Hello there! We are conducting a survey to better understand the user experience in making a first edit. If you have ever made an edit on Gamepedia, please fill out the survey. Thank you!
The only group in the Commonwealth willing to actually fight the Institute is the Railroad, an organization almost as secretive as the Institute itself.”— Fallout 4 loading screen
History[edit | edit source]
The origins of the organization are murky and lost to time, due to the numerous times the organization was nearly wiped out. The current incarnation has its roots in the remnants of the organization that persisted after an Institute raid that destroyed the faction's headquarters in November 2266. With thirteen survivors, Wyatt held an election and started to rebuild the organization from scratch. The first lesson learned was operational security - under Agamemnon, the Railroad was centralized and the Institute could - and did - easily learn where their headquarters were. The result was a single survivor, John D, and an organization in tatters, abandoned by most of its members. The new leader had to rebuild from just 13 demoralized members. The new Railroad was constructed like a pyramid, in an effort to limit the information flow and prevent another HQ massacre. The first success came in February 2267, with the liberation of their first synth. Wyatt threw a party to celebrate, keeping to himself the knowledge that another runaway was recaptured by Coursers before they could get to them. However, the streak didn't last. Following the escape of an entire Institute work crew in March, the Institute wised up to the Railroad's continued existence. One safehouse fell in March. Then, in December, they located the Railroad HQ again and invaded it. Wyatt was gunned down, but many Railroad members managed to get out of the bloodbath thanks to Deacon. Pinky became the new leader of the Railroad, quickly implementing the lessons taught by the raid.
By 2275, the Railroad was back in business, focusing on moving rescued synths out of the Commonwealth. Despite his accomplishments, Deacon was kicked out of the HQ by Pinky for being, quote, a "lying, face-changing son of a bitch, unquote. Pinky continued implementing changes to the Railroad's operations, but they were too little, too late to address glaring issues. One of the crucial changes was the decision to remove all synths from the Commonwealth as soon as possible, following a homestead massacre by Coursers around January 2276. Around this time, Victoria Watts was also sent to the Capital Wasteland on the trail of Director Zimmer and his Courser bodyguard, Armitage. By September, the Railroad lost another safehouse due to Pinky's sloppiness. Desdemona's renewed campaign against the current leader eventually led him to stepping down.
The new leader took the position around December 2277. Desdemona narrowly won against Doc Carrington, immediately beginning work on improving the Railroad's security and success rate. With a 50-50 chance to recover synths, morale was a constant issue. To rectify Pinky's mistakes, the first step was improving operational security through reconnaissance, counter-intelligence, and stricter compartmentalization. Second was improved response time for synth recovery.
The first results started arriving in 2279. The Railroad grew and new techniques were implemented, including Railmarks and dead drop improvements. Out of a total of five synth escapees, two were recovered by the Institute, one was lost in the field, and two were saved by the railroad. However, this wasn't a lost year, as the HQ core team grew with the inclusion of Tinker Tom, a survivor of an Institute attack on a farm. Though disturbed, Tom would go on to become a key asset of the organization. A year later, Desdemona added Glory as a field agent and heavy. Tinker Tom grew increasingly eccentric under stress, but he was retained due to him being essential for maintaining the Railroad's gear and tech. 2280 ended on a relatively high note, with two escapees, no losses, and just one reclamation.
It was the quiet before the storm. The Institute hit the Railroad's HQ in full force in 2281, with lookouts managing to give only 30 seconds of warning. Fortunately, casualties were light. The biggest gain of the year was the discovery of the Switchboard, an old DIA facility with P.A.M. The predictive analysis machine impressed Desdemona enough to bring her on board as an essential part of their planning. P.A.M.'s initial reservations about aiding the Railroad changed after Glory interacted with the machine and soon, P.A.M. was an important component of Railroad operations. However, as if to compensate for this, The Institute compromised another safehouse, forcing the HQ to relocate with barely an hour to spare. That did not break the Railroad, however. P.A.M. continued to serve as a vital source of intelligence, though her predictions and proclivity for requesting odd data caused reservations among the HQ crew, with Deacon loudly arguing for shutting her down (and getting shut down in turn).
Perhaps the biggest breakthrough came in 2283, as the Railroad discovered that they had an ally on the inside. Codenamed Patriot, he first came to the fore after a synth escapee arrived in Diamond City with a map, instructions, and a coded holotape in tow. Intercepted by Old Man Stockton, she was the first of five synths. All with care packages and codes. This resulted in an expansion of their operations. By 2284, the coded holotapes were finally decoded by Tinker Tom, and were revealed to contain two words: Mass Fusion. The expansion of the Railroad's operations resulted in eight escapees with just one loss and one reclamation. The Railroad also began trying to discover the location of The Institute in earnest, but found it impossible to do for a variety of factors - the most important being that the organization has no records of its existence prior to 2266 and Wyatt assuming control. While the HQ was compromised again in 2285, the Railroad persisted. They relocated to Switchboard and continued rescuing synths, managing to save nine, with two lost to lynch mobs and one reclaimed by the Institute. The good streak persisted into 2286, with Institute sightings completely ceasing for three months and just four synths rescued. However, this was once again the calm before the storm, as the Institute was gearing up to activate its reactor, while the Brotherhood decided it was time to intervene and stop its preying on the Commonwealth.
Organization[edit | edit source]
The Railroad is constructed like a pyramid, with the base composed of informants and sympathizers (referred to as tourists), above which stand runners and safehouse owners, then an even smaller group of field agents, and finally, the most secretive and heavily protected headquarters crew that has access to all the information and coordinates Railroad operations.  As the organization practices strict compartmentalization of knowledge, information is issued on a need-to-know basis, with its members and cells operating in isolation from each other, following lessons learned in 2266.
Ideology[edit | edit source]
As far as the Institute is concerned, androids are mere machines with no free will of their own that exist only to serve their creators. However, the Railroad stands by the doctrine that, even as machines, self-aware androids look, behave, think and feel as humans do, entitling them to the freedom intrinsically enjoyed by human beings as well as emancipation from their owners. The Railroad also occasionally assists human slaves when able, although they cite that there are many other abolitionist groups specifically focused on slaves, but no other group can aid with the unique challenges of concealing androids.
To this end, the Railroad employs the skills of computer science experts to alter the memories of the android to provide them with a clean slate, as well as the skills of a plastic surgeon to conceal the android's true identity. A Railroad branch in the Capital Wasteland recently aided an android (designation A3-21), but the operation was so risky that the branch had to temporarily shut down to keep its members safe until Commonwealth investigators abandoned the manhunt.
Outside relations[edit | edit source]
The Railroad is naturally opposed to The Institute and its practice of enslaving synthetic human beings. The Institute reciprocates this in any way it can, usually by attempting to wipe out the organization as much as possible. They attempt to keep a low profile and aid runaway synths by providing them with a new identity and aiding in their escape. In return, the Institute attempts to purge any safehouses it comes across and wipe out any Railroad agents, sympathizers, or informants they find. The Railroad is also opposed to the Brotherhood of Steel due to their ideology that synths are abominations and shouldn't be allowed to exist.
Of course, the Railroad is opposed to any and all groups who target synths specifically. The largest of these in the Commonwealth, after the Institute and the Brotherhood, is the L&L Gang, a loosely affiliated group of raiders who take a particular sadistic pleasure in tracking synths down and killing them in the most graphic manner possible. Although the Railroad has been losing more synths to them than even to the Institute, resource and manpower limitations prevented them from dealing with the gang directly.
Technology[edit | edit source]
The Railroad lacks the industrial base and refinement of the Institute, the firepower and armor of the Brotherhood of Steel, or the popular support of the Minutemen, forcing it to rely on what it can salvage or create on its own. For much of its known history, the Railroad was forced to get by with relatively low-tech weapons and gear merely adapted for their purposes. This situation changed completely with the introduction of Tinker Tom into headquarters. Best described as a suffering genius, Tom has revolutionized the Railroad's technological edge, introducing a slew of purpose-built weapons, armor, and tools. The standardized Railroad armored coats issued to heavies finally boasted proper levels of protection, while custom weapons like the Deliverer ensured they had tools matching their skillset. For non-combat purposes, Tom has introduced the MILA, a complex surveillance device whose precise workings seem to be a mystery even to its inventory, but which ensures a steady stream of intel right into its headquarters.
The other crucial asset, at least in 2287, is P.A.M., whose predictive capabilities and processing power were crucial to its survival. Processing data provided to it by Railroad field operatives, P.A.M. provides the organization with locations of DIA caches, coursers to eliminate, and helps in planning operations so that they are as safe and effective as possible.
Finally, through its associates, the Railroad has access to expert medical, electronic, and computer services. These allow for the robust modification of body types and faces (exploited by Deacon), modifying synth memories, and everything else necessary to protect the synths.
Interactions with the player character[edit | edit source]
- The Railroad offers one of four major ways to progress through the game and complete it. Its quest line hinges on advancing the Institute quest line and eventually requires the player to wipe out both the Institute and the Brotherhood of Steel.
- Unique gear
- Railroad Stealth Boys, which last 33% longer (40 as opposed to 30 seconds).
- Ballistic weave mod, available after completing the first Jackpot for P.A.M.
Behind the scenes[edit | edit source]
The Railroad is inspired by and alludes to the Underground Railroad, an organization that dedicated itself to helping black American slaves escape their servitude during the 19th century.
Appearances[edit | edit source]