Railway Beginning (Guide)

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Building the Great Hellbound Railway (GHR) is a large late-game undertaking. It gradually gives access to locations in Upper River, which provide a myriad of new content and more efficient ways of getting advanced items.

Starting the Railway requires access to several later-game locations, namely the University Laboratory, a Parabolan Base-Camp and The Bone Market. In theory you can skip the Bone Market, but without it some resources will be more difficult to gather.

The railway starts with a stretch from Moloch Street to Ealing Gardens. This guide is meant to with getting the railway going. For a more general guide on the Railway and building further stops, see Railway (Guide).

Beginning The Railway Business[edit]

To begin the Railway project, you need to

With these requirements met, you'll draw Advertisements of a New Venture, an invitation to be on the Railway's board of directors. You need one of the following to become a Director of the Railway:

Note: In order to actually begin laying track, you will also need base Watchful 200 and The Prestige of your Laboratory 40 in order to start researching Railway Steel in your University Laboratory. This is outlined further in the 'Acquiring Railway Steel' section below.

In general, the railway advances by laying track towards the next location and building a station there. Advancing is complicated by resource requirements, GHR board meetings, and story developments.


Starting Out[edit]

This section outlines the process of establishing the railway company, laying the first track and building the first station. The biggest impediments are resource requirements, which are elaborated on in the next section.

As the Director of the Railway, it's your responsibility to hire other members of the Board. This leads to the first meetings.

Having the first board meetings[edit]

In A Meeting of the Great Hellbound Railway two new board members join and you get to recommend yet another one. Here you might want to consult a guide. A brief overview on how the board generally works can be found below.

Then you'll need to propose a charter, which gives the feeling of how the railway board meetings generally work; you pick the agenda, try to persuade the board members to agree to your proposal, declare victory (or concede), and pick another agenda or bring the meeting to close. Each charter grants a minor benefit, and cannot be changed once it has been voted on (except for a solution to a problem later on which changes the charter to one not available at this stage). The benefits of each charter are:


Generally, the more board members there are, the more effort each board decision takes because you need to get each and every member to vote on your side. Convincing a board member takes at minimum one action each with a persuasive check, which difficulty depends on whether the board member is against your proposition. Board members usually have certain predispositions, meaning that the check is more difficult if you present them something they are against in principle. For example, those members who care about financial interests usually oppose harder resolutions that would increase corporate debt.

The check can be made easier (for the duration of currently debated matter) by "softening" the members by gaining Obfuscation of the Board, Respectability Factor, and Corruption of the Board; most board members are prone to one of them. Crooked-Crosses get an easy head start with obfuscation, Midnighters can easily affect corruption-prone members.

As a side note, after the first developments it's probably normal to always have some debt, but if it increases to 5, the creditors of the railway start to get uneasy and the associated undiscardable menace card begins to appear. Having excessive debt can also prevent some actions or board propositions until the debt is reduced. To reduce it, you can e.g. raise funds for the railway, pay from your own pocket, or use your Parthenaeum connections. An easy way to acquire Rumours of the Upper River required for efficient debt reduction is shuttling between stations in your train.

Appeasing certain parties[edit]

After the first meeting some complications occur.

Settling the issue with church leads to you getting to know The Tracklayer's Union, after which you can get to proper business of really building the railroad in fundamentally the same way it's done after the first station. Until you resolve these matters, you can only visit the boardroom and have a look around with a reminder that there is some unsorted business keeping the venture from advancing.

Approving track plans with the GHR board[edit]

The real work begins with convening the railway board to approve either of the options:

The difference is with which board members are opposing the plans, which means, who you probably need to try to persuade harder.

Laying the track[edit]

Having the board accept the plan lets you lay track towards Ealing Gardens. To arrive there and be ready to build the station, you will need to increase Track Laid to 3.

To lay track, you have three options, each with slightly different resource requirements you can freely choose from each time. Each option increases Track Laid by one and has the base requirement of 10 x Railway Steel, 5 x Perfumed Gunpowder and 1 x Comprehensive Bribe (check sources), each option having additional requirements of their own. Getting steel and gunpowder might be problematic in the beginning, the second part of the guide (below) helps in getting access to them. The options are:

(1) Supporting Liberationists is (probably) the cheapest, requiring an additional 5 x Perfumed Gunpowder and advancing The Liberation of Night (which may have effects in later game). (2) Keeping watch for any buried bones requires 25 x Survey of the Neath's Bones (Track recent palaeontological discoveries and the stones of the Neath) and gives some bones. (3) Keeping the workforce well fed requires 5 x Basket of Rubbery Pies (from Mrs Plenty), but prevents the buildup of Tracklayers' Displeasure.

Note that while the track laying mechanics stay the same during the railway venture, i.e. you'll need to get Railway Steel to get track laid towards the next location, the above options are specific to this stretch of the railway and the requirements vary somewhat when building the next stretches after Ealing Gardens. Specifically, laying track does not generally require bribes after this region.

You'll also need 20 x Hinterland Scrip (Getting Scrip before the Railway) to build the station after track laying is complete.

Resolving a problem with the terrain[edit]

After laying some track, you will encounter difficult terrain, which requires a board meeting and additional actions to proceed. Options:

Either you can choose an easy one which basically means to build one more track section, or go the harder way with a pretty lengthy research of an Impossible Theorem. Note that using the Theorem for the railway decision won't consume it, so you can sell it afterwards or use it for something else.

Build the station at Ealing Gardens[edit]

Having dealt with the terrain problem, you can continue the track all the way to the destination; Finally, you can propose a plan for the next Station building and for the train engines to go there in a board meeting, and build the station at Ealing Gardens!

For the next developments of the railway, see the broader guide: Railway (Guide).

Other pages that may be of interest to a new railway industrialist:




This section gives suggestions on how to get the needed resources for building the way to Ealing Gardens. Namely, gunpowder and railway steel.

Acquiring Gunpowder[edit]

To start making gunpowder, railway steel, and other supplies, you need access to a University Laboratory. This is a significant undertaking by itself. If you want to get started, see the University Laboratory (Guide).

An easy way to obtain small amounts of gunpowder is to disambiguate the Eolith for the Dean. Note that you want to fail this challenge. The eoliths can be obtained for free, and a failed disambiguation gives you 1 x Perfumed Gunpowder. You will need to create at least one sample this way for the next step.

Research the Formula[edit]

Bigger amounts of the Gunpowder can be manufactured after you Research the Formula for Perfumed Gunpowder. To do this, you'll need 150 x Laboratory Research, and a Parabolan Base-Camp to find 25 x Parabolan Research. Finding a route to Parabola is not an easy feat, and involves good amount of grinding for expensive resources. If you don't mind changing professions, the Silverer provides much cheaper access to Parabola.

Tip: If you have employed F.F. Gebrandt in your Lab, she can speed up this research a bit. The same applies to the Railway Steel formula later. And if she collaborates with expert Profound student, it may be even faster.

Manufacture Gunpowder[edit]

Once you have the Formula, you can at last Manufacture Supplies. One of the options is to create 10 x Perfumed Gunpowder.

Creating extra gunpowder needs extra ingredients:

To upgrade your lab equipment in the next step, you will need 100 x Perfumed Gunpowder. It may be easier to stock up on these ingredients and then concoct all the gunpowder you need in one sitting.

Getting a hold of these can be tricky. The easiest path is to buy the materials at the Rat Market on weekends. Note: Buying rat wares at the Market requires you to first sell items for Rat-Shillings. The items you can sell there, and how much shillings they are worth, vary from week to week. However, the rats will always accept Fourth-City Echoes.

If the Rat Market isn't for you, other sources for surface blooms and nightsoil are outlined below.

Surface Blooms[edit]

The two most accessible and efficient sources for Preserved Surface Blooms are Rat Market, and A Familiar Bohemian Sculptress at The Bone Market.

The Extramurine Trading Company sells Preserved Surface Blooms for a fair price. Their cost in Rat-Shillings has a 0% mark-up compared to their Bazaar sell price in Echoes. (This is unusual, but explained by the fact that their Hinterland Scrip sell price in the Upper River is lower than expected.)

Another option is selling a basic skeleton to the Bohemian Sculptress. You can combine a Headless Skeleton with a Bright Brass Skull to get 27 x Preserved Surface Blooms. This is especially easy for Licentiates. You must be able to drop your Respectable before she will talk to you.

If you can muster a 15 x Dreaded outfit, 2 x Preserved Surface Blooms can be obtained from A Teller of Terrors by selling her a Possessed Goldfish (easy to get in The Dome of Scales). If you don't mind a little bit of shady dealings, another alternative is to Discover the background of this bone and Invent a false nature for this bone to Sell your Holy Relic to the Bohemian Sculptress for 6 x Preserved Surface Blooms. It's the cheapest option, especially if you want to train your Laboratory students. A Pedagogically Inclined Grandmother will gladly give you some bones to research for free.

Nightsoil[edit]

This is a bit harder to obtain.

If you have enough money, you can just buy 3 x Nodule of Pulsating Amber for E 300 from Merrigans Exchange, or find some in the Nadir with The end of battles. You can then sell those to A Tentacled Servant for 390 x Nightsoil of the Bazaar total. To get remaining quantity either buy one more amber or continue with following options.

Given that you will need The Prestige of your Laboratory 40 (more on that later), you can as well spend some time researching other things (e.g. Surveys or Statistics) in the Laboratory to train and Graduate the Gifted Student which gives Slim Volume of Bazaarine Poetry that can be sold for 7 x Nightsoil of the Bazaar to A Tentacled Servant. The Profound Student gives 8 x Nightsoil of the Bazaar directly on graduation, but he is slightly harder to train. Don't forget to Create an Infernal Machine too which is necessary later.

The Rat Market sells Nightsoil of the Bazaar at the Extramurine Trading Company for 8 x Rat-Shilling each. This is a 60% mark-up compared to its sell-value. Nonetheless, this mark-up is partially compensated by the bonus value attained when trading at the Rat Market.

If you are a fan of fiddling with bones, there is a recipe for pre-Railway skeleton that yields a good portion of necessary Nightsoil.

During WHITSUN, you can talk to a Rubbery Collector (requires 7 Dreaded and 7 Bizarre) at The Bone Market and exchange a Scarlet Egg, Untreated for 10 x Nightsoil of the Bazaar. This is a decent source if Scarlet Eggs do not cost ha'pennies, which changes from year to year.

Upgrade Your Lab Equipment[edit]

Once you have the ability to make gunpowder in your Lab, you can use it to Improve Your Equipment, which when done successfully will increase your Equipment for Scientific Experimentation to 5, allowing you to make railway steel. How do you do this? With explosions, of course!

Fortunately (or unfortunately), you can't go blowing up things in the university without proper precautions. To Lay in some explosives, you will need:

Most of these can be found around London. To find Hillmovers you need access to the Parabola, where they can be found when you go on a hunt for the Seven-Throated Warbler and search its nest.

Acquiring Railway Steel[edit]

After you've created enough explosions and your Equipment for Scientific Experimentation is at 5, your Lab is primed for making Railway Steel. You still need two things, however: the formula and supplies.

Since you're at the beginning of your railway venture, you don't need very much to start with. Focus on making enough to lay down the first track towards Ealing.

Research the Formula[edit]

To start researching the Railway Steel formula, you need a sample of Railway Steel. When The Prestige of your Laboratory reaches 40 and you are at maximum base Watchful, you can get that sample through A Luncheon with the Dean of Supernumerary Fellows.

This will also increase your Watchful cap to 203.

Manufacture Railway Steel[edit]

You have your railway steel formula. Excellent! Now you need some supplies to make your railway tracks. One track uses one piece of steel. To manufacture 4 x Railway Steel, you need:

If you possess an Infernal Machine, you can also manufacture 15 x Railway Steel with:

Note: Each option for laying the first stretch of track towards Ealing Gardens requires 10 x Railway Steel.

Bessemer Steel Ingots[edit]

See Bessemer Steel Ingot (Guide) for more methods.

One of the easiest ways to find Bessemer Steel Ingots is to do some work at L.B. Industries. The ratty factory is found under the Blind Helmsman. For more information, see the L. B. Industries (Guide). The number of actions needed varies, but when you have 60 x Foreman's Favour, you can request Bessemer Steel Ingots as pay. This gives you 8 x Bessemer Steel Ingot, as well as Hinterland scrip and some bone fragments.

Another option is to Intervene in a Dockers' Brawl at The Blind Helmsman and choose the crates destined for Iron and Misery as reward. To do this, you need to have Acquaintance: The Garrulous Drunk at least 3. Brawling takes 4 to 5 actions. If you pick a side, you can get 20 x Bessemer Steel Ingot. Fighting on your own is harder but will win you 25 x Bessemer Steel Ingot.

Alternatively, if you have at least Shadowy 200 (without modifiers), you can acquire much more ingots at once by visiting Parabola and searching for Mr. Iron's Warehouse. To look for the Warehouse, you will need 15 x An Identity Uncovered!. Finding and burglarizing it successfully will net you 100 x Bessemer Steel Ingot.

One more lengthy way of acquiring ingots is to visit the The Bone Market, assemble skeleton with at least 1 x Antiquity and sell it to an Enthusiast of the Ancient World. Trying to improve Antiquity is not that useful, focus on the Skeleton Value instead. For example:

Comparison of basic skeletons:
Recipe Value Ingots
Headless Skeleton, Horned Skull 1500 30
Headless Skeleton, Sabre-toothed Skull 6500 130
Human Ribcage, Horned Skull, 2 x Human Arm, 2 x Unidentified Thigh Bone 3200 64
Human Ribcage, Sabre-toothed Skull, 2 x Ivory Humerus, 2 x Ivory Femur 23500 470

For that the last recipe, the Sabre-toothed Skull can be bought from the Enthusiast of the Ancient World (but needs a bit of Hinterland Scrip grinding first). Ivory bones are obtainable from A Familiar Bohemian Sculptress in exchange for a few Parabolan Orange-apples ( 1 x Parabolan Orange-apple ( 1100 x Bone Fragments) for 1 x Ivory Humerus, 3 x Parabolan Orange-apples ( 3300 x Bone Fragments) and 750 x Bone Fragments for 1 x Ivory Femur).

You can also try hunting a Storm-bird which yields 5 x Bessemer Steel Ingot. It's not much, but hunting is fine to train some advanced skills anyway.

Justificande Coin[edit]

See also: Item Grinding: Justificande Coin

The easiest way of gaining these coins is to Intervene in a Dockers' Brawl at The Blind Helmsman, and choose the coffer of Admiralty coinage as a reward. Fighting on your own will net you 2 coins in 3 actions (if you succeed in all skill-checks). Fighting with any of the factions will give 1 coin per 3 actions, but has lower Dangerous checks.

Another way is within The Chessboard in Parabola. Allow yourself to be sacrificed and you will gain one (1) coin. As a bonus, you can also train in A Player of Chess this way.

An alternative involves a heist of The home of an Admiral's Widow. This heist requires Favours: The Docks, at three coins per run.

After you build the Ealing Garden station, you get much better option in A Gift from the Capering Relicker, who will give you three (3) Justificande coins per gift, along with others.