Railroad Tycoon logo

Publisher: Microprose Price: £29.99

As we are constantly being reminded, this is the age of the train. But wait, ask yourself one question, could you run British Rail better than it is run now? Of course you could and now, thanks to those awfully nice people at Microprose, you can have a crack at it yourself. Forget train spotting or playing with that Hornby double-o track in the attic, here is your chance to show the world that there is real money to be made from trains.

Railroad Tycoon puts you in charge of your very own rolling-stock company. You can play the game in four different scenarios: Eastern America in the 1830's, Western America in 1866, Britain in 1828 and Europe in the 1900's. In addition you can play at four different difficulty settings, each one becoming progressively harder but providing you with a bigger cut of the profits.

When starting out as a Railroad Tycoon you should first find a pair of suitable settlements. Preferably, ones which have already attained town status and that are going to grow into bigger and better things. After building two stations (you can choose from a simple siding, a station or a huge terminal), you can join them up with a track. Once everything is in place it is time to build a train the style of which depends on the time period you are working in.

During the early stages of the game you will be content with running mail and passengers. Providing a regular service will increase your payroll no end and before you know where you are you will own tracks all over the show. Now, providing a basic service is no bad thing, but just think of the mega-bucks you could earn if you dabbled in rolling stock and freight. Before you know what is happening you will be shifting coal, steel, wool, wine, textiles and chemicals; every one of them guaranteed to make you rich. You will also discover that there is truth in the age-old saying, "time is money". By buying bigger and faster locomotives you can arrive at your destination a lot earlier and delivering the goods ahead of schedule certainly does pay big dividends.

Obviously, you could stay as a small time railroader, shunting people and goods around on your various tracks. Unfortunately, although that tactic would provide you with a fair amount of cash just to tide you over, you won't become fabulously rich. In addition there are other potential Railroad Tycoons out there who would take over your path as soon as they look at it. The only way to stay ahead of the rest is to keep expanding.

Naturally, you are going to have to splash out a bit when expanding your empire. Bridges to cross rivers do not come cheap, especially if you build the more expensive ones that are built to last. Tunnels also prove expensive so it is usually advisable to build around mountains. Very often, a single-line track can cause congestion and cost you time. A wise investor can spot potential bottlenecks and builds a double-track to overcome the problem.

Would-be tycoons also keep a keen eye on the opposition. If you spot a struggling competitor or a lucrative town you can try to buy the opposition out. This tactic works both ways, so it is advisable to offer your customers the best service available.

There are two definite ways in which to make big money. On one hand you can simply go on expanding, taking over smaller, less profitable railway companies as you go. You will earn a fair wedge by shuttling goods from town to town. Delivering steel and the like does pay, but just think what cut you could be on if you actually owned the steel mill, or any other factory for that matter.

To sum up, Railroad Tycoon can be likened to games such as Sim City. it is one of those games that you can sit at and play for hours without really achieving much. Players, of all abilities, will enjoy the different levels of gameplay. Whether you are shifting mail and people around the place or supplying a service to an entire country, Railroad Tycoon will keep you absorbed for hours on end.

Railroad Tycoon logo Amiga Format Gold

Microprose * £29.99 Mouse and keyboard

Trains eh? Love them or hate them, you just can't ignore them. Not only are they jolly useful things for getting about on but, as every school kid knows, they've got these really groovy numbers on the side that you can write down in a small dog-eared book and collect - exciting or what eh?

Fortunately, most of us grow out of this and discover girls or motorbikes, but Sid Meier didn't. He went on to produce a game about the 'Golden Age' of railroads. Incidentally, the 'Golden Age' was so called because hulks of metal moving slowly and billowing huge clouds of steam and smoke have more 'character' than hulks of metal moving slowly billowing clouds of diesel exhaust.

The train game
The game is single-player and based on building and operating your very own railroad. There are four different game maps to play on: Eastern and Western USA, England and Europe. These alter the basic structure of the game.

The different regions have their own peculiar economies. They also start in different years, for example, so there is a vast difference in the technology that is available to the player.

If you plump for the European scenario the game is mostly menu driven and the player spends the majority of his time studying the map of his particular region. Cities are represented as coal mines, factories and a range of other industrial complexes.

At the start of the game you're given a whole bunch of money to get your railroad off the ground. You decide where you want to build the station, you decide the exact route and tracks take to the next town or whatever and then decide the exact make-up of the train, that is, what carriages it pulls and where it's going to stop.

Right, so we've spent a whole lot of money building a couple of stations and getting a train running between two of them. What next? Make some money! Every station runs on a supply-and-demand basis. When you build a station you're told what it can offer and what it wants - novices are advised to go for the easy option, 'basic economy', which means although the station can only supply certain things it will pay for anything you manage to get to it. In the complex-economy scenario (this can be turned off or on at any stage in the game) you will not get paid for any shipments you deliver to a station that doesn't want them. This means you really have to think hard about your routing of trains and their carriages make-up.

So if you are shipping stuff between the two stations and the people are paying for it. Time to expand to a new town? Why not. Build some more track, add a new station and get another train running. Now you've got the added problem of deciding just what stops the train should make. Should it run from station A to B and back? Or should it go from A to C to B to A.

Your choice is based upon the station's shipping reports - how much of a certain commodity it can supply each year and how often you can get a train to the station in the year - you may only get a train to a station once a year!

The game runs on a very weird timescale. Your two towns may only be a few miles apart and the trains may be very slow, but even so they can take months of game time to get from one station to the next. Obviously this is completely unrealistic, but it's the game's means of progressing.

The game's other main ingredient is dealing with your assets. As your trains chug between their stations a calendar clicks merrily along. Every other January the game reaches the end of the fiscal year and it's time to do some money business.

Money makes the wheels go round
Remember the money you were given at the start of the game? Well, that was given to you by some investors and it is them that you have to keep happy. How? By doing well and expanding your empire which pushes up the price of your shares

By this time other railroads would have been started up by the computer - up to three of them - and they're also trying to do as well as they can. There's an option in the game for 'cut-throat' competition. Basically this means the other railroad bosses will be wheeling and dealing on the stock market as well buying and selling shares in not only their own railroad company, but in each other's and yours!

It's a practice that you can take part in too and once you've got to grips with how it works you can win as well as lose a whole lot of money.

Expand and conquer
The basis of the game is to use whatever means you can to get money and use that money to improve your railroad. As the years click by the technology gets better, and you can build bigger, better, faster trains - or if the investors get upset you could find yourself out on your ear and someone else at the helm.

OK, so the idea of running a railroad and watching a train that's 10 pixels long, takes six months to chug between two stations won't appeal to anyone who likes whiz-bang graphics, but you'd be a fool to dismiss it just on the dull graphics.

It's a strategy game, but dressed up well enough, and one that plays well enough to make you forget that. There's something about Railroad Tycoon that's so addictive it's impossible to leave once you've started. Perhaps it's the difficulty tuning and the multitude of options the player is given to make his life as easy or as complicated as possible? Perhaps it's the fact that the game rewards smart thinking and plays few dirty tricks - you only do badly because you deserve to.

Railroad Tycoon is very similar to Sim City in a lot of ways, the graphics may not be great and it takes a long time to really start enjoying the gameplay. Once you do you will find it become obsessive very quickly, especially when you start making things tougher on yourself. Spend a hour playing Railroad Tycoon and you may as well cancel all appointments for the next few weeks.

The obvious aim of Railroad Tycoon is to rake in as much cash as possible, for as long as possible. However, like all good empire builders you should be aiming to use your cash to buy a place in the loftier social circles. Why anyone would want to join the Henry James set is beyond the imagination, but the amount of dosh you make does affect the post you will be offered upon retiring - the game - from the sordid world of business.
The ultimate accolade is to be hailed as Prime Minister (or President). Other more achievable posts on offer include Hobo (dead easy), arctic explorer (for those with credit problems), portrait artist (for the disaffected businessman). Then of course there's always need for butlers, horse trainers, detectives, investors and circus ring masters.

Railroad Tycoon logo Amiga Joker Hit

Seit "Pirates!" haben wir nicht mehr so sehnsüchtig auf eine Amiga-Umsetzung gewartet - jetzt hatten die Konvertierungsgötter ein Einsehen und ließen Sid Meiers Digi-Lok endlich auf unser "Freundin" vorfahren!

Ein Problem bei dieser Mischung aus "Sim City", Modelleisenbahn, Handels- und Wirtschaftssimulation ist, daß sich die Sache in der Beschreibung wesentlich trockener anhört, als sie tatsächlich ist. Im Prinzip geht es hier "nur" darum, ein möglichst großes Schienen-Imperium aufzubauen, wobei neben den technischen vor allem auch die wirtschaftlichen Gesichtspunkte bedacht sein wollen. In verschiedenen Landkartenmodi (mit Zoom-Function) kann man seinen Bautrieb nach Herzenslust ausleben und Bahnhöfe, Industrieanlagen, Weingüter, Tunnels, Brücken und natürlich kilometerlange Gleisstrecken errichten. Dabei müssen tausenderlei Dinge berücksichtigt werden, beispielsweise, ob man in gebirgigen Gegenden lieber mit Kurven, Tunnels oder Brücken arbeitet (am besten erst mal einen Ingenieur zur Geländeerforschung hinschicken...).

Bis hierher wär's ja einfach nur eine Art "Sim City" für Eisenbahner, aber die richtigen Feinheiten kommen schließlich erst! So macht es beispielsweise wenig Sinn, einen Personenzug mit zehn Waggons zwischen Hinter- und Vordertupfing verkehren zu lassen - oder gar ein Güterzug! Hat man hingegen die Gesetze der freien Marktwirtschaft beachtet und endlich einen bescheidenen Gewinn erzielt, sollte man sein Bares gleich zu zusätzliche Strecken, Stationen, Züge, usw. investieren. Dabei ist allerdings eine gehörige Portion Flexibilität von Nöten, denn die Zeit bleibt hier nicht stehen, und im Lauf der Jahre ändern sich natürlich auch die Bedürfnisse...

Weil dieses Programm wesentlich mehr Einstellmöglichkeiten und Optionen enthält als sich hier aufzählen läßt, wollen wir uns auf ein paar der wichtigsten Features beschränken: Es gibt vier verschiedene Gebiete bzw. Startepochen (Großbritannien 1828, Europa 1900 und zwei in Amerika um 1830 oder 1866), sowie vier Schwierigkeitsgrade, man kann sich einen Streckenplan in allen nur denkbaren Farben und Formen einstellen lassen, ein Tagebuch führen oder seinen Makler anrufen, um Aktien zu kaufen.

Wer mit einer Lok einen neuen Geschwindigkeitsrekord aufstellt, darf bei Champagne eine zünftige Taufe veranstalten, auf der anderen Seite kann man bei einem Zugunglück finanziell einen bösen Einbruch erleben. Außerdem wird mit dem Eisenbahner (ähnlich wie bei "Pirates!") am Ende einer Sitzung ein Rang zugeordnet; die Liste reicht vom Schornsteinfeger bis zum Präsidenten. Amiga Joker Hit Bei alledem darf und soll man aber die drei Computergegner nicht vergessen, mit denen man herrliche Preiskriege führen kann, und die, sofern man die höchste Schwierigkeitsstufe wählt, kein Mittel unversucht lassen, um einen zu ruinieren!

Bei so einem Prachtstück von Spiel sieht man schon mal darüber hinweg, daß die Grafik nicht gerade sensationell ist (praktisch 1:1 zur PC-Version), und der Sound keinesfalls ein orchestrales Erlebnis. Gesteuert wird mit Maus (über Pulldown-Menüs) und Tastatur, das klappt auch vorzüglich, noch besser wäre es freilich gewesen, sämtliche Funktionen auf dem kleinen Nager zu legen. Ein weiterer Kritikpunkt ist das Fehlen einer Mehr-Spieler-Option: Die Computergegner agieren zwar exzellent, aber menschliche Widersacher sind halt doch die Größere Herausforderung.

Nichtsdestotrotz ist Railroad Tycoon ein echter Meilenstein - in Sachen Komplexität, Spielspaß und Suchtfaktor steht es Klassikern wie "Pirates!", "Sim City" oder "Populous" um keinen Millimeter nach. Wer nicht ausschließlich auf Ballerspiele fixiert ist, muß hier einfach zuschlagen! (mm)

Railroad Tycoon logo

MicroProse enter the epic stategy game stakes with a title best described as Sim Train.

Rail Road Tycoon Great Trains In History, Volume One: Stephenson's Rocket. The Cannonball Express. The Flying Scotsman. The Mallard. The Silver Streak. The Orient Express. Ivor The Engine. The Bremen Git. Can you spot the odd train out in this list of timeless classics? Yes, that's right, The Mallard. (None of the others were named after ducks.)

'But hang on', I hear you cry, 'I've never heard of the Bremen Git!' Well, locomotion fans, there's a damn fine reason for that. The Bremen Git exists only in the algorithms of my copy of Railroad Tycoon, a new game from everyone's favourite supplier of monster simulation games with inch-thick manuals, MicroProse. And just take a guess, quiz fans, at what kind of a game this is. A cutie platform job perhaps? A coin-op shoot- 'em-up conversion? Strip poker? Nope, it's an incredibly involved and complex simulation of the pioneering days of rail travel, covering the whole range of operations from laying track to selling shares, and all points in between. (Did you spot the little railway-type joke there, humour fans?) In fact, Railroad Tycoon probably has more depth in its setting-up screens than most games do in their whole code.

There are four basic game scenarios (Eastern USA 1830, Western USA 1866, England 1828, or Europe 1900) and you can choose to play at any of four basic difficulty levels (Investor, Financier, Mogul or Tycoon). Within those there are loads of other options, which you can combine in any way you wish (for example, you can chose whether your trains can crash into each other or not, and how competitive all the other railroads are), and you can even select how complex the economy of your chosen country/ continent will be. Once you get into the actual game, well, things start to get really complicated...

I couldn't hope to explain Railroad Tycoon completely without taking up the whole magazine, so it might help if you imagine it as being a bit like the railway- building bits in Sim City, except that as well as building the track you have to build the actual train, make sure it has the right kind of carriages for the cargo it's going to be carrying, build and operate stations and signals, build factories for the train to deliver and collect materials from, lay track to take account of gradients and land values, sell shares in the company but ensure that your competitors don't gain control of it, keep up with technological advances, build bridges and ferries to cross rivers and lakes, cut tunnels through mountains, decide whether to lay single- or double-track lines, and, and...


Sounds a bit overwhelming, doesn't it? And frankly, it is. You'll spend many hours at first just shunting passengers and mail back and forth between neighbouring towns - totally ignoring all the other things you really should be keeping tabs on at the same time - but the trouble is that by the time you're ready to expand, you'll be so fed up with the painfully slow play and crummy player interface that you're just as likely to decide not to bother. Quite honestly, there's no excuse whatsoever for a 1 meg Amiga game in 1991 (or a 1K ZX81 game in 1982 for that matter) displaying 'Press any key to continue' when it actually means 'Press Return or we'll be here all day', and that's just one tiny example from the vast list of niggly little things (and there are plenty of them) that don't actually affect the gameplay in any way, but will have you tearing your hair out in sheer annoyance long before the game has had a chance to do itself justice.

There are probably people out there with the patience and placid nature to overcome such minor irritations (in fact, the average train spotter could well fall into this category, which means MicroProse have got everything well sussed after all) but I'm not one of them. If you are, and if you liked Sim City but found it just a bit too fast-moving, Railroad Tycoon is the game for you. It's just that you'll have to be unemployed or the Duchess Of York to have the time to get into it properly, and some kind of saint not to be driven out of your tree by the sloppiness of the programming while you're doing it. The very best of luck to you.

ON THE OTHER HAND... Railroad Tycoon is one of those obsessive experiences. If it's the sort of game that will grab you (and I must admit trains are hardly the sexiest of subjects matters) then the likelyhood is that you'll be very seriously grabbed. There are poblems with it of course - it's not half the game Sim City is, for instance, because it'll be so seriously inaccessible to the vast majority of people - but if you've got a lot of time on your hands, if you like getting really embroiled and stuck into something, and if you're impressed by games that seem to have heavily researched their subject matter and used it well, then to you it'll be one of the releases of the year. A genuinely adult game, if not to say positively middle aged (and for once I don't necessarily mean that in a bad way).

87 percent - Matt Bielby

Which game really impresses in the grand-scale strategy stakes? Sim City may have greater variation, but will Railroad Tycoon's depth shine through? Let's see...
Sim City - 8
It doesn't exactly go like a rocket (ho ho!) but there's never a dull moment.
Railroad Tycoon - 6
Painfully slow, and switching on Turbo mode just makes things silly (you can't read land information, for instance) without making them noticeably faster.
Sim City - 1
Well, at least you get to take on Godzilla now and again.
Railroad Tycoon - 0
A complete alien-free zone.
Sim City - 9
Completely unrivalled control of absolutely everything.
Railroad Tycoon - 6
Great! If your idea of total global domination is railways, but lacks the scope for that real feeling of omnipotence.
Sim City - 4
Quite a few trains, and at least you can have more than one line without needing to link them up.
Railroad Tycoon - 9
Positively awash with locomotives.
Sim City - 22
Railroad Tycoon - 19

Railroad Tycoon logo CU Amiga Screenstar

When you think of a train enthusiast you conjure up an image of a greasy, spotty anorak wearer equipped with scribble pad and marmite sarnies standing on platform two of Dworpin-Under-Barrow station. I personally have none of these traits (Don't believe a word of it - Ed), but I am however completely hooked on Railroad Tycoon, MicroProse's incredible railway sim.

Set in the golden age of railroads, your ambition is to hammer the competition and become the most powerful person in the locomotive business. Your empire can be based in England, Europe, East or West USA, each location being set in a different era of train development, ranging from 1828 England to the early twentieth century.

You start with £1,000,000 which is just enough to build a decent stretch of track, two stations and a train. Providing you have planned the route well you can start making money immediately. The government will lend you £500,000 at 5% interest, leading to crippling repayments. A certain amount of debt is permitted but unadvisable as it costs money to keep a railroad going.

Stations come in three sizes, which relate to the size of area they serve. The largest, a terminal, will be able to export goods for a fairly large area, while depots, which are the smallest, can only cope with their immediate hinterland. Once established you can add improvements to the more popular stations. These include hotels, storage facilities, work shops and post offices, which generate income for the companies concerned.

It is only worth setting up a railroad between towns that can trade. Ports need all the produce they can get their hands on while mills, mines and factories can export plenty of goods. Passengers and mail can usually be traded between any centres of population, though these do not pay too much ad require a very fast service. The major problem with running a railroad is that everyone wants everything delivered in the quickest time possible; it is not easy, your best trains can only reach 25mph.

Each cargo requires a specialist carriage, which means changing a train's rolling stock nearly every station. This could easily over complicate things, but a neat system has been employed to even things out. When you select a train you get a break down of where it is, where it is going, what its route is, and what cargo it is carrying. Access a series of menus and all of these statistics can be changed without any hassle. At the side of the main screen a series of icons show what each train is carrying and its current speed. The game would be unplayable, if it were not so easy to use. But if I can use this system, everyone can.

Rival train companies will always try to get the upper hand. If they are not buying shares in your company they are starting a price war by linking their railways to your stations. Only the most efficient companies survive.

Because your railroad is publicly owned you have to present a good profit to the share holders at the end of each year. The share price for your railroad usually starts at ten quid a piece, with a hundred thousand shares owned by the government. Government shares can be purchased by your company to push the share price up and protect your railroad from being taken over by your rivals. A quick bit of share dealing can also provide some easy cash, but it can also lead to ruin.

This is very much a thinking person's game, and one that is not limited to train spotters. You are given complete control over your railway - from high finances down to operating individual signal boxes. A host of preliminary options allow you to completely tailor the game's difficulty to your own ability. News flashes appear throughout, detailing good and bad events, which all have an effect on the current economic and political climate. This ensures the game plays differently each time.

This is Sim City with trains. Graphically and playability-wise the two games are very similar. Railroad Tycoon requires lots of planning and needs plenty of skill to play it successfully. You won't be able to last long to begin with until you can understand some of the basic economics behind the game. A dull sounding idea converted into an amazing game.

Railroad Tycoon logo

MicroProse/Amiga/Out Now/£29.99

Amiga review

Paul: this is a rather timely conversion, bearing in mind the imminent privatisation of British Rail. If you can make a killing in this game of railroad tycoonery then you'd be well advised to hack off straight to the stock exchange to get in an early bid. Mind you the PC boys will have been there for yonks before you.

The game looks fairly similar to Sim City and is equally user-friendly (horrible phrase, but it's the best I can think of). But whereas Sim City put you in charge of an entire city, Railroad Tycoon leaves you to concentrate on the rail network. Does this mean it's a smaller game? No by jiggery it doesn't.

The game is extremely complex. Whether you choose England, Europe or a section of the USA you have to start your railroad from scratch. There are problems with the landscape, problems with the stock exchange and problems with the 3.15 Crewe to Chillingworth. As well as worrying about timetables, new stations and dodgy gradients you've also got to keep a wary eye on competitors who'll be trying to muscle in on your patch and take over your stretch of track.

Improved sound apart there are few differences to the PC original. Although it might be a tad too complex for those not used to economic sims, Railroad Tycoon is a treat in store for strategy buffs and train spotters alike.

Railroad Tycoon logo Zzap! Gold Medal

MicroProse, Amiga £29.99

If you have ever fancied being a pioneering railway chappie like Isambard Kingdom Brunel, J Edgar Thompson or Casey Jones, then Railroad Tycoon is just the (railway) ticket for you. The 19th Century was a time of great expansion, and as a budding tycoon you have four possible 'play areas' in which to build your railroad: East USA (1830), West USA (1866), England (1828) and Europe (1900).

Once the location is selected you must choose one of four difficulty levels ranging from Investor to Tycoon. This dictates how much is earned with each delivery, and how many years you can play before retirement. You then select the reality level, the factors here are No Collision Operation/Despatch Operation, Friendly Operation/Cut-Throat Operation and Basic economy/Complex economy. Finally the difficulty factor affects your retirement bonus and tycoon rating at the end of the game.

After identifying a random locomotive from the huge 180-page manual, you are presented with a geological map of the relevant play area and the fun starts. So pick up a starting point and build. You begin with a one million pound loan from investors but be careful because the cash is soon gobbled up. Once two cities are linked by tracks it is time to build a station, there are three types on offer - depot, station and terminal - with a signal box also available to make sure that you do not have any nasty accidents (if the collision option is enabled). Trains are the next consideration. Depending on the time period, locomotives range from the likes of Stevenson's Rocket to modern electric-powered monsters.

Along the top of the screen are five pull-down menus: Game (shows news reports, train messages, etc), Display (used to zoom in and out of the map), Reports (to call up balance sheets, train incomes, stocks etc), Build (trains, stations, industries etc.) and finally the Action menu (call broker, survey, name railroad etc.).

Of course the whole point of the exercise is to make money, so it is best to scout around ant take not of what natural and man-made resources are available. For example, by transporting cotton to a factory and then a town or port, the cotton industries grow. Also take note of the news bulletins that regularly appear on screen - they either warn of rival railway companies encroaching on other territories (usually yours), or the economic climate which dips and rises regularly. At a bad time the investors will become very worried and this reflects badly on you if you ain't doing your job properly. Boom periods are highly desirable but (typically) these are not as common as bad periods.

Your time as a railroad tycoon can come to the end of the line in one of four ways: 1) you are replaced by the shareholders, 2) rival railroads launch a takeover bid, 3) the amount of years you chose are up, or 4) you retire voluntarily. Your funds are then totted up and you are offered a replacement job ranging from tramp to Prime Minister!

Phil King Hang on, if I build a line between Ludlow and Birmingham perhaps I will be able to get to PR launches a bit quicker... oh, sorry, you caught me in the middle of a game of Railroad Tycoon. I managed to sneak a few games in on the PC version when TGM (RIP) reviewed it a year or so ago and I am still hooked now. The strange things is that the graphics on the Amiga are very similar to the PC's, so why the long wait? Not that I am complaining, this is one of the best strategy games around: the play areas are so large and there is so much to take into consideration that you can live out your childhood reams and be an engine driver. Even on Investor level with the difficulty set low there is enough to keep you absorbed for ages, but add to that train collisions, unfriendly competitors etc. and the game soon becomes very taxing. Even at thirty quid it is an essential purchase.
Stuart Wynne Ever since I played the PC version to death I have been waiting for the Miggy version of this ultimate in capitalism, and I am well chuffed it is here! Who cares about the trendiness of the subject matter when you have a million dollars in your pocket and an entire country to rail-road over? My Sacremento-Reno line has seen me glued to the game into the early hours - I will never ridicule a four-eyed train spotter again!
Even at its most basic level with no collisions or aggressive companies to worry about, Railroad is constantly demanding, utterly compulsive and addictive beyond belief. Building rail routes, seeking out new areas for a profit and just trying to keep the whole network in the black (or is it the red? No wonder my railroads kept going down the tubes!) makes Sim City look positively simple by comparison. Oh, and didn't I mention the fact that you can actually manipulate the industries of the cities through the expansion of your rail network? After playing this, I feel up to the task of getting BR back on the right tracks!
Throw in three other landscapes, the challenge of making as efficient/large a network as possible and the ultimate goal of becoming President of the United States and you have a game that has gone straight into my all-time fave game list.