Victory Works are famous for creating the GWR Saints and Pannier tanks for Train Simulator. Still, they have also created some unusual models for the game, such as the British Railways GT3 Gas Turbine engine.
One of their most obscure classes comes in the form of the USATC S160 loco pack, featuring the locomotive designed for use in World War II and one that was exported all over the world. Here’s what you need to know about the pack in Train Sim 2021.
Exploring Victory Works’ USATC S160 Class pack
The Victory Works pack was released in 2016, but it still one of the best and most comprehensive steam locomotive packs released for Train Simulator.
There is a ridiculous level of variety in this pack. The locomotives represented include the engine in USATC Black, USATC Grey, Longmoor Military Railway, BR Preservation, various American variants such as the Alaskan Railroad, as well as examples from Poland and Russia. Some of these locos, such as the USATC Grey livery, can be configured to represent the loco in America, Europe, Russia, or the UK.
Various scenarios are included, plus an abundance of wartime freight wagons from the likes of Europe, Russia and America, that even have military vehicles fitted to show a wartime train of tanks and trucks. There is an advanced mode, authentic sounds recorded from S160 No.5820 at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway, and a dynamic whistle that can be operated more akin to a real-life example.
What it’s like to drive the S160 in Train Sim 2021
Even in advanced mode, the S160 is actually a relatively forgiving engine to drive. This is because its small wheels give it good grip and adhesion on the rail, and the tractive effort of 31,4492 lbs (the power of the engine) is more than enough to pull long and heavy freight trains.
Maintaining your water levels and boiler pressure shouldn’t be too much of an issue either. The S160 likes a good hot fire that can keep up a strong boiler pressure number. You will find that the S160 can scurry away nicely, especially if you are hauling just a five or six-coach train along a preserved line.
To really test the loco, you will need a much longer train on a hilly line, but this still shouldn’t prove to be a problem for the S160s. The engine can be light on its feet occasion, so just be mindful of any wheel slip.
Detailing of the S160
The detailing of the model in this package is superb, with details such as the smokebox door bolts, the various braking pipes and couplings, and the liveries themselves being beautifully recreated. A particular highlight is the stunning Longmoor liveried loco, Franklin Roosevelt. This purple-and-red-liveried engine stands out with its white-walled wheels, red rods, and yellow lettering on the purple livery.
The cab is equally well detailed, with the controls being laid out differently depending on whether you are driving a British, European, or American example of the class. We can even see the whistles in different shapes and places – with the whistles used in America being different to those used on the exported variants.
How do the S160s sound in Train Sim 2021?
The sounds were recorded from preserved S160 No.5820, nicknamed ‘Big Jim’ at the Keighley and Worth Valley Railway in the UK. The crips beat of the S160 are clearly heard, and the chime whistle sounds very nice indeed. It could be argued, though, that the sounds don’t quite capture the loudness of the beat as well as they could, and the whistle could have been tweaked slightly.
The dynamic whistle feature is a great touch, where you can use either the in-cab chain or the HUD brake lever to manually control the pitch and length of each whistle tone. Other sounds, such as the clunk of the wheels and the braking sounds with that familiar air pump, sound just like the real locomotive.
A short history of the S160s
The S160s were first built in 1942, designed by a committee of companies that was made up of US locomotive builders, Alco, Baldwin, and Lima. The S160 was a basic but powerful freight locomotive that could be deployed to Europe to boost the Allied advance into the continent. It was also used in its own right in countries such as the UK, China, Hungary, Turkey, Mexico, Poland, and Germany.
Despite only being built to last 90 days and be easily replicable if one failed, the S160s would continue in service for many years, with some of the class remaining in service right up until 1997. They were never a pretty engine, but did have a unique sound and loud chime whistles – with a few members of the class preserved in the UK.
Overall, the S160 is one of the best locomotive add-ons that you can buy for Train Simulator 2021. Victory Works did a great job of creating a diverse and interesting package for the PC game that still holds up well after a few years. The sounds are a bit lacklustre in places, but they are good enough to help add to an overall brilliant driving experience.