Birmingham Cross-City South
|The Birmingham X-City South route
will boast many of the features of the real line. These include the
various styles of bridges found along the length of the route, the
various tunnels represented accurately, as well as the station
buildings, trackside signs and infrastructure. The route will also
feature some of the most advanced catenary yet to appear in a BVE route.
Services on the X-City are operated by the Class 323 25kV AC EMU, and
Steve Green is working on an updated version of his Class 323 for the
route. These units have remarkably swift acceleration and braking
characteristics, and these are necessary to keep to the unforgiving
As with Watford Junction to Milton Keynes Central, various types of
train will be seen along this route; including other Class 323 EMUs,
HSTs, Class 47's, Class 66s, Class 150s, and Class 170 'Turbostars'.
And at Birmingham New Street, anything could turn up!
The route will available with the same variations as WJ-MKC, however
the following expanded list of variations come as standard with the
Cross-City initial release:
- Summer conditions
- Winter, Snow conditions.
- Summer, Dusk - Night using Bryan Dudley's "GLE"
- Summer, "Midnight ECS" - Returning empty stock to New
St. with floodlit engineering works for example
- Summer, Dawn - Early morning run into New St. with intersting
trains along the route.
Also, the following timetable and motive power options will be
- Class 323 EMU diagram (Present Day)
Class 323 25kV AC EMU
An updated version of the Class 323 EMU, courtesy of Steve Green (Train
The Class 323 is a 25kV AC electric multiple unit, built between
1992 and 1993 by Hunslet-Barclay in Leeds. These are 3 car units and
are capable of reaching 90 mph. Equipped with 3 phase AC traction
motors, these units exhibit distinctive motor sounds; and can
accelerate and brake very rapidly. Services on the X-City are
exclusively operated by the 323's, and they are also found operating
throughout the electrified West Midlands rail network between
Birmingham, Coventry, Wolverhampton and Walsall. The units also serve
Stafford, Crewe and Manchester.
Detail Levels and 'Feature Lists'
Here are the various 'detail levels' described. The Cross-City is a
demanding route which features far more detail than Watford Junction
to Milton Keynes, so a fast PC is recommended to get the most from it.
The route is geared towards higher end PC's with GeForce cards,
however the Standard and Low Detail versions should allow those with
slower hardware to at least run the route. Regardless of processor
speed, 128 MB of RAM is recommended, as well as a video card with at
least 16MB of video RAM - to be honest, 32-64 MB is preferred.
Birmingham New Street station is very complex, even without much of
the detail included - therefore this part of the route may not perform
well on slow machines regardless of the detail level. The
Cross-City South is designed for BVE2 exclusively -
entirely written in the newer CSV file format.
- For 1GHz+ machines, 128-256MB RAM, GeForce2/3 or Voodoo5 class
graphics card required.
- Very high detail catenary - the wires 'sag' between the OLE
supports, and 'zig-zag' across the track, throughout the length of
the route. All wires run straight from support to support, without
curving with the track, regardless of the distance between the
supports - very realistic and looks just like the real thing. Fully
authentic overlaps are now included. The route uses large
transparent textures to represent the wires, so a graphics card
capable of loading textures up to 1024x128 pixels is required (e.g.
GeForce2/3, Voodoo5 etc).
- 'Rolling Ground Terrain' - features near-constantly varied ground
and embankment/cutting height.
- High tree density throughout the route - many more trees feature
than in WJ-MKC.
- Detailed and realistic trackwork - featuring "smooth curves",
3D rails, details such as pandrol clips or chairs, point motors,
flange lubricators and catch points
- All bridges found on the real line are re-created prototypically
along the route.
- Prominent lineside buildings are included, including well known
landmarks such as Cadburys, New Street signal box and the Rotunda.
- Many lineside signs are included, with both 3D objects and BVE
markers or text descriptions - these include permanent and temporary
speed restrictions, advance warning boards, signal ID plates
(controlled and uncontrolled signals), mileposts, and gradient
posts. Due to feedback received after WJ-MKC's release, more warning
is also given for upcoming stations and speed restrictions.
- Fully working BVE signalling system, with near prototypical
signal operation (within BVE limitations)
- AWS magnets and 'digital AWS' sound effects.
- Highly detailed signal objects, with 'flashover' protection
cages, ladders and signal ID plates.
- The popular 'Passing Train' sound effects, as found in WJ-MKC.
- A wide variety of track types, and accompanying sounds. The ride
quality also varies depending on the local track conditions.
- Realistic station buildings and details, such as seats, lamposts,
stop signs and so-on.
- Photo-realistic tunnel portals, and correctly shaped/proportioned
- The distinctive retaining walls found on the approaches to New
Street are accurately represented.
- Several types of appropriate traction and rolling stock will be
seen along the route, all correct for the line - including Classes
323, 150, 170, 37, 43, 47, 66, 86 and 87.
- For 800 MHz+ machines with good 3D accelerators (GeForce2
for example). 128MB RAM required.
- Effectively the 'High Detail' route, without the extra catenary
details - if the High Detail route causes any pausing on a fast
machine, use this version instead.
- Exact details to be announced - will probably be similar to the
'Medium Detail' route, but with no registration arms fitted to
catenary headspans, and with fewer trees and slightly less station
- Exact details to be announced - likely to be the 'Standard
Detail' route, but with very few trees and simplified stations.
|Anthony Bowden, 2001-2002