Train Fever

Train Fever

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A Beginner's Guide to Train Fever
By dakdak99
This guide is great for those who are new to Train Fever and want a step-by-step guide to help them get started with their first game. Read this guide if you've just bought the game and would like to get a quick start to a successful and fun experience.

You will learn how to create your first lines, how to buy vehicles, how to connect industries and towns to each other, how to use passing sidings and signals, and how to successfully transport cargo and passengers. Enjoy the game!!
1. Starting a new game
When starting your first game, pick a small world size. Trust me, it's still huge. As a beginner, you don't need a medium or large map. The terrain you pick should be flat or medium, not hilly. Then, just click Start. Don't worry if nothing seems to happen for a little while, it takes time to load the game world!

When the game world loads, click the pause button (in the lower right corner of your screen) to pause the game. Then, use your mousewheel to zoom out and examine the map. Even on a small map, you'll notice that you have plenty of towns and industries to connect to each other. You'll probably want to focus on transporting passengers before anything else, so let's focus on that first.
2. Connecting your first two towns
You'll want to start by connecting a couple of low-lying towns first; try to pick two neighboring towns that are close to a river or lake, because they will be the easiest to connect. (You'll want to avoid hills in the beginning if you can.) If it's difficult for you to tell which towns are low-lying and which ones are higher up in the hills, click the button in the bottom right of your screen that is labeled "Show or hide data labels" and select "Contour lines".

With the contour lines showing, it will be much easier for you to determine which towns are easy to connect. You'll want to cross as few contour lines as possible when laying down tracks, which is why it's so handy to follow a river.

Below is a screenshot showing contour lines from high above the map.

To place your first station, click on the "tracks" icon in the blue bar on the right of your screen. Then select a passenger station (which should be the default). Now zoom in on your first town and place the station so you can easily lay tracks to the second town. You can use the "m" and "n" buttons to rotate the train station as you wish. Note that the station will automatically try to connect to a piece of road when you hover near it.

Find some empty land, preferably on the outskirts of the town (it's expensive to demolish buildings), and place your station. If necessary, connect it to the road network of the town by selecting "roads" from the menu on the right. Then go to the second town you've selected and do the same.

Then, you'll want to lay tracks between the two stations. For now, one track should be enough. Select tracks from the menu and start going from one station to the next. It's probably better (and easier) to build your tracks in several smaller sections rather than just connecting both towns in one go.

When you're laying the tracks, try to follow the contour lines so there's not too much difference in height. Hills will slow down your trains, tunnels are expensive, and in 1850, trains go slow enough as it is! You can see the maximum speed a train can travel by looking at the numbers in the speed limit signs that show up as you lay your track.

When you're done connecting the two stations with tracks, you'll also need to build a train depot. You can just connect a depot at any track end, which could be useful if one of the towns is on the edge of the map, but you don't want to do this if your town is in the middle of the map because you'll connect to other towns later. So, I like to branch off a small section of rail and connect a depot to that. Go ahead an connect one depot to your new line.

We're almost done; but before you create a line and unpause the game, first make sure your towns are fully connected...
3. Connecting the whole town to your train station
In 1850, inhabitants of small towns can only get to your train stations in two ways: by walking, or by using your horse carriages. Walking is slow and takes a long time, so it's a good idea to connect your whole town to a network of "bus stops".

To do this efficiently, go back to the data layers menu in the bottom right of your screen, deselect the contour lines if you haven't already (you don't need them right now), and instead select "Land use". See how your town lights up in different colors? This overlay will show where the people live (green), where they work (blue), where they go shopping (red) and where they go for leisure (yellow).

You'll want to place the bus stops near each of these areas. To start building bus stops, go to the "Roads" item in the blue menu and select "Stations". For now, all you'll need are the simple bus/tram stops.

Unlike in, say, Cities in Motion, you'll notice that the bus and tram stops don't show a radius of effect. You'll have to figure out for yourself how apart you should place them; I usually try to place them a couple of blocks apart. Don't worry too much about it because stops are cheap and you can easily add and remove them as needed.

Try to cover the entire town in a logical way, usually a circle, so your carriages can make circles from and to the train station. If you're planning to use trams, make sure to also put down the tram track.

Then, build a bus or tram depot somewhere close to your line. Repeat this step for the second town you are connecting, and then you're ready to assign lines, buy vehicles, and unpause the game!
4. Creating train and bus/tram lines and buying vehicles
This is a pretty simple step. In the blue menu on the right of your screen, select the "Manage lines" button. A popup will come up showing all your lines (none right now). Simply select "New line" and click on each of the two train stations you have built.

Click "New line" again for each of your two bus/tram lines and, starting with the one nearest your train stations, click on each bus stop once to connect them all to your line. As you can see, the game will automatically try to find a route back to the first stop you selected.

Now, click on the train depot and click the "Buy" button to buy your first train. There will only be one train available, the D 1/3. Select it, look at the train information, and click "Buy". To add passenger cars, select them and click "Buy" as many times as you need cars (three or four should be plenty to start with). To assign your train to your line, click "Set line" or "Set line (all)" and select your first line.

To do the same for your buses and trams, simply select the bus/tram depot in each of the two towns and buy as many carriages as necessary (again, three or four per town should be enough to start with). Use "Set line (all)" in each depot to assign all carriages you bought there to your line. Don't worry, they will space themselves out automatically to cover the entire town in regular intervals; no need to set a timetable!

And that's it, you're ready to unpause! Go ahead and watch your train and buses/trams leave the depots and go between their assigned stops.
5. Upgrading your rail line (using passing sidings and signals)
Once you have watched the trains and carriages move around for a while, you'll notice that more and more people will appear at your stops. When bus and tram stops get too busy, you can simply add more vehicles to the line to pick up the slack, but for trains, adding more passengers cars isn't always the only solution. Eventually, you'll want to buy more trains, and when you do, you'll need to expand your rail network so the new trains can pass each other.

Passing sidings are easy enough to build; find a section of rail where you want to build it, select "Build tracks" from the blue menu, move your cursor parallel of the existing track, and add the new section of track. You'll notice that the track will automatically snap to the sides of the existing track to make it easy on you.

Then, connect the new section by adding intersections on both ends of it. Just click and drag the siding track on top of the existing track and it will connect the two. Note that the speed limit will go up as the connecting piece gets longer, allowing your trains to travel faster. This won't matter much in the beginning of the game, but when you start getting faster trains, it will be helpful to have higher speed limits in your passing sidings.

When your passing sidings are complete, you'll need to add some signals to make them work well. Here is a short explanation of basic signal usage to get you started. (Elsewhere, you can find guides for more advanced signal usage.)

Note that while using signals may seem complicated at first, you will quickly get the hang of it and be able to easily use them!

The basic rule of signals in Train Fever is as follows: "Place signals directly in front of any crossing or danger point, and never directly after." You don't want a train to stop in such a way that it blocks a crossing or split/merge point by standing on it, as it can lead to a complete stand still of the entire line.

All signals in Train Fever are path signals, not block signals. In the case of passing sidings, this means you should only place a signal at each opposite end of the siding in the direction of travel (see image below). Trains will then stop at the end of the siding when a train is coming at them from the main part of the line.

Don't ever place signals just before a passing siding, or at the start of a siding; this will cause trains to block each other. Also, while you still have passings sidings instead of double track, don't place any signals on the main part of the line as this will cause trains to block each other as well.

Note that all stations have "built-in" signals and don't need signals to be placed at their exits, except if you like the visual representation.

In the beginning, this is all you need to do as far as signals are concerned. Once you grasp the above concept, you'll start making more complex combinations when the game advances.

One more tip... try to place passings sidings in three spots at first: near your train stations and in the middle of the line. This allows for the shortest wait times for your trains.
6. Cargo transport
Cargo transport works slightly different from passenger transport. First of all, cargo needs their own train and trucks stations; you can't use a passenger station to transport cargo. Second, different industries require different cargo items to be delivered to them. Third, cargo will be moved around automatically (and very slowly) even if you don't connect a line to it.

As of this writing, cargo transport is still being tweaked. I will update this guide as things change, but here is how things work as of right now (September 2014).

First, click on the "Cargo" data layer (in the bottom right of your screen) to see cargo move itself from one industry to another. This very handy data layer is ideal to determine where to create your transport lines, so use it wisely!

Also, to see which cargo goes where and how much of it is produced, locate each of the industrial plants and click on them for more information. You'll want to focus on industries that are already producing something and moving that cargo to other, nearby industries or towns.

The simple way of describing the industry chain in the game is as follows: raw materials are transferred to factories that produce goods, which are then moved to commercial buildings in towns and cities. In other words, a successful transport chain will move raw materials to factories and the goods from factories to commercial buildings in towns.

If you do this correctly, more raw materials will be produced, which will lead to a higher production of goods, which will cause the towns and cities that are served with goods to grow faster.

Every town has a certain demand for goods that you can view by clicking on the town name. By fulfilling this demand (i.e., transporting goods from factories to towns), you will grow the amount of goods that each factory will make. In other words: make sure that you transport goods to various different towns, as simply delivering the raw materials to the factories will not lead to higher production!

Image below: red circle shows the requirement (in this case, wood); yellow circle shows the current and max production for this location - this can go up if you connect a line to this location; green circle shows a product being moved independently of your transport lines.

It's sometimes a bit tricky to create a successful transport chain, so experiment away - you'll see how it all works soon enough. Some basic guidelines follow below.

- You'll often find that certain industries are located far away from each other. In the beginning, try to connect only industries and towns that are relatively close to each other and are already producing items before you connect them.

- Transport goods from one factory to multiple cities to make sure the demand on the factory is high and the goods production will increase fast.

- Many industrial locations are located in hills. Use the contour data layer to determine how you can reach other industrial locations and towns; if the hill is too steep, you will have a very difficult time connecting a train line. If the distance isn't too much, try using road transport at first. It'll be slow, but cheaper to build (roads usually already exist) and vehicles have less difficulty travelling on steeper slopes. For more tips on hills and slopes, see the advanced tips below.

- When building cargo stations for towns, try to put them as close as possible to the industrial districts (blue areas). The goods you deliver to your station will still need to travel further into town and the end location of all goods is always an industry building.

- All cargo stations have a maximum capacity. Keep in mind what this maximum is; if more cargo arrives at a cargo stop than it can store, it will simply be discarded! Always use the cargo data layer to figure out which cargo is going where.

- Keep an eye out on your cargo routes. You may want to add more vehicles or put more cars on your cargo trains when they increase their production! Each station will show much it holds, each industrial location will show how much it produces, and the cargo layer will show more and more cargo travelling from each location, so look at all of them from time to time.
7. Conclusion + advanced tips
That's it! You have now learned the basics of the game. You should now be able to play for a while without running into issues. Below, I will add a few more advanced tips, but these are by no means complete. Read a more advanced guide of Train Fever if you need more help. For now, enjoy the game!

- Use the "Wait for full load" option on certain stops to make sure your vehicles don't travel unless they are completely filled up, but be careful: waiting vehicles block stations and can cause other traffic (including your trains, buses, etc.) to stall! Always keep an eye out when you tell a vehicle to wait for a full load and it's not the only one stopping at that station.

- Personally, I try to achieve at least 65-70% occupancy in my trains for them to be successful (without waiting for a full load). Trains that don't reach these kinds of percentages are probably money losers.

- If you need more money, use the yellow menu option in the bottom left to borrow more.

- The yellow menu in the bottom left also has buttons to show all your vehicles, all industries and cities on the map, and more. The Vehicles screen allows you to send all your vehicles on a line to the depot, which can be very handy when you need to replace them with a newer vehicle.

- When building a rail line up a steep hill, try to follow the contour lines to limit the steepness of the slope. Note that this may make for some very windy rail lines, though, and try to determine if you are better off using road vehicles. Click here for a detailed explanation of building rail lines up and down hills.

- When you're looking for a good line frequency (meaning: how often your trains, buses and trucks run), I've found the following:

- Trains: 5-8 minutes
- Buses and trucks: 85 - 110 seconds
- Really busy industrial lines with trucks: as little as 30 seconds!

Remember, part of the decision a person or a factory makes to use your line is how fast it transports them or their items to their destination. If your bus or truck only drops by every 5 minutes, it may be faster for them to walk to their destination!

To find the line frequency, open the Line Management screen.

- Every 10-15 years or so, revisit the bus and tram lines in your various towns. Most likely, the towns have grown and some of the newer developments will be out of reach of your stops. Consider adding more stops and extending your lines, or split up longer lines into shorter ones.

- As time progresses, trains will become more and more expensive to buy and maintain. They will also become more powerful and faster, so while in the beginning you may want to buy more trains that are shorter, later on you will want to buy fewer trains with more cars to keep your costs down.

- As towns grow into cities, be mindful of where you train stations are. If they get surrounded by buildings before you expand them, it can be very expensive (think millions of $$$!) to demolish all the town buildings to make room for your larger/longer train station. Try to look ahead; a central town will very likely become a huge and very busy hub for you once you connect other locations to your network, so you may want to start out with a larger (and more expensive) station in those locations.

- Need more advanced information? Check out this handy interactive guide[].
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ReedlyDeedly Jul 4, 2016 @ 11:08am 
@dodixon - Do you have the DLC downloaded? It's free, but you have to manually download it from the store.
dodixon Mar 26, 2016 @ 7:17pm 
My USA button doesn't work. What do I do?
Wolfee Mar 2, 2016 @ 4:06pm 
My "Set Line (all)" Button doesnt work... Am I doing it wrong? it has a little circle when I push it. Not the loading circle a literal circle that just sits there until I exit the menu
dakdak99  [author] Jan 31, 2016 @ 12:25pm 
If you had no signals but multiple trains, that could be a problem too. Trains need a place to pass each other.
I Like Hamilton Jan 31, 2016 @ 12:00pm 
I didn't even have signals, and my lines were fine. I think it was a bug.
dakdak99  [author] Jan 31, 2016 @ 6:53am 
Make sure that you set up your lines correctly, and verify you used the signals correctly as well. Either one of these things could stop your trains at their stations.
I Like Hamilton Jan 30, 2016 @ 1:18pm 
I tried this strategy step by step, but my trains don't work. They don't even leave the station. While this is actually off of the Mac App Store, I still used this guide. Should I just get CIM, or keep this one.
DominantReverse Dec 22, 2015 @ 10:03am 
The signals bit is broken. I did exactly as in the picture but they still blocked each other :/
Sedge Mar 3, 2015 @ 9:16pm 
This has been a neat mix of Cities in Motion and Sid Meier's Railroads! but the cargo is a bit behind. Also, the same problem of ghost trains happens. A train becomes un selectable and cannot be deleted, clogging up streets and track. I have had to start over seriously long games because of this. Also platform advice is true, I go to a big central city and build a 4 platform station after I have made money from buses. I wish they had the sim city option of just one lick demo/land purchse after a checkbox. Intercity buses are slow, but hugely profitable, and much cheaper to run than trains early.
dakdak99  [author] Mar 2, 2015 @ 7:40am 
Get a $10 mouse somewhere? ;-)