The newest instalment to Train Sim World 2’s ever-expanding roster of routes is the Southeastern High Speed pack, which releases tomorrow (Thursday 4th February).
Like most route packs, the DLC will cost £24.99 but is it worth the price of entry.
Covering the service from London St Pancras to Faversham, the entire length of the route is 51 miles, which also includes a length of the High Speed 1 between Ebbsfleet and St Pancras.
The pack includes two new locomotives with the BR Class 375/9 an incredibly popular modern-day electric multiple unit that has been in service for almost 20 years. beside the BR Class 395, nicknamed the Javelin after it’s service as the Olympic “Javelin shuttle” for the London 2012 Olympic games.
Both locomotives are modern-day, so might not require the finesse and caution some older trains do, but with the Javelin hitting speeds of over 225kmph (140 mph) it’s certainly going to test your speed management especially coming into stations fast and occasionally soon after long and disorientating tunnels.
With Southeastern High Speed giving us the longest British route to date, it’s quite a feat to see such a wide range of varied scenery, there’s the occasional piece of repetition with residential areas and a few barren looking fields, but overall it’s one of the most feature-rich surroundings in a TSW2 expansion.
Another big area of improvement is the stations, while many preserved collection routes can be forgiven for being a little sparse, but the SeHS populates stations and trains better than I’ve seen in any other British route.
There’s the odd animation hiccup, with passengers teleporting to a seat, and everyone walking on the same path, in the same way at the same speed, but seeing stations busier, and entirely more lifelike than ever before is a major step up for the franchise.
Departure boards update in real-time, crossings activating and lowering realistically, the whole level of presentation has taken a welcome step forward.
Train Sim World 2 is well known for high-quality audio, with most sounds captured directly from the locomotives in real life, so there’s no surprise with the level of detail, some might complain it’s all a little too quiet in the cab of the Javelin, but I’m sure those driving them in the real world are far more Hitachi’s sound isolation in the front cab, but the only slight negative in this area is that sound hasn’t received the noticeable improvement that the graphics and overall presentation have.
Presentation isn’t the only area where Southeastern High Speed excels, with general content plentiful and high quality,
Starting off with a general introductory tutorial there are two more modules teaching the basics for both the Class 375 and the Class 395.
We then have 5 scenarios, these are a little shorter than we see in some packs, with an average time of 30 minutes each, thankfully the level of detail in these is great and rather than a simple point A-to-B journey’s there’s some welcomed variety in what you’ll need to do, but we won’t spoil that here.
There’s then a mighty 264 timetable routes to work through, most of these are with the Class 375, then there’s plenty with the Javelin and a handful leftover for Freight, with no new freight locomotive, it’s safe to say freight is back in standard class on this journey, but it’s nice to see the opportunity to bring some of your existing locomotives into this DLC to run a few services.
with 14 stations spread over the length of the 51-mile route, there’s a great range of small to medium and larger stations, not all areas are accessible, because let’s be honest, we’d need an entire new DLC to accurately recreate the width and breadth of London St Pancras, but there’s still plenty of places to explore, with a total of 100 collectables spread out.
Route maps and Safety signs will need placing, newspaper stands, filling up and broken fences require fixing, as always this is as simple as walking up to the item in question, but finding them all is certainly going to take a lot longer than smaller packs such as Isle of Wight.
Comparing Southeastern High Speed to other route add-ons, it definitely ranks highly, I keep looking towards Great Western Express which similarly offers a high-speed service, commuter service across a larger, well-populated route, 100 collectables with over 250 timetabled services, and it feels like Southeastern High Speed is a great compliment as a modern-day up-to-date alternative to the iconic 166 and HST, but unlike some DLC packs, both are certainly unique enough to appeal to the majority of TSW2 fans, in fact, I’d even go as far as saying Southeastern High Speed is essential to anyone who’s a fan of modern-day commuter and high-speed routes. but it’s fair to say it won’t quite carry the same appeal to those wanting more Freight services.