The ECML project was started as a personal route using Microsoft Train Simulator. The trackwork in this game were solid objects similar to a train set and lining these pieces up to the next had to be exact otherwise trains would derail. Building the trackwork at Kings Cross station took two months with a lot of hair pulling. During the same year at the Railfest event at the National Railway Museum at York in 2004 the Trainz team came from Australia to show off the latest train simulator game. Being given a free game pack from Henk Plaggemars the game was quickly tested to see how good it was with building Kings Cross. Two evening’s work! The track was flexible and just joined where you wished. After discovering other individuals building sections of the ECML on the Trainz forum gave the bright idea of building the entire route. The rest as it goes is history.
The first few years the cab required additional work carried out after the show at Railfest and to somehow improve the control systems that talked from the locomotive’s controls to the simulator game. With nothing to show the first few meetings were held in the original foreman’s office at Barrow Hill roundhouse.
UK Trainz members meetings also took place in the early years amongst the Deltics at Barrow Hill.
After years of research a new control system was discovered which would communicate more efficiently between the locos controls and the computer game. This is a system fitted to aircraft simulators to F1 racing cars. 55008 is the only loco in the world to employ this system. Over the years different systems were added to operate like a real Deltic. Today only two air gauges require setting up when funds permit. All other controls work correctly from DSD, AWS and Sunflower, engine start/stop, MPH, Amps, field diverts and control levers forward/engine only/ reverse, throttle, straight air brake for loco shunting and train brake ( M8 ) for controlling the whole train. Below, Martyn Brailsford, a professional programmer, puts 55008 through its paces. The program was written from scratch using a very unique programming language.
Some of the team are shown below setting up and testing 55008 at different events including one of the festive team meets. The whole team have spent considerable amounts of time is building different section of the ECML as well as supporting 55008.
The following two pictures show the screen and pod that house it. The cab windows and nose of a Deltic are quite a complex shape but with the external housing sits quite comfortable bolted external. This is easily removed and store in the locos nose. A larger screen can be fitted when funds permit.
55008′s last visit was to a bus rally at Leeds in 2009. Here the Mayoress takes to the controls.
Three racehorses? Alycidon, a fairground racehorse and 55008 with white windows. Being a regiment named locomotive it never wore this paint scheme. It was only Finsbury Park racehorses that carried the white windows.
Ian Lewis stands for a minute’s silence after playing the Bengal.