Acorn User1st March 1988
Published in Acorn User #068
Evening Star was one of the most powerful steam locomotives in the British Rail fleet and this locomotive simulation from Hewson does it justice. You play the roles of both driver and fireman in the cab and must take the engine on a journey between Bath and Bournemouth attempting to run to the timetable despite various obstacles.
The software appears to be a re-run of Southern Belle, which has been around for a while, with new journeys. However, it's still worth exploring.
Once the controls have been mastered (using the practice run option) you are ready to underake a real journey. In all there are seven journeys, from the simple training run using few controls to high speed runs using all the controls and hazards such as speed limits and signals.
The graphics used for the simulation are adequate for a Beeb. The dials and controls within the cab and the stations and signals at the trackside are clearly seen. Unfortunately the track is often difficult to see and little trackside scenery is in evidence.
My first impressions were poor. However, after mastering the controls I find myself returning to Evening Star time after time. Stopping and starting at stations, increasing and decreasing power or braking at the correct time and avoiding 'explosive blowback' in tunnels while attempting to complete the journey on time is a rewarding challenge. Overall, Evening Star is an excellent simulation, which can be played on many levels. I would recommend it to anyone interested in locomotives or simulations.