Trains, or steam locomotives, are the second most used method of travel across the vast expanse of the West (after horses). The railroads are the lifeblood of the American Continental West during the time period of Red Dead Revolver, Red Dead Redemption and Red Dead Redemption 2.
Red Dead Revolver
Several missions in Red Dead Revolver take place within, on top of, and alongside trains. The player first rides on a train during the mission "The Traincar", then proceeds to fight along the top of the train in the subsequent mission "Railroaded". This railway line, which runs between Widow's Patch and Brimstone, is known as the Pan-Atlantic Railroad. It is featured in Sheriff Bartlett's Journal on pages 296-299. Hank Pullman is the train conductor.
In the mission "End of the Line", Red Harlow fights enemies on a train while riding alongside and while on board. General Javier Diego rides a heavily armored train on Diego's Railroad in an attempt to escape from Red Harlow following the assault on Fort Diego.
Red Dead Redemption
In Red Dead Redemption, the railroads allow quick travel over long distances, similar to the subway system in Grand Theft Auto IV. Another similarity in both games is that the trains cannot be conducted or controlled.
Both trains in the game have the same order of train cars: the locomotive itself, a coal car, a passenger carriage, a luggage car, two cargo boxcars and a small caboose. On missions involving trains, there are large flat cars and even an armored railcar.
Marston can board trains while riding on horseback by pressing X (Xbox 360) or Square (PS3) when prompted, which triggers him to leap from his horse onto the train; the prompt appears when Marston is alongside a set of boarding steps (not open boxcar doors). While riding on the train, Marston can stand up and walk around the interior of the train, and move about the other cars by climbing on top of them. Marston can also climb into open boxcars while on top of their roof by using the appropriate button press when prompted.
Apart from the Gambling table chairs, such as Poker and Blackjack, and - in a way - the horse's saddle, the train's benches and the seats at a Movie theater are the only seats in the entire game that can be used to sit on. Simply press Y (Xbox) or Triangle (PS3) when next to a seat to sit down on it. When activated, the player will receive a series of constantly changing camera views - a majority being exterior. To stand up and leave cinema view, simply press Y or Triangle again.
Trains play a big part in the Social Club challenge "Legendary Sharpshooter", in which players must complete 3 objectives while on board a train.
The story missions Civilization, at Any Price", "Mexican Caesar" and "The Great Mexican Train Robbery" all focus on trains, although in each case, it is a special Mexican Army train and not the commercial Southwestern Railroad "Red Train".
There are two train lines, each with a circuit that takes about a day to travel:
- The red line (Southwestern Railroad Company) covers New Austin and Nuevo Paraíso, going counterclockwise through Armadillo, Benedict Point, Chuparosa, Las Hermanas, Casa Madrugada and MacFarlane's Ranch.
- Prior to the unlocking of Mexico, the red line only runs between McFarlane's Ranch, Armadillo and Benedict Point in alternating directions.
- The blue line (Pacific Union Railroad Company) covers West Elizabeth and Hennigan's Stead, going through Blackwater, Manzanita Post, MacFarlane's Ranch and the Pacific Union R.R. Camp.
Red Dead Redemption 2
Trains reappear in Red Dead Redemption 2. They can be robbed by the player, and also driven. While driving you can ring the bell, use the whistle, brake/reverse, and accelerate.
There are five separate railroad companies. The Central Union Railroad, the Lannahechee and Midland Rail Co., and the Cornwall Southern and Eastern Railroads operate in Ambarino, Lemoyne, and New Hanover. The Southwestern Railroad and the Pacific Union Railroad from the first Red Dead Redemption game are also seen in operation in New Austin. A newspaper article later states that the Cornwall Southern and Eastern Railway Companies are bought by the Pacific Union Railroad company in 1907, following Cornwall's death.
A newspaper also states that there used to be companies named "The New Austin Northern Railroad", "The Armadillo Express" and the "Valentine Valley Railway".
The Central Union Railroad is possibly a reference to the real-life former Central Pacific Railroad.
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Red Dead Revolver
Red Dead Redemption
- "Exodus in America"
- "A Gentle Drive with Friends"
- "Civilization, at Any Price"
- "Landon Ricketts Rides Again"
- "Mexican Caesar"
- "The Great Mexican Train Robbery"
- "The Prodigal Son Returns (To Yale)"
- "By Sweat and Toil"
Red Dead Redemption 2
- "Who the Hell is Leviticus Cornwall?"
- "Pouring Forth Oil IV"
- "The Course of True Love V"
- "Our Best Selves"
Red Dead Redemption
While for the most part the trains are extremely similar, there are a few differences between the two. They are outlined below.
- The Red Train is run by the Southwestern Railroad Company, which is possibly a reference to the real-life former Southern Pacific; an actual Southwestern Railroad operates in New Mexico and Arizona on former Santa Fe branch lines.
- The Red Train is available to the player from the beginning of the game (the Blue Train appears after West Elizabeth has been unlocked).
- The Red Train travels throughout the western part of the American map, and through Mexico.
- The Red Train's route varies by chapter. Prior to the mission We Shall Be Together in Paradise and the unlocking of Mexico, the Red Train runs a 'dog bone' circuit through New Austin, using the reversing loops through Gaptooth Ridge and east of MacFarlane's ranch, so that it runs the trunk line MacFarlane's Ranch-Armadillo-Benedict Point in alternating directions. After Mexico is opened, the train skips the Gaptooth Ridge loop and turns southwards, running a counterclockwise circuit through Chuparosa-Las Hermanas-Casa Madrugada and back up into New Austin.
- The Red Train travels slower than the Blue Train.
- The Red Train has the number 11 on its side.
- The Red Train has interior lighting (Blue Train does not). This is probably because the Red Train enters a tunnel in the Redemption Mountains, whereas the Blue Train is always in the open.
- The Red Train's conductor can be either American or Mexican, depending on where the train is boarded.
- The Red Train leaves the station with four passengers, excluding Marston and including the conductor.
- After the mission "Civilization, at Any Price", in which the Butter Bridge is destroyed, the Red Train halts at Casa Madrugada and remains stationary until after the mission Mexican Caesar, at which time the bridge is miraculously rebuilt.
- The Blue Train does not show up alongside the red train until after the mission "An Appointed Time" and the unlocking of West Elizabeth.
- The Blue Train is run by the Pacific Union Railroad Company, which is likely a reference to the real-life Union Pacific Railroad Company.
- The Blue Train does a shorter travel than the Red Train. It only travels through West Elizabeth and the eastern part of New Austin.
- The Blue Train has a number 8 on the side of the cab.
- The Blue Train leaves the station with three passengers, excluding Marston and including the conductor.
- The trains stop at junctions momentarily to avoid collision.
- The red train stops at the junction northwest of Butter Bridge which is the most eastward border crossing between Nuevo Paraíso and the States.
- The blue train stops at the junction west of Tanner's Span and north of MacFarlane's Ranch.
- When a train stops it will wait some time for the other train to make its stop at MacFarlane's Ranch and then pass the junction. When the stopped train gets ready to go again, the bell will ring and the train will continue as though it has just left a station.
- MacFarlane's Ranch is the only station common to both the Red and Blue Lines.
- Killing anyone on the train, including the engineer, will cause it to slow down and come to a halt. After a very long time, the train will begin moving again with no engineer.
- Marston can't actually control the trains.
- By shooting the boiler several times when a train nears a station you can keep it from stopping, but this may disturb the law.
- The two trains occasionally meet at the same place; however, they just run right through each other, and if you are on the roof, you will be knocked off, but will not die.
- The lasso cannot be used on a train, but hogtied victims can be placed on a train. If Marston lassos a person and then walks onto the train, it will still set off and Marston will still hold the lasso, dragging the person along with the train.
- When players stand on top of the train, they will glide slowly from side to side, and may fall off. This can be negated somewhat by crouching.
- Marston will slip no matter where he stands, but once inside there isn't really much of a risk of falling off though care must still be taken when moving between the different cars.
- Marston can stand or crouch securely in the train's tender; on top of the wood pile is probably the best position for hunting/shooting from the train.
- The Mexican defense train never shows up outside missions. It is replaced with what looks like an exact copy of the Blue train.
- Wild animals can cause the train to halt for a few seconds. The train will whistle, the animal will walk off of the track, and the train will continue on. Horses and NPC's, however, will not stop the train and will be killed if hit by it.
- Marston is able to stand on the locomotive, whether it be stationary or moving.
- The train will only whistle when approaching or leaving a station, or after it stops for a wild animal to cross the tracks.
- At stations, the bell rings twice before the train sets off. The first time while the Conductor shouts "All Aboard", and again right before the train whistles and sets off.
- If the player hits the train conductor with his fists he will fall over and be pushed back but he teleports back to the front of the train.
- Interestingly, if a horse or a hogtied person is placed on the tracks, they will explode in a shower of blood when hit by a train. However, if Marston is hit by a train, he will simply be flung off of the track and die. Also, if he is riding a horse, the horse will die on contact with the train, but will simply be flung off the track with its corpse visible, and Marston will live.
- The windows in the Red train can be broken while the Blues' windows cannot be broken.
- Both the Red and Blue train locomotives are based on the 4-6-0 locomotive (4 pilot wheels with 6 drive wheels) also called a "Ten Wheeler," which was still used by some Western railroads in the early 1900's; however, wood fuel and the associated "diamond" funnel had usually given way to coal (and increasingly, oil) by 1911. Rockstar is again paying tribute to the Hollywood Western with this iconic locomotive type, although it is more appropriate to the typical Western film setting of the 1860's-1880's. Sierra Railroad #3, the locomotive which appeared in more westerns than any other locomotive, was possibly the inspiration for this choice.
- Visually, the locomotives themselves bear a strong resemblance to the Central Pacific's 4-6-0's, and other ten-wheelers manufactured in the early 1860s, such as the Baltimore & Ohio's Thatcher Perkins. The locomotive also strongly resembles a locomotive that was built by the Taunton Locomotive Manufacturing Company in 1868 for the Union Pacific Railroad and it saw service with the Union Pacific until 1923 when it was retired and cut up for scrap. In Red Dead Redemption 2, two types of locomotives are in the game. The first is a 4-6-0 Ten-Wheeler based off of the Baltimore & Ohio Railroad's "Thatcher Perkins", and the other is a 4-4-0 American based off of New York Central & Hudson River Railroad #999, a locomotive reported to have allegedly gone over 100 mph in 1893. The 4-6-0 design is used by all railroad companies in-game, while the 4-4-0 is used exclusively by the Southern and Eastern Railroad.
- Originally, the promotional material said players could take part in a Train robbery in an attempt to gain a large sum of cash. This feature is not included in game, save for the mission "The Great Mexican Train Robbery".
- In single-player, the current location of both trains are shown on the map. Trains do not appear in multiplayer due to the fact the train would have caused a severe lag in gameplay, however, there is a stationary one at Pacific Union Railroad Camp.
- Hogtied NPCs can be placed on railway tracks. When the train runs over the NPC, the body explodes in a shower of blood and limbs. If a hogtied female NPC is placed on the track and killed by a train, this unlocks the Achievement/Trophy Dastardly. Marston can do this without losing honor by using a "Beauty and the Wagon" woman as a victim, since the game considers her an enemy.
- The fourth level of the sharpshooter challenge requires that the player shoot five flying birds while standing on a moving train; this is most easily done from the tender as there is a clear field of fire overhead but no risk of Marston slipping off.
- Calling a faster horse will make it follow you alongside the train. If it gains speed, it can cross over the tracks, but most of the time it will get run over.
- If the train hits a dead animal, the animal will fly off the track, but will still be skinnable.
- The route taken from Blackwater at the beginning of the game, while only used in the initial cutscene, is actually possible. The Red Train changes paths earlier in the game, until it reaches it's final layout at the end, and it's possible a similar change happened right before the player takes control of Marston. A poster found at train stations advertises a Blackwater-Armadillo route.
- Very rarely, a late-coming passenger may be seen trying to board a train when it starts moving. The passenger will fall off at the station first, then he might start chasing the train in the middle of the tracks, needless to say, fruitlessly.
- Just as the train heads north after leaving Blackwater station, there is a telephone pole on the tracks. The train goes right through it, however, and if the player is on top of the train when the telephone pole goes through, they will be knocked off.
- The stationary train at the Pacific Union Railroad Camp has the same number as the Red Train.
- During the mission "Who the Hell is Leviticus Cornwall?" in RDR2, the locomotive used is unique; it uses the 4-6-0 model in a Southern and Eastern Railroad livery (all other Southern and Eastern trains are hauled by a 4-4-0) and has a unique tender (possibly to provide a hiding spot for the engineer to ambush Arthur).
- Trains run 24/7, without ever stopping, and while this is unrealistic, it is likely for player convenience.
- A steam locomotive requires an engineer and a fireman. The engineer regulates the speed, the valves, and keeps a look out, while the fireman puts the fuel source (in the game's case, wood) into the firebox. However, both trains lack a fireman, and the driver does all of the work, due to the relative small space.
- The locomotive is fueled by wood, but by the time RDR takes place, coal would have been the main fuel source for most trains.
- In real life, tenders (the car behind the locomotive) have a majority of their space dedicated to a water tank, which forms the body of the car; a large water space in the rear, with two wide "legs" running down the side. The fuel bunker, often narrow, is inset into this "horseshoe" tank, with additional fuel stacked on top of the water tank. In the game, the tender is mostly a fuel bunker, and has no real water space (no water, no steam).
- The bogies, or "trucks", of both the locomotive and rolling stock are Bettendorf style and used exclusively on freight cars. Additionally, most steam locomotives have inside-bearing lead (front) tucks, meaning from the outside, only the wheels would be visible. In addition, the bogies contain Timken roller bearings which were not in use until the 1930s. Historically accurate trains from 1911 would have plain/friction journal bearings. More than likely, in at least the instance of the locomotive, the choice to reuse the common freight truck as the pilot truck was a time-saving measure.
- The large box-shaped kerosene headlamps were entirely obsolete by 1911 and in real life would have been replaced by smaller electric headlights.
- Although train stations have water towers, they are never used; in real life steam locomotives took on necessary water at every stop.
- The game locomotives continually belch clouds of black smoke; steam engines in reality only do so when under heavy load, such as climbing grades or accelerating.
- The cars on the trains are not properly in order. In real life the order would likely be boxcars, baggage car, passenger cars, caboose. Passenger cars were placed at the rear to minimize their exposure to smoke.
- The railway tracks west of the Hennigan's Stead tunnel are too steep for a real life railroad.
- In the mission "The Great Mexican Train Robbery", after Marston disconnects the rear cars they roll away down the grade; in a train equipped with Westinghouse air brakes, as nearly all trains were by 1911 and which can be heard when a game train starts and stops, the cars' brakes would have been automatically locked.
- The train doesn't stop if it hits a person, which in real life would possibly delay a train for up to a week.
Game Engine Oddities
- Sometimes, just aiming a weapon in the passenger car will make the conductor pull out his fists and come at the player, though the train doesn't stop unless the player attacks an NPC onboard.
- Boarding a train while wanted is a perfect way to escape as long as the train doesn't stop permanently.The lawmen cant keep up with the Iron Horse and all you have to do is wait.
- "All Aboard" can be heard from the conductor before the train sets off; however, the conductor is usually sitting down, and his mouth does not move.
- When the bell on a train rings, the bell never actually moves.
- If Marston is standing on the roof of the train as it passes through a stop, he will sometimes be flung from the roof and die.
- If Marston accidentally takes his fists out in the passenger part of the train, the person at the back will get his fists out and cause the train to stop.
- If the player saves, and passes time by 6 hours, the trains will still be in the same place they were prior to the save, as they are unable to act independently from the player.
- Sometimes, when a hogtied person is hit by the train, the train will glitch and shake, while remaining in place. The person will remain unharmed, but the only way to get the train going again is to kill the hogtied character.
- If a person on the train is killed while the train is on raised tracks, the train will stop and the rest of the passengers (if they flee) will walk right off the steps and fall to their deaths.
- On the way to MacFarlane's Ranch, from West Elizabeth, the train might suddenly stop for no reason and then continue as normal to the station.
- - The logs the engineer throws into the boiler stick to his hands and will not actually fall into the firebox. They vanish when he reaches for another one.
- - On the "Map" section of the pause menu, setting the transport to "Off" will remove the red train icon but not the blue one.
Glitches/Bugs in Red Dead Redemption
- Shooting the Engineer in both legs will make him spawn in front of the train and explode in a mass of blood and guts but the train continues as if nothing happened.
- Sometimes there might be an animal inside the train.
- Sometimes if one is to kill the conductor, the train will keep moving as if he was not dead.
- Occasionally, the red/blue train will stop and then not move again until you reload a saved game.
- Rarely the red train won't make a stop for the blue to pass, instead of a collision of sorts, they will pass through each other with no collision.
- If the trains are not stopping in the stations, try equipping your bandanna, and then unequipping it.
- Between the missions "Civilization, at Any Price" and "Mexican Caesar", if the player boards the train at Casa Madrugada (as it faces towards (the now destroyed) Butter Bridge) it will stay at the station.
- Immediately after the mission "Mexican Caesar", if players return to Butter Bridge and wait for a train to pass it will ghost over the bridge as if it were still there. Also, if the player gets on the train in Chuparosa (as it is unconfirmed anywhere else) and goes to the roof of the train and then goes to the very back of the train, the train will run across Butter Bridge as if the bridge were there, with the player on it.
- If Marston stands on the train, and another train passes through the train, Marston will die as if he was run over. If he is sitting down, he will be fine.
- - Sometimes it goes in a circle and won't go to other places (like going around MacFarlane's Ranch and not going anywhere else).
- - Occasionally a passenger sitting will float off the train if the train stops.
- - The loop through the Hennigan's Stead route the red train originally takes when the player goes down the ridge it is on they may notice that there is a gap under the tracks and when the player looks at this the railroad tracks become invisible.
- - After "Mexican Caesar", the cargo from the Gatling Gun train may still be floating in place above the tracks where the train stopped at the army base camp. This can either cause the train to stop or will pass straight through the train. However, if the player is standing in the train (in the carriages or engine, not on the roof - sitting unconfirmed) the cargo will hit the player causing him to be knocked over and can, potentially, kill the player.
- - The blue train and the red train will always meet on the same track at some point, when this happens the trains just go straight through each other without harming any NPC's on board, but Marston will be affected by this by either killing him or making him glitch out.
- - Placing a woman directly in front of the train while stopped in Blackwater may cause the train to become unable to move.
- - When wanted, standing or crouching in front of the door of a passenger wagon will make the police unable to see you. This will drop your wanted level.
Trains can be used to unlock the following achievement/trophy:
Place a hogtied woman on the train tracks, and witness her death by train.