Train Sim World® 3: Peak Forest Railway: Ambergate - Chinley & Buxton (Peak Forest Railway to its friends) is the latest route add-on for the fast-growing Train Sim World 3 network.
Set in the Peak District with 40 miles or so of picturesque Derbyshire countryside, you'll be tasked with hauling massive ICI Limestone hopper wagons to and from quarries near Buxton, pulling passenger trains, as well as a fair amount of shunting in order to sort and construct the various consists.
We get a brand new locomotive to drive, the Fowler 4F, an 0-6-0 tender, as well as the LMS Jubilee Class 6P and LMS Stanier Class 8F–which will be familiar to Spirit of Steam veterans.
The route includes training modules for each locomotive, 6 Scenarios and 110 timetabled services. Peak Valley Railway has lots of craggy rocks, cuttings, bridges and tunnels and TSW's dynamic weather really adds to the experience. If there's a more scenic route in TSW3 I haven't seen it.
As is the norm with Train Sim World 3, the locomotives and rolling stock are the stars of the show, but the scenery really is quite something–quintessentially English. Apart from great looks, the trains' various clanks, whistles and hisses all sound amazing, although we still seem to have the same problem with the safety valve blowing too much of the time, as in TSW's first steam add-on, Spirit of Steam, Liverpool Lime Street–Crewe.
Okay, so now for the inevitable downers. There are some iffy physics when buffering up to static rolling stock that doesn't actually roll until you couple to it, and I'd also question the number of women working on the railways as portrayed here (supposedly in the 1960s) and some of the passengers' character models are rather rough by recent standards (particularly noticeable as you wander around at the Chinley Gala–Peak Forest's most interesting Scenario.)
Another downside that will only strike you if you drive like an idiot (me) is the way the train EXPLODES off the tracks should you couple up or hit buffers too hard, or even corner too fast. I find it hard to believe that Dovetail haven't come up with a more realistic solution to derailment. I don't want massive damage modelling, fire, flames, crumpled coaches or blood and guts–but it is a sim after all.
As far as I'm concerned, more steam-powered DLC for TSW3 is long overdue, so this was an absolute pleasure to play and review. More please Dovetail!