Tim Court's Mideast UK
By Brian Eckard
Originally published in Woodbridge's Train Simulation Craftsman
Volume 2, Issue 1, First Quarter 2003. --Ed
The first thing that strikes you when you start running trains on Tim Court's Mideast UK is that here is a route that has had a large investment of time put into it. The care that he has invested is demonstrated by the amount of detail in the scenery. This attention to detail results in the feeling that you are really traveling across the English countryside.
Mideast UK is a freeware route for MSTS that you can obtain from Tim Court. The best way to make contact would be via Barney's Railroad Software forum over at Crotrainz.com. There is a message posted there in the MSTS section, which contains his contact information. There are also patches available at UKTrainsim.com.
When I received my version of the route it arrived on a professional looking CD and packaged in a jewel case. Installation was simple. Just read the included online readme file and follow the directions. The actual installation is accomplished by running various setup wizards that create the route folder structure for you automatically. Included with the CD package are all of the required rolling stock, so you won't have to scour the Internet for appropriate items, or worse, run GPs on the line!
I ran several of the included activities so I could become familiar with the route. I started with the easy ones and worked my way up to one of the shift activities. This final activity occurred in a snow storm and was a commuter run. The activities are well done and provide a wide variety of operating scenarios that will provide you with hours of enjoyment.
Our slide show contains shots from one of the activities that we ran on this impressive route. Our first scenario was a simple DMU run down the line stopping at each station to drop off and receive passengers. Next we ran an activity that had us deliver a string of passenger carriages to Spalding from
Sleaford. This activity entailed moving the locomotive from its siding on to the main line. You then had to reverse it into the passenger station and onto the siding where the carriages were parked.
After picking up the carriages, you had to drive the train to Spalding. If performed correctly, you will avoid an incoming train at the starting passenger station. If not, you will have to allow the traffic into the station and then wait until the line is cleared so you can move down the line.
The activity is well documented and prompts you at appropriate places to inform you of what tasks need to be performed at that location. When you finally arrive at Spalding, you must drop off the cars at the correct siding. After that, in order to end the activity correctly, you must pull the locomotive forward until a message appears stating that you have successfully completed the task.
The last activity was a morning commuter run in a snow storm. In this scenario you pick up your train at 5:00 AM. Most of the activity that I ran was in the dark. The schedule is tight (this is no Amtrak) and care must be exercised in order to meet the stringent time schedule.
During my run I was unable to complete the activity due to over shooting a platform. When I reversed the train to pick up the passengers, I messed up the MSTS activity and it thought I had run a red signal, which ended the activity.
I like this route and plan to make more runs on it. We will also be providing more slide shows from this well done scenery. I highly recommend that you click on the slide show button below and take a peek at this route.