I'm delighted by the rise of fixing and cleaning games, these meticulous and contemplative experiences of repairing cars and mopping guts out of vents. If trains are more your bag, hey, that's now covered too. Train Mechanic Simulator 2017 [official site] launched last week with steam, diesel, and electric trains in need of a little love. TraMechSim devs Si7 Studio aren't the folks behind the Car Mechanic Simulator games -- that's Red Dot Games -- but they're clearly inspired by it and the two sims do share a publisher, PlayWay. Have a look at this trailer:
Only you can save those poor, defenseless trains. Other trains, smelling oil on the wind, will soon arrive to devour them alive.
Train Mechanic Simulator 2017 is out on Steam for £8.79/11,99€/$11.99, which includes a 20% launch discount. Initial player reviews seem mixed, with some comparing it to Car Mechanic Simulator 2014 specifically, not CMS 2015. The first had a nice idea but didn't sing until the sequel. If you've played it, what say you?
Oh, speaking of, we should see the release of Car Mechanic Simulator 2018 this year.
Talk of train care and repairs always reminds of Flann O'Brien's imposing bore in the occasional 'steam men' stories of his Irish Times column:
The other day I wanted to make a trip to the south, and arrived at Kingsbridge to find the train stuffed to the luggage-racks with--well, what do you think cliché-fan? 'Perspiring humanity,' of course. I was told there was no room for me. Perhaps it was injudicious, but I rang up the authorities and asked could I, as an old steam man, be permitted to travel on the plate, offering to fire as far as Mallow, or take over the regulator when and if required. The refusal I received was, clichély-speaking, blunt. After making this call I noticed a queer change coming over the station staff. I could hear phrases like the following being bandied about (and that's a nice occupation, bandying phrases):
Your man is here.
The boss says your man is to be watched.
Don't let your man near the engine.
Your man'll do something to this train if we aren't careful.
There'll be a desperate row if your man is let up on the engine.
Your man ought to be heaved out of here, he'll do something before he goes and get somebody sacked over it.
Don't let your man near the sheds.
I did manage to get a look at the job they had harnessed for the run. There was any amount of evidence of 'foaming'. Your men do not seem to realise that if water is carried into the cylinder with the steam, you get a sharp loss of superheat as well as damage to the piston valve liners. This, of course, is due to the use of feed water that is 'dirty' in the chemical sense. What was needed here was a good boiler washout and the use of some modern castor oil emulsion preparation to reduce the concentration of solids and suspended matter in the f.w. I know I might as well be talking to the wall, of course.
I worry I am that steam man.