Good evening everybody! With a bit of delay, I decided to make us travel by looking at a Romanian route that came out this spring on Train Simulator at the price of 30 €. The Bărăgan route, as it is called, was developed by Rail-Studio, a group of independent creators already known for their engines and a freeware route. I would like to congratulate the studio's audacity in trying to innovate in the add-ons scene by offering content from a country that is very little known to the average player. However, the distribution of some free third party assets in this paid package caused it some problems - the route was taken off sale a few days after it was published, only to be quietly republished in April. Since this problem seems to have been resolved with the creators of the assets, I suggest we start this review.
The add-on reproduces a 60-kilometre route (and not 229 as one might interpret from the description of Rail-Studio!) in south-eastern Romania, between the small towns of Brăila and Făurei. It is in fact a section of the route from Bucharest to the Moldavian border in the far east of the country. Făurei is known for its railway test centre with two circuits of 2.5 and 14 kilometres respectively, also reproduced in the simulator. The centre, built in 1978 and modernised a dozen years ago, recently hosted the new Stadler Euro Dual locomotives tested for HVLE.
The route is admirably reproduced, the stations benefit from specific assets and the track sides are very well crafted, especially in terms of vegetation. However, as in reality, the route is very flat and straight, the track crosses fields for a good part of the way. This boring aspect is largely compensated by the cities of Făurei and especially Brăila, where the tracks cross a long charming residential area. The laying distance of the assets is quite small, but as there is little relief it is not noticeable. A little bug I encountered, the shadows are not displayed in the landscape even in the middle of the day, maybe for optimization reasons...
Romanian signalling is well implemented and has a safety system similar to the German PZB. The catenary is also well done. There are many scenarios, however, they require additional free rolling stock available on the developer's website as well as the Škoda 109E downloadable here. Note that two missions use obligatory payware engines, the diesel locomotive 060-DA, which I have not tested.
Although there is no train included with the route, this flaw is largely compensated by the quality of the engines used, even the free locomotives have an advanced simulation (even AI whistle at the departure of a station!). These scenarios include both passenger and freight services and even a shunting mission. Two drawbacks however, the Quick Drive mode is not available and the scenarios do not use the test centre at Făurei, although it is reproduced and decorated.
Even if the route is a bit short and lacks variety, it is beautiful and excellent for discovering a new region. There are quite a lot of scenarios, so there's plenty of fun to be had for a while. However, it's up to you to see if you're willing to pay 30 euros for a route provided without new engines.
To see more...
https://youtu.be/AERppCUInfA - credits Railworks View (no commentary)
https://youtu.be/_c2fASsQMNo - credits France Simu (français)
https://youtu.be/mgKlWZ_lc90 - credits Mr.Bandit (română)