Aldwych Branch

Version 2.1.1 is released to fix the curve problem after Holborn on the return route.
Version 2.1.1 is the supposed version 2.1, but to avoid confusion, I’ve called it version 2.1.1.

Version 2.1 is released as an update to version 2.0. Old versions have now been withdrawn. If you have the old versions installed, you do not have to uninstall it as this version goes into a new folder. This route for BVE4 accurately replicates the line as it was within the decade leading up to closure.

The largest alteration is made to the tunnels. It now uses photorealistic cast iron tunnel textures and cables. I have also added the twin bare copper telephone wires, known as the DRICO system. In the old days, the driver would connect his handset to those wires to call the line controller, but nowadays it is used to switch off traction current in an emergency. When these two wires are pinched together, it trips a relay switch which will immediately turn off the traction current and switch on the tunnel lights. These two wires are very distinct and important, but is currently missing on all other BVE routes. As well as the new cables, the shape and positioning of the tunnel lighting units has also been slightly remodeled as it was not so accurate before. Tunnel darkness has been further reduced so it’s now similar to what a driver would see in real life. Furthermore, the fog effect has been extensively reworked; the fog is now less harsh and better simulates the train’s headlights. Also, it will not suddenly appear when you leave Holborn for Aldwych and disappear in a pop when you arrive at Aldwych (or return to Holborn). The photorealistic tunnels, black fog and accurate darkness levels will hopefully present you with the best driving experience ever without being in a real cab.

I did not do very much to the stations; however the platform curve at Aldwych station is now smooth; thanks to The Red Right Hand for teaching me how to do this – I owe my gratitude to him. As well as that, some new objects have been placed at both stations (e.g. benches). Signalling system have not really been touched, but I have added a missing approach signal on approach to Holborn; I wasn’t aware that this signal existed. I have also added the train-stop hiss sound. LU’s train-stop devices are operated by air pressure. The hiss is the sound of air being released from the train stop device when the trip lever rises to the armed position when the home signal turns back to red after the train passes it.

This is probably the shortest route ever released for BVE. Due to the short distance, a return route is also included within the same route file, so you do not need to load another route. To drive the return trip, simply use the “Jump to Station” facility to select “Aldwych (Change ends)” to change ends of your train. This route will provide you with a minute or twos entertainment on the probably most fascinating stretch of now disused underground line (Apart from Epping-Ongar)

The route is written by Kelvin Liu.

The latest version, v2.1.1, consists of the following features:

  • Photorealistic cast iron tunnel walls
  • Photorealistic tunnel cabling
  • DRICO telephone wires are installed in the tunnel
  • Re-modeled the tunnel lights; it is now more prototypically accurate
  • Adjusted the fog effect. Now simulates headlight better.
  • Tunnel darkness further reduced.
  • Smoothly curved platform at Aldwych
  • New objects added to stations
  • Removed most of the announcements
  • Added the train-stop rising hiss at home signals
  • Added a missing approach signal on approach to Holborn
  • Full OpenBVE compatibility.

aldwych-1 aldwych-2 aldwych-3 aldwych-4

Route Overview

The Aldwych branch was part of the Piccadilly Line up until 1994 when it was closed permanently to public. This short spur of line was opened in 1907 as a double track line with both platforms at Holborn and Aldwych (opened as Strand, later renamed to Aldwych) but the lack of passengers saw the demises of the second track in 1918. Passenger volume was never great for this short branch and it was closed during WW II and was used as an air raid shelter. The line reopened after the war. In the 1990’s the original station lifts at Aldwych were well beyond its life expectancy and the Edwardian lift machinery was no longer deemed safe so therefore needed urgent replacement. The lift replacement project was estimated at £3 million. Due to the low usage of the station, the project was not feasible so therefore the station closed in 1994.

The stations along with the line still exists today and is often hired out to film makers and for private functions. Films/TV footage shot at Aldwych station includes Death Line (1972), Most Haunted (2003), Creep (2004), 28 Weeks Later (2007). Contrary to popular believe, the abandoned tube station known as Vauxhall Cross in James Bond 007- Die Another Day was not shot on location, but the tiling scheme was based on Aldwych’s. Although used for filming, you will not be able to catch a train there these days, so if you find yourself on the Aldwych platform for whatever reasons, you are pretty much Strand-ed!