The Stainmore Route package from Steam Sounds Supreme is one of the most comprehensive packages ever made for Train Simulator, and at some point, it will get a whole review of its own.
Before that, though, we are going to take a look at a class of engine that comes in the package: the LMS Ivatt 4MT.
Ivatt 4MTs and their Train Sim representation
The Ivatt Class 4s were a 2-6-0 design of steam engine primarily used for freight work, but they could often be found on passenger services as well. The London, Midland and Scottish (LMS) railway ordered 162 of the class, which were built between 1947 and 1952.
With the advent of British Railways in 1948, only three members of the class were actually built by the LMS. The class became most famous for their work on the Midland and Great Northern Joint Railway in East Anglia, as well as their usage in the Stainmore, Shap, and Eden Valley regions. The class earned the nickname ‘Flying Pigs’ due to their apparently ugly aesthetic.
The package in Train Simulator includes the Ivatt 4MTs in their British Railways guises and single chimney form. Fifty members of the class did feature double chimneys, but these were quickly replaced with single variants due to poor steaming. Clean and weathered versions of the class also feature in the pack, toting late and early crest British Railways tenders.
Driving the Ivatt in Train Sim 2021
The Ivatt 4MT has a long and complicated history in Train Simulator, and it took several developers – including Digital Traction, Caledonia Works, and Bossman Games – to finally finish the job and get the engine in-game.
A few compromises had to be made, such as the engine lacking some truly advanced physics, per some add-ons – such as those from Bossman and Victory Works. Still, the locomotive is incredibly fun to drive, thanks to its realistic steaming physics and sounds.
The fire mass needs to be built up a bit more before you move off, but once the locomotive is hot, you won’t have any problems trying to maintain boiler pressure. That said, keep an eye on your water levels. A detailed tutorial scenario is included in the Stainmore route pack to help you get up to speed with the locomotive.
What makes the engine so enjoyable to drive, though, are the sounds. The sounds are very accurate and feature the typical LMS clank that many engines from the company produced when coasting. Ivatt hooter sounds are replicated beautifully with the whistle, and there is even immersion via the physics that ensures it’s not a simple ‘plug and play’ locomotive. The lack of a steam chest simulation is a bit of a letdown, though.
Detailing of the Ivatt 4MT
Due to some of the constraints required to get the locomotive out and ready for the Stainmore package, the Ivatt 4MT perhaps lacks in some areas of detail compared to other add-ons. For example, the locomotive, for some reason, is lacking a smokebox shed-code, which was something seen on virtually every class of engine in the British Railways days. The model itself was also relatively old by the time that it was completed.
However, despite those issues, it holds up very well indeed, and to many, it is just a relief to have this class of engine in-game. The texturing is fantastic, and the weathered examples do well to replicate the rundown appearance that many engines took on during the British Railways era. The Ivatt 4MTs are a popular class of engine, perhaps enhanced by the fact that only one of them, No.43106, has been preserved. The sole survivor can be found on the Severn Valley Railway that runs from Bridgnorth to Kidderminster.
The class could handle a multitude of tasks thrown at them, and they were one of the final classes of engine to be seen on British Railways in steam’s final years and months. So, it’s great to finally have these in the game.
Perhaps not a five-star package, the Ivatt 4MT that comes with the Stainmore route is still a great addition to Train Simulator. It’s been eagerly anticipated for many years, and its inclusion has been welcomed by many in the Train Simulator community.