Redditch and Bromsgrove to Lichfield Trent Valley route
The Cross-City line and Class 323 made its mark on train simulation in 2005 after the release of BVE v4, since then it has remained on the shelf gathering dust; that is of course until now - we believe that this route and train deserves a new lease of life in the world of train simulation. We are passed the decade mark since they were released for BVE v4, so we feel it is only fit to bring you the modernised depiction of the Cross-City Line and refurbished Class 323 for you all to enjoy.With the history that this route has within the train simulation community alone, we want to ensure that we recreate this route and train in a loyal fashion, bringing it into the modern age and to Dovetail Games' Train Simulator.
About the Cross-City Line
Cross-City Line services came into existence as a result of the West Midlands Passenger Tranport Executive (WMPTE) recognising the need to improve services to the south of Birmingham - once sanctioned in May 1975, the three year development would see new stations built and stations reopened. Initially services ran between Four Oaks and Longbridge via Birmingham New Street using refurbished 'slam door' diesel multiple units with services extended to Redditch in 1980, Lichfield City in 1986 and some services extended to the re-opened high level platforms at Lichfield Trent Valley in 1988. Upon the opening of the Lichfield Trent Valley high level platforms, the Cross-City Line's final length would be 32 miles.
As the aging diesel multiple units became unreliable, it was time for a change! Centro, the re-branded WMPTE, pushed for electrification of the line in the late-1980's, with the go ahead given for the 25 kV overhead line network to be erected in May 1990. By the time of completion in June 1993; Redditch, Alvechurch and Blake Street were rebuilt, with Barnt Green and several other stations being modified for the anticipated arrival of the new electric trains, the Class 323.
With Redditch to Barnt Green restricted by single track working, a passing loop was constructed at Alvechurch to allowing an increase from two, to three trains per hour. Electrification between Barnt Green and Bromsgrove has also taken place, seeing electric trains tackle the infamous Lickey Incline for the first time, as well as signal upgrades throughout the route with a real mixture of signals populating the line.
About the Class 323
Built from 1992 to 1995, the Class 323 is a three car electric multiple unit that was ordered to run on the Cross-City Line - with 37 units initially ordered, the final number built was 43, with 17 going up to North Western Regional Railways and 26 being retained by Central Trains as part of the privatisation of British Rail. Central Trains inherited sets 323201 - 222 and 323240 - 243, where they held on to their original Centro livery until November of 2007 when the franchise was won by Govia, which would operate as London Midland.
Manufacturer: Hunslet Transportation Projects
Year Built: 1992 - 1996
Formation: DMS(A) + PTS + DMS(B)
Power: 8 x Holec DMKT 52/24 traction motors
Brakes: Regenerative & air brakes
Coupling compatibility: Tightlock EMU Coupler
Maximum Speed: 90mph (145kph)
In-Cab Communication: GSM-R (previously NRN)