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Mike Male & Bob Hillyer

Cover Art

Evening Star

Evening Star

Evening Star


On the 8th September 1962, the 'Evening Star', one of the most powerful steam locomotives of the British Railways fleet, pulled the 'Pines Express' from Bournemouth to Bath and back. This was the last time this train took the route over the Somerset and Dorset line to Bath, it being subsequently diverted via Reading and Basingstoke. This diversion of traffic from the Somerset and Dorset line sealed the demise of the line which was closed in 1966. This was the end of a picturesque and much loved railway with a long and glorious past. Take the role of both fireman and driver and join with us for a truly authentic journey into steam history.


Welcome to the Evening Star, the second steam locomotive simulation from Hewson. The Evening Star was one of the most powerful steam locomotives of the British Railways fleet, one of the legendary BR9F Class, pulling its passenger train over the undulating countryside of the old Somerset and Dorset line between Bath and Bournemouth. You must take the roles of both Fireman and Driver. There are many levels of simulation. We suggest you read the instructions carefully then watch the computer demonstration for a few minutes. Study the control settings and then attempt the Training Run. Gradually you will be able to improve your skill and will eventually be able to take the Evening Star to Bournemouth in accordance with the timetable, using the coal and water available to the optimum efficiency.

To load the game follow the instructions below for your make of computer and wait until the main menu appears on the screen. Note that after about one minute the computer will automatically select a high speed run showing the whole of the line. To return to the main menu, press X.

Getting Started

Selecting the Demonstration

Load the program in the usual way and press key 0 when the main menu appears and then press the RETURN key when the timetable is displayed. The locomotive will pull slowly away from Bath, accelerating down the line on a local non-stop train to Evercreech Junction. Observe the various controls and study the readings on the gauges. Press CTRL and X to return to the main menu.

High Speed Run

If RETURN is pressed when the main menu appears, the program executes a High Speed Run along the entire line. You will be able to see all the features along the way pass in quick succession. To exit, press X.

Starting A Training Run

Press 1 when the main menu appears and 1 again for the locomotive control menu. This will give you control of the Regulator, Cut Off and Brake only. The remainder of the controls will be adjusted by the computer. Read the schedule displayed and then press RETURN.

With the locomotive standing at Bath Station open the Cut Off fully by pressing C four times. Half open the Regulator by pressing R twice. After fifteen seconds or so the locomotive will pull slowly along the platform and out of the station.

Observe your speed display and when you are travelling at four miles per hour or faster, press R twice more to open the regulator fully. The locomotive will then accelerate more rapidly as it moves past the Gasometer and up the steep incline of Devonshire Bank. If you open the regulator too soon, the locomotive driving wheels will slip on the running rails leading to a loss of speed and wasting steam (this is indicated by a sudden increase in the sound speed).

You may have noticed that when the computer has total control on the Demonstration run that it reduces the Cut Off when the train is moving. This uses steam more efficiently and you should do the same to conserve as much steam as possible to enhance your Economy rating at the end of the run.

To exit from a Training Run (or any other run except the high speed) press CTRL and X.

Screen Layout

The main part of the screen is the view of the cab, the controls and the line ahead. Above this is a sign naming the next station or line feature that you will encounter. Below is the message area to relay important information to you, the driver. To the side of the view screen is various control information including your speed, the amount of coal and water remaining, the status of the next signal, the current gradient and the profile for the next one and a half miles, the actual time and the position of the locomotive relative to Bournemouth and to Bath Junction which is half a mile from Bath Station. Historically, it is from this position that all mileages are measured on the Somerset and Dorset line.

Game Controls

Locomotive Control Keys

Control Increase Setting Decrease Setting
Regulator R SHIFT & R
Vacuum Brake V SHIFT & V
Cut Off C SHIFT & C
Blower B SHIFT & B
Injector I SHIFT & I
Firedoor F SHIFT & F
Damper D SHIFT & D
Sound Whilstle W
Stoke Fire RETURN

Program Control Keys

Function Key
Toggle between accelerated and real-time A
Toggle between smoke on and off S
Return to main menu CTRL & X
Hold, waiting for RETURN to restart H
Display timetable T
Acknowledge message SPACE BAR
Increase engine noise H
Decrease engine noise SHIFT & N

To enable you to judge whether or not you are burning your coal efficiently the following keys may be pressed to simulate the various states of combustion:

Smoke Demonstration Keys

Smoke Level Key
Very light smoke - far too much air 1
Light smoke - too much air 2
Correct smoke level 3
Dark smoke - insufficient air 4

Menus, Messages And Speed Limits

The Main Menu

Level Summary
RETURN High Speed Run - automatically selected after one minute
0 Computer Demonstration - Computer-controlled non-stop run to Evercreech Junction
1 Training Run - Identical run and schedule to level 0 with you in control
2 Local non-stop run with added complication of speed limits
3 Local stopping train with speed limits and signalling
4 Full line stopping train to Bournemouth with speed limits and signalling
5 Try to break the record for the fastest non-stop run to Bournemouth
6 Drive the prestige "Pines Express" to Bournemouth, time errors are marked severely
7 Any schedule with extra problems

Speed Limits

Hazard Limit
Permanent Way Working 30 mph
Passing from single to double track or vice versa 40 mph
Passing or near Siding, Junction or Loop 40 mph
Overall line limit speed 70 mph

Note that excessive violation of the 40mph or 70mph limits will result in derailing the Train.

Fatal Error Messages

Error Message Meaning
Fusible plugs gone Water level in the boiler too low
Boiler overfill Water level in the boiler too high
Overran stop signal Passing a stop signal in the down position
Unsafe reversing Allowing the train to run backwards
Blowback Failure to open the Blower in a tunnel or when the regulator is shut
Derailed Excessive violation of speed limit
Crashed at B'mouth Hit buffers at too high a speed
Collision Colliding with oncoming train in single line section due to lack of token
Poor stop at Failing to stop close enough to the far end of the platform
Short stop at Failing to stop for the full 60 seconds minimum at a station
Rough stop at Using vacuum brake setting 3 or above when coming to a halt at a scheduled station
No stop at Failing to stop at a scheduled stopping station
No whistle at Failing to blow whistle before starting off, or before a tunnel or permanent way work
Hit buffers at Failing to come to a halt before the buffers when arriving at Bournemouth
Em brakes at Using vacuum brake setting 4 (maximum)
Speeding near Failure to observe speed limit
No token at Failure to pick up token upon entering a single line section, because of excessive speed

Run Options In Detail

Option 0 - Computer Demonstration Run

This run demonstrates the various techniques required to drive the locomotive with the computer running all controls on a local non-stop run to Evercreech Junction. You are advised to study the various settings used to help you learn correct driving methods. Should you wish to hold the run at any stage, you can do so by pressing "H" which will stop the run and await the press of RETURN. Also you can accelerate the run so that the time passes four or five times quicker than normal by pressing "A" (note the rapid movement of the clock display). Press "A" again to return to normal. This is useful during some of the longer stretches of the run. You have control over whether or not the smoke is displayed by pressing "S".

Option 1 - Training Run

A practice session for the novice driver/fireman with the same schedule as the computer demonstration. You are expected to adhere to the timetable exactly. Any deviation from the times shown will be penalised at the end of a run in the time score. You can halt the program to consult the timetable at any time by pressing "T". The timetable with any completed times will be displayed. From this part of the program you can also check for any errors by pressing "E" or save the position of the run to date by pressing "S" (see the section on Saving and Loading a run). A short beep is sounded to assist you when the computer records a time for the timetable. Note that the times shown on the timetable are minutes only. It should be apparent from the time displayed to which hour each refers.

When arriving at Evercreech Junction you must bring the train to a halt near to the end of the platform so that all your passengers may alight safely. You must also bring the train to a halt without the use of heavy braking. Emergency braking (maximum braking) should not be used at any time due to the risk to your passengers and will result in a loss of safety score.

You will be penalised for any mismanagement of locomotive controls that you have elected to control yourself. Correct methods of use are detailed in the accompanying notes "How a Steam Locomotive Works" and all such methods are practised by the computer when it has control.

At the end of a run your performance is assessed with regard to economy, safety and timekeeping. A result of 70 per cent overall is considered acceptable. The economy assessment is based upon the stocks of coal and water remaining. The page of errors and events can, once again, be displayed in place of the timetable by pressing "E".

If by some misfortune you have committed a fatal error and the run has been terminated before the end of the timetabled run, you may resume the run from the point of catastrophe by pressing "R". Timekeeping and economy assessments are unaffected by the premature end, but safety will be zero. Upon resumption of a run, the computer will have taken some action to prevent an immediate recurrence of whatever problem you have encountered. However, you may have to take some more permanent action to prevent further mishap.

Option 2 - Short non-stop with Speed Limits

A train on a non-stop local run, where speed limits are in force at many places down the line. Each one is associated with a line feature, and can be identified visually. The position of each is shown on the gradient profile by the letter S or by the change in track type. The major speed limits are of 40mph and they are associated with positions where the track splits from single to double or vice versa, near junctions where another track can be seen joining the main line, or where there is a siding beside the track or a passing loop (characteristic of some single line stations). Failure to observe these limits will result in a loss of safety marks and in extreme cases derailment.

There is another form of speed limit also of 40mph in that you must enter each section of single track at or below that speed. This is so that a "token transfer" may take place, the "token" being an object which is held by a particular train to ensure that only one train at a time may use a single track section. Failure to achieve token transfer is dangerous as you run the risk of collision with an oncoming train. When successfully held the token is shown at the top right of the cab.

Whilst passing near permanent way work you are expected not to exceed 30mph. Passing at speeds in excess of this will result in a loss of safety marks but there is no derailment risk. Permanent way working affecting the line will be notified at the start of the run.

There is an overall limit of 70mph for the entire line.

Option 3 - Short Stopper and Signalling

In addition to the speed limits of Option 2 you must also obey all signals and make the stops demanded by the timetable.

Signals divide the line into sections so that trains on the same line run at an adequate distance from each other. There are two types of signal used on this line, stop (with a square end) and distant (with a notched end). Each has two positions; up for clear and down (horizontal) for stop or caution. Stop signals may come singly or in groups.

You must not pass a stop signal in the down (stop) position. To give warning of the condition of the stop signal a distant signal is placed a suitable distance before it. It will be down (caution) if the stop signal to which it refers is down i.e. at the stop position.

In order for you to have the maximum time to react, the state of the next signal to be passed is reproduced separately in the signal section of the screen.

The stations at which you are scheduled to stop are shown in capital letters on the timetable. You must attempt to stop close to the far end of the platform once again without excessive braking. Should you pass the end of the platform before the train has come to a halt a beep will sound and you will be assessed as not stopping at a required station and will be penalised as such.

You must arrive at the station in good time to allow at least one minute for your passengers to embark and disembark. If the computer is controlling the whistle, it will sound exactly one minute after arrival. Should you be in control of the whistle you must ensure that is blown before setting off. The timetable gives the required departure time.

Option 4 - Long Stopper

A train which runs the entire length of the line from Bath to Bournemouth with intermediate stops. All the constraints of previous options apply.

Option 5 - Record Run

This is a full line non-stop train with a timetable that will allow you to complete the journey to Bournemouth in record time. Any run which arrives at Bournemouth on time can be considered good. Arriving early is outstanding.

Option 6 - Pines Express

This is the premier train to run the line. You are expected to maintain the prestige of the Railway company and adhere to the timetable scrupulously. Any errors in this area will be more severely punished than usual.

Option 7 - Problem Run

You will be presented with any timetable, all constraints apply. However, you will also have another serious problem to contend with to make your task a little more difficult. You may be passed a message below the main screen. Once read it can be acknowledged (and therefore wiped) by pressing the space bar.

Saving And Loading A Run

Because a complete run can take in excess of two hours in real time, we have given you the facility to save the current position to reload later. This is done from within a run by pressing "T", then "S" when prompted.

Tape users are recommended to ensure that the tape is beyond any leader section at the beginning of a tape before attempting to record a run. Failure to do this may result in the run not being successfully recorded.

Machine Notes

Because of the amount of memory space taken up by Evening Star, it has been necessary to use some of the Acorn Electron's memory used by the Plus One interface. Consequently, the save and load feature will not work on the Electron when the Plus One is attached.

How a Steam Locomotive Works

These notes describe the operation of a steam locomotive with a particular reference to the screen display and controls of Evening Star. Understanding how a steam locomotive works will help you to master the controls more quickly.

The driving force of the locomotive comes from the cylinders where a piston is pushed back and forth by the steam pressure raised in the boiler. Hot gasses from the firebox are drawn through the boiler by a system of tubes, which heat the water to boiling point, converting it into steam. The hot gasses drawn through the boiler then enter the smokebox and escape through the chimney. The performance of the locomotive depends upon the pressure in the boiler, which can be controlled by manipulating the fire.

Water Gauges
These are two vertical tubes in the centre of the cab. They are very important as they give a visual indication of the level of water in the boiler. The bottom of the gauge is one inch above the firebox top, which must be kept covered at all times otherwise the fire will heat the firebox top beyond limits causing special plugs (called fusible plugs) to melt allowing steam into the firebox. This action cools the fire and alerts the train crew.

If too much water is carried in the boiler and the gauge reaches the top, water instead of steam will enter the cylinders causing permanent damage.

Ideally you should attempt to maintain a water level in the top half of the gauge. Should a failure occur, the run will be terminated with the consequential loss of marks.

Steam Pressure Gauge
A round dial with a needle pointer, situated in the centre of the cab, graduated from minimum on the left to maximum (200 psi) on the right. The more steam pressure maintained the higher the potential power of the locomotive. However too much pressure will lift the safety valves and release steam thereby reducing pressure to below maximum (shown by two jets of steam issuing from the boiler top). This represents a waste of coal and water and should be avoided to achieve maximum efficiency.

The whistle is part of the safety equipment and must always be used before starting away, entering tunnels or approaching sections where permanent way gangs (railway maintenance teams) are working. To conserve steam, the whistle should not be used indiscriminately.

As a guide to correct whistle usage, when the computer is controlling the whistle it is blown at the earliest time in each of the circumstances detailed above.

A level situated on the top left of the cab which controls the flow of steam to the cylinders. It has five positions, closed on the right, progressing to fully open on the left. Opening the regulator applies power to the wheels and it must be adjusted when running to suit requirements. Always close the regulator when braking. Open the regulator when starting away as too much power will cause the wheels to slip (especially in adverse weather conditions). Wheel slip will be apparent from the increase in the speed of the steam exhaust.

Cut Off
A wheel control on the bottom left (marked C) which controls the time during the cylinder cycle that steam is allowed into the cylinder. It has five positions, 0% (straight up), 20%, 35%, 55% and 75% (straight down). For example, when the cut off is set to 20%, steam is allowed to enter for just 20% of the cycle. This has the effect that the expansive properties of steam are used more efficiently, by reducing the steam usage significantly for only a small loss of power. You will need to use this control to obtain high efficiency. When starting away, it is normal practice to use 75% cut off.

Vacuum Brake
A wheel control situated between the regulator and the cut off (marked V) which has five positions; off (straight up), light braking, medium braking, heavy braking and emergency braking (straight down). The brakes act upon all the carriages and are held off by maintaining a vacuum in a pipe connecting the carriages, braking being achieved by progressive release of the vacuum via the vacuum brake control.

In the event that the communication cord of the train is pulled, emergency braking is automatically applied and will be released as appropriate. Emergency braking must not be used by the driver except in extreme circumstances, as a poor safety rating will result. Avoid using harsh braking to bring the train to a halt at a station for the comfort of your passengers.

A wheel control situated centre right of the cab (marked B) which is off when pointing straight up. It is essential that at all times gasflow is maintained drawing the gasses from the firebox out through the chimney ensuring that no flames or gasses are allowed to escape into the cab via the firehole doors. Normally this gasflow is supplied by the exhaust of used steam up the chimney when the regulator is open. This gasflow will be interrupted to closing the regulator or by the confines of a tunnel. In these circumstances, normal gasflow must be maintained by opening the blower which sends a jet of live steam up the chimney. Failure to use the blower when necessary is dangerous and can lead to an "explosive blowback" into the cab. Use of the blower should be limited to only when necessary due to its cost in the loss of steam.

A wheel situated top right of the cab (marked I), which controls the device by which water from the tender is forced into the boiler. It has five positions, off (straight up), progressing to full on (straight down). This is the means by which the level of water in the boiler is maintained.

A wheel situated on the bottom right of the cab (marked D) which controls the amount of air provided through the base of the fire (called primary air). It has five positions, closed (straight up) progressing to fully open (straight down). By control of the amount of primary air it is possible to vary the temperature of the fire and thereby the amount of water evaporated into steam. To achieve a hot fire a large amount of primary air is required for combustion. Conversely for a cool fire only a small amount of primary air is required. To help you judge the temperature of your fire, a thermometer style temperature gauge is presented in the cab centre. The indication of correct combustion is the colour of your smoke such that black smoke would indicate insufficient air for the temperature of the fire, grey smoke indicates correct air and lighter shades indicate too much air. If too little air is supplied coal combustion will not provide the maximum heat value. If too much air is supplied coal combustion will not provide the maximum heat value. If too much air is supplied, heat will be wasted in heating the excess air. To be efficient you must aim to maintain the correct air supply as far as possible. (Whilst manipulating the fire temperature correct combustion is unlikely). The rate at which coal is consumed increases with the temperature of the fire.

Firehole Doors
A pair of steel doors used to confine the fire and to control the flow of air over the fire (secondary air). To achieve optimum performance of the fire, the level of coal must be maintained in the middle third of the firebox. Coal levels outside these parameters cannot achieve maximum temperatures. You must fully open the firedoors whilst coal is being added (indicated by a shovel at the top right hand corner of the display). Failure to do so will waste coal. In all but the highest level of control the computer will do this for you. For perfect combustion a small amount of secondary air may be required.

The firedoors can also be used to assist in the manipulation of fire temperature. For example to raise the temperature. For example to raise the temperature of the fire "quickly" keep the firedoors shut, and to lower the temperature "quickly" open wide.

Railway lines are not level and steam railway locomotives are affected by the gradient of the track. The gradient is indicated in the same manner as road gradients, e.g. 1 in 100. This would indicate a slope up or down of one foot for every 100 feet travelled. A cross section of the gradients of the line together with the positions of the stations and tunnels is shown in the gradient profile included. The exact gradient of the track at any particular time may be displayed in the signalling area.

Vacuum brakes must be used to ensure that the train is never allowed to run backwards on an up gradient.


Cover Art Language(s): English
Compatibility: BBC Model B, BBC Model B+, BBC Master 128, Acorn Electron
Release: Professionally released On Cassette
Original Release Date: 1st Dec 1987
Links: Everygamegoing,

Cover Art

Front Inlay Images

Media Scan Images


Evening Star (Cassette)