The next DLC on our journey through Train Sim World 2 routes is the West Somerset Railway pack.
This pack retails at £19.99 which is on par with the Isle of Wight DLC, but it’s an early indication that we’re not getting the overall value found in packages like Great Western Express route.
The West Somerset Railway route add-on is part of the preserved collection, originally released in 2018 for TSW it’s been brought forward to work with the modern game.
Inside the pack, you will get the West Somerset line between Norton Fitzwarren and Minehead, which is slightly more than yearly services usually cover from Bishops Lydeard, but as this pack is set in the diesel gala it includes the extra section to Fitzwarren.
The Locomotives included are the British Rail Class 09 which is a familiar shunting locomotive which is a little awkward to get running and will even have you running around the exterior to manually turn on the lights, but with a unique side-view when moving forward (as the cab is at the rear of the locomotive) it’s a nice new addition to the game.
Next up is the Class 47, another popular locomotive which has been seen all over Britain (most commonly in blue, but the WSR livery is its alternate green colour scheme. The class 47 is now only used for freight, but historically (and in this DLC) it’s used for passenger services.
Over the 23 mile stretch of the West Somerset Railway, there are 12 locations in total, with a few sidings and shunting sections, but a total of 11 mostly very small stations.
There are 60 collectables as well, ranging from Posters to place, Fire buckets to fill and plenty of Milk Churns and Lamps to collect, many of these are well hidden, so they’re going to take far longer to find than the disappointing selection in the Isle of Wight DLC.
This all sounds pretty positive so far, however, there are only 28 timetable routes, with 19 on the Class 47 and 9 on the Class 09.
Worst still the maximum speed across the route is 25mph, so that 5 mile stretch to the next stop, is going to take over 12 minutes, and with the power of the diesel locomotives, it’s going to mean constant tinkering between brake and acceleration to keep as close to the speed limit as possible.
This leads to relatively easy to hit time goals, but with many full routes taking over an hour, it ends up a long, slow and laboured run.
Graphically for the Preserved collection, it’s pretty impressive, we see far less fuzzy textures than in more populated packs, but it’s not quite up to the standards of the specific TSW2 DLC.
For those unfamiliar with the West Somerset landscape, there’s the countryside, and a lot of it, 99% of your route will be surrounded by trees or farmland, which looks fine, but when your crawling past it at 25mph, you look forward to every crossing or building you pass on route.
Adding two locomotives and a 23-mile stretch route isn’t a bad deal, and the collectables help to make this pack good value, but I feel that West Somerset Railway is probably best left to those with a specific interest in these locomotives or the West Somerset Route, with the slow maximum speed limits, the core gameplay is slowed down to a crawl and the shunting and overall production value only go some way to appeasing the long slow runs.
There are 2 training modules which are pretty quick and easy to work through, introducing you to each locomotive, but these already feel laboured when you’re crawling up to 10mph and unable to inject any real power to raise the acceleration.
The 5 Scenarios do a good job of presenting an overall storyline of passengers travelling to and from with shunting sections between.
It feels a little harsh to downplay what this pack does offer, there are hours of routes, 2 pretty good locomotives a wide range of collectables and it’s all surrounded with some great scenery, but it’s important to realise with the majority of passenger services on the 28 timetable routes, your time won’t be spent with multiple different services, you’re just making the same, long, slow, laboured, 25mph journey at different times of the day.
This makes the overall package an attractive presentation on the outside, but a little disappointing when it comes to the actual route experience.