Freight Yard Manager
We would like to extend a warm welcome to new players to Freight Yard Manager. On this page, we will go through the basic concepts of FYM, and guide you through a few tutorial scenarios that we have prepared for you.
Introduction and concepts
Freight Yard Manager, or FYM for short, is an online multi-player game that simulates the North American railroad system. In FYM, the world is seen from a top-down 2D view, with tracks, trains, yards, and industries being seen on top of real satellite or aerial images.
How is the railroad network simulated?
The railroad network is divided into maps, each covering up to a few miles of track in an area of interest. Over 1,000 maps are available, covering the continental United States and Canada. Each map is controlled by a single player, or Yard Master, who is reponsible for routing trains through the map, delivering cars to industries, and sorting outbound cars onto the correct trains for delivery to their destination. A player may control several maps, depending on how busy each map is, and the amount of time they have available. Players can request control of currently unassigned maps through the game, in addition to relinquishing control of maps they no longer want to operate.
In FYM, trains proceed from one map to another, and hence between different players. When a train leaves a map, the player uploads the train to the yard master of the next map on its route via FYM’s central server. The next player then downloads the train, runs it onto his map and performs any required operations (attaching or setting out cars, delivering cars to local industries, fueling locomotives, etc.). The train is then run to the next map on its route, and the process is continued to the train’s destination. Players may also originate new trains, made up of locomotives and cars that are present on their maps.
To help players, the routes of trains are pre-defined in a series of databases, known as the Train Symbol and Route (TSAR) databases, based on the routing and operation of trains in real life. These specify the symbol of the train (a unique identifier); its origin, destination and the route between them; the type of traffic it carries – e.g. manifest (mixed traffic), intermodal (containers), coal; and any important instructions – such as blocks of cars that are later transferred to other trains.
As a Yard Master, you are in charge of running trains through your maps, rather than controlling a single train through the network.
How do cars and their loads work?
In FYM, cars (known as wagons in some countries) are loaded or unloaded at sidings, that are set up to simulate real industries on maps – for example, a coal mine will load coal cars, and a power plant will unload them. After a car is loaded or unloaded, it will be assigned a new destination. The players must then work together to route the car from map to map on different trains so that it reaches its destination, and so on. Managing this successfully in an efficient manner is the objective (and the main part of the fun) in FYM.
How does a car get to its destination?
The majority of cars travel on their own, or perhaps in a small block of cars on a common route, as part of large trains made up of a wide variety of cars; this is known as manifest traffic. After being (un)loaded, a car will usually travel to a nearby sorting yard on a relatively small train, often knwon as a local.
At the sorting yard, a player will receive cars on local trains from nearby maps, and is responsible for sorting and assigning cars to outbound long-distance manifest trains to other sorting yards. The car may either travel on a new outbound train, or it may be picked up by a passing train. During the train’s journey, the cars may be set out in a block at another yard, or instead the train will reach its destination. The cars will then be sorted again, placed on trains taking them even closer to their destination, and so on.
Finally, the car will be placed on another local train to take it to its final destination, and delivered to the customer. Success! The process now begins again, with a new destination for the car. At any one time, there are tens of thousands of cars making their way through the FYM rail network.
For certain bulk cargoes – including, but not limited to, coal, grain, ethanol, crude oil, and rock – railroads operate dedicated unit trains. These trains carry a large number of cars of a single type from one origin to one destination (or, rarely, a group of destinations), and are not sorted en route like manifest traffic.
Carrying containers or truck trailers, intermodal trains are high priority trains running between dedicated terminals. Intermodal cars rarely pass from one railroad to another, and railroads will only offer a select number of destinations from each terminal, in order to maximize their profit. The TSARs often contain explanatory notes for intermodal trains, showing the destinations they load for. Certain intermodal trains, such as the “Z” trains of BNSF and UP, are the highest priority trains on the network, running to very tight schedules.
Automobiles are carried in special multi-level cars with enclosed sides, known as autoracks. Like intermodal traffic, autoracks are typically only loaded for certain destinations, based on the needs of auto manufacturers and distributors – companies like General Motors and Ford are fiercely competitive, and don’t share loading and unloading facilities. Autoracks are high priority traffic, and can often be found in dedicated trains, or attached to intermodal trains.
Tutorial: Switching at Rolla, CO
You will need an active internet connection for the tutorial.
Click on any picture to view the full size version.
You may leave the tutorial at any time and come back to it later. To save any trains you have on the map, make sure to close the map window before closing FYM itself.
Choosing a Username
To begin the tutorial, start Freight Yard Manager. If this is the first time you have opened the game, you will be prompted to choose a username. This can be your real name, a username you use elsewhere, or something entirely new. Your username will identify you as a Yard Master, and also on FYM’s chat server. Click “Save” when you are ready.
Next, FYM will finish loading, and two windows will be visible: the Chat window, and the Maps and Trains window. You should keep these windows open throughout the tutorial. If you want, you can reposition them by dragging them around inside the FYM window. If you close either window, you can re-open them from the “View” menu, located in the toolbar at the top.
The Chat Window
Messages are shown in the main region of the window, and you may see other players chatting, or automated messages as they run trains on their maps. Players who are currently online are listed on the left. The bottom panel allows you to send messages – you should introduce yourself, so that other players can get to know you.
If you need any advice or have any questions, you can ask other players in chat. They are a very helpful bunch, and enjoy introducing players to learn the game.
The Maps and Trains Window
The Maps and Trains window allows players to communicate with the server, transferring trains to and from other players, and downloading the data for each map. The window has four main panels:
Trains on Computer (bottom right) – List of trains on your computer.
There are also a number of other buttons for various functions. The buttons will be introduced as needed during the tutorial, but if you are curious, you can find out what many of these do by hovering over them. Several will perform actions related to what map is selected in the Maps panel, or the train file selected in the two right hand panels.
Downloading and Viewing a Map
At this point, you are probably eager to see how railroads look in FYM. For this tutorial, we will be using the Rolla, CO map. Find and select this map in the Maps panel (top left) in the Maps and Trains window – it is listed as “CO: Rolla, 1917 ***”. When you have done so, the Map Information panel (bottom left) will update. From this, you can see that the map is served by the Union Pacific (UP) railroad, one of the major railroads in the US. You can also see the maps that Rolla is connected to.
The initial view of the Rolla, CO map. The layout of the screen and amount of map visible will differ slightly, based on your screen resolution.
To be able to view the map, we must first download the map data from the FYM server – the three asterisks (***) after the map name indicate that we haven’t yet done so. With the map still selected in the Maps panel, press the “Download Map” button (bottom left). There will be a brief pause while FYM transfers the data. We can now open the map by pressing “Enter Map”, or by double clicking it in the Maps panel.
You are now presented with a top-down view of Rolla, a small yard just outside of Denver, Colorado, on the Union Pacific line between Denver and Cheyenne, Wyoming. You can move around the map by holding down the right mouse button and dragging the map around, or instead by using the arrow keys on your keyboard.
Tracks on the image are shown as solid lines crossing the image. Black lines are normal track with no special features. Brown indicates mainline tracks, and is also used to color every fourth track in large yards as a visual aid. Unloading sidings are shown in green. Although not shown on the image in the left, sidings that load cars would be shown in purple, and sidings that both load and unload are colored orange – you can find an example of the latter towards the right hand end of the map, below the mainline. You can click on any part of a siding to bring up information about what cars are handled there.
The short white sections with green indicators are switches (known as points in some countries), that allow you to route trains between different tracks. If you click on the green indicator, the switch will change position, and the indicator will turn red to show that the switch has been reversed – try doing this on a few different switches. Note that when you want a train to pass the switch in the trailing direction (that is, approaching from one of the two diverging tracks), you must set the switch correctly. If the switch is incorrectly set, the train will stop.
The blue numbered track at the left hand end of the map is an exit, which is how one map is connected to another. If you click on the exit track, you are shown which maps it connects to.
There are various other special types of track, indicated by their own colors, that are not covered in this initial tutorial. These include facilities for repairing cars, refueling locomotives, and hump yards used to sort trains automatically.
You have probably noticed that both exits and loading/unloading sidings are numbered, but that the unloading sidings in the Rolla Auto Facility are not. In FYM, sidings for intermodal, automodal, or unit trains (e.g. coal) are not usually numbered.
You may have noticed chat messages being displayed in the top left corner of the map view. If you find the text difficult to read, the Y key will toggle a gray background on the text. It is possible to type and send chat messages in the map view – press Ctrl-C. If you find the chat messages are getting in the way, they can be repositioned by pressing Ctrl-1 to Ctrl-4
Downloading a Train
If you have already been registered as a player, you will not see the tutorial trains listed in the Maps and Trains window. The trains can still be accessed by selecting “Download Tutorial Trains” in the “Tutorial” menu on the toolbar.
To download a train, we must return to the Maps and Trains window. To do this, either minimize or close the map, and you should see the Maps and Trains window again. If not, you can reopen it from the “View” menu, located on the toolbar at the top.
In the Trains on Server panel (top right) in the Maps and Trains window, you will see several files. One of these will be named Y1917-01E02F038C0-00000-Tutorial.zrn, which is the train we want. Select it and press the Download File button (the large downwards pointing arrow). There will be a brief delay as FYM downloads the train from the server, and it will then appear in the Trains on Computer panel.
Viewing information about a Train
Now that the train is downloaded, we can view further details about it, such as the types of cars on it, their destination, the train’s route and destination (this does not necessarily match the cars), and so on. Select the train in the Trains on Computer panel, and press the “Info” button below. The Train Information window will appear, giving a wide variety of information about the train, as well as several options.
In the top left of the Train Information window, the train’s symbol, origin, and destination are shown. The first few letters of the symbol, UP, are the reporting mark of the Union Pacific railroad, that operates this train; in FYM, all train symbols begin with the railroad’s reporting mark. The following numbers and letters are then company specific. For UP symbols, the initial letter, L, tells us the type of train, in this case a Local, responsible for delivering cars to local industries. The two numbers after the dash indicate the day of the month on which the train originated.
Details about the locomotives and cars on the train are shown in the main portion of the Train Information window, with each row representing a single locomotive or car. The No column is the order of the car in the train, and the Ref Markgives the owner and number of the car. Destination and Car Type should be quite easy to work out; for locomotives, these show where the locomotive was created and what type it is. RR shows which railroad serves the car’s destination (for locomotives, the horsepower of the engine). L is colored green if the car is Loaded (for locomotives, the miles since last fueling; 3000 is the maximum). The B and R columns show various information; of most interest is the number in the B column, which is the siding to which the car is assigned. Finally, the Load column shows what freight the car is carrying.
Looking through the train, we can see that it consists of two locomotives (UP 695 and UP 1526), and 38 assorted cars for industries on the map. Below the Origin and Destination in the top left corner, we can see the train is 2,139 feet long, weighs 5,222 tons, and has a power-to-weight ratio of 1.0 HP/Ton, which is fairly typical of manifest freight. You will see that all cars are destined for Rolla, CO; our job will therefore be to deliver them to the correct industries. These will be as follows:
16 assorted covered hoppers for the 88th Ave Transload Yard, assigned to sidings 11, 12, and 13.
However, as you have almost certainly noticed, the cars are not in order. Therefore, before we can deliver them to the correct industries, we must sort the cars. We will do this on the map.
Setting a Route into the Yard
To bring the train onto the map, we must return to our view of the map. If you minimized the map, bring it back into focus – it will be in the bottom left corner of the FYM window. If you closed the map, open it again from the Maps and Trains window. You can find it quickly by clicking on the train in the Trains on Computer panel, which will automatically select the yard for you. Use either “Enter Map” or double click the map’s name to open it again.
Once inside the map, we will set our route so that the train can arrive in the yard below the Rolla Auto Facility. The train will enter via Exit 1, at the left end of the map. Firstly, reset any switches on the mainline that you changed – all switch indicators should be green. Then, set the route into the first track above the mainline in Rolla yard, using the switches above the Ethanol Management Co. sidings. Consult the picture on the right if you are unsure.
When you are ready, press Ctrl-Z (while still in the map view) to open the “Inbound Trains” window. This shows any trains on your computer that are waiting to enter the yard. You will see our tutorial train on the left, already selected for you, along with some of the information we viewed in the Train Information screen. Without changing any other settings, press the “Run” button. The map will jump to Exit 1, and the train will begin driving in via the exit. As long as your route is set correctly, you can sit back and watch the train for a little while.
First are the two locomotives, painted in UP’s distinctive yellow color scheme. Following this are the cars in the train. Cars with a solid color are loaded, while those with a white strip through them are empty. You can hover your mouse over the cars to view some information about them.
You can control the speed of the train using either the mouse or the keyboard. On the Control Panel, located somewhere on your screen (if not, press Esc to show it), you will see sliders marked “Throttle” and “Brake”, along with a readout of the train’s speed above. The throttle sets the train’s target speed, between 0 and 40mph (60mph on main lines). The Sbutton below will stop the train, and the R button will reverse the train once stopped. The hotkeys available for train control are:
P – Pause the game. This will be indicated at the bottom of the Control Panel. Press P again to unpause.
Watch the train as it enters the yard, and once the last car has cleared the switches into the yard, stop the train using the S key, or another of the methods outlined above.
Switching and Car Filters
We now need to sort the train for delivery to each industry’s sidings. The suggestion in this tutorial is to divide the train into six blocks of cars as follows:
F – 16 cars for 88th Ave Transload at Sidings 11, 12, and 13
To view which siding each car is for, we can open the Train Information form, like we did in the Maps and Trains window, by pressing the Space Bar, or clicking the “View” button on the Control Panel in the map. However, it would be a little cumbersome to keep opening and closing this window. Also, if we were sorting many trains with cars destined across the network, it would be tricky to remember the routing of each car.
Instead, we can use Filters to cause the cars to be colored differently, representing different information visually. Until now, you have probably been viewing the cars in the Car Type filter. Filters are accessed via numerical hotkeys, with some common ones as follows:
Shift-3 – Custom filter
The colors displayed in filters 1, 2, 3, and 6 can be modified through the Yard, State, Railroad, and Car Colors window, found under the View menu in the toolbar. The custom filter allows players to define combinations of information about cars (e.g. filtering by both destination railroad and state), set up through the Classification Blocks window, accessed by key 9. Note that in Filter 1, the information displayed when hovering over a car is different to that displayed in all other filters.
Filter 5, the local siding filter, is most useful for this tutorial. When you press the 5 key, cars for the current map are displayed in purple, and additionally the siding numbers of the cars in the selected train are also shown.
For our first movement, we will uncouple the locomotives and the first two cars, both for siding 13, from the rest of the train, and move those cars to another siding. To select where to uncouple a train, you need to click on the end of the car you wish to uncouple. Alternatively, you can right click on a car in the Train Information window (accessed via space bar), and the selection is be placed between that car and the next one.
To actually perform the uncoupling, press U, or click “Unc” in the control panel. The train ia now be split in two at the location you specified, and if you view the Train Information window, it only shows the cars in the selected half of the train. Make your you have the portion with the locomotives selected – if you do not, simply click on it to select it, or use the I and O keys to select different trains within the yard. Now move the locomotives and cars forwards, and once they are past the switches leading to the next track above, stop them again. Set the switches so the train will be routed into another siding, press R to reverse the direction of movement, and drive back into the siding. Stop again once the cars are clear of the last switch, and uncouple them from the engines.
The next car to switch is a single tank car for Siding 3. Select the locomotives and drive them forwards – note that when a train is uncoupled, the direction of movement is automatically set so that the locomotives drive away from the cars. As before, stop the locomotives when they are past the switches, and set the route. In a moment, we will approach the set of cars and couple on, but it is important to note that we must do so slowly – if we couple too quickly, we will damage part of our train. In FYM, coupling is safe at 20mph and below. Drive your locomotives back into the train, and they will automatically stop and couple on when they reach the cars.
Using the skills you have just learnt, sort the train into the six sidings, preferably following the suggested grouping of cars, repeated again below.
F – 16 cars for 88th Ave Transload at Sidings 11, 12, and 13
Loading and Unloading Cars
With our cars sorted by destination siding, we can start delivering them for loading and unloading. Let’s start with the tank cars for Siding 3 – couple the engine onto these cars. We then need to set a route out into the mainline at the right hand end of the yard, before reversing into the siding. The switch onto the mainline from the yard is a crossover, consisting of two identical switches; both should be set “reverse” before driving over them.
Drive the train onto the mainline, clear of the crossover, then reset both of the switches in the crossover. Then set the two switches to route the train into Siding 3, and reverse the cars in at 15mph or below. As the cars enter the siding, you can see them change from loaded to empty (white lines appear on the wagons), and depending on which filter you are viewing, you can also see their destination change. Well done, you have delivered your first freight to a customer!
The next cars to deliver are for Sidings 1 and 2. To avoid trapping the engines behind the cars, we should ensure that the engines are on the left hand end of the train. Uncouple your engines from the cars in Siding 3, drive back onto the mainline, and after clearing the switches, reverse back to the left hand end of the yard, setting any more switches as required. At this point, it is up to you how to deliver the cars: you could couple up to those for Siding 1 first and push them straight into the siding; you could couple to those for Siding 2 and make your way to the siding via either end of the yard; or you could collect both sets of cars, delivering one and then the other. These are the sorts of choices you will be making in FYM. For siding 2, you need to split the cars between the two tracks, as neither is long enough to handle all cars at once. If you are having trouble telling if the cars are unloaded due to the siding being under a roof, the Train Information window (Space Bar or “View” on the control panel) is a helpful tool. Alternatively, Ctrl-V toggles the display of hidden tracks.
The cars for Siding 1 will not be unloaded in Siding 2 and vice versa, as the sidings handle different types of cars. However, siding assignments are not strictly enforced if cars are placed on a different siding handling the same car type. For example, the Lumber Boxcars for Siding 1 could be unloaded in Siding 7 if you wished. It is up to you to decide whether to follow the siding assignments in such cases.
For the remaining car, while we sorted them by receiving industry, we did not sort them by siding number due to space limitations within our yard. You could do some more sorting in Rolla Yard now that we have cleared some space in the yard. Alternatively, the siding beside the main line below Kelly Pipe Co and the storage tracks at Lowe’s Distribution and the 88th Ave Transload Yard give you plenty of flexibility to switch the cars as needed. Sort and deliver the cars to their respective sidings as you see fit.
Setting Car Destinations
At this stage, we have delivered all the cars, and they are ready to be routed onwards towards their destination. Firstly, we should check that all the delivered cars have new destinations set; upon unloading, cars may become Unassigned if they have not been requested to return to their origin for reloading. You should find that the cars in sidings 3 and 7 have become unassigned. To set new destinations, you will need to open the Train Information window (Space Bar or “View” on the control panel) after selecting the cars.
Select the cars you want to set destinations for in the main panel – you can use Shift and Ctrl when clicking to select multiple. The controls on the bottom right can then be used. There are many options available. Commonly used options are:
Specific – Sets the cars to the destination selected in the drop down menu above.
Routing Cars Onwards
We will now send our cars onwards. As the Yard Master of a map, you would not need to immediately send cars out, and many players like to leave cars in sidings until the next local arrives, simulating the time customers need to load and unload cars. However, as this is a tutorial train, and you aren’t the Yard Master at Rolla, we will collect the cars and send them onwards.
Collect all the cars we have delivered to sidings and couple them back together into a single train. The order of cars is not important, as they will be sorted appropriately when our local train returns to its origin, Denver 36th Street Yard. The train will return back the way it came, via Exit 1, so make sure to place the locomotives on the front of the train.
Union Pacific (UP) TSAR entries for trains that pass through Rolla, CO. Those in green originate here, while those in red terminate here.
When originating trains in FYM, it is important to assign a TSAR entry to the train, so that other players know its destination. If you open the Train Information panel, you can see that the train’s current TSAR assignment terminates here at Rolla, CO, and so we need to assign a new TSAR for the outbound journey. Click the “Union Pacific” button in the top left corner of the Train Information window to open the TSAR Assignment window. You are presented with a list of train schedules that pass through Rolla, with those that originate here highlighted in green, and those that terminate here shown in red.
To help us find the correct TSAR, we can filter the list by trains using the buttons and drop down list at top right:
Train Type – Filter the train by the type of traffic it carries.
As we are originating a train, use the O/Here button to show outbound trains. Among the list, you should find UP LDI07-##, starting at Rolla and terminating at Denver 36th Street Yard, which is the route we want. Select it in the list and press “Assign” at bottom right. You should see that the TSAR information in the top left of the Train Information window has been updated to reflect this. The two hash symbols (#) in the original train ID are now replaced by today’s date.
We can now send our train on to the next map in its route, Denver Sand Creek Yard, which is connected to Exit 1 of this map. Simply drive the train through the exit to leave. Once the last car has left the map, you are presented with the Train Leaving Map window. The left hand panel displays possible routings for the train, listing other maps to which Rolla is connected, in addition Local Delivery, which can be used to load/unload cars automatically, returning the train to Rolla. If a train is assigned a TSAR as we did, FYM automatically selects the next map in its route for you. Therefore, all you need to do in this case is to select “Save Train to HD”.
Uploading Trains to the Server
If you have already been registered as a player, you will not be able to upload the tutorial train to the server. Instead, you should delete it, by selecting it in the Maps and Trains window, and then pressing the “Delete” button below.
The final step in handling trains in FYM is passing them on to the next player. To do so, close or minimize the map window, and make sure the Maps and Trains window is visible. In the Trains on Computer panel (bottom right), you should see a train listed for map 1976 (Y1976-01E02F038C0-nnn-YourUsername.trn), Denver Sand Creek Yard.
To upload the train, select this entry, and press the Upload File button (upwards facing arrow). You are presented with the Train File Upload window that allows you to select who to send the train to. If a Yard Master is currently assigned to Denver Sand Creek Yard, the bottom option with their username will be selectedm which is the correct option. If no yardmaster is currently present, the train must be posted as either a “Run Thru”, a train passing through a map without stopping, or a “Yard Job”, a train which requires switching. As there are no cars for Sand Creek Yard, the default selection of “Run Thru” is correct. Press “OK” and, after a brief delay, the train will be uploaded to the server. At this point, the file would normally be shown in the Trains on Server panel (top right) until the file is downloaded by another player. However, for the tutorial train, the file will not be visible.
Congratulations on completing the FYM tutorial! You should now have most of the knowledge needed to play a part in the FYM Railroad Network. If you have not already done so, you should submit a request to be registered in the game; the information will be displayed again when you open FYM.
At this point, you may wish to start considering yards to apply for. You can view the currently available yards by pressing “YM Control” in the Maps and Trains window, and then selecting “Available” in the bottom right corner. The maps are color coded by classification, with C1 being the most challenging – hover over the checkboxes at the bottom to see the definitions for each class. Feel free to download some of the maps listed to see what’s available. Once you are registered, you can use this window to apply to become Yard Master, by selecting one of the available maps and pressing “Apply” in the bottom right corner. The Yard Master list is updated on Wednesdays and Saturdays, but more often for new players applying for their first maps.
Once you are registered, you will immediately be able to work on RunThru and YardJob trains on the server. These are trains at yards with no current Yard Master, and can be run by any player. The relevant checkboxes in the Maps and Trains window can be used to display these trains. Remember to upload the trains again once you have dealt with them.
If you have any further questions, the in-game chat is an excellent place to find answers. Alternatively, questions can be posted on the FYM Forum.
We look forward to seeing you in the game in the near future.