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Railway junctions
Tutorial: Junction basics | 3-way basics | 4-way basics
Advanced junctions:
3-way: 1-track sideline and 2-track mainline | Example 2 | Example 3
Example 2 | Example 3
Example 2 | Example 3



This page covers a few basic 3-way junctions. Most of the time, it will not make a great difference whether you use block or path signals and you can choose the kind you prefer, but if there's a big difference, it will be said so. The junctions are optimised for the use with the realistic acceleration setting enabled. If your junctions are being used by fast and long trains, you might need to make the curves wider, so that the trains can use them at full speed. You will see a bunch of possible designs, which you should not copy 1:1, but rather take as inspiration and guidance to design your own junction, which fits your situation perfectly!

Basic junctions

The very basic 3-way junction

The most simple 3-way junction
Path signals allow more than one train on the junction

This junction is fast & easy to build, and will not cost much money. It is recommended that you use path signals for this junction, since with block signals, only one train can use it at a time. If you have only very few trains running on those tracks you won't have any problems, but as soon as the traffic density increases, your trains will start jamming in front of the junction.

A little improvement...

Improving the junction...

With this setup, you can improve the throughput of your junction quite a lot, since two trains driving on the parallel tracks going from the upper left to the lower right corner can use it simultaneously. However, if a train from the uppermost track wants to turn left, and a train coming from the lower left corner also wants to turn left, they will still block each other. Building a bridge instead of a tunnel would of course work the same, but remember that tunnels have no speed limits! Using path signals instead of block signals would give you a small increase in throughput at the two left-turns.

Advanced junctions

Advanced 3-way junction

Advanced 3-way junction

To improve the junction a bit further, we build a second tunnel and a bridge to ensure that tracks always split before they merge, and that they don't cross each other. The junction now works quite good and is already suited for moderate traffic. However, if two trains coming from the upper left corner are driving very close behind each other, and both want to go straight along the line, the second one will have to wait before the tunnel, since we do not have signals in tunnels. The signal distance of 2 on the regular track is temporarily increased to 5 by the tunnel.

Advanced 3-way junction with doubled briges

Advanced 3-way junction, now with doubled bridges
Bridges versus Tunnels

To prevent jams caused by the scenario described above, we can build two parallel bridges or tunnels, instead of just one. The second train can then use the second bridge/tunnel and does not have to wait in front of a red signal. The reason that now instead of tunnels bridges are being used is that the variant with bridges is two tiles shorter than the one with tunnels. The screenshot to the right shows the cause of this: You can't build two adjacent tunnels which begin or end at a different position, so both tunnels need to be 5 tiles long. With bridges this is possible, so they only need to be 4 tiles long, which saves you 2 tiles with this junction. Of course you can still use tunnels if you have the space and think that they look nicer, or if your bridges have low speed limits.

Advanced 3-way junction, alternative style

An alternative version
An alternative version with doubled bridges

If the tracks going from the upper left to the lower north are your main tracks, and the connected tracks are not so important, you might prefer not to build bridges or tunnels on your mainline, either for optical reasons or for not disrupting the traffic on it. The two pictures show possible setups in which the mainline remains untouched, the disadvantage of those setups are that widening the curves requires a lot of space.

Advanced 3-way junction with double-track mainline

A double-track mainline connected to a single-track sideline

This picture shows a junction which connects a double-track mainline to a single-track sideline. All of the bridges are doubled to grant a high throughput, but there are two rather short 1,5 tiles curves in it, which might need expanding. The trains entering the mainline from the sideline can freely chose one of the two tracks, however, priorities could be added to optimise traffic flow.

Compact junctions

Compact 3-way junction

A very compact junction

This junction really doesn't require a lot of space to build, but still has no crossing tracks and features split before merge, while allowing trains to go in any direction. However, there are a lot of 2*45°-turns in it, which will slow down trains, and the bridges will decrease the throughput of it, too. Therefore, you should only build a junction like this one when you really don't have the space to build something a bit bigger.

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