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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: A brief introduction to FYM and its overall concepts. Can also be found below this list of tutorials.

Installing and Running FYM

Tutorial 1 - Switching at Rolla CO: This tutorial guides you through opening FYM for the first time, with a whistle-stop tour of some of its features, and then lets you take control of your first train.

Tutorial 2 - Local Work at Bowling Green KY: Covers handling multiple trains on a larger, multi-panel map, with many industries to deliver to.

Tutorial 3 - Unit Coal at Gallup NM: The third tutorial covers the concept of unit trains. It also covers further FYM features like fuelling locomotives, repairing damaged cars, and "virtual" maps.

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.

Unit trains

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.

Intermodal trains

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.