With London and the Southeast bathed in sunshine since last Friday temperatures have soared into the low 30’s (Celsius). The mice have been getting at the machinery. Datacentres have been on high alert for cooling problems and component failures all week. I am aware that some failures did occur.

Rail services were affected between London and East Anglia with Greater Anglia deciding to introduce a system wide reduced speed limit to protect the overhead wires from damage and to mitigate against the rails buckling. Other operators with catenary didn’t feel the need to go quite that far.

Wednesday was a bad one for London Overground which usually has a good record of reliability. The morning saw a signal failure at Gospel Oak which caused major disruption. Then a track fault closed the section between Surrey Quays and New Cross. Finally, services on the Goblin Line were badly disrupted when a train failed at Gospel Oak in the afternoon.

At home it’s been too hot from mid morning onwards with the air giving a mild burning sensation in the nose. This morning the core temperature of the house is still 26.5 degrees and my office gets a lot hotter than that 😦 We all need to relax after the working day and computer gaming is one way of doing that. But my favourites are simulation games and most of these really make the graphics card and CPU work very hard. To avoid over heating my home pc I adopted a policy of doing some simple Excel spread sheet things I needed to do and playing SimSig – neither of which require intensive CPU / GPU use. The cooling fans have been reassuringly quiet and it’s been pleasantly relaxing controlling the flow of trains through Westbury 🙂

Westbury signalbox panel at 05:30. 2A02 is the 05:55 service for Yeovil Pen Mill (which will be late leaving as a broken window is being replaced). 5C08 is an empty stock working to Frome where it will become 2C08, the 06:18 service to Bristol. 6O68 waking the neighbours in the Warminster area (including my Cousin if she’s not working night shift) is a freight from Westbury to Eastleigh. The simulation is running a 1985 timetable which brings back some happy memories of visits to Westbury.
33205 arrives at Westbury with a Cardiff/Bristol to Portsmouth Harbour service in July 1986. 33205 is a ‘Slim Jim’ – one of a small batch of locomotives built to a narrow profile for the restricted clearances on the Tunbridge Wells to Hastings route.

…Happened on the way to Södertälje.

First, a little background. Until March this year it was almost impossible to pick up a speeding fine in Euro Truck. You had to be spotted by a speed camera and they were only to be found on dual-carriageways and occasionally in towns. However, with the Police patrolling in numbers over in the US I guess we all knew it was only a matter of time before active policing appeared in Euro Truck as well. They appeared on the streets with the 1.27 update.

The ai Police are tricksy little hobbitses. Squadrons of winged pigs spawn around areas where you’re likely to accidentally speed. Road works are a favourite hang out as are French villages with very low 30km speed limits. I was on a curved slip-road in Germany the other day when a police car that was at right-angles to me on the Autobahn issued a speeding fine. Clearly, the filth are all seeing and this one had a speed gun that shoots round corners! Another little trick is to sneak up behind you and hide by driving so close to your trailer that you can’t see them in your mirrors – which leads me onto my little story.

On Monday evening as I was driving my delivery of Paint from Olsztyn to Södertälje I met some road works just south of Gdańsk. I was slowing to the speed limit but I passed the 50km sign at around 55. Cue an immediate €1100 fine from a Pig-sty that was driving right up the back of my trailer 😦 I continued slowing and passed the inner speed limit of 30km at around 27kmh. Then PC Plod pulled out from behind and promptly overtook me (changing lanes in road works is something that is discouraged in the UK). Anyway, this member of the filth must have been watching me in his mirrors and gloating so much that he didn’t see the stationary car waiting to turn left at the crossroads ahead and drove straight into the back of it 😉 It’s great when they get their come-uppance 🙂

A less stressful encounter with the fuzz on the autobahn near München

Disclaimer: No ai police were hurt in the making of this post and I hold real-life Police Officers in the highest regard.

In American Truck I’ve been enjoying a mix of current and old vehicles. Given that a lot of the old vehicles such as the Freightliner FLB were originally in Euro Truck sim, it’s quite amazing that I haven’t really gone down the road of older rigs in that game too. I have recently imported an FLB to Europe but as you see enough of my US FLB in my ATS posts I won’t be covering her in this one.

One of the reasons that I and a lot of the other ETS2 players tend to be driving the ‘in game’ trucks is the volume of options available – seven manufacturers and around 15 possible variants between them. That’s a lot more choice than ATS with four trucks from two manufacturers! However, there aren’t that many older European trucks out there yet. One highly respected mod is for the Scania 113 / 143 range and I shall be trying that out in the future. Closer to my personal favourites is the M.A.N F90 but, as reported before, there are issues with this mod causing damage to trailers (Fifth wheel too close to cabin?). I’ve recently had an enjoyable time with the current Volvo FH16 so I thought I’d give the Volvo F series mod a go.

The F series went into production in 1977. It sold very well because it was tough and had good ergonomics for the driver. The high roof sleeper cab became the Volvo ‘Globetrotter’ – a trademark that is still used today. For the time the engines were powerful too which meant bigger loads could be handled with relative ease. So what did I get and what do I think of this truck?

I stuck with company policy and purchased a 6×4 chassis. The available engines were limited to 385hp and 420hp – I went with the 385. There’s a 12 speed box with the choice of a retarder – I chose to do without. This is a pragmatic choice as retarders were still quite rare in the 1970’s (I can remember them being introduced on buses in the early 1980’s). As there is no engine exhaust braking either, it does mean a different driving style as I will be relying entirely on the brakes and downshifts to slow the truck. It is worth noting that the gearing is long in the upper range because it this a product of a time when trucks were not limited to 90kmh or slower. You can’t use top gear at 70kmh and although 11th is ok at that speed, for a range of revs to play with you probably need to be in tenth. Fuel economy suffers compared with a modern truck as a result.

In appearance this truck is very well modelled both inside and out. It’s fair to say that the only complaint I have about the appearance of the truck is the lack of a front number plate! I believe the creator of the mod is from Iran and I can have as many Iranian number plates as I like 😉 There are choices to include the Iranian Volvo Logo’s too though I have chosen not to on this occasion. I could have opted for the high roof Globetrotter but I’ve gone with the ‘flat-cap’ version. The thing that stands out inside is the size of the steering wheel compared with some more recent trucks – it’s big! The dash is clear and easily read once you’ve identified the instruments. The only thing this truck could do with is an indication of the gear you’re in. On the outside there are no special liveries supplied and I’ve opted for a simple silver metallic which I think sets off this truck really well.

Starting off from Limoges where I bought the truck from the Volvo dealer, I have visited Sweden and Germany but most of the driving has been done in Eastern Europe. This is a brave choice in a truck with no retarder or exhaust brake. Most main routes are single carriageway and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve found a car coming at me head-on as they try to overtake a truck going the other way. I did get caught out once and collided with a lady driver going the other way – Her fault and I wasn’t fined but there was minor damage to my truck and the cargo that I have to pay for 😦 But that shouldn’t put anyone off – This truck is a real joy to drive. The handling is good and the engine makes a great sound with a subdued turbo-whistle below the clattering rumble. Here she is…

Cutting a dash in the night
The driver’s office – note the size of the wheel and the speedo doubling as Tachograph
Taking a load of Michelin tyres from Bourges
Dulux paint for Scania’s headquarters – I do hope that’s for the buildings rather than the trucks 😉