GWR 4700 ‘Night Owl’ Crowdfunder

The Forge Simulation have teamed up Steaming Westwards Productions and IronLawl to present a crowdfunded locomotive pack. We would like to bring the GWR 2-8-0 4700 ‘Night Owl’ to Train Simulator 2020.

Photograph by Ben Brooksbank

The ‘Night Owls’ were a 9-strong class of heavy mixed traffic engines built by the GWR between 1919 and 1923. The prototype, no. 4700 built in 1919 was essentially an enlarged 4300 mogul with the Swindon no. 1 boiler. This boiler was soon considered inadequate for the size of locomotive it was fitted to, and the Swindon no. 7 boiler was added to the production locomotives, built between 1922 and 1923 – it is disputed whether this boiler was always planned but simply not ready for the prototype engine, or whether it was designed and built in response to the poor performance of no. 4700. Although mechanically successful, the locos’ route availability was restricted by their size, meaning further potential examples were shelved in favour of Collett’s Halls, and, later, the Granges – which, essentially, were exactly what had originally been envisaged when the need for these locomotives was identified.

The ‘Night Owls’ gained their nickname through their initial primary workload, which was to run fast overnight freight services between London, Exeter, & Plymouth, London & Bristol, and Birmingham and Wolverhampton. Rarely worked in sunlight during their early years, these engines gained daytime reprieve when their strength and speed was put to good use on heavy summer West Country relief expresses. 4702 was the first to be withdrawn in 1962; 2 others followed the same year, 2 in 1963, and the remainder before the middle of 1964. No examples survive in preservation. However, the Great Western Society is using a mixture of existing parts from other locos alongside newly made parts to build the next in the sequence, No. 4709.

A ‘Night Owl’ will eventually grace Britain’s rails again, but as a consortium we want to make this happen in the comfort of your own home by way of an Advanced Locomotive Pack for Train Simulator, with all the realism, quality, and extensive features you would expect from The Forge Simulation.  With an expected price upon release of £17.49 the 4700 Pack would include:

  • Prototype No. 4700 with Standard No. 1 Boiler
  • All examples (4700-4708) with the Standard No. 7 Boiler
  • 3500 gallon and 4000 gallon tender variants
  • Clean, Intermediate and Weathered variants of all included liveries
    • GWR unlined green (with all logos/crests)
    • GWR lined green with 1925 tender insignia (4700 only)
    • BR unlined black with early crest
    • BR lined black with early crest (4702 only)
    • BR lined green with late crest
  • Standard and Advanced Driving Modes with extensive realism features, for example:
    • Authentic GWR locomotive audio
    • Brand new bespoke vacuum braking simulation
    • Our most realistic steam simulation scripting
    • Train Simulator’s only talking fireman – now available in English! Your fireman will call out the next signal to you. Not only does he talk, but you can also use him to fire for you of course – our advanced firing scripting will handle the shovelling, water, etc while you focus on the line ahead (all optional)
  • Engaging and prototypical scenarios based on routes they would have traversed in service such as the Riviera Line in the 50s and the Wycombe & Joint Railway
  • Optional names for the locomotives – although never assigned in reality, many names were planned, and you will be able to use them if you wish

We intend to make this a Train Simulator first and gain crowdfunding to get the project underway, but we can’t do this without your help. The price and perks packages initially planned as follows:

Goal: £800
Current paid backer total: £560.38
Backers total: 28
Please note the current totals are updated manually (last update – 25/01/20), and the money raised is an approximate value after deducting an estimated amount for the fees and taxes we have to pay on each pledge. We do not pay these fees and taxes immediately so can only approximate based on our best knowledge, and the fees can vary.

Group 1 – Full Backing (or more)

Group 1 Backers will receive a copy of the fully completed DLC and early access to the finished product in their tier prior to public release for sale. The higher the tier, the more early access time you get. Tier 5 backers will receive an invite to participate in closed beta testing, subject to the signing of an NDA, and a free product of their choice from our shop – which could even be given to a friend. Finally, each tier also gets a discount code – the higher the tier, the higher the discount (except Tier 5 due to the free product). Click each tier to be taken to its page to buy and for full details.

Group 2 – Partial Backing

Backing below full price would provide an early, discounted purchased of the completed full product with options to back by paying £5, £8, £10 or £15 – the discount being equal to the amount you pay when backing. All those who contribute to Group 2 will be able to place their relevant discounted order 7 days before public sale, and will receive their download before public launch (tier number is the same as the number of days before release you will get your download). Each tier also receives a one time use discount code, with 1% off for each £1 backed (i.e. the Tier 1 £5 option would give you a 5% discount, Tier 2 £8 option would give you an 8% discount, etc). Click each tier to be taken to its page to buy.

All backer rewards, as well as early access and public sale and release dates, and the product contents and features, will be subject to the usual caveats of Train Simulator product creation and may be altered, rescinded or changed without notice in order to meet the needs of the development process to ensure that the product is completed to the ideal standard. We reserve the right to provide rewards on our own terms, which may involve them being provided late (or early!). We will do our best to ensure that everything is performed in an efficient and timely manner, but, ultimately, the quality of the final product is the main priority. In 2020 we have majorly overhauled and expanded the rewards offered to backers, so it isn’t all about potentially taking away!

Please note that once you have paid to back the project, your order is not refundable. We are committed to delivering what we have promised, and it will come, but the more backing we get the more quickly we can make it happen. If we don’t get at least half of the backing, the project could take another six months to a year or more from now (end of 2019). Bear this in mind when making your decision on backing the project. However, if for any reason we become unable to deliver on this project, then you will receive a full refund.

Due to the current economic and political uncertainty, various elements including VAT, payment gateway fees, administration costs and other costs may increase or decrease, which will directly affect the cost of development and therefore the amount that will need to be charged to backers in order for the goal to be achieved, and the goal itself may also have to increase. Backers must pay in full upon backing, so the price you see at the time will be the price that you pay for whichever tier/level at which you back, but it is impossible to guarantee that the final release price or the various backer option prices will remain the same. We reserve the right to change these without notice in order to ensure this project remains economically viable, and therefore achievable.

Although we are not associated with the project to recreate a living, breathing Night Owl, run by the Great Western Society, we will be charitably donating to their project when our own Night Owls are finished in Train Simulator. Details on this will be finalised close to release of the product.

We hope you’ll consider taking us up on this exciting proposed project and help us reach the £1000 goal amount to bring the sight and sound of Churchward’s final masterpiece to life in Train Simulator. If this experiment is successful there’s the potential for other locomotives to be crowd funded in much the same way and allow more choice of DLC in the TS Community, chosen by you!