Soak up the sun in the new Miami - West Palm Beach route for Train Simulator and drive the commuter rail line under cloudless blue skies from Mangonia Park to Miami Airport.
The 70 mile (114 km) long route runs parallel to the Southeast Florida coast and has 18 stations along its length. A typical station on the route is composed of two side platforms connected by an overpass and two tracks, one for southbound trains and the other for northbound trains
The most notable station along the stretch of line is West Palm Beach, which opened to passengers in 1925. This station was fully restored in 1991 and is on the National Register of Historic Places, its pastel walls and iconic architecture contrast the heady diesels that roll through.
The new Miami Airport Station features prominently alongside Miami Central Station, although it is still to be officially opened. The two stations are a key point on the route, joining rail, metro, bus and airport shuttle services in one large transport hub
Under an agreement with the Florida Department of Transportation, CSX provides dispatch services, plant maintenance and freight traffic on the route, alongside passenger services operated by Amtrak. The route is relatively high speed too, with a maximum permissible speed of 79mph (127 km/h) for passenger traffic and 60mph (96 km/h) for freight traffic.
Also included with the route are the P42DC and the Dash 8-40CW locomotives. The Silver Star passenger service is replicated on the route, which originates in Miami and runs all the way to New York along the Atlantic Coast. Between New York and Washington the train is hauled by either ACS-64, HHP-8 or AEM-7 locomotives; between Washington and Miami, P42s are used. The Silver Star has a distinctive set of coaches so travellers can travel the long distance in comfort.
Eight scenarios for the route:
Featuring a multitude of freight wagons, and two complete locomotives for once, this DLC is a lot greater value than many before it. I always appreciate a route which combines freight and passenger journeys. The scenic density is pleasing and it generally looks realistic and true to life around the inner-city areas, although the outlying parts are more sparse. You spend a good amount of time driving alongside a big highway which can get very tedious. Some of the bigger landmark stations notably Miami Metro Station look like the artists haven't quite finished texturing. They don't seem to have had detailing applied or ambient occlusion baked in. The biggest downsides come in the form of the provided locomotives, unfortunately. The P42DC is (as is so often the case) a simple re-skin of a previous loco, and the Dash 8 is nothing too new. Both are fairly usable however and they do provide a bit of variety in the AI traffic, which is a big bonus. Sound effects are alright, but they are recycled from other trains. I can only recommend this route if you are serious about American railroading and freight haulage. The route is surprisingly flat (in terms of geology) and the views can get boring quite quickly. Having said that, it's really not a bad route. The best way to enjoy this route, and the only other reason I would recommend getting it, is with the fantastic Seaboard GE U36B addon - which in my opinion should have been included by default.
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