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The game allows you to Drive, Ride or just Watch all manner of trains and engines etc and enjoy your days Train Spotting, Train Riding or Behind the 'Wheel'.


TSW puts you in the driving seat of numerous train engines running over numerous and varying railway journeys and between large, medium and small railway stations, each somewhat different from the previous and the next.

Controls are by the Mouse and Keyboard. When using the mouse you can see onscreen a small white dot that serves as your cursor. When you aim this at the various controls an identification bubble pops up which as you move the mouse (and hold the LMB) often turns into a gear-like channel with different gradients along its route. This is how you set the controls of the train.


Driving trains always looks such an easy job, especially the electric engines; just sit there and raise or lower the speed depending on the railway lines and, of course stopping within the necessary distance at Stations to let folk on and off.


Driving a train isn't as easy as it looks! To begin with you aren't driving a car, so just easing the brake on, or hitting the brake if your are going a little too fast, does not cut it. Behind your cab is Rolling Stock that weighs a considerable tonnage, and it does not stop sharply no matter which lever you pull or button you push.


Driving is by far the best option, although watching games seems to have become a major favourite of the younger generation; never could understand how you get fulfilment from just watching. Riding the train can be good fun, especially as the views through the windows can be spectacular (depending which train you are riding) and most certainly realistic.


Driving trains is by far the best option - said that already - and it is also the most fun, at least it is once you learned the routine of the knobs, levers and buttons. As each train has different knobs, levers and buttons, and often a somewhat different routine for their use, then every game is new and not just because of the line you are running on.

On releasing the brake and operating the throttle the train will start moving - forward or backward depeinding how you have set it. The faster you go the more the train shakes and rattles and the more atmospheric the game is. Thundering along a winding track is great and even more scary when another train comes towards you on the parallel track. 


This is not a relaxing game, not in the way Airplane Simulations can be - you cannot sit back and let the train run itself for as long as you can a plane. For instance, once you have a plane up and flying on course at the correct speed you can pop into the kitchen and make a cup of coffee before coming back to sit at the controls and be ready for any misadventure that might occur. When driving a train, slipping off to make a coffee often means you coming back to a 'Failed Mission' notice as you have misses a Station (leaving annoyed passengers) and driven through a Red Light (they don't have Red Lights in the Sky and missing the Airport generally only means you have to fly round and try again to land).


Starting the train and getting it moving takes a little thought but after a couple of attempts it should become second nature. Stopping it isn't too hard as long as you aren't going at top speed, you need to start slowing down within the required limits to ensure the train will stop at the Station so Passengers can Board and Alight.

The difficulty I have is balancing the Braking system and the Acceleration. If I slow the train down then I cannot get the train to start moving onward again unless I bring it to a complete halt and then go through the basics. Other than stopping the train, I have yet to discover how it is possible, if indeed it is, to accelerate again after the slowing down process.


Throughout play you are given light clues as to what to do, such as the fluorescent light that beams down on the spot you need to reach. Also, holding the E key in the correct places will activate whatever you are attempting at the time. It took me several attempts to get onto a train and into its Cab even though the fluorescent blue light was beckoming me. No matter what I tried, even pressing the E key, I could not board the train.

I thought that there must be a trigger somewhere for me to operate first and so I went back down the train as far as the game let me - not very far even though the carriages carried on down the track - but no, I couldn't find anything I may have missed. I went back to the Cab door and LMB closed it and then opened it again, I still couldn't get on. I aimed Spot the cursor (I got used to calling it 'Spot') at the step into the Cabin but no Help Bubble appeared. Then for some reason I took a step back and looked again at the step; lo and behold the Bubble appeared and the E got me into the Cab. There are a few little anomalies like this which you need to learn, so I suggest you familiarise yourself with them, otherwise you are going to spend a lot of time frustrated.


Railway enthusiasts will certainly enjoy the authenticity Dovetail Games have perfected for this simulator.  





© Chris Baylis 2011-2015