Tharandter Rampe is a German route that runs for 79 kilometres between Dresden and Chemnitz. It winds through a beautiful river valley and the Saxony scenery as it climbs over 100m from Dresden to Therandt, then continues to climb another 300m or so as it heads for Freiberg and Chemnitz in the west. The route includes the DB BR 612 DMU, the DB BR 143 locomotive and the 766.2 DBpbzfa cab car all in the familiar DB 'Traffic Red' livery.
The route also heavily features the DB BR 363 “V 60“ Diesel Shunter (with its awful brakes), and the Railpool BR 185.6 locomotive on freight duties. The new DB G6 Diesel Shunter (available separately as DLC) also subs in for the 363. If you have them from other routes or DLC then the BR442 Talent 2 DB, the BR185.2 DB, the BR 187 DB and the BR 185.5 MRCE also have timetabled services, making this potentially one seriously well-used route.
There are 6 varied Scenarios and Journey Mode features 7 chapters with a total of 34 journeys, said to be over 24 hours of gameplay! To round things off, there's a full 24-hour timetable to keep you busy.
The star of the show has to be the unassuming-looking DB BR 612, a DMU that has a killer trick up its sleeve. Available for service as a two or four-car tilting DMU (Diesel Multiple Unit), the 612s are also known as RegioSwingers. First built in 1998 by Adtranz in Hennigsdorf, which later became Bombardier Transportation. The 612's tilting ability means it can corner faster than traditional trains and gives a very smooth, almost aircraft-like ride as it banks around turns, tilting up to 8 inches (20.3cm) either way. The only issue I had with it are the brakes, I wondered "what happened to them?" The train brake was virtually useless so I was almost dependent on the dynamics! Then I realised I'd not turned on the brake key (which is tucked away on the far right of the console.) So whoops! The 612 has excellent brakes.
There really isn't much to complain about with Tharandter Rampe, but I'll find fault anyway. It's a purely superficial thing, but the level crossing gates don't work or have working warning lights or an audible warning, and some are missing altogether. This seems like a backward step when recent routes all have working crossings and Dovetail have a team dedicated to making level crossings work on older routes.We also discovered that the BR 766.2's horn sounds quieter with the windows open, so someone messed up there.
Dresden to Chemnitz is another pleasant German route with pretty countryside, a varied track layout and a plethora of services and possible locomotives to run on its steep gradients. You're going to be kept busy constantly adjusting the power and the brakes on its twisty turns, steep ups (and downs) and subsequent changes in speed limitations. The passenger trains make light work of the gradients, but Tharandter Rampe will really test your skill as a freight train driver...