Setting up a train route
Trains are faster than road vehicles and have a higher capacity, but they are more expensive and train networks require more planning than roads.
There are several types of cargo and industry chains in OpenTTD. The simplest and most profitable thing to do is transporting coal from Coal Mines to Power Stations, so we will set up a route for this. There's a video that demonstrates this.
To understand the world of OpenTTD, you need to know that the game is based on a grid of squares that you always view from the South. Virtually everything in OpenTTD must follow the gridlines in the Northwest-Southeast or Soutwest-Northeast axes. One of the few exceptions is level railway track, which can also run horizontally or vertically. Bus stations, hill slopes, build bridges or tunnels, etc again follow the grids, though.
Locating your route
Scroll around the map until you find a Coal Mine and a Power Station in close proximity. For this tutorial it doesn't matter too much about how far apart they are, but the further you transport cargo the more income it generates so in a real game you won't want to pick them too close.
Power station with nearby coal mine.
Now you have found some industries but we need a way to get the coal to the power station. We'll use a train, since this is the trains part of the tutorial, and besides they can hold lots of coal and are probably the most fun vehicle.
Building train stations
Railway Construction toolbar.
- 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.
Train station selection window.
- Set the Number of Tracks to one, and the Platform Length to three. Each "unit" will take two carriages so in a real game, 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.
- Select the best orientation for your station so that you can run the track in the right direction between the industries.
- Find some ground next to the Coal Mine. It must be flat and clear of obstacles except trees for an area of at least the number of squares long your station will be (in this case 3 squares) and for the orientation you have chosen for your station. If you are having trouble finding ground flat and clear of obstacles, try the other orientation for the station, or a little further away from the coal mine: but not too far, otherwise you won't be able to pick coal up!
- Click to place the station.
- Build another station next to the power plant. Again, you need the site to be flat and clear of obstacles for a long enough area along on one of the grid lines.
Your stations next to industries.
Connecting train stations
Now you need to build the track between the stations.
- Click the Autorail button on the Railway Construction toolbar.
- Drag in a straight line from one of the stations towards the other to lay the track.
- Add more connecting sections until you reach the other station (you can build the track in the screenshot to the right using two drags of the autorail - one for the straight bit and another for the approach to the power station).
If you make a mistake you can use the dynamite tool to remove parts of the track.
Adding a train
Now you need to buy some trains, but you can't just have them magically appear on your tracks - you need to build a train depot.
- Click the Build train depot button on the Railway Construction toolbar. A new window will open giving you a choice of orientations.
- Choose an orientation and place the depot so that the front entrance is facing onto some track, like in the screenshot. Make sure that both your chosen depot site and the adjacent track are on flat ground. Connecting rails will automatically be added so your trains can enter and leave the depot.
- Click on your newly built depot. The depot menu will appear, and you will get an overview of all the trains in there - currently none.
The depot window
- Choose the New Vehicles button at the bottom of the depot window. Another screen will open, this time listing all the vehicles available to you at this moment. Click on a locomotive from the top of the list, then click Buy Vehicle. A train window will open.
- Scroll down in the new vehicles window and buy six coal wagons.
- Whoops, actually I meant to say buy five - we'll have to delete one. Drag any wagon to this: button and then let go - it will be sold back and you will get some money in return.
See Buying trains for a more detailed tutorial.
- Assign orders to the train the same way you did with the bus in the earlier part of the tutorial.
- There are some extra options available for trains that we'll make use of. In the orders list, click on the name of the coal mine station, and click the Full Load button. This tells the train to wait until it is full of coal before it leaves the station.
- Click the "Stopped" button at the bottom of the train window to start the train.
Congratulations - you've built your first railway! After the train loads and delivers the coal, you will notice that it makes much more money than the bus.
This is the simplest type of railway in the game, and can handle only 1 train (try to add any more and you'll find they just stay in the depot). After playing for a while and reading some of the other Railway tutorials, you will learn how to make more complicated railways that can hold multiple trains at the same time.
Next: Planes »