Building railway stations
In this tutorial you can learn how to build train (railway) stations, and how to connect railways to stations in efficient ways. Building stations efficiently is very important if you wish to establish a great train empire. There are hundreds of ways you can build stations, some examples below should direct you on the right path.
Building train stations
- Open the Railway Construction toolbar by clicking the button.
- Click on the Build railroad station button . A station building window will appear. Remember, you can right click* on any button if you ever want a description of what it does.
- Set the Number of Tracks and the Platform Length. Remember that each "unit" will take two carriages, so you choose the length of your station according to the length of the trains you want to load there, i.e. a station of 3 squares long will take one locomotive and five carriages. Longer trains can stop there also, but loading/unloading will be slower.
- Select the orientation for your station so that you can run the track in the right direction.
- Find a place for the new station on the map. Besides building on flat land you can also build on slopes. It's possible to build over existing straight rail.
- Click the mouse to build the station.
* This has been replaced by "hover over" behaviour, you can still right click if the "hover over delay" is set to 0.
What kinds of stations should I build?
That is completely up to you. The general guidelines would be:
- Trains should not cause traffic jams while entering and exiting the station
- Stations should be long enough for trains to fit completely (else loading times will be long)
Below are some examples of stations. Each example is presented in two different signal styles. One style uses path signals (stations in screenshots in red); this is the preferred method of signalling. The other style uses block signals and is kept here for legacy reasons. Read the article on signals if you want to know more about the different types of signals. How to build signals is covered in building signals.
Important to remember when using path signals is that your longest train needs to be able to wait at all signals without blocking junctions. For that reason, some of the path signalled screenshots actually show more of the signal setup than the actual station itself.
- Single terminus stations can service 1 train at a time. Such stations serve very well when there isn't much cargo to transport.
- Single "Ro-Ro" station ("Roll-On Roll-Off") (The name used is a simile. See Wikipedia). The advantage of this station is that incoming trains don't have to wait for outgoing trains to leave. While this benefit is very small in case of single stations, the Ro-Ro setup becomes far more effective with multi-platform stations (see below).
- It is a good practice to make the loading-exit and unloading-entrance lines to go straight into the station, while the loading-entrance and unloading-exit lines can loop around. This way trains delivering cargo will deliver it faster as well as loaded trains can leave faster.
- As you may have noticed, there are no path signals used in the example with path signals. This is due to the fact that this station is essentially incorporated into a single one-way track. Like with any other one-way track it is not necessary to use path signals in this case. Using path signals here makes absolutely no difference in station performance.
Once more cargo is served in stations, double stations with two platforms are preferred. This could be the most used station type you build. Two platforms mean two trains. Once one train is done loading, the other can start loading immediately - it doesn't have to wait for the previous one to exit the station.
- The double terminus station has the advantage of an extra platform, but the disadvantage is that trains need to cross at the junction either when entering or leaving the station. However, it is cheaper and consumes less space than a double Ro-Ro station.
- You can also consider building a double Ro-Ro station to completely avoid any traffic jams and wait times. This station design will perform considerably better than the double terminus station in case you have more than three trains using the station.
Once the stations start servicing many trains, multi-track stations are preferred, so there are no long wait times for trains. If more than one train is waiting to enter a station, it has too few platforms. Adding more platforms is an easy solution. Below a four-track terminus and Ro-Ro station are shown. Bigger stations are just as easy: add even more platforms, make sure trains can enter and exit each platform and add the proper signaling.
- Below you can see a four track terminus station. Just keep in mind that trains might have to wait a little to let other trains pass. This is a good alternative for the Ro-Ro if you're tight on space.
- And this would be a four track Ro-Ro station. Incoming trains do not have to wait for trains leaving this station.
A special type of station is the through station which allows trains to enter from both sides as well as leave at either side. This type of station is especially useful for those (mainly) passenger lines that connect one town with the next and the next and the next.
- The most simple layout is the double one-way through station. This station has one platform for trains in one direction and a second platform for trains in the other direction. You can see this station as if it just sits on a double track railway, with no junctions and no special signals.
- The double two-way through station allows trains in both directions to use both platforms. For this you must add some junctions and some different signaling. As a result, if you have two trains coming shortly after each other from one direction and no train from the opposite direction, the second train can use the other platform if the first one hasn't departed yet. It is important to know that this layout only works with path signals; there's no way to make something similar with block signals that will not break very quickly (try it yourself if you don't believe it!). It is also important to know that this particular layout is prone to deadlocks if you have multiple of these stations close to each other.
- A solution to the deadlock problem of the previous layout is the multi-track through station with dedicated platforms. For this type of station you need at least three platforms. The platform at one side will be one-way and the platform at the other side will be one-way in the other direction. The middle platform(s) will be two-way like in the previous example. This makes sure that trains from either direction always have at least one platform available and no deadlocks will occur.
- A double through station with depots is useful if you, well, need depots with your station. The example below uses the double two-way through station as a basis and adds a depot at both sides. The advantage of placing the depots like this rather than on the entry track is that trains inside the depot can leave in either direction. This layout is also much less prone to deadlocks than its depot-less counterpart, as trains can exit the station into the depot and free the platforms for other trains.