Rail Route – Strategy Guide to Rush Hour Mode

How to get going and a few tips on playing Rush Hour mode.

Rush Hour Mode Strategy Guide

Rush Hour Gameplay Outline

Rush Hour was introduced to the game in update 4, and it has been described as a mix of timetable and endless modes, but while it takes influences from both (and the core game mechanics) it really is a standalone way to play the game.

Rush hour starts with two stations, one train and a limited amount of track and signals to build with. As always the stations come with signals, and the author of the map chooses which signals are manual and which are auto. You can up and downgrade signals in the same way as Endless mode

Remember, you are limited to how much track you can build, and how many signals you can build, but you will get more track and maybe more signals as the levels get harder (the author sets this too) but don’t worry, the game is designed so you will always have enough track to connect all the stations, even if sometimes you may feel like you need more!

Connect the stations and set the train going. Remember it may need reversing back to it’s original station, or it could exit the map.

OK – so a few basics

  • Trains will only enter the map at boundary stations, the ones with the three dots coming off them. They will never enter the map at a station in the middle (two signals, one at each end).
  • Trains will always exit at a boundary station.
  • Station colours are always turned On in this mode, so the body of the trains will be the colour of the next station it will stop at.
  • You can reverse a train back to the last red signal or even back to a boundary station. Make sure you’re not reversing into an occupied block!
  • You can build and rebuild track as much as you like. You have a limited amount of track, but if you bulldoze it, that track (and signals) comes back into your stockpile.

Wave 1

OK, so you’ve got your two stations, you’ve got your track laid between them, how do you get trains on the tracks?

Well, Rush Hour is more simple than Timetable and Endless Modes in that you can put any train on any platform in the station rather than being limited to where the train is set to go. Click on the train icon above the station name and any available platforms will be highlighted in orange, click the platform which is linked to your track and the train will start to enter the platform.

Now you need to set the route:

If the signal is an auto-signal (a triangle shape) then click the signal, then click where you want it to go (the available options will be highlighted in orange).

Remember you can only go where the track links to, so if you click the wrong platform for the train you might need to rebuild some track.

If the train is scheduled to stop at the boundary station it will do so, then because you set the signal it will run to the next stop.

On some levels the train will automatically turn around if the platform is a dead end, but If you need to turn the train around simply right click it.

Set the signal back to the boundary station and the train will set off.

The level completes as soon as the last instruction finishes. If this is a station stop then the level will complete as soon as the train stops. If the train is running through then the train won’t stop, but the level will complete as soon as the train enters the station

Congratulations, you’ve completed your first level, and the game will tell you so. You’ll get a screen which counts your score and give you the option to exit to the menu or go to the next wave…

As you can see, you get another station unlocked, as well as more track, and another signal. These values will vary per level and per map but it’s worth noting.

Wave After Wave…

As the waves progress you’ll notice that the trains aren’t random.

The train you get in wave 1 you will get in wave 2, those trains you will get in wave 3 etc etc, so you will learn which trains are going to go where and be able to set up for them ahead of time

Your track layout is retained between levels, so you don’t have to rebuild the whole thing every time, but you will find that as you have more stations and more incoming trains you will need to move or rebuild things as you go along, it’s likely you will need to open more platforms as the waves throw more trains at you at the beginning of each level

The thing to remember is that each level starts with only one train on the map, the last train from the previous level, and each level starts at 1x speed, ie slowly, so you’ll always have time to react to what’s incoming, you’ll know whats coming to begin with because it’s the same as the level before, but you’ll also know there’s going to be more trains and more places for them to go

Things to remember:

  • The colour of the train dot above the station and of the train body is the colour of the next stop, so some trains won’t stop at the boundary station. You can get several trains “run through” by the time one stopper has done it’s thing.
  • The station list above the train when it’s on the map will show where the train came from, it’s next stop and it’s final stop. The next stop will be “flashing”. Only three or four stops at a time will be shown, so if a train has five stops you may not see them all at once.
  • Long stretches of track with no junctions or signals take time for the train to run along. Track sections can be broken up by putting in junctions or by inserting signals (meaning you can put trains closer together.
  • All trains in Rush Hour run at the same speed, but they’re different lengths. You can fit a lot of 2 car trains on a track section divided by signals, whereas eight car trains need longer track sections.

Signal Upgrades – What Do You Get Automatically?

You’ve passed a few levels and you’re confident in getting trains onto and off of the map, so what else can you do?

For those who have played the Endless Mode you may already be familiar with some of the upgrades that auto signals can have.

In Rush Hour your auto signals will automatically come with:

  • Command Chain – Allows you to chain signals: Click the signal, click the next step, then the next and so on.
  • Routing Queue – Allows you to set multiple routes from a single signal: Want the first train to go west then the second to go south? Click the signal, then the next step west. Click the signal again, then the next step South. A little number appears to show how many routes the signal has set.
  • Note: to cancel a set route right click the signal, the first set route will be cancelled. If the signal has multiple routes set the list will shift forward.
  • Perpetual Route – The signal will reset the route whenever it is clear: If you’re sending a load of trains down the same route then hold click the signal, hold SHIFT and then click the destination. The signal will get an infinity symbol and the route will auto set when clear. Send all required trains to that starter signal and forget about them til the end! (combined with command chain you can get quite far without needing to set further signals manually).
  • Auto reverse – Trains will reverse automatically at dead end platforms.
  • Note: boundary stations are not dead end. Trains will not go off the map unless scheduled to, but they won’t reverse either.

Final Levels Inc. Hints and Tips

The last few levels are obviously going to be the hardest with trains being thrown at you from all boundary stations and to every boundary station. Getting all the trains onto the map can be a balancing act of getting them through the boundary and onto the map proper with little thought bar where it goes to next.

Getting your map to the stage where trains can go from almost any platform to almost any other platform helps, but so does splitting tracks with well placed signals and allowing everything to stack up in some form of logical order.

The above screenshot shows a level 10 layout from the Macer Extension layout.

  • Every platform is used other than Karabo P6.
  • Lavine P1 is a “bay platform” (single ended).
  • Terineo P1 is Westbound only.
  • Lavine and Terbil are only accessible from Poyonu P5.
  • Everything else has a connection to everything else.

This allows for decent flexibility and throughput without getting in each other’s way


Autoblocks can contain one train per segment. A four segment autoblock will contain four trains between the start and end signal. Autoblocks are much longer than they look! Sending a train into an autoblock may mean the train behind won’t be able to move forward for a longer time than expected. You might consider putting a signal between a platform and an autoblock to allow trains to move forward.

If you have space and available track, a “bypass line” (one that goes around a station) will save time for the trains that don’t stop at the station it bypasses, allowing you to stack those trains up and forget about them til later.

If you can split the larger middle stations into westbound and eastbound you can set the signals logically and pack those trains in!

Remember train size matters. If you have a load of smaller trains, get them on the same track and pack them up tight leaving longer runs for larger trains. They all move at the same speed so a smaller train will clear a section more quickly.

Getting Off the Map

You’ve managed to get all the trains ON the map, but now you need to get them off again. Have you made a network to get everything lined up so you don’t fail quickly in the “Rush” and now you have a train on the wrong track with no connections?

Fear not, there are always methods to get through.

  1. When you’re getting the trains onto the map try to remember to look where those trains are going next and where they get off the map. Bring them onto platforms that have easy routes. If in a panic and just need to get them on the map, read further.
  2. Get the trains off the map that you can, even if you have to reverse a train or demolish a section of track and build a temporary route to get a train out of the way.
  3. Park trains up – you can leave a train right back at the border station and leave it there for as long as you need. If it’s not in the way, deal with other things.
  4. Deal with everything that goes to one station – Got four green trains ready to leave the map? Line them all up to go one after the other. Your brain will remember the route more easily, you’ll click more confidently, and you can stack the signals!
  5. Use all available routes – If there’s more than one way to get to a border station then use them. Sending all your trains down the same exact route will take longer than using all available platforms, especially where trains have to make passenger stops. If there’s a P1 and a P2, use both!

Remember, to get the highest scores you have to clear the map in the lowest “real time”, so you’ll get more points for clearing in five minutes than seven…

Egor Opleuha
About Egor Opleuha 6901 Articles
Egor Opleuha, also known as Juzzzie, is the Editor-in-Chief of Gameplay Tips. He is a writer with more than 12 years of experience in writing and editing online content. His favorite game was and still is the third part of the legendary Heroes of Might and Magic saga. He prefers to spend all his free time playing retro games and new indie games.

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