Rail Route Wiki

This article helps guide you through most things you'll need to know to get started with playing Rail Route. Basic concepts, such as routing trains, building track in freeplay, and managing contracts are briefly explained here.

Screen Movement[]

The camera's controls are relatively straightforward.

  • zoom in and out using the mouse wheel
  • move the screen by clicking and dragging with the left mouse button (middle mouse click and drag also works)
  • you can also use the W, S, A and D keys to move the camera up, down, left and right, respectively.

Game Modes[]

Rail Route has three game modes: Timetable Mode, Endless Mode and Rush Hour Mode

Timetable Mode[]

Timetable mode is a single scenario based on a map and timetable made by the author of the map.

Your job is to accept trains onto the route and then set the switches and signals so that trains enter the map, arrive at the right platform on time and depart on time. This can mean leaving it to the last minute to set a route because a faster train is coming through!

Some trains will deduct points for stopping at a signal so keep your wits about you...

Endless Mode[]

In endless mode, all you get are a few stations and a few trains to run on them. Where you go from there is up to you.

Buy new track, research new functionality, upgrade what you have and run faster and better trains across huge maps, automating as you go!

Endless mode starts small and with a lot of user interaction required, but with automation, various type of trains and contracts you can build up an entire system that runs itself. Then the game changes to managing the automation, sorting out conflicts, timing, and getting rid of non-essentials until you have a well running and most of all profitable map

Rush Hour[]

Rush hour was introduced in Update 4 and is an arcade style scenario where you're sent 10 waves of trains and the trick is to not get overwhelmed, and then get the trains through their runs as quickly as possible.

A rush hour map starts with only two available stations, enough track to link them and one train. The next wave will give you another station, and another train. As the waves progress you get more stations, more track to link them but more and more trains. Getting them onto the map before the timer runs out on any given train becomes more and more challenging. Getting them off the map in the quickest time (in real time) gets you the highest score!

Controlling Trains[]

Accepting Trains[]

The round icons above a station name, indicating a train needs to enter the map

Trains only enter the map from "boundary stations" (the ones with three dots as per the picture) or in storage yards.

When a train wants to enter the map a round icon will appear above the station name. To accept the train you click the icon and then click the platform on the map. An alternative is to click the icon and then look at the info panel in the middle bottom of the screen, then click the relevant platform there. Only available platforms will be highlighted. If the platform you want to enter the train onto is in use, wait for it to clear and it's number will also highlight. In endless mode, if you haven't yet bought the platform then you can purchase it in the "Buy" screen.

Timetable and Endless modes : Trains often have specific platform requirements, so check the platform before selecting

Rush Hour mode : Trains can be accepted on any platform, but remember more trains may be coming behind, so make sure you can get them away from the platform again

In Endless mode you can upgrade stations to "Auto-accept trains" from the upgrade menu. When you have this upgrade boundary stations can be set to accept trains automatically. With this setting in place stations will accept trains onto the platform if available (ie no train is in that platform).

NOTE : Even with auto-accept set this requires the train to have a platform set so one time contracts or new contracts will need to be accepted manually


The switch is highlighted in yellow when the mouse pointer is over it

Switches (also known as "Turnouts" or "Points") are an essential part of Rail Route, and of Railroading in general. Here, trains can take different routes by "switching" what track they're on.

You can change a switch's direction by hovering over it and clicking on it. When you're hovering over a switch it will highlight yellow, left click the switch to change it.

Switches can be two way or multi-way. Clicking on a two way switch will swap between the two available routes. Multi way switches will rotate clockwise through the possibilities.

CTRL + Click gives the bottom right box the Force Clear option

Always remember to check your switches BEFORE setting the signal. Once you have set the signal the route will be locked via all available switches to the point that no route is possible. You don't want to send a train down the wrong track!

NOTE : If you accidentally set a route and the train runs past the signal you can unlock switches and routes by holding CTRL on the keyboard and then clicking the switch or route length. You will then be given the option to FORCE CLEAR. Please also note that you need to do this for every section and switch on the route for the whole length to free up. You then need to manually set the route until the next signal or sensor. Be aware of trains coming in the opposite direction!

Manual Signals[]

Manual (top) and Automated (bottom) signals.

Manual Signals look like half-circles. Trains will stop on the flat side unless the signal is set to green. You can set the signal to green by clicking on it - but first, make sure all the switches are set so the train will go to the right place! You can set the signal back to red by right clicking the signal

Tracks in use are marked in green, but you can also use this green line to test out and see where your train will go before it makes it to the signal (this works with the game paused so you can easily check where a train is going to go and then make changes accordingly)

Note that trains approaching from the circle side will always pass the signal as only the flat side is controlled. Sending a train the wrong way can result in a crash.

Automated Signals[]

Automated Signals look like Triangles. Like Manual Signals, trains will stop on the flat side until the signal is set to green.

An Automated Signal when first selected. Note the tracks highlighted in orange, showing where the signal can route to.

Clicking on an auto signal will mark all the available "next steps" in orange. This includes platforms, track sections and coach yards. Automated Signals don't need you to set all the switches ahead of it. Instead the signal will route the switches ahead of it to line up to that track, then set the signal to green.

NOTE : Automated signals use the "next hop principle" and there may be multiple routes to get to the same end goal. Make sure you're routing your trains the right way to avoid causing congestion. This may mean putting another signal in the way of the route you want and using "multiple hops" rather than clicking the endpoint directly. Automated Signals can be used with Automation, unlike Manual Signals.

You can also set automated signals to always reset the required route when clear. This involves using the upgrade / research screen to obtain "perpetual routing". Once this upgrade is purchased you can then set a route as above, but hold SHIFT whilst doing so. A small infinity symbol will appear above the signal and the line ahead will show as green. To clear the perpetual route, right click the signal

NOTE : A neat trick is to set a perpetual RETURN route, say into an endpoint station. To do this set the route as above, and when a train runs the route the perpetual route it will end up in platform, so not allowing the route to be set until it clears. You can now set the return route, and set it to perpetual as above. This means that any train going to that end station will run in (on perpetual green) then turn around and run out again automatically! (so long as you have the auto-reverse upgrade or turn it around manually). This only works for a single block

Reversing Trains[]

Trains can only change direction when they are stationary, whether it be at a signal, in a station platform or by using Stop & Reverse.

Right-click on a stopped train to reverse the direction it's heading. However, if that train doesn't have a locomotive at the front, it will be limited to 30 kmph, no matter how fast the track speed is. You can also reverse trains by selecting the train and hitting the "reverse" button in the options box at the bottom.

When you have "Reverse once Stopped" unlocked in freeplay right-clicking on them will cause them to reverse when they are next stopped. "Reverse once Stopped" is already unlocked in timetable levels. You can also unlock "Stop and Reverse", which does what it says: It stops the train as soon as possible, then reverses it.

NOTE : In all cases remember that if you reverse the train and set it off if there's a train in the block behind it and no signal facing the train you've just reversed then the train will run straight into the oncoming train and crash!

Building your System[]

The red square is where I clicked, the blue squares show all available options from that red square

Building is fairly straightforward. When you click in an open spot, the game will show you where you can build to and how much it'll cost you.

From any platform or auto block you must build one straight track section, then you can build up, down, left, right or diagonally. The blue lines will extend as far as you can build either because you'll hit a wall, enter a platform, enter an auto block or simply run out of money...

Faster track means faster trains which can mean more income, but faster track costs more money so make sure you have enough cash to lay your track.


Signals can only be built on straight track, whether that be horizontal, vertical or diagonal. You need at least one full square of straight space to install a signal. You cannot build them on curves or on switches. You also cannot build signals in tunnels, auto-blocks or stations.

Click once to lay a signal and click the signal again in build mode to reverse it

If you place a manual signal you can upgrade to an auto signal (once you've got that researched) by selecting auto signal in the build screen then clicking on the signal. You can downgrade similarly from an auto to a manual signal.


Sensors can be built on any track tile including straight, curved and diagonal.

Tiles that are switches, signals, in an auto-block or in a tunnel cannot contain most sensors. You CAN build routing sensors in auto-blocks!

Platform sensors can only be placed on platforms (they'll be placed there automatically). Building Routing sensors in auto-blocks will locate them to one end of the auto-block irrespective of the block's length

You can read more on Sensors in Automation.


You can learn more about tunnels and how to build them Here.

NOTE : Autoblocks, Stations and Walls cannot be deleted or built through, even with a tunnel

Coachyards can be placed up to six tiles from the station, the linked station name will be shown underneath

Coach Yards[]

Once you unlock the Coach Yard (See Research below) you will start being offered contracts which end at internal stations (ie ones which don't appear at the edge of the map)

To build a coach yard you need to have some track which is close to a station (within 6 tiles in any direction) but is not connected to anything else. You can select Coachyard from the build options and then hover over your chosen location to see if it connects to the correct station and is allowed or not. Lay the track to this location once you've checked, then build your coach yard.

NOTE : Coachyards will put out trains when asked to do so, without any signalling incorporated into the Coachyard itself. If there is an inbound train this can cause crashes

NOTE : Coachyards do not route trains... you may need to place a sensor and signal between the coachard and station to automate the coachyard (available as an upgrade in "Research")

See the Contracts section below for info on coachyard contracts

Demolishing your system[]

You can remove sensors and most signals as well as track using the bulldoze option at the bottom of the build tool screen.

  • to remove sections of track which contain sensors or signals you must first remove the sensor or signal
  • You cannot bulldoze stations, autoblocks or walls
  • You cannot bulldoze the entry/exit point of stations
  • you cannot bulldoze signals at the end of platforms or autoblocks

To delete a sensor or signal click the bulldoze button then left click the sensor or signal. YOU WILL GET NO WARNING so make sure you click the right place.

Same as laying a track, but in reverse

To delete a section of track click the bulldoze button and then click the start point of the demolition required, then move the mouse to the end point. If there is nothing in the way you can left click and remove the whole section of track at once.
NOTE : making any changes to a signal or sensor is likely to change it's identifier, so make sure all incoming routes remain valid else trains will either stop or go to the wrong place!

The contracts page with two contracts offered. The top contract is a reoccuring Commuter contract, and the bottom contract is a one-time Freight.


In order to expand your timetable you'll need to accept new contracts through the Contracts tab.

To start with you only have 3 contracts offered at a time, so if you don't like what a contract is offering, whether because it wouldn't give you enough money or you can't run trains to a station on its timetable, you can always hit "decline" to reject the contract... this is very useful in the early game.

You can research additional contract offers in the System Upgrades menu. You can upgrade to get up to 10 contract offers at a time, and also boost how fast those contracts will be offered!

Remember, you will only be shown the same new contracts until you accept or decline them, so if you need those freight or IC runs to get red points and all your offered contracts are green, you will need to decline some contracts to get offered red ones (subject to freights/IC being unlocked as below in "research").

Unopened contract offers show a number on screen

Check in on the contracts screen from time to time. It will offer you new trains to try on your system. Just be careful to not add too many trains at one time! Similar to unread texts on a phone, any "unseen contract offers" will show the number in a red circle on the contract offers button.

Why can't I accept a contract?[]

Contracts are offered on the basis of what you have access to now, and what you can have access to in the upcoming future. This means that you may not have connected to a local station yet or built a coachyard at the end station. A line of text in yellow under the contract offer will say something like "You must connect to all stations to accept" or "You must build a coachyard..."

Until all the requirements are met, you cannot accept the contract

Why am I being offered contracts I can't accept?[]

The game automatically offers you contracts it "thinks" you might want shortly, kind of leading you to a next step. You can refuse the offers without fear as you will be offered similar contracts again as the game progresses

Coachyard Contracts[]


Inbound contracts to coachyards terminate at the station linked to the coachyard. If you are manually routing the inbound train you will need to end the route at the coachyard itself.

If using departure (platform) sensors, there is an option on these sensors for "Finished to" which should be set to the coachyard itself. Trains terminating at that platform will then route to the coachyard once they've finished at the station (requires auto-routing and an auto-signal at the correct platform end)


Outbound contracts start at the station linked to the coachyard.

If manually routing the station name will get the round train symbol (same as an edge station) and the option to Dispatch from Coachyard will be highlighted if you have the correct train type stored in the coachyard (Commuter, Urban or Intercity).

You can research Auto Coachyards on the research screen, and then research automated coach yards. Once unlocked you can set the coachyard to dispatch automatically - NOTE : New coachyards need this set each time, it isn't set on build.

In the options menu for the coachyard you can set the option to dispatch trains automatically, and how long before their station departure they will leave the coachyard. Use the + & - buttons to set this time (by default 10 mins). Be aware that reducing this time too much may mean the train misses it's starting time. Setting this time too long will mean the platform is occupied for longer.

You can set different lengths of time for Commuter, Urban and IC trains, but not for individual routes themselves.

NOTE : If you have an "unbalanced" system then you may find that your coachyard is empty but you have contracts to fill. Always make sure you have enough inbound trains to cover your outbound contracts!

The display for Research Points. This player currently has 5 green research and no red research.


In Endless mode you can "buy" upgrades to your system through the Research tab. Upgrade categories include Contracts, Automation, Controls and Interface

Contracts - includes options for:

  • One time freight or intercity runs
  • Ability to adjust platform or timetables
  • Coach yard, including automation
  • Contract offers, quantity of contract offers, contract offer preference

Automation - includes options for:

  • Auto-accept and auto reversing of trains
  • Auto-signals
  • Routing queue & perpetual route
  • Sensors

Controls - includes options for:

  • Autoblocks - unlocks the purchase of autoblocks
  • Dispatcher updates - Buy more stations, reversing options
  • Faster tracks & Switches
  • Tunnels

Interface - includes options for:

  • Train enter button - adds a button to the overview
  • Smart sort - Sort trains in the overview
  • Next station - adds next station to the overview (aids with routing)
  • Alert highlight and sounds - visual and sound alerts to trains needing attention
  • Train focusser - adds a button to jump to train location
  • Train Labels - Next station, time to departure and coloured labels upgrade
  • Colour coded stations - Stations randomly assigned one of SIX colours, train stops highlighted in same colours, visual aid

Buying Upgrades

The research tab with some completed research.

When a train completes its route, it will give you a research point unless it was delayed. Wrong platforms do not revoke your research point.

There are two types of research point: Green and Red.

  • Green points are awarded when a recurring contract finishes its route
  • Red points are awarded when outbound Coachyard contracts are completed. Inbound CY contracts only give green points
  • Red points are rewarded when a one-time contract is completed. These include freight and IC

In order to upgrade you must have everything before it on the research tree unlocked (for example you must unlock "Coach Yard" before being able to unlock "Coach Yard Automation" or "Urban Transit Contracts"

You must also have the correct amount of red and green points as shown on the research screen. Upgrades do NOT cost money

Click on the upgrade and hit "Upgrade" to unlock it.

You can also exchange 15 green points for 1 red point and vice verse through the Contracts screen, this requires Intercities to be unlocked.

Adding a Custom Level[]

Custom levels have been integrated into the Steam Workshop. You can install directly from the Workshop into your game.

The outdated method was to copy and paste a level's code - which is a base64-encoded string of text - in order to add it. You can find level codes in the Discord or in the Curated List.

In the demo version of the game, Custom Levels are locked.