TSW2: Rush Hour


Rush Hour is a shiny, technically impressive, if overambitious addition to the TSW network.


Rush Hour is a 3-part DLC which was released as three separate routes during September and October. First to be released was Boston Sprinter, closely (and as it turned out, perhaps too closely) followed by Nahverkehr-Dresden and London Commuter.

The first Rush Hour DLC, Boston Sprinter, is mostly about busy commuter passenger services, and gives you three ways of driving all the Bostonian passengers to work and then bringing them home. The big purple F40PH-3C MBTA has the CTC-3 Cab Car at the other end of the train (so it doesn't need to turn around and swap ends) and the ACS-64 V AMTK also runs the route, only much faster, while looking stunning in its shiny silver Amtrak livery. 

The Boston–Providence route is all about passenger traffic, but varies hugely, from the concrete metropolis of Boston to countryside and single-track branch lines.  Boston Sprinter certainly captures the look and feel of a New England winter, although you can make the weather/time of year anything you want. I'd call the Boston route a 'nice' route without having anything particularly memorable about it, or the trains involved, unless you term reversing slowly around a massive loop to get your train pointing in the right direction 'memorable'... I certainly won't forget it in a hurry. 

The second instalment to be released was Nahverkehrsnetz Dresden–Riesa, a busy German route set in Saxony in Eastern Germany. The 55km of track differs from the Boston and London Commuter inasmuch as the route features both passenger and freight trains, at least 5 locomotives (depending on which other routes you own) and even has its own shunter, the DB BR 363, complete with several shunting/switching/sorting jobs which adds a good deal of variety after the all-passenger Boston services. Dresden is a particularly pretty route, and the variation in services–and the sheer number of them–means it will be very popular for some time to come. 

The Rush Hour DLC brought with it a substantial upgrade in the number of passengers you'll see waiting or milling around, embarking/disembarking at each station. Wherever practical this could be up to 200 characters on Xbox Series X/S & PS5, or 100 on Xbox One & PS4. This really does make a difference, and improvements to their animation and variation in clothing have already been implemented, giving stations a very believable look as you pull in to stop (or roar through for that matter.) Unfortunately the extra commuters caused problems with... 

...London Commuter, the third and final part of Rush Hour. So as what is hopefully a temporary fix, they removed the additional rush hour passengers. The route features the busy London Victoria to Brighton main line, which has Gatwick Airport slap bang in the middle of  it. This is the busiest route of the three in real life, and Dovetail has done an admirable job of making it feel that way. You'll rarely have a couple of minutes go by without passing, catching or being passed by another train on this busy route. 

There are only two trains on the 'vanilla' route, the 377/4 SN and the 387/2 GX EMUs (Electric Multiple Units), although more can be added with layers from other routes on the Gen 9 consoles (Xbox Series X/S and PS5), which include the Class 166 DMU from GWE (Great Western Express), the Class 66 from ECW (East Coastway) and the Class 375 from SEHS (Southeastern High Speed) You may also catch a glimpse of a Class 465 (which is DLC for SEHS) and the iconic GWE Class 43 HST, but they're only AI driven. With these added layers I found I now had an incredible 1,437 timetabled routes!–so that should keep me busy for a day or two. 

Adding to the immersiveness of this route you'll see planes landing as you near Gatwick, although the planes look rather more like they're dive bombing than landing–it's an eye-catching feature nonetheless. 

All three routes had issues on release, some more serious than others. The game commonly threw up an 'Out of Memory' error as you approached Dresden and Victoria, and the Boston route has problems with signals not working and even one end destination marker that was placed inside a locomotive shed that has its doors locked shut! A recent patch seems to have fixed the out of memory error problem and I have managed to complete several services both to and from London Victoria and Dresden on both generations of Xbox. 

Until Rush Hour is totally fixed, it's a shiny, technically impressive addition to the stable but it was clearly overambitious and rushed to market. At a price of £34.99 for the Season Ticket for all three routes or a Game Pass price of £35.99 for the Deluxe Edition (which includes the base game) it seems excellent value–and it won't be available forever at that price. The underlying depth and quality is undeniable, and in its launch state it was hard to recommend, but now, what are you waiting for?

Thanks to Lick PR & Dovetail Games.