ON BOARD TUTORING
The following tutorial will get you up and running your trains and
provide the groundwork for understanding some of the financial
intricacies of the game. You'll find detailed explanations of menus,
commands, investment suggestions and general game play advice
in the Reference section of the manual.
The tutorial assumes that you have a mouse. The left button is the
default mouse button for selecting actions and commands, unless
otherwise stated. If you're playing without a mouse, see the
Addendum for keyboard procedures.
Please refer to your Addendum for procedures to install and start
A-Train. Once the program is running, you are ready to begin
After the title screen and credits for the game have been displayed,
the SYSTEM menu will open.
When the SYSTEM menu is opened, the game clock stops. The menu
has a number of commands, but for tutorial purposes, just click on
NEW GAME. A submenu will open. The six numbers represent the
choices of map landscapes upon which you can build your train
empire. Click on #1 and then click on LOAD.
You will now see the lovely map of your new railroad operation,
surrounded by the "picture frame" of menu choices. The running
clock in the upper-right corner indicates the fiscal term (from April
1 to the present), and the month, day and hour. The clock is the
measure for train scheduling, which will be discussed later in this
Tutorial. The passing of time is illustrated by the changing patterns
of light as day fades and night falls (VGA only). The light changes can
be turned off if you wish; see your Addendum for details. There will
also be seasonal changes, such as the appearance of winter snow, as
the game progresses.
All of the maps provide you with at least one operating railroad, and
some amount of cash. See the Cities chapter in the Reference section
for amplification on the challenges each map presents.
Map One is one of the most open and undeveloped of the six
scenarios, providing space for experimentation and risk. One of the
goals will be to develop the "bedroom community" of its new town.
Take a few moments to "mouse around" on the map to get a sense of
your territory. You can make incremental movements by clicking in
the arrow boxes on the right side of the frame, which will cause the
map to scroll a small amount in the direction of the arrow.
You can orient yourself to the overall map boundaries by clicking on
SATELLITE (on the right edge of the frame), which will display a
small image of your complete map. (All picture frame menus will
highlight when the mouse pointer is positioned on the menu title,
and they then can be opened with a mouse click). The rectangle on
the Satellite map captures the current territory displayed on the
large map. You can drag the box on the Satellite map to any area and
click, and the corresponding terrain will be displayed on the big map.
Take careful note of the hills, rivers and lakes; terrain plays a
significant part in your rail setup. The land is divided into small
squares that we'll refer to as "blocks." The block is the measure for
a number of A-Train procedures.
Use the Satellite rectangle to return to the existing train station on
the map, then leave the window by clicking on EXIT. There is both
a freight and a passenger operation on your established lines, both
running on the same track, both going off the map. Note that the
freight train returns from its excursions outside laden with materials,
which are deposited in the large pile at the station; if the storage place
is full, it will pick up materials to be sold to the outside. Those are the
construction materials from which commercial properties and other holdings
are developed. Their placement and train transport play an integral part
in your city development.
And city development is one of your goals. Click on REPORT 4--the Urban
Growth chart--and note the statistics on your city's status, particularly
the population total. It is wise to periodically check these facts to see
how rapidly your city is evolving. These figures give you quick feedback
on how your moves affect the city scale. Click on EXIT to leave the report
Track laying can be a trifle tricky at first, so we'll experiment a bit.
Scroll to one of the undeveloped areas on the map, so that you can
put down and remove some track without destroying existing
development. Open the TRAINS menu. This menu provides you with
the functions you'll need to build and schedule your railroad. Click
the LAY TRACKS command. Make sure that LAY is highlighted.
Click the mouse and you will see a terrain block highlight; these
blocks are the units of measure in the survey of your terrain.
Drag the mouse in any direction and you will see a highlighted line
follow your movements. The highlight will reflect any curves when
you deviate from a straight line. You can see that by slight
maneuvering with the mouse, the display of your proposed line will
change its angle and course.
Drag a straight line from left to right about six blocks and then click.
A strip of track will be put down in place of the highlight. Click on
REMOVE (in the LAY TRACKS submenu), and click on either end of
the track and drag to its other end. The beginning block will
highlight, just as when you place track. Click again and the track will
be removed and replaced by cleared land.
You can see that the figure in the COST box changes with each block
over which you lay track. This number reflects the purchase price of
the land, and the track laying/removing charges. You will still own
any land from which you remove track.
Hint: If you are trying to put down some lines and your
track tactics don't result in the desired direction, you can
cancel the LAY command by clicking the right mouse
button. Then try to lay the railroad by clicking first the
destination point and then the beginning point. The railroad
should turn to the opposite direction.
For curved track, if you can't achieve the desired angle with a single
drag of the mouse, you can lay piecewise segments of straight track,
connect the curved joint, and then connect additional segments. Of
course, it's more expensive if you mistakenly put some down, only
to remove it later.
THROWING YOUR TRACK A CURVE
Curving track can require some wily maneuvering, but it's a skill that
will serve you well in future track laying. Try running a line from east
to west and then have it veer sharply up or down. Also try a few wide,
looping curves. If you haven't established a practical line position,
you'll get a nasty message from the track layer or construction
manager. You can see that controlling the curve isn't always easy,
but small mouse motions can usually establish the desired angle in
a highlighted planned line. If you have difficulty getting a curved
length properly positioned, do it in short one- or two- block segments.
Try removing curved track as well.
Hint. When trying to place a line segment, its easier to get
a block to highlight if you click directly in its center.
If a track removal path won't follow any curves that might be on your
line, you will have to remove piecemeal sections. It is expensive to rip
track, so in the real game, plan carefully before you lay your line.
Experiment with curved and straight track laying and removal until
you have a more natural feel for it.
GETTING BACK ON TRACK
When you've untangled this track-tying rope, scroll the map so that
your original station is near the top and center of your screen. We're
going to run a new line from here to the east and then south, so that
we can use the existing commercial market of the town, without
having to schedule trains around the existing lines.
We'll establish two new lines on a connected track near the established
lines. These will provide us with a small passenger market, and let us
acquire some construction materials to spur development around
our new lines. The schedules and routes of the original line are fixed
and can't be adjusted, but any additional trains can be laid down
separately or integrated and controlled.
Click at a spot a couple of blocks below and a couple blocks to the
right of the station. Move the highlighted planned line from west to
east about five or six blocks, and click to place the line. You can add
to existing track by clicking the mouse at track end (the initial block
will be highlighted), and dragging. Click at the eastern end of your
line and move it east a block or two and then draw it down, straight
south, to a few blocks from the bottom of the screen.
The curve southward should be indicated in the highlighted planned
line. You might have to do some wiggling to place it so that it "sets,"
but when you have positioned the line to your satisfaction, click at
its end. This will establish the track (or you will get a message
informing you if you have laid a line in an unsuitable position).
When you are laying track you often have to make many adjust-
ments for geography--avoid hills and try to use fairly straight
segments, since curves are more costly. You can click the right
mouse button to cancel a planned line if you haven't yet clicked the
left button and placed it.
Look at your new track in the Satellite view to see it in relation to the
original map. (You must exit the LAY TRACKS submenu to use the
Let's lay a second line that connects on a spur from the first. It is
actually easier at the beginning of games to lay two close-but-
separate lines, freight and passenger, so that you don't have to be
concerned with switches, but we'll get your switchin' feet wet early,
so you won't be fearful of those complex waters later on.
Connecting track must be first established on a diagonal line from
existing track. Position your mouse so that it is about two-thirds of
the way down the first section of your track. Highlight the first block
and drag the mouse down so that your second line runs parallel and
one or two blocks to the west of your first track. Drag until you reach
the terminus of your first line and click to set your dual line. The
result should look like the Second New Line diagram; minor var-
iations in placement aren't important.
TRAINING YOUR FIRST TRAIN
There are a number of approaches you can take to or-
ganizing your initial railroad, such as buying and plac-
ing the stations first and then arranging your trains, but
we'll get a train up and chugging right away so you'll
have something to brag about.
Exit the LAY TRACKS menu and click the BUY TRAIN
command in the TRAINS menu. You will see a Rolling
Stock Market display of all the available train models, a
chart detailing the statistics of the chosen train, and a
train registry showing what trains are already in oper-
ation. Other maps that you develop will show all your
purchased trains by their highlighting on the calendar chart, but you
cannot adjust Map One's existing trains, and thus the entire chart is
To buy a train for your new line you must first choose an unused train
number from the registry(#1 has a lovely ring) by clicking on it, and
then assign the number to a particular train chosen from the train
chart. As you click on the various small pictures of the trains, a larger
picture of the selected train will appear at the bottom of the window
along with its vital statistics (model, capacity, cost, etc.).
Your first line should be a freight line. We recommend the dashing
GP 40, the bottom unit in the second column, with the crisp Maxis
Lines logo. (You may want to start with a cheaper, lower-capacity
freight in a real game. ) Once you have chosen a train, make sure the
BUY command is highlighted and then click CONFIRM. The train is
now yours, registered by its number, which is highlighted and
underlined on the registry chart.
Click EXIT to close the Rolling Stock Market. Then click the PLACE
TRAIN command from TRAINS menu. You'll find that the new train
number has already been chosen in the calendar chart, with its train
stats displayed. (From this menu you can click other numbers if you
want to make changes to future existing trains.)
Make sure that #1 is highlighted and then place the train near the
bottom edge of your eastern line by positioning the pointer over a
spot on the track, which will display the highlighted box. The train
will appear on the place clicked. If the place isn't appropriate, a
message box will appear to scold you. The new train will have two
arrows, one in front of the train and one at the back. The white arrow
represents the train's direction. You can click on these arrows to
toggle the direction; for now, point its travel up the line towards the
original railway. The train starts moving after you click on EXIT. You
got yourself a railroad!
Hint: When expanding future lines, it might be convenient
for you to place Several trains at one time--multiple track
placements--using the SATELLITE view scrolling, which
lets you move around the map very quickly.
GIVE YOUR TRAIN A HOME
You'll see your train making its merry path from north to south
without relent, on the outside line. Let's give it a place to pull over
and stretch its wheels. and also pick up some business in the
All maps will start you with a least one station on a line. One solid
approach for a line with only one station is to establish another on
the same line some distance(at least 15 or 20 blocks) away preferably
near some development--if there is any--so as to provide both
materials transport and some passenger income. (Passenger fare
increases with distance traveled.) We're dealing with freight right
now, but we're going to put a passenger line down as well.
There isn't a preset ideal" distance between stations for running
passengers. Dependent on development factors, set the stations
close early in the game to reduce track laying expenses, and when
there is more passenger traffic, remove close stations to get the
increased fare received for longer trips. There are many strategic
gambits concerning station development; refer to the Trains chapter
in your Reference section for details.
For simplicity's sake. Let's establish a station at the southeast end of
our new line. You can add additional stations to your original line
later. The large stations, the ones with tall buildings attached, are
more expensive, but their larger passenger processings provoke the
simulation into faster city and urban road development. Scroll to the
the southern end of your line and click on the BUILD STATION
command on the TRAINS menu. Trains will stop running when this
menu is opened.
You are given a choice of four small and four large stations in various
orientations. Click on a small station that will face the tracks from
the west and then position the mouse at the southernmost edge of
the track. (Station orientation is a factor in city development; see the
Crossroads section in Reference.) Stations can only be placed on
diagonal segments of track with no curves. You'll see the station
outline in highlight, which will occupy at least three blocks. Click
when the position is right, and the building will settle nicely into
place. When lines are this close, they can share a single station.
It's necessary to immediately make an area for materials storage near
the station, so that your can pave your kingdom. You need to buy some
land adjacent to your station for this storage. It's actually a very
sound move to buy up a lot of land around your stations quite early
in the game, because this land's value skyrockets in relation to later
development. If you truly have an eye for the long-term, buy land in
areas where you might concentrate development later; it's sure to
bulge your future wallet. You probably shouldn't spend too much too
soon, though. because startup rail costs are high.
Open the subsidiaries menu. This menu provides the commands
to buy and place your land, income properties and commercial
developments. Click on REAL ESTATE. A submenu will open with
buy and sell I commands. a figure revealing your current holdings
and a cost figure that will tally the price of prospective land buys. The
prices for the individual blocks of land will be revealed when you
move your pointer over them.
Land without buildings on it is cheaper; buy accordingly. Click the
BUY command; the mouse pointer will become a highlighted block.
Click on several blocks of land in a line near your western station. You
can buy more later if the traffic's hopping. You can also buy property
in the general periphery of the station. Leave any residences and
buildings be. You can see that when you purchase the land, its surface
is cleared. Cleared land with a black highlight around it is owned by
another company. Exit the subsidiaries menus.
Scroll (if necessary) up north near the map's original station and
open the BUILD STATION menu. Place a station at the northern end
of your line, which should be just a few blocks below, parallel to, and
a touch east of your original station. You will have to build over some
existing buildings. This station's placement allows you to feed" off
of some of the existing materials brought in from the outside and to
transport them down to your southern stations for city develop-
ment. Buy some land near this station for materials storage.
Now your train's all dressed up with a place to go, but you need
to tell it where and when. Exit the build STATION menu.
DON'T FIGHT; SWITCH!
Go back to the TRAINS menu and click on Schedule. You will see
the calendar chart with your highlighted train number and a route
map that displays the operating trains. their tracks and stations in
miniature. Clicking on the number of each purchased train will
highlight its image at its current position in a small white box on the
route map. Info on the selected train is underneath this map. This
map can he a particular asset when you have many trains running
and their respective numbers are not so fresh in your mind.
We'll set schedules when we place your passenger train, so ignore the
DEPARTURE TIME command; click on SWITCH. A small diagram
of a switch will be shown in the box below the command.
Move the mouse so that the pointer is near the junction of your
southwest line and click. A highlighted box appears on the map at the
switch's location and the switch display shows its current position.
Click on CHANGE SWITCH to direct your freight to your southwest
track. The switch will be redirected on the route display and
the game map.
Click on the TEST RUN command and you will see the
altered route on your route map, with your train represent-
ed by a swiftly moving dot. You must click on END TEST to
halt the manic pace of the test demonstration.
Exit the SCHEDULE window and watch the movement of
your train. You'll see that it will soon start transporting
materials to your southern storage place, or dependent
on availability of materials near your original station--
taking them away. You can redirect the course of your train
through the PLACE TRAINS menu. Clicking on its number will
scroll the screen to your train. which will display its directional
arrows. Sometimes materials won't be available and your freight will
begin to take materials away from your southern stations. You can
use the arrows to send your freight back to deposit materials it was
going to take away.
Switches, scheduling and all their intrigues are discussed in more
detail in the Trains chapter in the Reference section. You will need
to become a competent switchmaster and scheduler when you place
your passenger train.
For now, let #l run freely, as long as it is depositing construction
materials at your southern station. Those blocks are the flagstones
on your road to fortune.
This part of the tutorial will guide you through the basics of the
building trade in A-Train. There are many stratagems regarding
development around your stations and subsequent city expansion.
All situations are variable according to the existing level of map
development, your cash resources, and your approach to growth, be
it devil-may-care or cautious. For tutorial purposes, we'll just give
you some fundamentals on property development, its effect on the
population, and how the simulation responds to your decisions. All
of these matters, including a chart of development expenses for each
subsidiary, are expounded upon in the Cities chapter of the Reference
Of critical need now are those construction materials, the stuff your
dreams--and buildings--are made of. Construction materials are
the "flour and water" from which all buildings are constructed and
from which the simulation builds. You will see them start piling up
near your station not long after it's built(as long as your outside lines
are bringing them in). The pile will shrink and grow dependent upon
the movement of your new freight line and the materials use of your
initial trains. When you've built up a storehold of materials you can
do some property development.
Of course, you can rather cleverly relieve some of these materials
anxieties by making some of your own. Why not build a factory
nearby to produce the little devils for you? ( It is better early on to rely
on materials brought in from the outside and not to build an
expensive, high-maintenance factory, but we'll do it here to
demonstrate how they work.)
Open the SUBSIDIARIES menu and click on FACTORY. A submenu
will open that displays an image of the factory and BUILD and
REMOVE commands. Click on BUILD and position your pointer in
the territory south of your northern station, but within about eight
blocks of the track. You will see the land costs change as you move
your mouse. Click when you've found a spot to your liking.
You can't utilize these materials unless they are first transported by
your freights to your storage place, so keep that in mind--the
direction of utilization is towards your southern stations. You can,
however, use materials directly from the factory if you build within
10 blocks of the factory storage place. You can remove the factory
when you have sufficient materials; the maintenance costs are
high, and are charged to you even when the factory isn't producing.
Factories do, however, also provide employment for your citizens.
If there are placement problems for any property development, you
might have to face the Construction Manager, who will inform you
of difficulties in a message window. Change the site selection if you
can't immediately place the factory. It takes
20 materials to build a factory, but that
sacrifice is softened by your realizing that all
A-Train factories are non-polluting.
Right now, the only things your train is picking up are construction
materials and flies, so let's do some developing--environmentally
conscious, of course--with your passenger train in mind.
Open the APARTMENTS submenu. There are no differences in
operating expense or income among the three styles, but their initial
purchase increases in expense from left to right. Choose one, and find
a good site on the map near a station to house some hard-working
families. All of your initial property developments should be close to
the station, since it increases their value, surrounding property
values, and centralizes initial development.
You might want to place your first apartments near your eastern
track, if you don't want them to have to see the factory out their front
window. Click on a block to place their new homes. You will get
advisory messages from the simulation if your placement is unsuit-
able or if you don't have enough construction materials. (Apartments
require eight materials.)
Building apartments indirectly 'primes" the simulation to develop
other buildings around yours. Early rapid buying and selling of
apartment houses does not in itself provoke more rapid development
by the simulation, though you can parlay the income from sales to
buy more companies and land, which brings up population totals,
which does provoke the simulation to build. Build a few apartment
complexes near the station.
You can see from the SUBSIDIARIES menu that you can truly fill the
landscape with properties galore, but all these decisions must be
made in the shrewd light of company benefit and profit, so don't go
hog-wild. You should put down some commercial or rental property
nearby so your residents will have someplace to work. Avoid building
or buying land directly behind your station without later selling it,
because that is where the simulation will build roads when your city
expansion is really cooking (if you have built with large stations).
Now that you have acquainted yourself with all of the TRAINS and
SUBSIDIARIES menu functions, you can open the SYSTEM menu
and click on QUICK MENU. This will display the icons for all of those
menu functions without the large title windows, so that the display
area is larger. Clicking on any of the icons will open the submenus
you have already seen. You can toggle the QUICK MENU on and off
through the SYSTEM menu.
ESTATES AND THEIR REELINGS
The simulation will produce additional residences as soon as you
reach a certain developmental scale; you might see the program
clear some land first, and then fill it with houses after a materials
deposit. You can make this happen more rapidly by buying real estate
near your stations and then selling it not long after.
Clearing land by purchasing it removes one step in the simulation
building process by making it easier for the program to build after
you sell the land.
The program can also be kick-started by selling all old subsidiaries
and buying new, but don't buy anything like golf courses or sta-
diums until you have an urban base. However, constant speculation
in subsidiaries will eventually result in a "There are no buyers"
message. Check the "Look At Your Report Card" section below for
details on buying and selling assets.
You might have to take an initial loss on these sales, but once you
have developed the area around your station a bit, and there are
available materials, the program will start popping out houses and
small commercial buildings, often where you've just made a
transaction, and you'll have that warm glow only a mother knows.
You can't expect your new residents to walk to work, and what about
when Grandma wants to visit from the Great Beyond outside the
map's borders? It's time to be a prime mover in the ecologically
conscious (and hopefully, logically profitable) world of mass transit.
We'll place a train on the outer ribbon of your existing line so that
your passenger train enjoys the same rights (and rites) of passage as
Open the BUY TRAIN command and buy one of those sleek little
numbers you've always coveted. The AR III, fourth from the top in
the third column, is recommended for its efficiency, but it might be
a touch expensive now, so you may want to buy a cheaper, lower
capacity train (perhaps the handsome CF Lines FP 45 right above it)
while your town's still in its infancy. You can always replace existing
trains with faster, higher-capacity ones when the going's good.
Anyway, risk some dough: name your risk #2, buy it, and place it on
its line. Make sure the switch directs it down the eastern route. Now
that you have two trains with a shared line, scheduling becomes a
bit more dicey. Periodically check the number of passengers in the
Satellite view by train number once your train is running. (The
display will center on the selected train.)
TIME AND CHANCE
One of the central profit maxims of A-Train is that your
departure time must be set at 8:00AM in the residential areas
and at 6:00PM (18:00) in the urban areas in order to suck up
those happy commuters and their happy dollars. As you can
see from this map, it isn't exactly a bustling urban community
yet, but let's plan for your future. Exit the PLACE TRAIN menu
and click on SCHEDULE.
Click on #2 in the chart and select DEPARTURE TIME under
MODE. A chart of times will be displayed. Move the mouse
toward the image of the southern station. Cross-hairs will
converge near the station. Click to establish this as the initial
departure site. Click on 8:00AM.
Click on #1 and set your freight's southern departure time for 18:00.
For now, leave the northern station at one-hour stops for both. These
settings will make your trains travel to these stations, wait until the
designated time (picking up or dropping off passengers and freight
and not using expensive fuel for those down times) and then push
Were you to run separate lines, it wouldn't be necessary to set a
schedule for your freight, since it can perform constant pickup and
drop off without losses in profitability. You might have to remove and
replace your trains several times or set their directions differently so
that the schedules are synchronized. You may experience a few
collisions at first, but they only result in frozen trains and a delay in
service, with nary an injury to worry about.
Later, you can adjust schedules for more map-specific events, such
as increased development in one area, which hikes passenger totals
(or make the switch to a larger-capacity train). Check on running
passenger totals in the train stats boxes in the Satellite window;
you'll probably see many more passengers from your northern
station if you also set it at 8:00 am, but you'll have to fuss with your
freight's schedule in order to coordinate both.
For now, this schedule just keeps the trains out of each other's way.
Also, if your construction materials just begin piling up and you
haven't the funds for much building, replace your freight train with
another passenger train to try and pick up some extra passenger
profit. Test different schedules and periodically check each train's
capacity in the Satellite view at different station times to collar the
Later, you can boost profits by increasing track length and adding
another station on the line (larger stations stimulate greater urban
expansion), and by pushing sound commercial development. Build
a factory near your southern stations if materials movement is too
slow and those houses aren't hatching. You must, of course, wait
until your territory and budget can support pushing your frontiers.
It's time to start attending to profits, losses, and that eternal
bugaboo, the bottom line. A-Train has a host of financial chartings
and investment possibilities: let's look at your rail operation and
maybe even manipulate some markets. The "fine print" of all these
money managings and manglings can he found in the Money And Its
Management chapter in the Reference section; we'll just look at the
elementary aspects here.
As mentioned before, it's nice and useful--to know what the population
of your city is and how rapidly it is growing before you even touch those
nastier numbers. Click on REPORT 4 and you'll see a window that displays
some city statistics, a graph of population change over time, and a radar
chart that reveals the industrial orientation of your city. The Primary
Business is your rail operation, the Secondary is your city's main income
subsidiaries (factories, buildings for rent). Other Business refers to
things like amusement parks and hotels, and Residence is the ratio of your
city area taken up by your residents.
It is wise policy to check the population tally frequently to determine
the pulse of development. You can see how the erection of certain
buildings affects residential numbers, and how much internal build-
ing by the simulation boosts these figures. Your city's successful
expansion is how you win" in A-Train, so keep fiddling with your
properties and trains--go West (and East, North and South), young
THE RHYTHM OF THE RAILS
You can get a station-to-station broadcast" of your railroad's fiscal
health by clicking on REPORT I. The report's first level shows your
cash on hand, your total debt and the estimated taxes (after March
31) for your company. Clicking again brings up the report's second
level. which displays the first figures and the constantly updated rail
sales and subsidiaries income numbers for the day. the month and
the fiscal term. The costs for these periods are calculated onscreen
also, as well as the profit loss figures for those times. These costs
include initial train purchases and initial track laying costs. which
call he quite dear.
Click yet again and you can see all this plus your station, switch. cars
and track length totals, as well as a graph showing your money
(vertical axis) over time (horizontal axis). You will undoubtedly see
a negative ' spike"--the dreaded red--for your initial months.
because of your operation's developmental costs. Naturally!, you
want to try to keep those money lines a healthy black color. but it's
typical not to see a profit in your daily operation for some time.
Exit REPORT 1 and click on REPORT 2. This chart reflects your overall
holdings: rail, subsidiaries, stocks, and real estate, and also provides
you with the values of these properties and their associated taxes. There
is a revenue column for all these holdings that includes market dividends
and taxes on all the incomes. Your expenditures for all your holdings,
including commission paid on real estate deals and interest on your
loans, are found in the second column.
There are two income tax figures, one the taxes on your assets, and the
second a tax on your profits. Refer to the income tax information in the
Money And Its Management chapter in the Reference section for the
maneuverings to escape the pinch of those prongs. You should refer
to this chart periodically to get a fix on the areas of weakness in your
empire, to decide whether you should dump subsidiaries if they are
unprofitable or buy them up to avoid heavy profit taxes, and in a
general way to oversee your real estate investments. There is a more
detailed breakdown of this Balance Sheet in the Money section.
From this window you can buy and sell these assets. If you click on
APARTMENTS and then on SELL, a window will emerge that pro-
vides the stats on the term sales, profit/loss and market value of all
of your apartments, plus the commission charged you for their sale.
Click on one of the lines of information and the Apartment Manager
will appear, giving you the opportunity to proceed by clicking on the
YES or NO button.
Select one of your apartments and sell it. You will see your cash figure
rise and the ownership figures update. Selling and buying new
subsidiaries increases population and employment opportunities,
creating competition to propel development. The selling off of
subsidiaries is also one of the game's best fund raisers for quick cash
infusions. After you exit this menu, note that the properties that were
once yours no longer have the little box on their roofs. This indicates
that your company no longer owns them. (This is also one of the
ways you can verify that new commercial properties have been built
by the simulation.)
Click on STOCK MARKET--open only from 9-5 and you will see a graph
charting the fortunes of a selected stock over the past 30 weeks, along
with the stock board, which can be scrolled to display the 24 stock
brands. The two numbers after the company name represent its trading
value and the amount by which it has dropped or risen since the day before.
In addition, you'll often see a window with a securities advisor who will
inform you about the current market conditions.
You probably have a little spare time, since you're merely a CEO,
engineer, property developer, and city planner--why not dabble in
the market a bit? It's not necessary to do any stock trading to develop
your city, but it is a means to diversify your holdings, give your
income an occasional kick, and remind yourself of what a genius
When you click on any of the stocks, the graph will update to display that
stock's trends. For now, search the board for a stock that seems to
have a fairly consistent rising trend, but that currently is in a flat or
lull state. Click on BUY and you'll see a chart that identifies the stock,
its price per units chosen and the brokerage fee for the sale. You can
increase or decrease your totals in units of 1, 10 or 100 by clicking
on those buttons and using the plus or minus signs. Buy 100 units of your
selection. You can return to your train operation, but be sure to
periodically check the board for your stock's performance. If it shoots
the moon, sell, or if you have a canny touch, wait out your hunches (but
don't say I didn't warn you). When you click on the SELL command, your
portfolio will appear, showing your stock type, number, original purchase
price and current market value. Click again on SELL and your investment
advisor will ask you to verify the transaction.
Be advised that slumps can occur where the value of some stocks will
bottom out rapidly, no matter how well the rest of the economy is doing.
Stay on top of your stocks; you can make some pretty coin this way, but you
can also look like an absolute lunkhead at nosedive time. Stock investment
is also a good means to channel your profits when the taxman comes
around. Check the Money section in the Reference chapter for
specifics about stock types and investment.
BANK ON IT
You might find that your visions of sugarplums will remain blurry unless
you can do some developing right away, but every time you want to place
a property or buy something nice, that sour old Accounting Officer pops up
to tell you you can't afford it. There is a way to escape his tight fists:
Go to the BANK menu and click. You will see a window that reveals your
credit limit and the current term rates from 1-3 years. Your limit is 30%
of the company assets. You can adjust your loan amount by units of 1,000,
10,000 or 100,000 by clicking on the plus or minus signs. Decide what
amount would satisfy you and click on BORROW. You will see the CASH figure
tally your fresh funds.
Debts have an interest charge if they are not paid by the end of the loan
term; the longer the term, the higher the interest. The management chief
will warn you that your debt is due two weeks in advance. Debts are
automatically deducted from your company funds on the appointed
dates; you can go bankrupt if you don't have the cash on hand. Click
on DEBT TOTAL to see your loan list and the repayment dates.
Be sure to shop for the best interest rates. If you plan to take out a
sizable loan, these charges can kill you over time. But then again,
living dangerously can be rather stimulating.
Now you are armed with the whys and wherefores to make your
mark on a map. However, these procedures are but a single scamper-
ing of your mouse across a room, barely looking at the furniture. The
A-Train landscapes are fertile soil for many plantings--go dig in the
Reference chapter for a while to get a sense of the program's depth,
particularly the fiscal model, and then try to take over a territory. Or
just jump right in and wing it. Each map has a thousand success
stories waiting to happen. (Or a thousand bankrupt railroad owners,
but hey, why be negative?)
The following material will provide in-depth details about all aspects
of the program, including specific situational strategies. Refer also
to the Q&A section at the end of this section for answers to some
broad overview questions and some detailed game play techniques.
A mouse is recommended when playing A-Train. All instructions in
this manual assume that you have a mouse. If you do not, see the
section of the Addendum entitled, "Playing A-Train Without A
Mouse." The slight variations for monochrome monitors will also
be discussed in the Addendum.
A-Train is a game that lets you wear several hats: you can
simultaneously be a CEO, engineer, industrial magnate, city planner,
stock market speculator and big-shot financier. And you have the
opportunity to fail miserably or shoot the moon in all of these
enterprises. Your goal, of course, is shrewd management of all of
these linked components, which are constantly affected by the
dynamic forces of the simulation, mimicking the roller coastering
of forces in any developing landscape.
Developing landscapes are the shapeable clay of A-Train. You
are given six different maps, all of which present varied,
demanding challenges to contend with--but the basic issues
are identical. How do you operate and expand a successful
railroad? Where do you build factories, apartments, offices?
When is the best time to sell them? How do you balance out
killing taxes and piling profits? What's a strategic approach to
bank loans and the stock market? And of critical import, how
do you manage the day-to-day (often hour-to-hour) details of
all of these concerns, while asking your guardian angel to pull
you up above it all to get a look at the big picture, and your
company's future years down the line?
And you thought this was just a game.
"WINNING" THE GAME
If you reach $50 million dollars in cash, you get the keys to the city
and your favorite locomotive, and a chance to start all over again--
your game is won. But the money measure is just one of many targets
of game success to aim for. One significant notch on the ladder is the
upgrading" of the size of your city to the next notch on the city scale;
see the Cities section for details. What you need to do is craftily
develop your railroads and properties, jack up the population. and
stack up some dough.
Aside from winning, there is only one condition that stops the game
play--if you go broke. If you don't have enough money to pay taxes
or debts on the appointed dates (the game will inform you), or if your
cash resources dwindle to a nub at any time. the game is over. To
avoid a game-over, secure enough money for your immediate taxes
and debts by getting bank loans or by selling off the company assets.
THE MAIN WINDOW
Most of A-Train takes place in the Main Window. This window is
surrounded by a "picture frame" of menu choices. Click on any of
these choices to open various menus, windows and reports.
The central part of the Main Window is a display of the current map.
This is where you view your city, as well as lay tracks, place train
stations, and buy and sell land, buildings, businesses and resorts. The
map is divided into squares, or blocks." In this manual, distances are
often given in blocks, i.e., "You should build an apartment no more
than 10 blocks from a station."
In the lower right of the picture frame are scrolling arrows. Click on
these to scroll the map in the display area.
THE SATELLITE VIEW
One of the most useful views of your city is the SATELLITE view,
which is accessed by clicking on the SATELLITE section of the
The SATELLITE view opens up a small window with a small map of
your total landscape. In the small map is a highlighted rectangle that
demarks the area that is visible in the Main Window. Move the
rectangle in the Satellite map with your mouse and click to quickly
move to any place on the map.
At the bottom of the Satellite window is a "calendar chart" for
tracking the active trains in the current map. Each train is assigned
a number from this chart. If no train is assigned to a number, it will
be "ghosted" or greyed out.
When you click on the number of a train, both the highlighted
rectangle in the small map and the display area in the Main Window
center on that train. Below the calendar chart is a display of the vital
stats of the active train, including: train model, formation, current
passenger total and operating status.
There are six different maps you can develop, each of which consists
of a mix of urban and rural landscapes and at least one operating rail
line. It is a good idea to explore each landscape thoroughly; you'll
need this working knowledge of your kingdom in order to rule over
it with a deft touch.
The A-Train interface provides you with a "picture frame" matrix to
access the menu commands. The periphery (frame) of the display
screen contains the main menu headings, which will highlight when
the mouse pointer is positioned on them, and they then can be
opened with a mouse click. The exposed commands can then be
executed with your mouse.
Most menus stay open until you click on the EXIT button. Many
menu choices open submenus. When a submenu is open, you can
cancel a command by clicking the EXIT button.
After the credits for the game have been displayed, the SYSTEM
menu will open. When this menu is opened, the game clock stops.
The menu consists of the following commands:
Lists available maps so you can begin a new game fresh or quit the
present game for a "green" one. You can select the same map with
which you began a game to play the same game from its beginning.
Choose a number from 1-6.
Click the LOAD command.
Quits the present game and loads a saved file. See your Addendum for
Saves the current map and game conditions. See your Addendum for
Provides a small, icon-based menu strip along the left side of the
picture frame that replaces the standard TRAINS and SUBSIDIARIES menu
windows to provide more map display area.
Click on QUICK MENU to toggle on and off the standard and Quick Menu
Lets you set some options for graphics, sound, and printing. See your
Addendum for details.
Adjusts the clock speed in the game. You may wish to set the speed
according to your computer type. The speed rate can be increased
when you want to jumpstart your city, and slowed when you are
reflecting on city developments or doing some complex work like
There are 10 speeds that are set up or down one level at a time by
clicking the corresponding box or the LAY switch. The clock goes
fastest when all boxes are clicked.
Click EXIT when you are done setting the speed.
Quits the game. Be sure you save the game before quitting so that you
can continue the game later. Executing the EXIT command does not
save the game.
This menu is composed of commands associated with the railroad
construction operation, such as laying railroads and building stations.
The clock doesn't stop when this menu is opened, but does as soon
as a submenu is opened.
This command lets you lay or remove track using the LAY command
and the REMOVE command.
Lets you put a purchased train on a track or removes a train that was
in operation (using the PLACE, REMOVE, and TRAIN REGISTRY
commands). There is a "calendar" chart for selecting a train number
below the TRAIN REGISTRY heading. After you choose a train
number, the model, the number of coaches and the seating capacity
are displayed. If it's in operation, the map will center on the active
To place a purchased train, first click the PLACE command. Next, use
the calendar chart to select the number of the train that is to be put
into service. Trains that are "in storage," i.e., not in service. can be
returned to operation by selecting their number. Then click on the
track where you want to place the train--it will appear there on
Your train will have a set of arrows on its roof, one dark and one light,
pointing in opposite directions. The train travels the direction of the
light arrow. You can toggle the direction of train movement by
clicking on the arrows. Statistical information on the train and its
current operating conditions will be displayed under the registry.
To remove a train that is in operation, first click the REMOVE
command. Next, select the train number. When the number is
clicked, the map will scroll to display the train on the center of the
map. Click on the train and it will be removed from the map, i.e.,
placed in storage. The train can be placed again, or if you choose, you
can sell it.
Lets you purchase or sell a train using the BUY, SELL and CONFIRM
commands. To purchase a train, click the BUY command, then
choose a train number from the calendar chart. Click on CONFIRM
to seal the purchase.
To sell a train, click the SELL command. Next, choose the train
number. Only the trains that have been put in storage can be sold.
The model, statistics and value of a train in storage will be displayed
after you click the train number. The train will be sold and its value
added to your cash as soon as the CONFIRM command is clicked.
This command lets you build or remove stations using the BUILD
and REMOVE commands.
To build a station. click the BUILD STATION command, choose the
station type. then click the place where you want to erect your
A station can only be built adjacent to track lying on a straight,
diagonal line. You can't place your station near vertical, horizontal
or curved track. Also, keep in mind that if you build a station on land
that you don't already own, you will be charged for the land when you
To remove a station, click the REMOVE STATION command and then click the
station on the map.
Use the schedule to determine the stopping time, the departure time,
and the routes for your trains. After you click on SCHEDULE, a
window opens that displays the Train Registry, along with a map
showing the route for the currently selected train, with that train's
information and some command choices. The selected train is
displayed on the route map by a small highlighted box.
First, choose a train number. Then, under MODE, choose SWITCH
or DEPARTURE TIME. (It's possible to set both for each train from
Set the SWITCH as follows:
Click on SWITCH. You'll see a small diagram displaying one of the
switches for the train you've selected. The diagram is above the
CHANGE SWITCH, TEST RUN and END TEST commands. Move
the cursor on the route map so that the crosshairs shift to the nearest
switch. Click to choose the switch. The small diagram will update to
the chosen switch.
When the CHANGE SWITCH command is clicked, the switch
diagram will reflect the new direction that your train will assume at
Use the TEST RUN command to see a model representation run of
the new route. The train (dot) will keep running until STOP TEST
is clicked. You can repeat the switch-changing commands to make
the train run the desired route.
Choosing DEPARTURE TIME displays the window to set the depar-
ture time. Move the cross on the route map to the desired station and
click. Then click on one of the eight choices: choose either ONE-
HOUR STOP, NON-STOP, or one of the six departure times. You
must set the departure time for each train, so that each train has its
This menu includes the commands associated with the building
construction and real estate businesses. Using these commands, you
can construct buildings on your purchased land or destroy (sell) the
buildings that are owned by your company.
With this command you can build or remove factories that produce
construction materials to speed your building or to augment the
importation of incoming materials from the outside.
Click on FACTORY and the BUILD and REMOVE submenu will open.
A highlight of the factory's outline will follow your mouse move-
ment around the map. You can place the factory by clicking, as long
as there are enough nearby construction materials and the site is
feasible. You will be informed by a message window if there are any
problems. Factories are good sources of employment for your
These are enterprises like department stores and furniture stores.
Use the BUILD and REMOVE command to site your companies. Be
sure to locate them close to your stations in the early going.
Don't place hotels until you have a population base. They can be solid
sources of income in flourishing cities, particularly during those
seasonal periods when recreational facilities are operating.
None will be profitable until your city has enough traffic to support
them. They are all subject to seasonal income variation as well as
influenced by their proximity to stations. They are expensive--build
them with caution, with the long-term in mind.
The placement of apartments at the early stages of the game is critical
to city growth. The people who move into the apartments provide a
labor force for local enterprise and passengers for your trains. You
can place a number of apartments near your station and sell them
fairly quickly, often at a profit, in order to produce funds to build
more. Do recognize that your apartment dwellers need places to
work as well.
You can adjust the number of stories in units of five for each type of
lease building by clicking on the various building icons. It takes time
to finish constructing a building for rent--you'll see a crane on top
of the unfinished building that will disappear upon completion. The
building can be opened for business only after the completion of
This command allows you to buy or sell land. When you click on
REAL ESTATE, a submenu opens, showing the BUY and SELL
commands. You will see a figure that tallies the number of blocks
that you own, and an expense figure for land purchase or income
figure for land sale that will update as you move the mouse from
block to block.
You can buy and sell (if company-owned) land where there are no
buildings. Land owned by other companies is surrounded by a
This part of your display isn't really a menu, but a menu bar along
the bottom of the screen that accesses all the business reports and
REPORT 1 -- RAILROADS
This window lets you read the financial status of your railroad and
subsidiary operations--there are no commands in the menu. The
clock keeps going even when the menu is opened. The window has
a three-part display, which covers more of your screen display with
each click on the Report 1 menu.
REPORT 2 -- BALANCE SHEET
This is an itemized report on the total assets and balances of the
railroad branch, including real estate and stock investment. When
the menu is opened, the clock stops. This window doesn't contain
Properties and real estate owned by the company. The taxes for each
category are also displayed.
Company sales and incomes as well as the one-year totals.
Company expenses are itemized, along with the yearly totals.
All of your rail, real estate and subsidiary properties are taxed, as well
as your profits.
REPORT 3 -- SUBSIDIARIES
Use this menu to buy or sell buildings and facilities. The clock stops
when the menu is opened.
The number of buildings and facilities owned by your company and
the number of buildings and facilities on the map owned by the
other companies are displayed. Choose the BUY command or the
SELL command. Next, choose the building type. A list of buildings
available for purchase or sale will be shown. Move the cursor to
choose the building and then click. The building that is available for
sale will blink on the display map. Fees will be taken from cash assets
for purchases: income from sales will be, added to those assets.
REPORT 4 -- URBAN GROWTH
This menu displays information on the town's character and
environment. (You can regard the display map as a part of a larger
administrative district.) The clock stops when the menu is opened.
Size reveals which of the following scales the city belongs to: a small
town, a small city, a moderate city, a big city or a metropolitan area.
One of the primary measures of A-Train success is the developmental
upgrade of your city to the next scale, as defined by a combination of
population and facilities development numbers. See the cities
section for details.
There are six Types of cities: agriculture-based, balanced, industrial-
based, residential, tourist-based and underpopulated. The Budget is
a measure of public investment: more funding results in faster city
development. A growing Population figure results in more pass-
engers and income for your railroad and faster development. The
'RadarChart"graph displays the relative scope of the industry within
The menu lets you trade on the stock market. The business hours of the
brokerage firm are 9AM-5PM, except Sundays and holidays. The menu can be
opened only during business hours; the clock stops when the menu is opened.
Click the up or down arrow to scroll the board that displays all the stock
types. After you choose the company name, click the BUY command or the
When using the BUY command, decide the unit totals of stocks to be
purchased by using +/- and the unit buttons, which allow you to buy in
increments of 1, 10, or 100. You are restricted to buying 2,000 units at
any one time. There is a fee for purchasing stocks. To sell stocks, choose
SELL and click on the stocks from the brand list. Stocks are sold in the
same units as they are purchased.
The display will reveal your credit limit, adjustable loan amount, interest
rates for the chosen term, and the due date for repayment. Current interest
rates for the 1-3 year periods are displayed, as well as your available
cash and updated liabilities.
Use this menu for borrowing money from banks. The business hours
of the bank are 9AM-5PM, excepting Sundays and holidays. The menu
can be opened only during the business hours. The clock stops when
the menu is opened.
Choose a repayment period for the debt from 1-3 years. Adjust the
loan amount using +/- and the unit buttons, which let you borrow
in increments of 100,000, 10,000 and 1,000. After you click the
BORROW command, the loan is added to your company funds. You
cannot exceed the credit limit. The debt is paid automatically from
the company funds on the appointed date; you can't pay the debt
before that date.
To see your debts and their respective payment dates, click the
DEBT TOTAL command.
Clicking on SATELLITE brings up a window with an aerial overview
of your map showing the layout of railroads and a train chart that
provides the status of train operations for all your trains. The clock
does not stop when the window is opened.
A rectangle enclosing the cursor on the reduced map shows the
current territory of the larger display map. By moving the cursor on
the reduced map and clicking, you can quickly move the display area
to the cursor position. If you select a train number from the TRAIN
REGISTRY, the display area will move so that the train is centered
on the screen, and pertinent train info will be revealed.
RAILROADS ON THE INITIAL MAP
The railroads on the initial map are part of your company assets. It
is OK to relay these railroads, to remove a station, or to build a new
station. You will be given at least one passenger train and one freight
train that are connected to places outside the map. They belong to
the company, but their timetables can't be changed. They go straight
at switches, and stop one hour at stations.
GETTING ON THE RIGHT TRACK
The most basic type of railroad is a single line between two stations.
At the beginning, the line should be as straight and as short as
possible, but long enough to be a reliable source of profit. Lay the
track straight toward its destination. Stations should be built far
away from each other (relative to the length of the line), because the
fare you receive increases with the distance between stations. Make
the distance at least 15 blocks.
A "belt line" is suitable for running several trains in the same
direction. A belt line is a closed loop of track. Using a belt line, with
its frequent, regulated scheduling, you can put many trains into
operation at the same time. At the beginning of the game, you
probably won't be able to bear the construction and engine expenses.
After several stations have been built, a belt line will seem more
When shy of cash, play only on a single line. The shortcoming is that
only one train can be put on the line, although it's conceivable to put
a loop on each end of a developed single line so that several trains can
be run at the same time. It's also possible to design a double line
segment in the middle of the single line so that two trains can run
in opposite directions, but it can be somewhat costly. The merit of a
double-line railroad is that you can run passenger trains and freight
trains on separated lines without conflict.
Laying a railroad is simple, but you should pay attention to your
expenses. Just click on LAY and move the cursor in the desired
direction. A line of track will highlight and will be placed on the map
when you click your left mouse button.
Normally you can lay a railroad on any cleared place (except on a hill
or on the ocean). You can't lay a railroad on land that you don't own
or that isn't available for purchase; thus when track is placed, you've
bought the land. When there are large facilities--lease buildings,
parks, or roads--in the way, the track will have to be curved around
them. Bridges will have to be constructed over rivers. If you start to
lay some tracks and then change your mind, click the right mouse
button to cancel the operation.
Don't lay track any longer than necessary--the removal expense is two-
thirds of the laying expense.
You cannot destroy your company buildings to lay a railroad. But you may
lay the railroad after the buildings have been removed through the REMOVE
command in their respective SUBSIDIARIES submenus.
When you want to lay a railroad on areas where other companies have
facilities, it's necessary to buy the facilities and then remove them
before proceeding. (They are not always available for purchase.) Keep in
mind that costs for projects such as these are tremendous.
In summary, a line can't he built if:
1.) A railroad is connected to an established railroad by a right angle.
2.) A railroad crosses over an established railroad.
3.) A railroad intersects a river in an improper way other than at a
4.) A railroad passes through a public place, like a park.
5.) A railroad passes through a company building.
6.) A railroad passes through buildings owned by the other companies.
7.) You lack construction funds.
8.) You place your cursor outside the map boundaries.
9.) Facilities such as skyscrapers, factories and amusement parks are in
CONNECTING RAILROADS TO EACH OTHER
Pay attention to the following issues when you connect one railroad
1.) When the railroads are connected end-to-end, you can't set a switch.
2.) When a railroad is connected to the middle of an existing railroad,
you can establish a switch.
3.) You can't build a railroad that crosses over an existing railroad.
Note the angle between a planned railroad and an established
railroad. You must lay track on a diagonal from existing track--you
can't make two railroads connect to each other on a right angle. A
track-laying advisor will pop up with a discouraging message when
your planned railroad can't he connected to an existing railroad.
REMOVING A RAILROAD
To remove a railroad, choose REMOVE, in the LAY TRACK submenu.
Click the track's beginning point and follow the track to the desired
removal point with the mouse. The line should be highlighted along
its original path. Click the mouse button at your end point and the
rail will be replaced with cleared land. Only the part over lapped by the
highlighted line will be removed; any connected railroads traveling
in different directions will remain. If there is a switch, only one line
in a single direction is removed.
To remove a curved railroad, make the highlighted removal line
match the curve of the tracks, or, if the highlight won't follow the
track direction, separately remove the straight segments that con-
stitute the curve. The cleared land is still owned by your company.
If you're not interested in keeping the land, you can sell it by using
the REAL ESTATE command on the SUBSIDIARIES menu. The cost
of removing railroads is not affected by the land price.
When you click the beginning point of a railroad and then move
the cursor over different blocks, you might find that the number
showing the construction expense in the LAY menu varies. That
figure represents the construction cost plus the purchase price
of the land. Your construction expenses will be greatly increased if
you choose to put in a switch or build a bridge across a river.
When you are thinking of establishing a switch, consider the
expense. An often-used line should be as straight as possible so that
it's not necessary to make any directional change at switches, which
can be expensive and impair efficiency.
The railroad construction cost includes the track laying
expenses and the purchase price of the land. The amount
of money is dependent upon your route--long, curving
tracks are obviously more costly. Some land may not be
suitable for railroad construction, or may not be available
TRAIN "CALENDAR CHART" Facts
The calendar chart (the TRAIN REGISTRY) is found in the Satellite
view, the Place Trains window, the Buy Trains window and the
Schedule window. If a number is highlighted black, there is a train
assigned to that number. If the number is ghosted, there ain't no
The underline of the purchased train number is the same color as the
train after its placement on the map. When a train is put on a line,
the train number is enclosed within a frame (the same color as the
number's underline), indicating that the train is in operation. The
model and the coach number of the train can be confirmed by
checking the data column at the chart bottom.
Clicking on an existing train's number brings up that train on the
map. If you have just placed a train, it will start moving as soon as the
menu is closed and the clock starts.
All work such as placing/removing, buying selling and adjusting
timetables of trains is done based on the train number. The same
number can't be assigned to more than one train. You can assign
trains their numbers in any order, whatever your preference.
FIRST-TIME TRAIN BUYERS
To purchase a train, click the BUY command under the BUY TRAINS submenu,
then choose a train number from the TRAIN REGISTRY. It's easy to recognize
a registered train--the train number is underlined. To buy a train, click
a number that is not underlined. Click on any train image in the train list
on the top of the window. Detailed information on the selected train will
be displayed below the list. There are two types of trains: passenger
trains and freight trains. There are 15 models of passenger trains and 4
models of freights. The high-speed trains move three blocks per hour and
the low-speed trains two blocks per hour. After clicking the CONFIRM
command, your train will be registered on the display by its underlined
number. The train won't be put in operation until it is placed.
To sell a train, click the SELL command. Next, choose the train number.
Only the trains that have been put in storage can be sold. The model and
statistics of a train in storage will be displayed after you click the
train number. The train will be sold as soon as you click the CONFIRM
You are limited to ownership of 25 trains. whether they are in storage
or in operation; you can sell any of those in storage. The sale price
is half that of the purchase price.
Note: AR III trains are a sound choice for a passenger train.
They are a little expensive, but the investment can pay off.
SMALL AND LARGE STATIONS
There are two types of stations, a solitary station and a station with
large buildings attached. The former is called a small station, and the
latter a large station.
Choose your place to build the station according to your budget. The
game begins with an initial station on the map; a typical approach
would be to lay a railroad from the initial station to a terminal station
at the site of your choice (remembering that track laying isn't cheap,
of course). However, this might mean integrating your new trains
with the existing train's schedules, which can be a challenge. You can
also lay independent lines near your initial station that will still
collect passengers and freight without being connected to the
original line. Your track must be within two blocks of the original
station platform to pick up passengers, though you can build a new
station near local development to share traffic.
You can also site the station first and then lay a railroad to the new
station. Of course, all construction decisions should be made to
promote the future development of the city. Building a spate of
stations early in the game before there are a lot of passengers might
imperil your cash flow, your income and (shudder) your future.
Both small and large stations are used for the boarding and departure
of passengers, but they differ in construction expense, income and
their effect on the city development.
The construction charge is 120,000 dollars to build a large station,
three times that of a small station. Both require the initial purchase
price of three blocks of land. To remove a large station, it takes 12,000
dollars, again three times that of a small station removal.
The most important difference between the two types of stations is
how they affect the city development. It is much easier to develop a
large city by building large stations. The large stations can handle
bigger passenger totals, whose movement is an agent in game
development. The simulation will not build a large, centralized road
from your station--around which development flourishes--unless
there is a large station with plentiful passenger totals.
Smaller, residential areas will be built around the smaller stations,
with consequently fewer and smaller buildings built by the program.
If you want to develop a big city, it's better to build a large station at
the beginning of the game, provided there's no financial problem.
You need at least three blocks of land to build a station, plus a num-
ber of blocks for materials storage. It is wise to reserve some land for
laying another line in the future that will utilize that station, and
advisable to build your station in a place where no nearby hills or
seas would hinder city development.
You can use construction materials from any place on the map to
build the station(as long as your company owns them), but you must
provide a place for storing materials around the station for future
construction by purchasing nearby land. If there are no available
materials on the map, you can't build your station.
A train stops at a station when the head coach of the train arrives at
the middle of the platform. If the line is not parallel to the platform,
e.g., the line turns at a switch, trains will not stop at the station.
Two separate lines of trains up to two blocks (track distance) away
can make station stops. Trains on lines passing at the back of the
station cannot stop at the station. The train on the left line has
priority to stop at the station over the train on the right line if the two
trains have the same distance remaining to the station stop. When
both trains are far away from the station, the train closer to the
station has the priority. A mix of freight and passenger trains can
use the single station.
It's possible to build a station in a place where no railroad lines are
in operation. You will be charged for station construction expenses, but
the building will not function as a station until a line is laid. They
make rather expensive ornaments.
THE END OF THE LINE
Train length is important in relation to where tracks end at the
station. Track ending at the middle of the station is suitable for two-
coach trains, but not for three-coach trains. This is because the
three-coach trains cannot stop at any station where tracks do not
extend to the end of platforms.
If the tracks at the station aren't the correct length, the construc-
tion materials will not be unloaded, or the materials which have
just been unloaded will be loaded again and carried away.
When one of your trains reaches the end of the track, it will
cleverly reverse its direction and set off back up the line. The
direction of an operating train can be changed by choosing the
train number via the PLACE TRAIN command and then clicking
on its directional arrows. For trains that run on the wrong route,
it's better to remove them and then rearrange them.
When two trains have a possibility of colliding head-on, you'll
probably have a traffic jam on your hands. The two trains will stop
moving before they collide, gently stopping end-to-end. To prevent
such occurrences, change the direction of a train or remove one train
using the PLACE TRAIN command.
When a train is removed from the line, the building materials on the
train will disappear, but the passengers will go home--the popula-
tion will not decrease.
If a freight train is placed directly at the station, it will depart without
loading materials. Place it just out of and toward the station if you
want it to pick up freight.
It is all right to put a train on any area of the track. But
you can't put a train on a line that is shorter than the
length of the train. (Not that it would provide a dazzling
scenic excursion anyway.)
If your designated placement isn't displayed on the map,
click the scroll arrows on the right side of the frame or
use the Satellite view to scroll the map.
TRAINS AND THEIR CARGOES
Trains are divided into two main types: passenger trains and freight
Passengers board and disembark when a passenger train stops at a
station. The more buildings there are around the station, the more
passengers. However, the total of station passengers near facilities
like amusement parks or ski resorts varies with the seasons. The fare
is based on the distance between the stations: longer distance, more
dough. Train operating expenses are consistent regardless of these
Passenger totals will often exceed the train capacity because they
reflect the common practice of cramming cars full of people at rush
hour. Don't worry, there's never been a fatality in A-Train. The
stated capacity figure in the Rolling Stock Market is intended to
represent the suggested multi-car capacity.
Freight trains are used to transport the construction materials from
which all buildings are made. At the beginning of the game there will
be at least one original place to store the materials on each map; you
must buy the land for this storage for additional stations. Freight
trains transport the construction materials from the storage place to
the first station stop. If there are construction materials deposited at
a station, any empty freight trains will pick up and transport the
materials to the next station stop.
Construction materials can also be produced by the
factories on the map. If the company has a storage place
near the factory, the materials are piled up there by way
of your freight. If there is no station nearby, the materi-
als can't be carried away to build elsewhere. Obviously
this makes it a good idea to build factories near the
station, or to build a station near the factories. See the
Cities section for details on materials movement.
The trial-and-error method will instruct you in the most profitable
means of running your railroads for the specific conditions of each
map. Each train's operation is controlled by setting its switches and
departure times. You'll be charged 10 dollars per setting. The income
of a train depends greatly upon its departure scheduling. A departure
time of 8:00 is very efficient: you can make the train depart at
8:00 in the residential areas and at 6:00PM (18:00) in the office
districts so passenger load is maximized. Belt lines require more
closely scheduled stops so that multiple trains can "play tag" at a
succession of station stops.
However, if you're running trains on single lines into areas that
seem to be of equal growth or building type, e.g., both residential
with a similar population, you can set the schedule at 8:00AM at both
stations. so that the train is on a 24-hour "loop" service.
The train would leave one station on Sunday at 8:00 and go to the
other station, where it would wait until Monday at 8:00 Am to depart.
The success of this venture is dependent on variables like distance
between stations, speeds of trains, and game speed setting: you
might not be able to make the distance between stations in the 24-
hour frame if conditions aren't right.
Frequently checking the passenger totals in the Satellite view will
give you a sense of what times are most favorable for filling your cars.
Once your lines are established, be sure to check periodically in the
expanded Report 1 to see if you are getting closer to turning a profit.
Remove the freight trains from the tracks when you have a big
materials buildup. They drain operating expenses when they're
All switches are set initially so that the train moves on a straight
course; the departure times are set for one-hour layovers. To run
trains efficiently, exercise care regarding the distance in blocks
between two stations. A long-distance excursion is more profitable
than a short one.
Note that it is this block distance that affects the fare, not the length
of the track between the two stations. However, in the beginning, it's
good economics not to build stations a great distance--30 or 40
blocks or more--from each other because of track laying and
operating expenses. They also can be so far away that you can't
effectively use a 24-hour schedule. You can remove short-distance
stations further along in the game when you're flush with cash.
When the income from a station is small, let the trains have a long
layover at the station so that the fuel costs can be economized and
more passengers can be carried at one time. Conscientious sched-
uling of freight trains might become necessary to insightfully
control the amount of construction materials at a station, though
they can often run simply on the one-hour stop schedule. Don't
forget that personnel fees are charged when loading and unloading
When a train runs on a single line, a schedule is not absolutely
necessary, though setting one can greatly increase income. When
two trains run on a single line, schedule station departure and
layover times so that trains can lead or follow each other without
SCHEDULE MENU SPECIFICS
When several trains need scheduling for a specified switch or a station,
you can easily schedule them in succession by choosing the switch or
station and then the trains' respective numbers, setting the departure
time and then going on to the next train, without needing to leave the
Schedule window or return to the game map. You can schedule trains in
any order of their Train Registry numbers; you don't have to follow the
1-25 chart sequence.
Since the train number is used to control the switch setting, trains
coming from the same direction on the same line can be made to diverge in
different directions. It's also possible to let trains that move on
different lines stop at the same station by using the switch setting.
The execution of the TEST RUN command doesn't change the current position
of the train. The new direction for a switch setting is easily confirmed
by looking at the actual map. A train approaching the switch goes in the
direction the switch is set. The branch direction of a switch is set for
the chosen train--to have all trains turn in the same direction,
it's necessary to individually set all train numbers.
When ONE-HOUR STOP is chosen, the train departs by itself an
hour after it arrives at the station. During the layover, passengers
get on and off the train and goods are loaded and unloaded.
When NON-STOP is chosen, the train will pass by the station.
NON-STOP can't be chosen for a train that is not permitted to pass
by a station, as is the case for a number of train types. You can
verify the type in the Train Catalog section at the end of the
When a departure time is chosen, the train stops at the station
until that time. Multiple trains cannot be set to depart at the same
time if there is only one line. (However, with careful staggering of
train placement, multiple trains on a belt line can be set to the
SCENARIOS AND STRATEGIES
Here are the map numbers and the type of challenge each
represents. There are six maps that have varying geographic
features and degrees of development. It is easier to get familiar
with the relationships between railroad operation and town
development using a map with a smaller number. Naturally, all
of the counsel offered here constitutes merely one particular
slant to interpreting the maps. This is one of A-Train's beauties:
there are many fuels for the engine of commerce--experiment
with the mixtures!
MAP NAMES AND FACES
#1. New Town
#2. Bay Area
#3. Resort Development
#4. Multi-City Connection
#6. Downtown Reorganization
There are also six basic types of cities: an agriculturally oriented city,
an industrial city, a "balanced" city, a residential city, a tourist-
oriented city and a "underpopulated" city. Plan your development
or try some free-form experimentation to move from one type to
There are five city scales; your map's current scale can be read in
Report 4 under "Size." They are Small Town, Small city, Medium
city, Big city, and Metropolis. These scales are determined by the
simulation, which assigns a point total to a combination of building
types and building totals plus the population figures. A block of
public buildings counts one point, and a block of lease buildings two
Broad development of your subsidiaries holdings and related
expansion by the simulation should eventually boost you to the
next scale, which is one of the signal benchmarks of A-Train success.
The Small Town population is usually under 24,000; the Small city,
from 24,000 to 64,000: the Medium city, from 64,000 to 88,000; the
Big city, from 88,000 to 150,000; and the Metropolis, 150,000+. If
you reach the population figures without a scale upgrade, you need
to build more and larger property holdings. such as the large lease
buildings. The Bullet Train (Shinkansen) will run through middle-
sized or bigger cities when the population and building point totals
have been attained.
Map One has the most basic geography. Besides an old railroad line and a
station, there are only small residences and ranches. This "new town" is in
the suburbs of a big city off the map, and its population needs increase.
It can be built up as a"bedroom"community when it has a good
transportation network. One problem is that there are no facilities (such
as department stores and lease buildings) in the town. You can build
practically anything. but to do well isn't so easy.
You should absolutely master the technique of how to lay a profitable line.
The simplest way to do so is pick a nice site, lay straight double lines,
and buy two AR III trains. Build the large stations at each end of the
lines, and set all the departure times for 8:00AM.
After finishing the train scheduling, wait to see changes ensue. You'll
find that the number of passengers increases to about 100. If you
build two to three apartment houses around the station. passenger
numbers will increase more rapidly. The key point is buying the
AR IIIs and setting that old 8:00 AM departure time--and logical
Map Two isn't so difficult if you've mastered the basic technique of
laying profitable lines. There is already a large population. Rapid
development could be stimulated by active, broad expansion of the railroad
company and its holdings.
The problem here is how to effectively use the old railroad line at the
top of the map and how to transport the materials to develop the bay area
at the bottom of the map. (The harbor is used as a site to store the
materials unloaded from ships at the end of the reclaimed land; the ship
is the Bonhomme Richard. ) Doing nothing with the old line will land you
a deficit because of the expenditures you face in leaving it unattended.
To avoid the deficit, just apply the basic techniques:
First, check the freight train near the factories on the upper-right
part of the map. If there are only small amount of materials to be
transported, remove it from the line for a while.
Next, check the second train to see if the departure time is 8:00AM.
Reset it if necessary. If passenger load increases to more than 1,000
passengers, it's also OK to set the departure time at 6:00PM. You can
also change the trains on the line into AR IIIs to spank some profits.
Of course, experimentation is always fun. Try to make an industrial
strip near the harbor. Bring the people amusement parks and hotels,
and bread and circuses a little further away. Be the master mogul of
There is nothing here in Map Three except the rich natural
surroundings. Don't worry too much about the airport in the
bottom-right corner of the map. (If you're interested, the
airplane is a DC-10.)Like Map One, this map is wide open,
but you haven 't much cash . Don't rush into development,
or your company will go bankrupt soon. Because the old
railroad line is very short and the materials-storage place
is too easily filled with materials, the first recommendation
is to extend the materials-storage place to keep more
Next, make your lines profitable. Buy AR IIIs and lay a
railroad that can be expanded into double lines in the
future. The departure time is, of course, set at 8:00 AM.
After making some money, set up a double-line railroad.
Choose a good site, and concentrate on its development.
Don't forget that the best use of your money for this map
is for resort development. Sculpt your city around the
mountains and lakes to build a handsome, livable environment.
Taking out some bank loans is one way to make quick cash. Try to
work with one-year debts. From this map, you can learn the loan and
payback process. Rising development will draw the population from
outside the map. Keep in mind that the population will not increase
Map Four looks quite similar to Map One, but they are different.
When you have a look at Report 4, you'll find that the scales of the
industry and residences are very small. Besides, there's no cash.
The first thing to do is to borrow money for laying railroads.
Make as many three-year debts as possible. It's very important
to concentrate on industrial development. Don't build
commercial yet, but construct a factory in a proper place, and
lay a short railroad with an AR III locomotive that serves it.
Now it's time to encourage residential growth. Since there is
little, pay attention to the whole balance:number of worksites,
other buildings, etc. that develop the residential population.
If the program is slow in building residences, sell the factory,
even if at a loss, and build another factory. You can also sell the new
factory and build only apartments. When the city has been developed
to some scale, apply the techniques of profitable railroad operation
to develop the land in front of the station. If everything goes
smoothly, enlarge your apartment holdings to make some rental
cash. To avoid a high profit tax, you can invest in trains. Don't forget
that you'll have to pay back any debts.
It's a good idea to connect the scattered cities and villages by rail-
roads to stimulate growth. Focus on expanding types of businesses.
But keep in mind that a rash of thoughtless development may bring
a state of chaos to the local business community.
Although Map Five already has an advanced city, its progress
will stop if the transportation network lags behind the
development. The railroad is now on a belt line, but it's
running at a big deficit. Your company will go bankrupt if no
action is taken. The first task is to reconstruct the railroad to
reduce the deficit. Your expenses are now twice your income,
and lack of cash is a big concern.
To cut down on expenses, get in there and manage that
railroad. Check the schedules. You'll find all trains have been
set to one-hour stops. Reset the departure time of each train
to 8 :00 AM. You'll want to buy the AR III engines (not that -
we're trying to suggest anything), but cash flow is nil.
What to do? Determine if there are any freight trains that aren 't doing
a bang-up job. (Hint: You'll find there's such a culprit at the bottom-
right corner of the map. Remove that train immediately.) By doing
so, you'll find that your expenses and income begin to equalize,
although there might still be a small deficit. From this point the real
Make some loans and build apartment complexes. When you observe
that the whole city is thriving, buy some good land and sell it soon
after. Cash will increase, and so will the population.
When you're flush with funds, change all the trains into AR IIIs step-
by-step. After only AR IIIs are on your lines, your railroad operation
should become profitable. The next stage would be to develop the
area around the lake. People will leave the city if they have no
alternative. Keep a balance between costs and progressive construc-
tion to invigorate the city.
Map Six already has a fairly developed city. There are a lot of
buildings, and the business is active. There isn't a lot of cash on hand,
but it will increase. Your belt line is profitable and the city is already
on a large scale.
Where's the challenge? As time passes, you might see the industrial
center deviating from the city center. Traffic jams--like a chronic
disease in the transportation network--might appear. It's necessary
to reconstruct the transportation network in order to keep the city
active. Here you should carefully study the map and fine-tune the
situations. Learn how to make a steadily profitable belt line. Develop
the area in front of each station.
Be playful: you might try repositioning a number of stations, try
different types of recreational facilities, new track sidelines... enjoy
your prosperity or create dangerous financial threats--it's all yours.
The basic process of the city development can be illustrated as
At the beginning of the game, you lay railroads, build a station and
provide materials-storage places. Dependent on variable conditions,
some residences may appear around the new station, but there will
be few passengers for your startup rail operation.
Then you construct apartments near the station to increase residents.
The program will gradually respond by building residences, providing
more passengers for the railroad. Repeat the procedure of purchasing
and selling off lands to increase this building of lots and residences.
Only the subsidiary companies of your railroad company can be
directly constructed. Their purpose is to produce profits. (Commie
insurgents are found off the maps.) Facilities around the station also
lead to the development of the city. Choose the optimum sites to
construct facilities that will produce the most profits. There is a list
of building expenses for all properties--that includes advice for
their utilization--at the end of this Cities section.
MAKING HAY WHILE THE SUNSHINES
The initial conditions vary with each map. It is to your advantage to
learn the details of company capital and property and to examine the
weak points of the company management.
The debt limit, as well as your expenses and your tax owed, depends
on the company assets. Study and confirm operating train incomes
on the map. and pay attention to the town population and to the
fluctuations of stock prices to find opportunities for growth.
On each map, there are lines connected to the outside areas. These
lines play an important part in transporting construction materials
from outside. At the beginning, schedule the train run once a day (for
those trains that you can schedule), and increase the number of runs
as the town grows.
INDUSTRIES DEPEND ON YOUR INDUSTRY
If the population doesn't increase naturally any more, you have to
create employment opportunities. You can build factories, depart-
ment stores, etc. Stunted population growth is rare, but sometimes
it may happen.
The balance between supply and demand of the labor force has a great
effect on the economy of the city. For example, if there is a surplus
of labor force, factories will increase production, and consequently
so will the incomes of other subsidiary companies increase. But the
construction of new residences slows down. You should keep a
sufficient labor force--by building of apartments and work sites to
stimulate the program's building--to ensure the development of
Besides working, the residents carry on with their daily lives. They
play golf and ski on holidays. The recreation facilities provide places
for their leisure and their work.
You can check the concentrations of your city's industrial economy
in the "radar chart" scale in the Urban Growth window. By secondary
industry, we mean the fundamental infrastructure of the city, as
opposed to your primary industry, the railroad. Factories and lease
buildings are the basic elements of the secondary industry. The
income of a lease building depends upon the number of tenants. The
companies using the building will provide employment oppor-
tunities for your residents.
Factories produce materials that are essential to the city development.
They are also large sources of employment. They don't pollute the
surroundings. If there is no need for materials, the materials will pileup.
Your map's initial railroad will export them for sale if you don't use
The elements of the Other Business consist of golf courses, amuse-
ment parks, ski resorts, stadiums and hotels. The income of each
depends on its location. Don't construct two large-scale facilities of
the same type near each other.
Different facilities can be built in each neighborhood. It's better to
build hotels near recreation facilities. When you have a substantial
level of development and ready cash, build each of the four leisure-
type facilities and several hotels around a station. The entrance fees
for the recreational facilities and the incomes of the hotels will
symbiotically boost profits.
At optimal sites, other companies will attempt to do the same
business. In order to avoid competition, it is better to buy all the
land around the station early in the game. Competition can spur
Besides being a source of profits, these commercial developments
supply the ornamentation for a colorful, scenic map as well--one
vote for style.
EFFECTS OF SPECIAL BUILDINGS
Certain businesses produce high concentrations of people, which
can increase the passenger totals of the station nearby.
At the end of a year, customers of department stores (commercial
buildings) greatly increase, while in winter, people crowd the ski
resorts. People often visit amusement parks on Sundays and holidays.
Take measures (such as reduced scheduling or longer station stops)
to deal With the situations when there are few passengers.
Most maps have a lot of facilities belonging to the other companies.
Competition among the same types of businesses will contribute to
the development of the city. When the city has several of the same
types of enterprise, the city becomes larger. There's no limit on land
purchase, but there is a restriction on the number of commercial
properties that your company can erect.
Materials are essential to the city development. All buildings are
constructed with materials, whether by you or the hand of the
A-Train simulation deity. When building a station, purchase the land
that will be used as the materials-storage place when you build the
station. As you expand your city, materials are gradually consumed,
so you have to use your freight trains to carry in materials from
factories or from the stations outside the map.
The materials piled up at the factory sites need to be
transported once by one of your trains before they can
be used. You can, however, directly use the factory
materials when you construct buildings adjacent to the
The materials-storage place should be located within
eight blocks of the station--otherwise it can't be used
to load or unload materials. When the factory materials
are directly used, you can erect buildings within 10
blocks of the factory storage place.
BUILDING AN EMPIRE
If there are construction materials available, you can construct
buildings around the station within an eight-block radius. With
materials available, residences will begin to appear a short distance
away from the station. The residences should reach enough numbers
to constitute a residential town--a bedroom community.
These residential inhabitants are the labor force needed for the
construction and operation of various facilities. If there are no more
new building sites, the population won't increase, and residences
won't be naturally constructed by the simulation. The reason that
residences are rapidly built when there are only two stations right
after the start of the game is that the cities outside the map need a
labor force. The needed labor force varies from one map to the next.
After awhile, when a number of residences and public buildings have
been built, the construction speed will slow down. When it does,
build department stores and other commercial income property to
increase employment. If you develop these kind of building lots, the
construction of new residences by the simulation will continue. It's
all right to develop property outside the town if you have a strategic
overview of future connectivity. You can also construct leisure
facilities such as stadiums and amusement parks if your population
can support them. Other companies will also build hotels and
commercial properties around stations.
Residences and public buildings are constructed more quickly by the
simulation on land that you have sold after purchase. There is no fee
for purchasing/selling land, but there are expenses for the develop-
ment of building lots if it is necessary to clear the land.
Residences are rapidly built by the simulation if the blocks are vacant
lots. If there are farms, ranches or woods on the blocks, the blocks
are first changed into vacant lots, and then residences will appear.
This can take a good deal of time. When farms and ranches are
destroyed by the program, that agricultural industry is on its gradual
decline, and won't recover. When woods are destroyed, they cannot
be planted again. Thus it's important to make a good city plan that
recognizes these contingencies and allows for them--if you want to
retain an agricultural flavor, for instance--before you begin the
development of building lots.
After awhile, a street begins to extend from the rear of the big stations
at a right angle from the track. Buildings will be constructed along
the street by the simulation. (The street will not be built up by the
program with skyscrapers and big buildings unless you build the
Buildings naturally constructed by the simulation are usually about
10 blocks from the station. After the residential development around
the station has been completed, the demand for materials decreases.
The simulation will then begin the street construction, and local
rentable buildings will become taller, all of which may consume a lot
of materials. Building-expansion by the simulation will occur if
there are materials within 12 blocks.
Besides the residences and the urban street, the simulation will also
build small office buildings, stores, schools, hospitals and public parks.
All of the facilities built by the simulation are a natural consequence
of growth. The roads and parks belong to the public, so you can't buy
them or construct facilities on them.
Occasionally, depending on how you develop the map, the town will
not naturally grow to become more than a bedroom community. If
this is the case, it's necessary to create additional opportunities for
employment by building factories, etc. However, make sure that you
have enough cash flow to cover new and old debts.
When the land in back of a station is owned by other companies and
they have erected large buildings, or there are buildings other than
residences and public buildings on the land, the urban road can't be
built by the simulation--it won't appear. You can buy the land in
back of the station, but don't develop it with any facilities; if
conditions are right, the road should appear soon after you sell the
land. When a road appears, big commercial projects and lease
buildings of considerable size can be constructed by the program.
THE ULTIMATE SHAPE OF A CITY
In the map below, there is a crossroads where two roads intersect.
Designing your city center around a crossroads like this has a great
effect on the city development. The city center will move from the
station to the crossroads. Around the crossroads, various buildings
will be built by the simulation, just as they are around the station. If
the station materials-storage place is also near the crossroads, those
materials can be used for this development.
The price of the land around the crossroads will greatly increase.
High-rise buildings are easily constructed by the simulation under
these prospering conditions. To develop a big city with many large
offices, the crossroads is essential.
The city outline shown in the bottom figure displays an optimum
shape for successful expansion. There are four stations around the
belt line. If there are materials at one station, they can be used to
construct buildings almost everywhere in the area. Your rail
passengers will increase as you develop the city.
If you have built according to these suggestions, you should be able
to jump to the next city scale goal. After the development around
your first stations has been settled, repeat the above procedure in a
new place. You can build flourishing cities--your empire--
everywhere on the map!
GENERAL BUILDING GUIDELINES
The BUILD and REMOVE commands are on all the menus.
The building area varies with the type and the scale of the build-
ing to be constructed.
To construct a building on land not owned by the company, you
must have the money for both land purchase and the construction
expenses. Sometimes the land may not be for sale. In such a case,
you can't build.
The buildings that don't belong to your company can't be
removed unless you buy them.
A signboard (small square) representing ownership by your
railroad company is put on the top of each building. It will be
removed if you sell the property.
The building materials must be near the construction site for
Labor force: N/A
The player cannot build residences--they are a natural consequence
of certain game conditions. There are 8 families in one block, each
family having 7.5 members. There are 16 types of residences, but
every residence has the same number of members and a similar
economic state. There are about 60 people living on one block.
Expense: 340,000 dollars
Labor force: 10 people
There are 150 families in one apartment complex, each family having
3.5 members. The operating expense of a complex is 1,500 dollars to
2,000 dollars per day. Income is over 3,000 dollars if it is in front of
a station, but apartments will produce a deficit if they are located far
away from the station. If there are lease buildings or amusement
parks nearby, income will moderately increase. There are three types
of apartment complexes, and there are no differences between them
in operating expenses and income.
Expense: 250,000 dollars
Labor force: 500 people
Factories produce construction materials, which should be
transported from the factory by freight trains to areas outside the
map if you don't use the materials yourself. The operating expense
is 2,000 dollars a day, even when the factory stops working(after your
materials-storage place has been filled with materials). Each material
is sold for 2,500 dollars, and a three-coach freight train can carry four
materials in a time. If you need a lot of materials, factories can be
linked together to increase production.
Labor force: 60 people
Built by the simulation in the residential areas, public buildings
may represent schools, hospitals or shops. There are eight types,
which vary with your city's development process. The more public
buildings, the bigger the city.
Materials: 10 for the first 5 stories;
8 for each additional 5 up to 40
Expense: 240,000 dollars
Labor force: 120 people and up
The tallest lease building can be up to 40 stories; every five stories
takes up a block. There can be 1,000 people working in one building.
The operating expense is 400 dollars to 450 dollars per day. The
income is from 800 dollars to 900 dollars a day for a building near a
station, and 500 dollars to 600 dollars if the building is far away from
the station. The income may increase when there are hotels in the
Expense: 1,200,000 dollars
Labor force: 550 people
To gain a profit, build your department stores and offices near a
station. The operating expense is 23,000 dollars to 26,000 dollars per
day, increased by 30% for holidays. The income is 22,000 dollars to
27,000 dollars if the store is near a station, and less than half that if
the station is far away. Income increases by 50% on holidays. If there
are many residences, apartments, lease buildings and hotels nearby,
the income can increase by at most 5,000 dollars a day. Income rises
by 20% to 30% in December, and decreases by 10% to 20% in
February and August. Income will also decrease by 20% to 40% when
there is a rival store.
Expense: 1,000,000 dollars
Labor force: 550 people
The income of a hotel varies greatly with the location. The operating
expense per day is 17,000 dollars to 19,000 dollars. The income per
day is about 14,000 dollars if the hotel isn't close to a station. and
16,000 dollars to 18,500 dollars when near a station. The income can
be increased by at most 2,000 dollars a day on working days if there
are factories and lease buildings nearby, and to 5,000 dollars at most
on holidays if there are residences and apartments nearby. The
presence of recreational facilities can also boost income. Your
income can decline by 10 % to 30 % when other competitive
Expense: 1,000,000 dollars
Labor force: 150 people
The operating expense of a stadium is 2,400 dollars to 2,600 dollars
per day. The income per day is 800 dollars when it is not close to a
station, and 1,400 dollars when a station is nearby. Income will rise
by 10 dollars per 1,000 stadium occupants, and increases by 50% on
holidays. If there are residences, apartments, lease buildings and
hotels nearby, your income may rise by up to 5,000 dollars daily. But
income will decline by 20% to 30% when there is a competing
stadium within 14 blocks.
Expense: 900,000 dollars
Labor force: seasonally dependent
To construct a ski resort, you need a mountain that has a wide slope.
(Map Four has no such mountains.)The opening period is December
through February. The operating expense per day is 500 dollars in
the off-season, about 9,600 dollars when open, and double on
holidays. The income is 13,000 dollars when the resort is not close
to a station, 16,600 dollars when it is close to a station, and three
times that on holidays. The income increases by 1,600 dollars for
each hotel nearby, and drops by 20 % to 40 % when a rival resort
Expense: 1,900,000 dollars
Labor force: 200 people
The operating expense per day is 7.50() dollars to 10,000 dollars. The
income is 3,900 dollars when it is not close to a station, 5,500 dollars
to 7.200 dollars otherwise. The income rises 10 dollars for each 1,00()
patrons, and rises by 50% on holidays. If there are residences,
apartments and hotels nearby, the income increases by up to 2,000
dollars daily. Revenues decrease by 20% to 40% when arrival appears.
There are fireworks shows on Saturday nights.
Expense: 2,050,000 dollars
Labor force: 200 people
The operating expense of a golf course doesn't depend much upon
the station. It takes 22,210 dollars to 24,420 dollars per day, and
increases by 50% on holidays. The income per day is 23,100 dollars
on working days and double on holidays. If there are hotels, resi-
dences and apartments nearby, the income increases. If the course
is near a station, the income is up by 10% . When there is another golf
course, the income can be reduced by 20% to 30%. The course
doesn't open in winter.
Expense: 40,000 dollars
Labor force: 150 people
The small stations have red roofs. Residential areas with up to eight
apartment complexes and two hotels will be built by the simulation
near the station if development conditions are right. Of course, you
can construct as many buildings as you like in proximity to the
station. The operating expense per day is 50 dollars. The income is
zero when there are less than 100 passengers, 20 dollars for 101 to
300 passengers, 40 dollars for 301 to 500 passengers, and 60 dollars
for more than 500 passengers (per trainload, station-to-station).
Fares are calculated separately as part of rail company income. Both
small and large stations receive additional income from gift shops
and other tenant sales dependent on passenger numbers.
Expense: 120,00 dollars
Labor force: 150 people
Urban roads and skyscrapers can be built by the simulation only
behind big stations. The operating expense of a big station is 90
dollars per day. The income is zero for less than 100 passengers, 70
dollars for 101 to 300 passengers, 100 dollars for 301 to 500
passengers and 120 dollars for more than 500 passengers.
Labor force: 0
Parks are built by the simulation according to the local budget. But
they cannot be built when the figure representing the local budget
in Report Four is less than 20,000. They are usually built at the final
stage of city development. When a road extends though a park, the
park will be destroyed.
Labor force: 0
The conditions for which a road is built (by the simulation) vary with
the number of apartments, hotels, lease buildings, railroad passengers
and station size. For each block, two materials are needed for the road
and six materials for a bridge.
LAND CLEARING EXPENSES AND TERRAIN INFORMATION
Blocks encircled by dashed lines represent the
plain land on which residences and public buildings
can be constructed directly without land-clearing
expenses. The land is owned by somebody besides
you until you shell out the dough.
Blocks with only a single tree as well as true forestlands are called
"woods." (It's a sign of our optimism.) To turn a wood into cleared land
takes 100 dollars.
To turn a farm I into cleared land takes 200 dollars.
To turn a ranch into cleared land takes 200 dollars.
There are some hills where ski areas can be built on slopes.
A river has little effect on the city development, but a railroad or a
road can't go through the river without a bridge being built.
Sea and Lake
Nothing except Shinkansen can be built on a sea or a lake.
MYSTERIOUS FLYING OBJECTS
You might occasionally see some the migratory birds flying in group
formation on your map: they are red-crowned cranes. They fly south
October 1-2, north April 5 6. They appear at 5:00AM and take about
one day to cross the map.
HOW TO MAINTAIN THE COMPANY
At the beginning, it's foolish to build long, lavish railroads with the
initial company assets. For some maps you will need to secure some
bank loans to open business lines based on the original holdings. It
is a good idea to lay short, cheap railroads in your initial phases of
You can take out a loan anytime. Your loan limit is about 30% of the
company assets-- The greater the company and its assets, the greater the
limit. There are one-year, two-year and three-year loans; the rates rise
with the term length. The management chief will inform you in a message
window when to pay the debts two weeks in advance, but you can see dates
anytime by clicking the DEBT TOTAL button in the BANK window. If you
can't pay at that time, your company will go bankrupt. You are
limited to 8 loans outstanding.
Large loans should be made when the interest rates are low. The
rates are variant according to the terms. The lowest rates are 2%
for one-year debts, 3% for two-year debts and 4% for three-year
Frequently check the sales of your rail operation. Extended rail
lines have increased expenses, and require a longer time period
to turn a profit. Make sure that you have enough insurance capital
in case expenses become greater than your income.
The land prices rise as the city grows. Be aware that land previously
purchased is taxable. Keep in mind the dates when your taxes and
other debts are due. If the company operating funds are negative, the
company will go bankrupt and your trains will run no more.
Watch the current (and constantly changing) financial circumstances
of the city to seize every good opportunity to make a killing by getting
good bank loans or by selling off stocks. You can play the game
without doing any stock trading. but if you're careful, it can be a
valuable source of surplus funds. However, as many sad traders
know, it's not an absolutely reliable way.
There are 24 stock brands. You can scroll the board to view them all.
The two numbers after the company name represent its trading
value and the amount by which it has dropped or risen since the day
before. After you select a particular stock name, a graph appears to
show the price variations of the stock over the past 30 weeks. You may
find that the stock prices change considerably over two-month
periods for many brands. There are also brands whose stock price
won't change much over several months. The fluctuations don't
depend on the brands, but vary with each game.
Try to discern a fluctuation pattern for stocks you're interested in
and buy when the price is at the bottom of the curve and sell when
the price at the top of the curve. (Mama didn't raise no fool.) Of
course, it can be difficult to know just when the top of the curve has
The stock price of a brand might display a trend of increasing value
over a six-month to one-year period. But a stock slump may also
happen once every year and a half or so. Be alert to trends by checking
the stock board frequently and paying attention to the advisors in the
message windows. If a slump occurs, the stock price will drop to one-
half or one-third of its past price in a day.
Do-Beeus Trading: a worldwide general trading company.
Twisstad Metal: a company that manufactures metal materials used
for cars, trains and ships.
Pickupstik Construction: a construction firm skilled at building
skyscrapers, halls and domed stadiums.
Whozit & Whatzit Export: a general trading company that imports
and exports various materials such as foods and chemicals.
Mjollnir Products: a company that makes iron and steel products for
Aahp-Yurs Building: a construction company that builds residen-
ces, factories, etc.
Tricks o' Trade: a general trading company.
Big Iron: a big iron company.
Radon Realty: a big real estate company that owns most office
buildings in the big cities.
Anything Goes Trading: a general trading company.
Taffy Steel: an iron company.
Brauny Construction: a construction company that builds mainly
Heavy Water Chemistry:a company that produces chemical fertilizers
Raxsoft Lighting: a general household electric appliance company
that produces lighting equipment, audio-visual equipment and
Artdink Estates: a real estate company that deals with residences
and apartment complexes.
Tesla Electric: an electrical company that makes wires and electrical
equipment used in factories and buildings.
Maxis Motors: a general electrical company that makes household
appliances and motors.
Slippery Stuff Chemical: a chemical company that produces lubri-
cants, detergents and wax, etc.
Sticky Disks: a company that produces various magnetic media such
as cassette tapes and floppy disks.
Spinnin' Wheels Auto: a big automobile company.
IoeCo Gas: a city gas company.
I.B.B.M.: a big communication company that has the second-
largest share of the world market.
JSmgmt: a company that is known for developing a new material
with wide applications.
JenSuz Power: an electric power company that supplies electricity
to generators for big cities.
TRACKING YOUR TRAIN COSTS
The running expenses of the railroad company are your prime
expenditures. Naturally, you can't get income without incurring
some development expenses. Your profit, obtained by subtracting
the expenses from the income, is added to the cash figure you see on
your financial reports. If you have a minus profit, your cash is
reduced by that figure.
The expenses of the railroad branch are calculated by hours. A
running train costs 90 dollars per hour. When passengers get on a
train, the operations charge is lO dollars for each 10 persons. The
train's income is relative to the travel distance, fare and the number
Use REPORT 1 to see your company's profit and loss figures. If the
balance is a negative figure, your company has a deficit. The menu
has a three-part display that covers more of your screen display with
This display charts the information on your available cash, debts and
the estimated amount of tax for your company.
Cash is the money used for purchasing and construction. Your
company will go bankrupt--and your game lost--if your cash be-
comes a negative figure. Debts are the total monies borrowed from
banks. They must be paid on the appointed dates.
The amount of tax is estimated on March 31, and is due on June 1.
It's essential that you have a cash reserve to cover your tax expenses.
The status of the railroad and subsidiary sales and expenses as well
as Level One information is displayed. A figure will appear in the
Taxes column after estimation.
Today: sales, expenses and income for today are displayed.
This Month: the business report from the first day of this month to
yesterday is displayed.
This Term: the business report from April 1 to yesterday is displayed.
The railroad branch data as well as well as Level Two information is
Stations: the total number of stations on the map.
Switches: the total number of switches on the map.
Trains: the total number of trains owned by the company.
Rail Length: the total length of railroads (in blocks).
The strips in the graph show the difference between the income and
the expenditures. If the color is red, the expenditure is greater than
the income. If the color is black, the income is greater than the
expenditure. The vertical axis represents money, and the horizontal
axis time--the changes are recorded in one-month blocks.
The income and expenses of the nine subsidiary companies can be
viewed in Report 1 from 11:00AM to 7:00PM. At 9:00PM, each station
reports its daily business.
All of your company funds are deposited in banks paying an interest
rate of at least 0.1% . The company collects the interest once a month .
Stock dividends are paid once a year on July 1. You will get an on-
screen message: "You have received a dividend." Don't forget that
you pay taxes on June 1--you MUST have enough money set aside
for this purpose or the game is kaput.
The most critical factor in your commercial success is the income of
the railroad branch--it's the base of the company. The second most
important is the income from subsidiary companies. You might find
it useful to always display the first level of Report 1 on the screen
during game play. Check your cash when you want to purchase
The macro-economics of the game are complex. It's hard to antici-
pate all business fluctuations, because some of the business condi-
tions have random elements built in. When the business conditions
deteriorate, the number of railroad passengers decreases by 10%.
In April and December, when there is a great demand, your business
is sure to be in good shape. But if there is a stock market slump, a
recession will follow. Your income changes also have a small effect
on business successes, and so does the balance between supply and
demand of the labor force.
There are two dominant expenses: temporary or fluid ones, such as the
railroad construction/removing costs, the cost for purchasing lands and
the fee for purchasing trains; the on going expenses consist of personnel
expenditures and everyday fuel costs.
Your subsidiary companies, like factories and department stores, also incur
expenses. To see the expenses of subsidiary companies, use REPORT 2.
The subsidiary companies can make profits by expanding the city and helping
to develop new stations and railroads. When the profits of a subsidiary
company are poor, you should consider selling it.
SETTLEMENT OF ACCOUNTS
The simulation will settle your accounts for the year by calculating
the final income and expenses. The amount of taxes is also estimated.
You must take measures to ensure that your cash figure isn't lower
than your tax due. The tax and debts are paid on the following
weekday if the corresponding due date is a holiday.
Your term profits will be taxed at 50% and your assets at 5%. Thus
the principal way to save on your tax bill is to spend your profits to
purchase assets--subsidiary companies, lands, stocks, railroad
facilities, etc.-before the March 31 tax estimate. (You can see the
figure in the Taxes column in Report 1 and Report 2.)
You can turn any profit into newly purchased subsidiary companies
before the settlement of accounts, and sell them in the new year.
since a subsidiary company can gain a profit by itself, in many cases
it won't be a "loss" to purchase it. Besides, the appraised value of the
subsidiary company may grow. But the money you get from selling
the subsidiary companies will add to the profit of the new year, so the
cycle of buying and selling might have to be repeated every year. It
is sound--and necessary--policy to consider the development and/
or sale of subsidiary companies as an integral facet of your overall
financial flowering. You are restricted to a total of 15 subsidiary sales
for a single year.
Within a limit of 18 for each category and 60 total, you can choose
the following buildings and facilities for your company develop-
ment: factories, commercial properties, hotels, golf courses,
amusement parks, stadiums, ski resorts, apartments, and lease
Your railroad company logo, in the form of a small box, will
appear on top of the building or facility after purchase. (The
logo will be removed after it has been sold.) Some buildings
and facilities can't be bought or sold depending on how much
speculating you have done and the development state of the
Purchasing land is also a reasonable method of investing profit, hut
it saves you less than buying a subsidiary company. because the price
of one block of land is far cheaper. Purchasing stocks is probably the
easiest way to divert the profit tax. But keep in mind that there may
be a stock market slump. It's also possible to save taxes by laying
railroads or purchasing trains. If you don't have enough time (or
money) to make a plan for laying railroads, it is better simply to
purchase trains and hold them for the future.
READING THE BALANCE SHEET AND CALCULATING YOUR TAXES
Use the Balance Sheet (Report 2) to learn about the current financial
management of the company, your assets, and as a basis for planning.
You can find itemized information on assets, their appraised values
and the corresponding taxes.
There are three main parts: assets, revenue and expenditures. As
mentioned, there are two types of tax: asset tax and profit tax. For
assets, such as subsidiary companies, stocks and lands, the tax is 5%
of their appraised value. The tax does not vary with the overall
business balance of the company.
The profit tax is 50% of the company profits, which are obtained by
subtracting the expenses from the whole incomes. The minimum
amount is 100 dollars, even when the company is operating at a
The tax amount is calculated on March 31 , and paid on June 1 . Keep
in mind the company will go bankrupt and the game will end if there
is not enough money to pay your taxes on June 1.
The railroad track in one block is worth about 1,500 dollars, the
switch 1,550 dollars. A small station is worth 48,000 dollars, and a
large station 196,000 dollars. This is in addition to the valuation of
The appraised value is the total amount of market values of all
subsidiary companies. Each appraised value varies with the income
of each separate subsidiary company.
The appraised value is the total market amount of the stocks you
have at the time.
The appraised value is the total amount of the current market prices
of your land holdings.
The total amount of the sales of the railroad branch from April 1 to
The total amount of sales of all subsidiary companies from April 1 to
present. You can find the sales of each subsidiary company in Report 3.
The total amount obtained from selling subsidiary companies.
The total amount obtained by selling stocks.
Selling Real Estate
The total amount obtained by selling lands.
The dividends of all the stocks on July 1.
The total interest of this term (from April 1 to present).
The sum of operating expenses of trains and stations.
The total operating expenses of all subsidiary companies.
Acquisition of Subsidiaries
The total price of purchased subsidiary companies.
The total price of purchased stocks.
The total price of purchased land.
The fee totals of this term. When buying stocks, there is a charge of
10 dollars for each stock and a basic fee of 50 dollars. To sell a
subsidiary company, the basic fee is 500 dollars, in addition to a
commission taking 2% of the appraised value of the company.
The interest totals paid on all debts.
The difference between the total income and the expenses.
This tax takes 50% of the profits. When there is no profit, it takes 100
The total cash at present.
The sum of the profit tax and the asset tax. It is estimated on March
31 and due on June 1.
Railroad operation figures are calculated hourly. The consolidated
figures of your subsidiaries for the hours between 11:00 and 7:00 are
calculated daily, along with the station sales at 9:00PM. Interest
income on your cash balance is the sum of your lowest balance
multiplied by 0.1% once monthly. Stock dividends are distributed
on July 1.