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Unruly trains

Have you ever scratched your head after seeing a train:

  • not stopping at a station as it should
  • being on a track far from where it should be
  • queuing at a busy platform whereas all the other platforms are empty
  • or even not switching at all?

Sometimes trains don’t do what you think they’ll do. This post explains why!

Train not stopping at station

Consider this example:

Only two paths?

The player wants to create a route from station A to station B. Instinctively, you may think that there are only two paths: one path going from the top platform of A to the top platform of B, and one path going from the bottom platform of A to the bottom platform of B.


Wrong! There are two other possible paths. Things get clearer if you display the paths:

Unexpected paths

In addition to the two “natural paths”, the router also found two other paths:

  • The pink path connects the top platform of A to the bottom platform of B. It goes left, then uses the loop track to get to B.
  • The dark blue path connects the bottom platform of A to the top platform of B. It passes station B without stopping, uses the top track to loop around, then passes station A without stopping, and finally gets to the top platform of B.

The blue path is particularly disconcerting! because your trains can pass at stations A and B without stopping, but it’s a valid path nonetheless.

The router is very clever and it will often find unexpected solutions. Its ultimate goal is to connect all the platforms of the origin station to all the platforms of the destination station, even if it has to use very far and remote tracks.

If you want to disable unwanted paths, you can use the Path Selector tool. It’s the clipboard icon on the left of the screen:

Path Selector tool

Trains queuing at a wrong platform

Consider this other example:

Tricky switch

This time, the player adds a switch between station A and B, and some signals to make sure switching is working (see this post if you want to know how switching works).

There are also two return tracks between B and A. The player creates a three waypoints route, to make sure the train uses the top return track:

Classic three waypoints route

Everything is peachy! Right?

Wrong again!

If you inspect waypoint A, to see all the paths going from C to A, here is what you get:

Unexpected path again

The router found a “natural” blue path to get from C to the top platform of A, but it also found a unexpected pink path going from C to the bottom platform of A. The pink path passes station A and B without stopping, and uses the bottom return track to get to the bottom platform of A.

You can’t beat the router! It will always find a path if it exists.

The pink path has also an unexpected twist: when a train arrives at C, it must choose between the blue and the pink paths. If the top platform of A is busy, it will choose the pink path and stick to it. But the pink path always uses the bottom platform of station B as a passing track! even if the bottom platform is busy and the top platform available. That’s why you can see trains queuing at a busy platform, even if the other platforms are available.

The bottom line: if you have an unruly train, always inspect all the route waypoints. Don’t forget to inspect the return paths to get to A.

Once again, you can use the Path Selector to delete unwanted paths.

Trains not switching at all

Have a look at this last example:

One way parallel lanes

In this setup, the player wants to create a one way route between station A and B, using two parallel lanes. The player hopes that trains will switch at switch 1, 2 and 3, and choose each time an empty track. This is a way to achieve traffic balancing.

But it won’t work. Trains don’t switch at all and end up queuing at a busy platform at station B, even if the other platform is empty.

Let’s inspect the paths once again:

Trains don’t switch at each switch

For clarity, I’ll show only paths coming from the top platform of station A.

As you can see, train makes only one path decision between two waypoints. Once a path is chosen, it will stick to it. It does not matter if there are other track switches later on the route. When trains arrive at station B, the choice has already been made at switch 1. Switch 3 is useless, and trains can’t switch to choose a free platform.

The proper way to achieve traffic balancing between parallel tracks is to use Track Sets:

Use Track Sets for traffic balancing

To force trains to make a path decision on all track switches, we add a track sets before each switch.

Instead of having multiple track switches between two waypoint (A -> switch -> switch -> switch -> B), you now have only one switch between two waypoints (A -> switch -> B -> switch -> C -> switch -> D).

Because trains make only one path decision between two waypoints, you can now control where trains switch.

23 thoughts on “Unruly trains

    1. If you want to use a station platform as a passing track, just create a route going through the station, but without setting a waypoint on the station.

  1. i played deck eleven’s railroad and the game is faboulus. the best railway game in android market. i wanna say this thank you developer!

  2. Many electric dream missions about saving the environment. What if there is an additional replanting of trees that were lost due to construction. This is very serious so please attention to make the earth greener.

    And my little hope there is a choice of rivers in the sandbox.

    1. Recreating bulldozed trees is possible, but it very far on the todo list, to be honest.
      There will be a choice to create rivers, seas and lakes in the new sandbox.

  3. First off let me congratulate the developer(s) for creating such a fantastic game. But I have come across a wall that I just can’t seem to get past. The meltdown level has got me vexed. I have tried leaving the time alone and still cannot get supplies to the material factory before the reactor goes boom. Can someone please post a video or at least a screen shot of their map 🙏.

  4. I just completed the electric campaign after buying it the day it released. Had to take it slow so it wouldn’t be over too quickly, but that level 12 was amazing. I managed to crack level 12 first go but it took ages and alot of thinking. You have done so well developing this game have seriously enjoyed it. Looking forward to seeing the sandbox update to bring new life now that all campaigns are finished. Welldone

    1. Thanks 🙂 This game was a lot of work to develop, so I’m pretty happy when people say they enjoyed it.
      The sandbox update is in the final testing stage. I will probably finish it during the holidays.
      I hope you’ll like it too.

  5. Thanks Devs. This is the best game out there!!! ( in my opinion). Keep up the great work. I love the challenging campaigns. Just finished the electric one. Hope there will be more out soon.

    1. Yes it’s finally available 🙂
      I’ll make a post tomorrow.
      You can also wait for version 4.0.1 (coming very soon) that contains a fix for a bug with bridges

      1. Thank you for the big improvement of the sandbox. The first tries promise to offer boxes full of challenges and fun. But the River is quite narrow for the port, maybe a little lake around it would give the boats some space 😉

        1. Thanks 🙂
          The choice of river is random. Some are larger than other. I’ll check the port position for the smaller ones.

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