Niddertalbahn is coming!
It’s time to ditch the electrics, forget those overhead wires and rev up some engines as our German Train Sim World content goes back to the early 1990s and onto a complete, diesel-powered branch line.
Train Sim World 3: Niddertalbahn: Bad Vilbel – Stockheim will be released on March 23rd! Some of you may have known about Niddertalbahn for a little while.
Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed us slipping out the name of this forthcoming route last September in our Freedom Dev Diary and we teased a little more of it during the Festival of Rail Spring Summit in February - confirming the DB BR 628.
2 DMU in the process. Dedicated Roadmap followers will also know that the route introduces Train Sim Germany (TSG) to Train Sim World 3 as part of our ongoing Partner Programme.
If you missed the latest March Roadmap Article, you can read the interview with the TSG Team to learn more about some of the fun challenges they had when developing this quaint but detailed route.
Units, Locomotives and ServicesPassenger Trains: DB BR 682. 2Heading up passenger operations on the route is the DB BR 628.
2 DMU, requested by much of the Train Sim World community over the years.
Variants of this dependable unit, built in the 1980s, became widespread across a number of German regions during the 1990s and 2000s including the branch line between Bad Vilbel and what was then named Stockheim.
A striking white and mint green livery appears from before the reunification of Germany in 1989, adding something different to the largely red palette from other German Train Sim World routes.
A simple, practical, utilitarian DMU (similar in spirit to the British ‘Pacer’ units), the BR 628. 2 can hit 120 km/h (75 mph) courtesy of a turbocharged V12 diesel engine.
A slower pace of life in the rural, postcard-picture Hesse region brings a different style of play to this route where punctuality is paramount to ensure trains aren’t unduly held at the numerous passing loops along the single track line.
Trains operate the full length of the complete branch line between Bad Vilbel and Stockheim, as well as some shorter services between intermediate stations.
A total of 54 playable passenger services, over a short but complete route, see a timetable formed that’s dependent on good timing.
Not only will slow running hold up others, but arriving early will mean your train is waiting before being able to proceed into the next section.
Timetable OverviewThe passenger timetable works to reflect the ebb and flow of peak and off-peak services across the route, with an hourly service worked by two trains between the hours of 0900 and 1200, after which things become busier with the introduction of a third train, having uncoupled from another.
Later in the day, this third train recouples with the train it was originally attached to, bringing the service frequency back down again.
The afternoon services have a bias away from Frankfurt (from Bad Vilbel towards Stockheim).
Between 14:50 and 17:16 there are no full length services in the opposite direction from Stockheim to Bad Vilbel.
Instead, trains running from Stockheim during this period terminate at Altenstadt and Heldenburg-Windecken, where they are held to allow the other services through.
In order to keep this flow of trains moving, throughout the day some services have limited stops thus allowing others to cross them at passing loops effectively and keep to time.
Players that picked up our previous German route Add-on Linke Rheinstrecke: Mainz-Koblenz will be able to see non-stop AI services running the BR 103 and BR 110. 3 and will be able to make use of the BR 628. 2 on Linke Rheinstrecke through a number of playable service layers.
Freight Trains: BR 365Joining the passenger services is a diesel shunter, the BR 365, which on this route features as a main line freight locomotive, running a total of 8 services along the course of the line, collecting stock and performing light engine movements.
These services are formed in parts, as they are often held in order to prioritise the passenger trains.
A new wagon, the ES50, makes an appearance behind the shunter, forming the sugar beet trains that were once a daily occurrence in the area until the beginning of the 1990s.
Though this shunter is on the outside visually similar to the BR 363, the interior of the BR 365 has been modelled to reflect the condition it would have been seen in during this period.
The route - Back to the 1990sDuring the 1990s, Germany had a renewed vigour following the reunification of East and West Germany in 1989 and a World Cup victory for the national football team in 1990.
Niddertalbahn: Bad Vilbel – Stockheim comes set in 1992, a year that heard U2’s Berlin-recorded album ‘Achtung Baby’ play endlessly across Europe and saw a young Michael Schumacher take his first of many Formula 1 wins.
The route, stations, signage and train services all reflect this period, depicting a time prior to the redevelopment of a number of the route’s stations and introduction of more modern DMUs.
Younger players familiar with this area of Germany may not recognise names like Heldenbergen-Windecken or even the route’s terminus at Stockheim, as they have since been renamed (to Nidderau and Glauburg-Stockheim respectively) along with others.
The sugar beet freight trains also reflect the time – these daily services, moving sugar beet to the sugar factory in Friedburg, came to an end at the start of the 1990s, making the setting of this route a fitting tribute to some of the final such trains that made their way through the area.
In total, 14 stations occupy what is a complete branch line along the Nidder Valley, therefore known as ‘Niddertalbahn’, which is seen at a slower pace when compared to other Train Sim World routes and in a high level of detail.
Greenery fills the wide cab window of the BR 628. 2, with open fields and woodland stretching to the horizon and farmland full with crops between each of the towns and villages along the line.
Along the way, players will be encouraged to collect Celtic statues, replace milk bottles, repair broken Level Crossing signs and put up posters.
There are also some defining railway features on the route, from the first appearance of animated German semaphore signals in Train Sim World, to AI services being able to recognise whistle boards and ‘honk’ accordingly!