OpenTTD by default offers four types of railways for construction, all eventually available under the Construct Railway menu:
For detailed information on how to build railways, see Railway construction.
The types of track are as follows:
Railways are the only railway available at the start of the game (unless the game is started at a very early date). Only steam and diesel trains run on this railway (unless the advanced setting "Disable electric rails" is on).
Electrified railways become available in 1965. Electric trains will run only on this type of track, unless you disable Electric Railways in the advanced settings. Steam and diesel trains can still run on this railway.
By default, there are no electric trains in the sub-arctic, tropical or toyland climates, only in the temperate climate. If you want to use electrified railways in those climates, you need an additional train NewGRF
Monorail becomes available in 1999. Only Monorail trains can run on this railway.
MagLev is the final rail type, allowing the fastest trains and only becoming available in 2022. Only MagLev trains can run on this railway.
Additional rail type NewGRFs
In addition to these for types of railway, there are several NewGRFs that add more rail types. This feature is available since OpenTTD 1.0.3.
If you have such a NewGRF installed, the additional rail types will show up in drop-down menu under the Railway Construction button just like the default rail types. A NewGRF may add additional railtypes, but may also alter or replace the default rail types. In most cases you will also need a rail vehicle NewGRF in order to use all additional railtypes provided by a railtype NewGRF.
There are currently a number of railtype NewGRFs available via Online content:
- Metro Track Set (providing 3rd rail tracks and 3rd tracks with catanery);
- NuTracks (providing unelectrified, electrified, 3rd rail and 3rd rail+catanary tracks with different speed limits as well as a "planning" track type);
- UK Railway Set tracks (providing 3rd rail tracks and 3rd tracks with catanery);
- Universal Rail Type (a track type that accepts most vehicle types, also in the depot, which makes it easier to convert engines between rail types).
- Vacuum (a fictional track type utilising theoretical vacuum technology).
Railtype NewGRFs have built-in support for all road NewGRFs.
Graphic replacing NewGRFs
Apart from the railtype NewGRF that add new types of tracks, there are some older style NewGRFs that do not add a new rail type, but just replace the graphics of an existing rail type. These NewGRFs are not always compatible with all road NewGRFs and sometimes need a special train NewGRF to make sense.
Some well-known old style graphic replacing NewGRFs:
- CS Rail Set (changes appearance of railway track);
- Monorail Infra Set (adds concrete next to monorail tracks);
- Narrow Gauge rails (replaces railway, monorail or maglev with narrow gauge tracks);
- Swedish Rails Set (changes appearance of railway track);
- Transrapid Track Set (changes appearance of maglev tracks to resemble the German Transrapid test track).