Era 1: Engine House and Popular Trains

The Engine House is generally considered the most important building in your train station to upgrade. This is because the level of your engine house determines how many trains you can own and operate at any one time.

More trains = more money.

Starting Out

Swallow-small3When starting the round,  you will have a Level 1 engine house available, capable of housing a single train (the painfully sluggish, Swallow).

If you are following the conductor’s tutorial, purchasing an engine for your station is the first task he will have for you. This is soon followed by a much-needed engine house upgrade in order to purchase additional trains.

Upgrading the engine house

engine-shed7What is unique about the engine house when compared to some other station buildings is it is limited to a maximum level each era.

During era 1, the engine house maxes out at level 7 and cannot be upgrade further until the next era begins.


As with all station buildings, upgrading the engine house will take time and cost money, but it will also reward you with a one-off prestige bump.


Cheaper building or instant upgrade vouchers can reduce the usual costs and times indicated above. Use them wisely.


If you have the gold available, the Starter Package can help save you considerable time and money during the first era when it comes to fully upgrading the engine house.

So, you are on the way to developing your engine house but what about the engines that go into it?

Era 1 Trains:

The first era introduces a total of 8 engines (7 plus a bonus engine).

The merits of each are often hotly-debated among players and I do not intend to compare each of them here. For the purposes of this post, we’ll simply look at a few of the most common trains you’ll see on the tracks during the first era.

As a general rule of thumb, the majority of players aim to get from a Swallow to the Falcon… often skipping the engines in between.

The Swallow

Haul power:
The Swallow is your very first train and is initially capable of hauling just 2 wagons (you can and should upgrade this to 3 wagons as soon as possible).

Speed: The Swallow is in no rush at just 50 km/h. This can be upgraded to a maximum speed of 60 km/h, though this is still reminiscent of watching paint dry.

Other Info: Acceleration is 7/20 out of the box or 9/20 with an upgrade. Reliability starts at 40%. If you are planning on holding onto Swallows for a while,you might want to upgrade this to 60% to help offset servicing costs.

RP needed: You are given access to a vanilla Swallow right out of the gate. Fully upgrading it with all the bells and whistles will require a total of 19 research points.

Let’s talk money: A basic Swallow will run you back $15,000. Fully upgraded you are looking at investing up to $33,000. When it comes to sell, you can cash that baby in for around $6,600.

The Falcon

FalconHaul power: The Falcon is, in my opinion, the hero of the era 1 engines. It is capable of carrying 3 wagons by itself, or 4 with an upgrade.

Speed: If you have been suffering as you watch those Swallows painstakingly inch along the tracks, you will love the speed of the Falcon at around triple the speed of the Swallow. 140 km/h as is or trick her out with 160 km/h speed upgrade.

Other Info: Acceleration is great at 15/20 (or 19/20 with some upgrades) so you will reach those top speeds sooner. Reliability is set at 60%, which isn’t too bad for a first era train.

RP needed: You need to go through the required lab tree to get there first but when you do, a Falcon will use up 22 research points, plus another 35 for all the upgrades. You will likely carry this engine into the next era so she’s worth spending the additional RP on.

Let’s talk money: A basic Falcon costs a tidy $135,000. If you want a fully-upgraded Falcon, expect to fork out $320,000. She will serve you well but when it’s time to move on you can trade her in for a little under $60,000.

Red Kite

Red_KiteThe Red Kite is the first of the Bonus Engines. Bonus Engines really are a bonus in that they do not take up a space in your engine house allowing you to keep an extra train.

You can win bonus engines through the lottery or, occasionally, one will be offered as a competition prize.

 The Red Kite has 6 wagons (very handy for you to complete the “Deliver 6 items with one engine” medal in era 1), is low maintenance at 95% reliability and can get around at maximum speed of 100 km/h.

In recent games we have seen the introduction of the ability to purchase a bonus engine for the ridiculously ka-ching price tag of 2,500 gold. What a waste! For 2,500 gold you will almost certainly be able to scratch up a Bonus Engine at the lottery…. and benefit from all the additional cash, RP and vouchers you are bound to scratch up along the way.

About Calamity

Calamity is the current Chair of Iron Horse; a multiple Top 3 finishes corporation on the Golden Gate US 101 server. She's a big fan of Rail Nation and wastes more time than she should playing it. :)


  1. When will the usa rail nation speed gain start again?

  2. When will rail nation speed game start again?

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