Having written about the Class 455 units on the South Western Railway, I think I should turn my attention to the services out of Liverpool Street station on the old Great Eastern routes. Change has been afoot out here for several years and many of the older electric units have been under threat of withdrawal for a long time.

One of the key enablers for change was Crossrail – now known as The Elizabeth Line. It was supposed to open in 2018. Class 345 units (345002 seen at Ealing Broadway),..

… were bought to operate it both through the new central London section and on the suburban services out of Paddington and Liverpool Street which were handed over from their respective operators to Transport for London. At the eastern end, this should have allowed the replacement of the ageing Class 315 units – 315821 seen here arriving a Stratford…

…However, with the central section still not open and currently finally expected in late spring 2022, 8 of these units remain available for use at peak times to cover for the absence of the through London services. The other 53 members of the class including ‘821 have been scrapped.

The other bastion of the 315’s – the Enfield and Cheshunt services – became part of London Overground. Here’s 315808 at White Hart Lane…

…The ones allocated to these services have all been scrapped – replaced by new Class 710/1 units similar to this 710/2 unit, 710259, seen at Wanstead Park…

Long-distance Greater Anglia outer suburban and semi-fast services have been in the hands of the Class 317 and Class 321 for a number of years (there are also a small batch of 322’s drafted in recently). Greater Anglia are replacing all of these with Class 720/5 units like 720540, seen here approaching Shenfield…

The Class 317’s bear a family resemblance to the Class 455’s which is understandable with both types having been designed and built by BREL at Derby and York in the mid-1980’s. Here’s 317506 passing through Stratford…

…and 317665 waiting in platform 11 with a service to Bishops Stortford…

…The latter unit having already gone to the scrapyard☹️ They are mainly restricted to peak time services now and I saw 317507 in Liverpool Street just a week ago. The only reason any are still in service is continuing delays to the arrival of the Class 720’s. These are Bombardier Aventra units and there have been some issues.

Finally, there are the Class 321’s and 322’s. These will be the last survivors of the mkIII bodied units in service with Greater Anglia. But when the last of the 720’s finally arrives, the axe will fall on them too. Here’s 321319 at Stratford…

…Some of these units will find a new life elsewhere but a number have already fallen to the cutters torch.

Change is always painful. For the enthusiast, there is a loss of variety. You may have noticed that all these new units look the same except for the paint schemes and some very minor detail differences☹️ As for the passengers – I’m not sure how they will take to the seating; some of it longitudinal. I have to say that the ride feels a bit light and jittery compared with the gentle wallow of the older types too – could be more tiring on longer journeys?🙄

It’s been a while and with Alasdair away at Uni I find myself exploring on my own🙄 Sometimes that is a good thing because it results in some introspection – a revisiting of favoured artists from the past. So, here’s one that Alasdair doesn’t like very much and my young friend Vasilije described as something along the lines of ‘Demonic Music’. But I like it a lot. This is My Name is Ruin by Gary Numan…

…For those who may be wondering, the young lady in the video is Gary’s Daughter, Persia, and she has performed this song with him live on stage👍

Now for a much less well known band (at least in the UK) – Röyksopp. I just love this track, ‘Running to the Sea’…

…With such a sad sound it’s understandable that there are a number of interpretations out there of what this song is about. Alasdair was ok with that one and my friend Vasilije said it was good music for when he goes running😎

Finally – here’s something from Epi’s homeland…

…A totally different sound and proof that you don’t need to understand the words to enjoy music 😎👍 Alasdair liked this, enjoying the modern African mix and Vasilije enjoyed the light joyful sound👍

But what did you like?

When I say ‘In the next post’ it doesn’t usually mean that literally. But on this occasion I need to continue the story because we are about to reach a key point in the farm’s development. But first, lets talk about March.

The first week of March and, with some early weeds growing on other farms, spraying jobs have started to appear. I hired equipment and took on one of these jobs in a large field using a Berthoud sprayer…

…It’s a nice bit of kit! But a bit beyond my budget and needs currently although, with this job type reappearing, I should probably purchase a smaller one for my farm. When I completed that work, it was back to my own field.

I wanted to sow Oats in my field in the first week of march and looking at the in-game weather forecast, that was the best week for sowing anyway. With as much of the preparation work done as seemed reasonable, I loaded up my Amazone seeder and set to work…

…You may be wondering what that green bar and orange wheel on the left are. That’s a ridge marker and many items of farm machinery are fitted with them. It provides a guide for where to position the tractor for the next row. In the case of this Amazone seeder, you have to line up the centre of the tractor with the mark in the soil. On others you may need to line up the wheel nearest to the previous row. They are a handy guide to doing the sowing job efficiently but are less reliable on uneven fields and with bulky pieces of machinery. For example…

…This potato sower I used on a hire job has only left intermittent marks to guide me.

I took a fertilizing job after sowing my crop before bringing the spreader back home and applying the first coat of fertilizer to my own field. Then I bought my own sprayer, because it is only a matter of time before I will have weeds of my own to contend with!

There are a number of options in the game including back-pack and towed types. There are also some mods. I opted for one of the mods – the Kverneland iXter B18…

…a back-pack type. It holds 1800ltrs of kill-juice and you can opt for 3 different maximum widths – 18m, 24m and 28m. I chose the 24m version and opted not to buy an additional tank. Above, I’m spraying another farmers weeds.

I now have just about all the machinery that I need to run my farm. But the cost has meant that I still only have the one small field. I did 2 potato sowing jobs in mid-March and then hit the ground running at the end of March with a glut of fertilizing jobs…

…The spreader putting in a good stint. That pushed my money in the bank up to €60K – a long way from the amount I will need to buy that next field and get a shed for my equipment. I think by now I have shown just how much of a grind playing on the Start From Scratch setting is on this map. I could continue in much the same vein as I have so far, detailing job after job through the rest of this farming year and into the next before I get to buying that next field, etc. – but it will be highly repetitive and I think that is not ideal for a blog post. How can we change that?

There are a number of options. Firstly, I could go into the game menu and change the Economic Difficulty setting…

…The fact that you can do that suggests that Giants recognise that players may need to alleviate the grind while still wishing to start from scratch with very little money. I’m not going to do this (at least not yet!). Another way is through a mod called ‘Government Subsidy’…

…Quite a reasonable option given that the European Union does have farm subsidies. I might try that in future – possibly on another farm if I’m running a series of story posts😉 Yet another option would be to buy some generators – Solar and Wind are available to add to your farm. They give hourly returns too but they cost money – which is what I haven’t got. Again, something for a future farm! There is a final option that will give a one-off cash boost. It’s finding the collectables on the map😎

Collectables are an in-game bonus of sorts that used to be in Farming Simulator 17 but were not implemented in 19. They have returned to FS22. They take the form of toys on the US map and game cartridges on Haut-Beyleron. Each one you collect will give you €50K. So, after a morning’s fertilizing, I decided to spend my lunchtime seeking out some of these to boost my finances.

It’s amazing what you find as you wander around the map looking for the collectables – there are a number of Easter Eggs like this shopping cart full of stale Baguettes…

…I found another baguette elsewhere half buried in concrete🤣 Anyway, here’s one of those games cartridges…

I collected 6 which has given me a €300K boost. There are 14 more out there but I don’t need that money just now, so I’ve got what I came for and it’s time to get back to farming👍

That afternoon I bought field 14 across the tracks from my farmhouse…

…If you look closely at the mini-map in the bottom left you can see both my fields with blue numbers. I spent the rest of the afternoon removing the stones before heading home across the railway line…

I will begin April by building my vehicle shed on the land behind field 14 and hopefully I can build a workshop in my current yard too. Then it will be time to sow a crop in my new field. To be continued in a few irl day’s time😉