Rail grade is a railway strategy game with a sci-fi twist. You have been assigned the task of making a number of off-world colonies run smoothly by introducing train infrastructure. By building tracks and stations between a variety of resources, factories and settlements, you will earn money while increasing your workforce and network efficiency.
But Railgrade is no ordinary train sim. Instead of being left to your own devices to create your own colony, you’ll find yourself in specific situations where you need to find a solution. This will come in the form of one or more challenges, and there is always a timer. The faster you complete the challenge, the greater the reward. Here we give you some beginner tips to get your network rolling.
Get all your coupons
Before starting a level, note the Rank Goal Timer to the right of the screen. You can also watch your rank tick down during gameplay at the top left of the screen. Each level has four potential passing gradeseach with a time you must beat to achieve them.
These start at five minutes for the top grade but rise much higher (an hour or more) as you work your way through the game. You will receive five vouchers for ‘S’ grade, four for ‘A’, three for ‘B’ and two for ‘C’. But it is important to note that:
- You cannot fail a level. If you complete the task, regardless of time, you can move on to the next one.
- You can redo levels to get the full range of coupons. You can only get five coupons per level, so redoing levels will make the difference if you do better, rather than giving you the full reward. However, coupons are the only currency in the game and you want as much of it as you can get your hands on.
Coupons can be used to purchase licenses. These allow you to upgrade industries, engines and other extras, all of which allow you to run your networks more efficiently. But there are also fun cosmetic items, such as additional soundtrack songs. Once you have purchased a license, it is available for the rest of the game.
Take your time
This may sound counterintuitive in a game that rewards you for fast leveling, but remember You can go back to repeat levels at any time. This means you don’t have to complete a level perfectly on the first try. Learn how the country is laid out and see exactly what you need to do. Note the level timer does not start until you start your first train run. This is hugely important as it allows you to plan and then build tracks and stations before the clock starts.
Taking your time also applies to how you build. It is advisable to be early start small and build up. Create short AB routes between locations you know you need to work with small trains and short stations. The early flow of resources can make the difference between rank levels. Whenever possible, quickly deliver goods to make money, instead of completing your goals. You’ll probably need the money to reach your goals by growing your network anyway.
Efficiency is key
As you boil down each level, you’re basically trying to complete each task as quickly and efficiently as possible. You only need to create or deliver enough to reach your goal. So don’t blow money before you need it. As long as you’ve built diligently, everything can be expanded or improved when the time comes.
- Train and station length: A train can be longer than the station it delivers to. The only penalty is the time it takes to overload cargo. So try to keep it in direct multiples. So if you have a three-length station, try to make trains with three or six cars to avoid inefficiencies. Also, if you start with a short station, will you have room to make it five or six parts long later if you need to? Remember that stations can only be built on flat terrain and must touch the building.
- The carts are disposable: However, it can still be efficient to have a single train doing two jobs, such as delivering one item and then picking up another from its destination to carry it on. This is especially true where you can deliver a catalyst to a resource site, then collect the items for delivery. Carts tend to be cheap so this can be great where you can build an efficient loop.
- Production versus capacity: Keep a close eye on all your trains. If one goes empty, or full, something is wrong. Can you increase production via a catalyst? Or deliver a product to another location or perhaps move workers from one location to another?
Use track height to your advantage
Sometimes you’re forced to make your tracks run up and down mountains or hills, which can be a pain when they slow down to a crawl. But, running track at different levels (using the F and V keys) can also work in your favordespite being a bit more expensive.
- Stations on several levels: You will often find yourself wanting to run multiple lines to a difficult location. A great way to get around is to have multiple stations on top of each using track height. Raised track costs more, so try to get it lowered to ground level as soon as possible. And remember that you can build a parallel station two spaces from the source.
- Bridge construction: Ghosting means that trains can always go straight through each other, but it slows them down considerably when they do. It is always more efficient to run a line over another track using stilts, rather than creating an unwanted intersection.
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