Liverpool video game studio recreates iconic rail route

Liverpool video game development studio Skyhook Games recreates iconic British rail route for one of the world’s most popular railway simulator games. Tony McDonough reports

Skyhook Games
Skyhook Games has recreated the Midland Main Line for Train Sim World 3


Liverpool video game developer Skyhook Games has recreated the iconic Midland Main Line rail route for inclusion in Train Sim World 3.

Dovetail Games, owner and publisher of the globally popular Train Sim World game, approached Skyhook to re-create the 38-mile rail route from Derby to Leicester. And they have done so in remarkable detail.

Inclusion of the Midland Main Line was driven by the online gaming community, who had requested it to be developed in the games next phase of expansion for Train Sim World 3. 

Incorporating a plethora of iconic landmarks, which will be familiar to locals and visitors alike, the route incorporates the likes of Ratcliffe Power Station and Red Hill Tunnel. It includes all 12 stations, bringing landmarks to life in full 3D detail.

Users can get into the cab and explore the route from their home PC or console, living out the fantasy of a train driver in the heart of the East Midlands. Players can also explore the stations around the route, as well as sit in a carriage and just enjoy the journey.

Skyhook Games is a game development and art outsourcing studio based in Liverpool. Creators of the Lawn Mowing Simulator, it also provides high quality digital art for the video games industry.

Sean Delaney, producer at Skyhook, said: “This new development will allow fans from around the world to experience the Midland Main Line.

“The East Midlands is synonymous with the development of the rail industry, so it was a particularly special experience to create this much requested route. We are confident it will create a lot of excitement when launched, from both a local and global audience.

“For our studio, this is the first passenger route we have created for Train Sim World 3, having previously created freight routes on US tracks.

Bringing our experience closer to home has been a fabulous opportunity to showcase the East Midlands.

As part of the project, Skyhook has also recreated the much-loved Class 158 diesel multiple unit, with which the player can drive in multiple timetable scenarios.


Skyhook Games
Skyhook Games was approached by the publihser of Train Sim World 3
Skyhook Games
Train Sim World 3 will include stunning detail from the Midland Main Line


The 158 is a familiar sight to commuters and travellers in the East Midlands, whether on work or leisure journeys and has become an indelible part of the local landscape.

Tom Foster, lead developer for the project, added: “We created Class 158 from scratch, which involved a great deal of research.

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“Every UK locomotive is unique and getting all the fine details correct is paramount to gamers and enthusiasts who play Train Sim World.

“It’s not just the visual identity of the locomotive that’s important but recreating operational elements of the train so that it drives as closely as possible to the performance of the real Class 158 within the limitations of a home computer. 

The Derby to Leicester, Midland Main Line Expansion will be launched on Train Sim World 3 on April 18 for PC, Xbox One, Xbox Series X/s, PlayStation 4 and PlayStation 5.

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