Train Simulator 2021: Best Freeware UK Routes

Despite most DLC for Train Simulator being payware, there is a tremendous amount of freeware content out there that’s absolutely worth your time.

Train Simulator has become famous for its vast and expansive range of DLC, all of which helps to vastly expand each player’s collection and make the game that much more enjoyable.

A considerable amount of this content is payware, but a lot of free content is worth your time too. Here, we will list some of the best UK routes for Train Simulator that are free to download and certainly worth your time.

North Somerset 2021 from Golden Age Developments

The North Somerset Railway is available as payware DLC from Steam. While it is a great route, there are a few things that it lacks, such as the run-round loops for steam locomotives and any form of facilities for steam.

The team at Golden Age Developments have massively overhauled the line to create a stunning preserved railway representation of the route, as it could be in 2021.

This freeware features overhauled stations, steam loco shed and facilities, stock sidings, and more detailed scenery and signalling. If you have all of the payware requirements, get this route installed onto your Train Sim.

Available from Golden Age Developments

Churnet Valley and Churnet Valley Fictional from Vulcan Productions

Vulcan Production’s Churnet Valley line is a representation of the five-and-a-half mile Churnet Valley Railway in Staffordshire. The line runs from Froghall to Cheddleton and Leekbrook Junction, with a fierce incline up to Ipstones also being a part of the route.

The Fictional edition of the route includes the line as it is now, but it is extended to the Oakamoor sidings, features the line restored into Leek – which the railway used to serve – and has recreated the currently mothballed Stoke-on-Trent section of the line.

The Leek section used to run through to Cheddleton and beyond, and links up with the Stoke line at Leekbrook Junction. For freeware routes, these are some of the best out there.

Available from Vulcan Productions: Churnet Valley and Churnet Valley Fictional

Mid-Hants ‘Over The Alps’

Steam Sounds Supreme feature a big selection of freeware routes that provide massive updates to routes that have been out for some time. The Mid-Hants line is a comprehensive update to the old Watercress Line from Just Trains, which is a preserved railway in Hampshire.

The route features an updated track, scenery, signals, and a big pack of scenarios that make use of stock found on the real Mid-Hants railway. It is a vast improvement on the original Mid-Hants pack and well worth your time.

Available from Steam Sounds Supreme

Delllyn Remastered

Produced by TrolleyFodder on the Steam Workshop, the Delllyn Remastered route is an updated version of the same user’s previous Delllyn Heritage Line. The remastered version features an extension to the original route while vastly updating what is already on the line.

These improvements come in the form of a massive motive power depot, carriage sidings at the southern terminus, a massively expanded middle station, and improved scenery and signalling. It is quite an intensive route for Train Sim, but it’s well worth playing its challenging gradients, both up and down, to test your driving and braking capabilities.

Available from the Steam Community

Second Valve’s Swanage Railway

Another fantastic route hosted by Steam Sounds Supreme, the Swanage Railway is a preserved line located in Dorset. It runs from Swanage to Corfe Castle, on to Norden, and links up with the National Network at Wareham.

The freeware route developed by Second Valve is a beautiful recreation of this idyllic branch line, which has become one of the most popular heritage railways in the UK. The scenery is stunning, there is a great selection of motive power, and best of all, the route is free!

Available from Steam Sounds Supreme

Epping Ongar Railway from Backdated Trainsim

Perhaps a ‘lesser known’ free route for Train Simulator, the Epping Ongar Railway is located in Essex and is pretty much the only heritage line within a short drive from London.

It is unique in having a connection with London Transport, and the Backdated Trainsim representation is second to none. The whole branch is covered, from Ongar to the London Underground Central Line station at Epping.

Appearing as it was from mid-2016 onwards, the route pack also features the intermediate stations, quick drive scenarios, and a free roam mode.

Available from Backdated Trainsim

The Temsby Branch

This is another epic route available from the Steam Workshop. The route has been published by DemSocks, and is a representation of a GWR Branch Line that runs into the countryside from a major terminus.

Set in the 1950s – although it is possible to give the line a 1930s feel as well – it’s incredibly well detailed and populated. It features accurate signalling and spectacular countryside scenery, plus a few gradients to work the locomotives hard. This line simply oozes atmosphere.

Available from the Steam Community

Midland Railway Centre Butterley

Hosted by Vulcan Productions but developed by Lewis Cox, this is a fantastically detailed recreation of the three-and-a-half mile Midland Railway Centre line that runs between Hammersmith and Riddings, with a mainline connection to the Erewash Valley Line.

The route is incredibly well detailed with custom buildings at the main stations of Butterley and Swanwick, with the massive yards and shed complex at the latter recreated. The famous causeway that trains cross to get over the Butterley Reservoir is also recreated.

Available from Vulcan Productions

Worthy, non-UK mention: Villeneuve Valley Branch

Developed by Bradillo on Steam Workshop, the Villeneuve Valley Branch is an interesting route. It is a fictional representation of an Australian outback branch line that runs from a mainline connection and into the Australian wilderness. Train Simulator doesn’t have any official Australian payware or freeware content, so right now, this is as good as it gets. Still, given the tools and content available in Train Sim, this is a fantastic effort.

Available from the Steam Community

While this is just a short selection of what’s available for free in Train Simulator, these are easily some of the best routes to get.

They do require payware DLC, but that is just the nature of the beast when it comes to Train Sim. The routes themselves, though, are free to download and are certainly up there with the highest quality payware routes on the market.

Henry K

Keen player of both simulation and racing games. Can mostly be found playing the F1 series, Train Simulator, Assetto Corsa, with a bit of Battlefield thrown in between.
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