It’s been a while since I last provided an update. In this post I will talk exclusively about American Truck Simulator.

On March 22nd we were treated to another new truck – the International 9900i Eagle. Some of my readers my recall that I once had a mod of this truck type and quite liked it. That was a long time ago and at a time when the only manufacturers represented in game were Peterbilt and Kenworth. The range of manufacturers has expanded a lot in the last couple of years with Volvo, Mack, Western Star, Freightliner and International models arriving. The Lonestar was the first of the International models – a very individual style icon and much too flamboyant for my taste. Then we got the LT last autumn. That was more to my taste and my slowly expanding fleet has 2 of these with company employees working out of Ontario along with my personal one called ‘Kimberly’…

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…These are set up with 475hp engines and automatic transmissions to handle medium loads of building and farming supplies and occasionally small to medium lowboy work – the duty that Kimberly was last employed on, hence the banner and flags.

The 9900i is a classic truck design, much like the Peterbuilt 389. When I looked at this truck, I knew it was going to be the heavy haul specialist for my company. Expected to haul just about anything, it has a Cummins 600hp engine and an 18-speed manual transmission. As pride of the fleet, it also has a special paint scheme. Time to meet Jeannie…

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…seen here hauling her usual lowboy triple which can carry anything up to the largest types of farming equipment – one of our company’s target markets. Here she is collecting a Crawler Tractor from a farm in Oakdale…

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And here’s a shot from inside Jeannie’s cab, showing the rather stylish dash…

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Update 1.44 has just released and this brings a new trailer type to both Truck Simulator games, the Drop Deck. I’ve been waiting for these for a while as they will be perfect for our farming and building supplies work. More versatile than a normal flatbed, they can also carry small types of plant like loaders and rollers. I dropped off the lowboy and took one of these for a spin…

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…The cargo is a mix-tank which demonstrates the flexibility of this trailer well. I’ve also carried hay while testing. I think we’ll be replacing our current flatbeds with these.

One of the other things delivered in recent updates has been the updates to the California map. SCS have started at the north of the state and the first major settlement to be improved was Redding. In the latest release, the area around Sacramento has been revamped along with Truckee and the Donner Pass as far as the Nevada border. Here’s a few shots from that area…

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Unfortunately, because of the scale, the city of San Rafael had to be removed from the map but, we are promised there will be a new city introduced further south to compensate. California is a big state so I don’t know how long it will be before the rebuild gets as far south as Bakersfield…

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Other things introduced in recent updates of both Truck Simulator games have included improved force feedback for steering wheels and the ability to raise and lower our truck’s suspension. Both much welcomed improvements. We are also getting regular updates on progress towards the next 2 states that are to be added to the game, Montana and Texas. It looks like that could be soon. There have also been hints of an updated Volvo and new interiors for the Freightliner Cascadia and Western Star 4900x trucks. Lots of exciting things going on ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘

Today’s trip out with my pass was almost all about sampling the newly opened Elizabeth Line central section. It’s not often that you get the chance to ride on a line on its first day of service. I took the opportunity to clear Abbey Wood and also Dalston Junction for my project. But today is all about a new railway serving Londoners. I present you with some photographs to give a flavour of the new line and the day๐Ÿ˜Ž

Farringdon Station_01
Farringdon
Farringdon Station_02
Farringdon
Waiting to board - Farringdon
Waiting to Board
345051 interior
Busy on board 345051
Whitechapel
Whitechapel
Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf
Directing
Giving directions at Canary Wharf
Canary Wharf_2
Canary Wharf and the rain
Abbey Wood
Abbey Wood

Last Friday’s outing was dual-purpose. I wanted to clear off Bank station for my project and I also wanted to catch the Belmond British Pullman on its trip out to Gillingham.

The meeting point for the Northern and Central underground lines along with the Waterloo & City. Add in the Docklands Light Railway and a connection to Monument Station on the District & Circle lines and it should come as no surprise that Bank Station is a maze of pedestrian tunnels. Bank Station opened in 1890 as part of an extension to the City & South London Railway – the world’s first deep-level tube line and now part of the Northern Line.

The platforms at many stations on the Bank branch of the Northern Line were not built with modern levels of use in mind. The proximity of passengers to trains in the rush hour is best described as concerning. Angel Station, once the northern terminus of the City & South London Railway, was particularly bad with its island platform – so bad that it was completely rebuilt in 1992. The northbound tracks were realigned in a new section of tunnel and the original track bed filled in to widen the southbound platform. This year it was the turn of Bank to get a bit of a rebuild. The southbound tracks were realigned, and a new platform built…

Bank Station - New Southbound Platform

…The original southbound platform became a new Concourse area. Unfortunately, it’s only a partial rebuild – the northbound platform is still very narrow. I think I shall have to return to Bank on another rainy day to do a more comprehensive photo survey.

Back to the reason I’m here – Bank is a terminus for the Waterloo & City Line and the DLR. The Waterloo & City opened in 1898, was absorbed by the London & South Western Railway in 1907, became part of the Southern Railway in 1923 and British Railways in 1948. It was only transferred to London Underground in 1994! Known as The Drain to regular commuters, it only operates on weekdays and Saturdays because, as every one knows, the City is closed on the weekend๐Ÿ˜‰ Here’s one of the two platforms at Bank…

Bank - W & C line

The W&C is unusual in that it has no connection with other lines nor any section that is at ground level. All normal servicing of the stock is carried out at a depot beneath Waterloo station…

Waterloo & City Depot

When stock is in need of major work, it has to be lifted out using a crane! Fortunately, that is a rare occurrence๐Ÿ˜‰

Now to the other reason for my trip – photographing the Belmond British Pullman. This train runs regularly, so it was really included as a makeweight for my day out. I will almost certainly catch it on more occasions through the summer. Rain was forecast and rain it did – Convenient for my CMMC entry this week๐Ÿ˜‚ You can see the effect of the rain in these two shots of the train approaching Wandsworth Road…

67005 approaching Wandsworth Road
67005 approaching Wandsworth Road_2

..The locomotive is 67005 ‘Queen’s Messenger’.

Now I have to decide where my Freedom Pass is going to take me next ๐Ÿ˜Ž๐Ÿ‘