The New Journeys Expansion pack supplies us with new challenges and two new locomotives for TSW2's three core routes; The London Underground Bakerloo Line, Schnellfahrstrecke Köln and The Sand Patch Grade. It also adds 'railfans' for the first time (they used to be called trainspotters.)
I think we'll start with the Mk2 Tube Stock as it adds very little other than a new look–and one that would be relatively easy to do a reasonable job of replicating with TSW2's built-in Livery Editor. The classic aluminium bodywork has a few scuffs and scars and certainly looks the part. Six new scenarios include the new 'railfans' in various random spots which aren't exactly exciting (there's no Francis Bourgeois!) but I guess they add to the atmosphere.
The DB BR 423 is all about passenger duty as well, although totally above ground this time. Built by Adtranz/Bombardier and the Alstom LHB & ABB consortium between 1998 and 2007, having now driven the 423 a lot I can safely say that they should have designated it the 'großes rot-weißes ding mit beschissenen bremsen', but I guess '423' is easier to remember. Looking very similar to the DB BR 422 that I know well from the original Schnellfahrstrecke Köln and Rhein-Ruhr Osten timetables, 423 has an additional feature in the LZB safety system and slightly different front-end bodywork, giving it a more bull-nosed look than the 422, with egg-shaped LED headlights. The 423 drives beautifully and sounds like a jet as it flies along. The only problem is the vagueness of the brakes, which respond well at high speed but seem to fade away as you slow down. The response time of the throttle is also a bit slow, and we found that the windscreen wiper is prone to packing up–but only when it's raining hard, so that's ok!
The SD40-2 looks very smart in its blue/grey early CSX livery, but on my first scenario I found a minor problem, the number lights switch doesn't work, in fact, almost all the lighting controls seem faulty. Much more concerning was the game crashing back to the dashboard when an hour into a Sand Patch run, so worryingly early reports we read about the SD40-2 crashing the PC version seem to be cross-format. I'm sure DTG will sort it out but it's just another bug in the seemingly ever-growing list, few of which seem to be getting fixed right now–especially if you're playing on PS4. The good thing about the SD40-2 is that it's easy to drive and set up, but I still found myself spinning my wheels for 5 minutes when only pulling a 22-car train, before the wheels presumably started to weld themselves to the rails and off we went. There are quite a few railfans at the Sand Patch, and on one Journey you even have to stop and sound the horn for them, and the sound of the SD40's horn is magnificent–comfortably the best thing about the expansion pack, and probably worth the purchase price alone. There are 7 Journeys and 3 Scenarios as well as being able to do any of the Sand Patch's original SD40-2 timetable.
The New Journeys Expansion Pack is priced at £8.79/£7.91 with Game Pass, which, no doubt, some will complain about at the same time as they pay £5 for a pint of beer or over £10 for their favourite brand of fags. A new loco, a new EMU and a new livery plus some new scenarios for the price seems fair to me, but it's a bit of a stretch to call this "New Journeys" or even an "Expansion Pack"– 'Railfans Pack' might have been a more accurate title.