route and an author prepared to answer my emails then I will update the review and/or do a separate one on the route.


Check out the detail on those Pantographs!

The Bar and Restaurant :-)

Detail down to the electric cabling along the roof

TGV Atlantique cruising on the NEC

Packaging

It's an online distribution only, you won't find it in the stores. Once you've gone through the Credit Card process on their web site you can then download the file and install it very easily to your system. The installer is the fairly commonly used ClickTeam one.

After installation you will find four variants of the TGV on your system, these are:

  • TGV Atlantique 308 (blue and silver)
  • TGV Réseau 531 (blue and silver)
  • TGV Thalys (PBA) 4534 (red and silver)
  • TGV Atlantique 325 with World Speed Record modifications
All the consists are set up for you so once it's installed you're ready to drive!.


It's a big red train

Oh look, it's that Bar again! :)

Quite a striking livery!

World Speed Record version is based on the Atlantique but has some model differences (no front pantographs for example)

Operation

The trainset is 3D Models and Physics only. It uses the Acela sound set and Cab View which does detract from the authenticity a bit, hopefully we will see the Cab view and a sound set from Speedworks in the future to finish the pack off.

The first thing you'll notice about the consists is that they are long! Even more so when you use the double-length ones, so they look quite good snaking around some of the longer curves on the North East Corridor - about the only suitable route you're going to have to be able to run this Train Set on unless you use James Hunt's Modern England or you electrify one of the others you have.

The second thing you'll become aware of is that it's top speed is out of this world. So when you're test driving the TGV don't open the throttle too far and try to keep under 100mph until you get to a nice open bit of track, huh? ;-) I did find that the North East Corridor was fine up until I hit something like 250mph or thereabouts and then the train got split and derailed on a straight bit of track, perhaps I was just driving like a lunatic - i'm not entirely sure what the maximum operational speed of the TGV is :)

The quality of the 3D models is outstanding. They are done to a low polygon count even with all the extra detail they have included, so you should find they run just fine on most machines where MSTS runs ok already. Reading up on the TGV on the Speedworks web site you will learn that she has dual voltage pantographs. The only one in use for the majority of the time is the one at the back of the train, so your pantographs at the front will always stay down. The power is carried from the back to the front via a cable - which you can see in full detail in the model, including the joins between coaches. The detail on the pantographs is top notch too and smoothly animated.


Double length Réseau sweeps around a long curve on the NEC

Réseau is similar to Atlantique but there are differences!

Transparent windows and an interior for the loco, but not for the coaches

Conclusions

As I said it's not something that I would have even considered downloading, let alone purchasing, but having spent some time I am very impressed with it. Given hindsight would I now go out and buy it? As much as I like this pack it's missing something very important - a route to run it on. Running it up and down the North East Corridor is only good for testing purposes, it's hardly prototypical to do so though.

With a good TGV route to run these trains on I would recommend these heartily, more than worth the $7.95 asking price even without a cab and sound set. However, with those included and even at a higher price, the pack would be one of the best that's available at the moment.

If you don't have a route to run these trains on then I think the wow-factor will die off as you go back to your prototypical operations.


Night illumination in the coaches on the TGV

Dusk on the NEC

For:
  • High Quality Models and Textures that won't kill your machine
  • Lots of fun to drive at very high speed :)
Against:
  • No custom Sound or Cab
  • Only has staying power if you have a suitable route to run it on

Overall, I'd give the TGV pack a score of
92%


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