Train Sim World 3 Class 101 How to Drive

Hello from our Train Sim World 3 Class 101 How to Drive guide! Class 101 is the best train in TSW. Or at worst, depending on who you listen to. For most people, learning to drive is difficult and often frustrating. However, once you gain your trust it is one of the most satisfying driving experiences in this or any other simulator. The purpose of this manual is to help you build your confidence while driving this exceptional unit. As soon as you enter the cabin of 101, you realize that something is different. It looks like you have too many handles and an extra gauge to deal with.

Train Sim World 3 Class 101 How to Drive

Welcome to our Train Sim World 3 Class 101 How to Drive guide. This guide will show you how to drive Class 101 in game!

How to drive the Class 101

In this view the brake handle is out of sight to the right. The handle on the left is the power handle, and the handle on the right of the image is the gear handle.

The left-hand gauge is easily recognisable as the speedometer, and the right-hand gauge is the brake gauge. The yellow gauge in the middle is the tachometer. We’ll come back to that.

The 101 is different to drive to other trains in TSW3 in two main respects – gears, and braking. I will cover those two areas. In other respects you drive it like any other train, so I won’t cover those.


The 101 is a Diesel Mechanical unit. It has 4 gears, and you need to change gear manually as speed rises.

Often where people struggle with the 101’s gears is believing that they have to do things quickly, when actually you have plenty of time, (and in fact, in real life doing things slowly puts less wear on the equipment).

1. From a standing start, put the brake into release, then select first gear. You don’t need to rush now to get across to the power handle, because even when the power handle is in the off position, just being in 1st gear will actually give you some power, and the train will slowly move forward. You won’t roll backwards.

2. When you’re ready, open up the power handle. Using full power in 1st gear can make everything a bit rushed (and in low adhesion causes wheelslip) so just go for power notch 3.

3. On the tachometer (the yellow dial marked ‘Engine RPM’, pictured) watch the needle climb clockwise through the yellow sector until it reaches the arrow marked ‘Up’ (the right hand arrow). Then move the power handle back to ‘off’. Again, there’s no need to rush. You’re supposed to let the revs drop before changing gear, so take your time.

How to drive the Class 101

4. When you’re ready, move up to second gear, and this time take full power (notch 4). Repeat this process, until you reach 4th (top) gear.

5. When you want to slow down, move the power handle to ‘off’ and then put the gear handle into 4th gear (if it’s not there already). You always coast and brake in 4th gear.

6. If you now want to take power again while on the move (maybe you slowed for a speed restriction), how do you know which gear to go for? As a rough rule of thumb, the gear change speeds are 15mph (1st to 2nd), 25mph (2nd to 3rd) and 40 mph (3rd to 4th), so by checking the speedometer, you know which of the 4 gears you need.

8. Once you’ve put it in gear, you can take power. If you do that and the RPM needle goes above the yellow zone, take power off, and move up a gear. If the RPM needle goes below the yellow zone, take power off and move down a gear. The aim is always to have the needle in the yellow sector when taking power (except in 1st gear, when it will be below the yellow sector at very low speeds)


Now it comes to time to slow down.

The Class 101 has a vacuum brake. Vacuum brakes on most stock are usually slow to respond to the Driver’s adjustments. When the 101 was built it was recognised this was a problem for a local train which would be stopping a lot, so these units were fitted with a brake with a different design which allowed it to be applied and released quickly.

This is a good thing! But it does mean the operation of the brake is different, and takes some getting used to. Once you’ve gained confidence, it is responsive, precise, and hugely satisfying.

1. When you want to slow down, move the power handle to ‘Off’, and place the gear handle into 4th gear.

2. Press and briefly hold the ‘apply brake’ button to start the left hand needle on the brake gauge moving anti-clockwise around the dial. This gauge indicates the number of inches of vacuum in the brake pipe.

How to drive the Class 101

3. The 101 does not have fixed brake steps. The brake can be set at any pressure. If you’re used to a 3-step brake, it may help to think of it like this:

  • Off – 21 inches
  • Step 1 – 15 inches
  • Step 2 – 10 inches
  • Step 3 – 5 inches
  • Emergency – 0 inches (as shown in the image)

4. Once the needle reaches your desired brake pressure, move the brake handle to ‘lapped’. This is a position you may not have used before. It keeps the brake pressure as it is. You can place the brake handle in this position by pressing “/” on a PC keyboard.

5. As the train slows monitor your deceleration and when you want to adjust it:

Increase the brake by pressing ‘apply brake’ and then returning to lapped when the needle reaches your desired pressure, or
Decrease the brake by pressing ‘release brake’, and then returning to lapped when the needle reaches your desired pressure.
Keep an eye on the brake gauge as you get used to the rate of deceleration which each brake pressure gives.

6. As you reach your target speed, hold the ‘release brake’ button for longer, to rapidly release the brake. When the needle reaches 21 inches the brakes are fully released and you should return the brake handle to lapped.

7. If you want to stop, try to do so with more than 10 inches of vacuum in the final stage of braking, for a smooth stop. When you are almost at the point you want to stop, move the gear handle from 4th to neutral. This will increase the rate of deceleration and bring the train to a stand. Remember that neutral is above 4th in the gear box, so to move from 4th to neutral you press ‘gear up’ once.

I hope this Train Sim World 3 Class 101 How to Drive guide is helpful for you. As with all things, practice makes perfect, and driving the 101 takes time to get right. However, monitoring your gradual improvement can be great fun, and very satisfying. If you have a RailDriver, or are thinking of getting one, it works extremely well with the 101, making the gear changes and braking even more enjoyable. However, with a keyboard or console controller, these aspects of controlling this unit are still very satisfying.

If you have any questions or suggested changes/additions to this guide, please leave a note in the comments.

Written by James

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