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PC Game Review

Cross City
Part 2 of the West Coast Series (Lichfield to Redditch)
Add-on for Microsoft Train Simulator


Format: PC
First Class Simulations
RRP: £24.99
5 060080 473036
Age Restrictions: Not Rated
Available 28 March 2008

The Cross-City line is a suburban railway line predominantly in the West Midlands region of England. It runs from Redditch in Worcestershire, its southern terminus, to Lichfield, Staffordshire, and its northern terminus via Birmingham New Street. There are 24 four stations in all covering some 30 - 40 miles of countryside, and passes through the centre of Birmingham calling at its main station Birmingham New Street...

Cross Country is the second part of the West Coast Series to be released by First Class Simulations. This add-on for Microsoft Train Simulator covers the line between Lichfield and Redditch.

New trains include the Class 323 (which is the only unit currently running on this line), Class 170 Turbostar, Class 47 Diesel, Class 220 Voyager, Class 43 HST Network Measurement Train and the Class 390 EMU.

The Cross-City Line is a suburban railway line in the West Midlands region of England. It runs from Redditch, Worcestershire, its southern terminus, to Lichfield, Staffordshire, its northern terminus, via Birmingham New Street, London Midland currently operates services on this line.

There are unconfirmed rumours on the Internet that this game is not as accurate as it should be - that some of the speed limits on the track are incorrect. Now, if true, this will probably annoy the hell out of serious Train Simulator fanatics. But for the majority of gamers who, like me, hardly ever travel on this line it won't really matter how accurate the line is. There have also been complaints that some bridges are in the wrong place and that houses are replaced by trees, but again most people won't be playing this for that level of realism.

For me, and I assume most other gamers, it's the challenge of completing the various tasks successfully that matters, not how accurate the scenery is. But then, if you travel this live every day, I can see that it could be a little annoying if everything is not as you're expecting.

Challenges on this release include:

Redditch - New Street (Time: 09:27. Season: Summer): Drive the 09:27 commuter service from Redditch to Birmingham New Street. You need to keep to time as much as possible, and there is plenty of traffic about, so any delays on your part will be passed onto the entire network. There is also a shipment of new MG cars as well, with the Mayor of Birmingham attending, so they can’t be late because of any commuter delays. Can you keep to the timetable without breaking any speed limits?

Longbridge - Lichfield TV (Time: 09:43. Season: Autumn): You’re in charge of the 09:43 service from Longbridge to Lichfield. Drive according to speed limits, and ensure that you are not the cause of any delays. The weather is atrocious today, so you'll need your wits about you.

New St - Lichfield Trent Valley (Time 06:50. Season: Autumn): Take over the train at Birmingham New Street. As can be expected it’s busy at New Street for this time of the morning, so you need to be prompt away at your departure time. Climb up out of New Street and then take the branch towards Aston before heading off through the valleys to Lichfield.

Cross Country Diversion (Time 15:45. Season: Winter): You have just been advised that your train is to be diverted en route to Derby. Your next stop is Birmingham New Street, and then its a clear run all the way to Lichfield Trent Valley where you will need to stop as an adhoc request to rescue passengers from earlier failure. Don’t hang about, the weather is far from good and these passengers are already 30 mins late.

New St - Redditch (Time: 15:14. Season: Spring): This is a semi fast service to Redditch. Whatever happens you're going to be late, there is a turbo star service from Lichfield that has priority over you, there is a late in bound service from Redditch, so your task is to minimise the delay at Redditch. Drive at max permissible line speed, and see how close to timetable you can keep. Speeding will effect the automatic penalty brake application.

Longbridge Works (Time: 12:00. Season: Summer): You’re en route to Rovers car plant at Longbridge, where you have to collect 18 loaded car wagons that require transportation up North. You need to undertake all of this in the midst of a normal days commuter traffic, so obey all speed limits, and signals, and ensure you act promptly in order that you do not delay any passenger services. Remember, passenger’s services have priority over freight.

Measurement Train (Time: 15:45. Season: Winter): Drive the Cross Country route from Lichfield to Redditch, and measure the track for profiles, measurement and gauge using the Network Rail New Measurement Train. There is a passenger service in front of you, so watch the signals. Travel at maximum permissible line speed.

Freight Rescue (Time: 18:45. Season: Summer): Its been an easy day up until now. A Class 47 with car freight bound for Longbridge has broken down, and managed to limp into Blake Street station. You need to rescue it and bring it into Birmingham New Street, where your shift ends and another driver will take over. The passengers on subsequent trains are far from happy, and where ever possible diversions are taking place, however there are inevitable delays. You are likely to get caught in the midst of the evening rush hour commuter services, and so will need to dodge the traffic as best you can.

Barnt Green - New Street (Time: 10:06. Season: Spring): A Semi fast service to Birmingham New Street, in charge of a Class 170 Turbo Star. You need to be quick in order to get in front of the slow stopping service, otherwise you will be delayed into Birmingham New Street.

Fast to Redditch (Time 06:00. Season: Spring): A straightforward fast trip to Redditch, stopping only at Kings Norton, Longbridge, Alvechurch and Redditch.

It goes with out saying that if you are not a fan of Train Simulator then you really won't enjoy this. For the rest of us, the challenges included will keep you entertained for quite some time and they may even make you think twice before you complain that your train is late.


Nick Smithson

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