Everything You Need to Know About Signals in Railway Empire
In Railway Empire, it is important to get to grips with what signals do and how to use them in order to maximize productivity. It can be a bit of a complicated process, so we’re going to run down exactly what signals do and how to use them.
What Signals are Used for
Basically, signals allow multiple trains to run along the same tracks at the same time. Railway Empire won’t allow train crashes to happen, so if no signals are used, trains simply won’t move if another train is on the same track. Using signals divides the track into different blocks. If no signals are used, the tracks between two different stations will count as a single block, meaning that only a single train can travel down it. Signals can split the track into multiple blocks, allowing trains to queue at different points of the track. If you don’t use signals, trains simply won’t move from the station until the entire track is clear.
Not only do signals allow trains to queue on the track, they also allow the ability to create side lanes. There are a couple different types of signals that you can use, each being appropriate for different tasks.
Using Signals with Double-Tracks
Signals are very important for getting multiple trains moving along a double-track. For double-tracks, you’ll want to be using one-way signals. To use one-way signals, hold down the shift key. One-way signals look like yellow arrows with a red stop sign attached to them. Using the Q key will change the direction of the signal.
Place a one-way signal on a part of one of the lanes, preferably, close to the destination (placing signals too close to the starting station will cause trains to queue way before they need to). Trains will now move down the track in that direction. This will also create a new block between the station and the signal, meaning that a train will wait at that signal if there is a train ahead of it. With the tracks now divided into two blocks, two trains will now be able to travel down the track at the same time. Do the same for the adjacent lane with a signal pointing in the opposite direction. Multiple trains will now be able to go up and down the track. If you want more trains to travel down the same track, create more blocks by setting up some more signals.
It’s important to also make sure that your double-track crosses over at one point; I’d recommend doing it near one of the stations. To do this, using the track construction, on top of the tracks, draw a line that goes from one track to the other and vice versa. This will allow your trains to freely switch platforms if they need to.
Using Signals With Merging Tracks
If you have a track that merges into another, it’s a good idea to to use signals in order to get the train to wait at the part of the track where it merges with the other track. Simply place a two-way signal (which is the default signal) just before where the two tracks merge. This will allow the train to wait at the signal for the track to become clear, then it will carry on. If a signal isn’t set, the train won’t leave the station at all until the track is entirely clear.
Similarly, if you have a track that is crossing through other tracks to get to its destination, a signal will need to be set just before where the tracks meet. This will need to be done on both tracks so that one of the trains will let the other train pass. If a track is crossing over a double-track, two one-way signals will have to be set on both lanes of the double-track (in opposite directions) just before where the tracks meet.
Using Signals to Create a Side Lane
If you’re a bit strapped for cash and don’t want to shell out for a double-track, signals can be used to create side lanes. Creating side lanes essentially allows multiple trains to run on a single track. A side lane can be created by building a line that splits off from a track and then joins back up with the same track later down the line. So you’ll have one track that splits off into two and comes back together to make one. In order to get the side lane to function correctly, signals have to be set along the part where there are two tracks. At one end where the tracks merge back into one, on one track, put a one-way signal just before where the tracks merge. Make sure the signal is pointing in the direction of the merge, not away from it. Do the same at the opposite end of the adjacent track, making sure that the signal is pointing towards where the tracks merge at that end. Trains can now come from both sides and will know which lane they have to take. If a train is currently on the single track, trains will wait on the side lane for them to pass and then proceed.
A Few Final Pointers
The use of signals in Railway Empire is definitely complicated; just remember that the basic function of signals is to get multiple trains running along the same track. Once you’ve figured out the basics of what they do, the process of applying them will start to click.
If you’re struggling, a good rule of thumb is to just place some two-way signals close to stations after creating them. This will ensure that trains will travel down the track rather than just staying put at their starting station. If there aren’t any signals on the tracks at all, only one train will move at a time, so just putting down a two-way signal is a good starting point.
One final thing to note, supply towers act as signals, so there’s no need to place another signal near them, trains will queue their regardless.
That’s everything you need to know about signals in Railway Empire. For more on the game, be sure to search for Twinfinite.