The Railroad is similar to the underground railroad of American history. They aim to free the enslaved and persecuted synths that live in the Commonwealth. Synths are creations of The Institute, and the newer models are almost indistinguishable from humans. (I will keep Institute spoilers to a minimum here). Some in the Commonwealth view them as dangerous junkpiles that need to be eradicated, and some, like the Railroad, believe that they deserve the same rights as biological human beings.
The Railroad works in secrecy out of necessity, as the Institute would destroy them if given the chance. Their base is hidden to the world, and their agents remain anonymous and use disguises. They use a system of dead drops and secret hideouts. They have an intensive surveillance network throughout the Commonwealth. The current iteration of the Railroad was preceded by another that was destroyed by the Institute. Currently, they are led by a woman named Desdemona who has improved the Railroad’s operations significantly.
How to Find and Join the Railroad?
Road to Freedom
- The Railroad are quite secretive, so you will have to do a bit of digging to find them. You first must hear about them somehow through one of a few ways. In Diamond City and Goodneighbor you can overhear conversation about them. In the story quest “The Molecular Level” Doctor Amari will tell you about them. Whichever you find out about them, you will start the quest “Road to Freedom”, and the start of the Freedom Trail will be marked on your map. You can also just stumble across the Freedom Trail during your travels.
- When you arrive at the location, you will see a sign from the Railroad telling you to follow “Freedoms Lantern”. There will be a tour bot who can give you information on the trail. The trail is actually a pre-war guide of historical buildings related to the founding fathers of the United States.
- You will notice a plaque with a number scribbled and a letter circled in front of the sign by the railroad. Take note of the letter and number. As you follow the trail you will come across more plaques with a number and a letter. All of these together make up a code. You will see a red line leading from the plaque that marks the trail. Also, there will be points when the line is covered by rubble. Just keep going in the same direction and you will find the line again.
- Eventually you will reach the end of the line at Old North Church. You are going to have to have to make your way through the church. There will be some ghouls but nothing too difficult. Eventually you will reach a passageway with a wheel and a button. The wheel contains the same words as the plaques outside.
- If you want to solve the puzzle yourself, then don’t read this section yet. If you look at the numbers and letters you collected earlier, you will see that in numerological order it spells 1R 2A 3I 4L 5R 6O 7A 8D, or Railroad. You have to move the outer ring to each letter and press the button in the center. When you have spelt out railroad, the passageway will open up.
- When you enter you will find members of the Railroad standing across from you. They will be skeptical of you, but one of their members, Deacon, will vouch for you. The leader, Desdemona, will ask you if you can complete a mission to prove yourself. If you accept, you will begin the mission “Tradecraft”.
- The first part of this quest will involve meeting Deacon. He will be standing in a secluded area dressed in a disguise. You will then have to travel with him to meet the tourist. There will be a few creatures along the way.
- After some conversation, he will tell you about a place called the Switchboard. The entrance will be through a sewer near the Corvega Assembly Plant. There will be a set of T-45 power armor along the way. The Switchboard is overrun with Institute synths and turrets.
- You will find a vault door locked by an inaccessible terminal that can only be unlocked through Deacon. Inside there will be a dead Railroad agent. Carrington’s prototype will be on a shelf in the same room. Once you are done speaking with Deacon, you can return to the Railroad Headquarters.
- When you arrive, Deacon will tell a grand story of how you assaulted the base. You can play along with his exaggerations or not. Either way Desdemona will be impressed and offer you the chance to join the Railroad. You will get to pick a nickname from a list of 7. You also now be able to both enter the Railroad HQ and fast travel in and out of it.
- You can only start this quest once you have completed “The Molecular Level” main story quest. If you want to complete the game with the Railroad, then make sure you work with them during that quest.
- Before you go into the teleporter, Desdemona will tell you about a secretive person in the Institute who has been helping the Railroad. She wants you to send him a message using an encrypted holotape and meet with him. When you enter the Institute, you will first have to follow Father’s instructions. He will ask if you want to join the Institute. Doing so will not alienate the Railroad. Make sure that you don’t make enemies of Father or the Institute. To finish the Railroad quests, you need to be able to interact with them peacefully for now.
- Once you are free, find any terminal, insert the holotape, and send the message. You will receive a message back from him asking to meet in a secluded room. You will meet Patriot, whose name is Liam, and a synth that he is trying to help. He will hatch a plan to free 13 synths that need his help at once. He needs you to retrieve a login credentials from the surface to carry out the plan though.
- You can leave the Institute by either teleporting where you came in or meeting the 4 Institute department heads. If you meet with them, you will be able to fast travel in and out of the Institute at any time. Once you leave, meet up with Desdemona. She will tell you to write a report of what happened in the Institute and let it be analyzed by PAM. PAM will determine that you should find the login credentials at Cambridge Polymer Labs.
- When you arrive in the labs, you will be greeted by a robot who thinks you have shown up for a job interview. There is a side quest associated with the labs. You can play along with Molly and complete the quest if you like. You will receive a useful power armor chest piece if you do.
- You will have to make your way to the lab area, fighting some ghouls along the way. On the second floor you will find a terminal with the credentials. This will cause a lockdown. If you are not completing the side quest, then you can override the lockdown at Bergman’s terminal to escape. If you are, then you can follow the mission until you are allowed to leave.
- When you return to Desdemona, she will tell you to give the password to Liam. When you arrive at the Institute, Liam will be where you met him the first time. He will take the password and tell you to talk with Z1-14. He will need a day to contemplate which course of action to take. You can simply sit on a bench and wait for 24 hours or come back later. When you speak to Z1-17 again, he will tell you that he needs you to kill the tunnel guards. You can deposit weapons in a locker marked on your map if you want to make the eventual battle easier. Kill the guards and report back to Z1-17. He will tell you that he needs time to set everything up.
- You need to complete multiple missions with Father to both keep him unsuspecting and give the synths time. Until this quest is complete, you must stay in the Institutes good favor. Before you embark on the Institute mission “The Battle of Bunker Hill”, be sure to tip off the Railroad. After the mission, do not admit to any fault when confronted by Father. Say that the mission failed due to an ambush to stay in good faith with the Institute.
- Once you complete the quest “Powering Up”, you will be told by a synth that your room is flooding. This is code for Z1-14 to meet with you. He tells you that the Brotherhood of Steel is about to assault the Railroad HQ.
Precipice of War
- When you arrive, tell Desdemona about the impending attack. She will give you a railway rifle, and shortly after the wall will be blown in by Brotherhood intruders. Once you defend the HQ room, you will need to carry on through the church.
- The church will be full of Brotherhood soldiers. One of which will have a minigun. When you get out of the tunnels and into the main area, there will be two tough enemies, one of which being legendary. If you have mini nukes or missiles, now may be the time to break them out.
- After defeating them and meeting with Desdemona, you will have to travel to Cambridge police station and secure a vertibird. Once you clear the police station and get on the roof a vertibird with enemy soldiers will arrive. You may be able to shoot it down before the soldiers can attack. If not, you can use the minigun on the parked vertibird to kill the soldiers.
Rocket’s Red Glare
- The Prydwen is basically a long multi-level corridor full of brotherhood of Steel enemies. They will range from basic enemies to the toughest the Brotherhood has to offer. There is a well-stocked armory, so if you are master rank with hacking or lockpicking, be sure to check it out. You will have to fight your way through and make your way to the top level. There will be three places where you will need to plant bombs.
- Once you have planted them and go to leave you will load in with Brotherhood members right in front of you, one of which having a gatling gun. As soon as you load in strafe to the right, as they will immediately open fire.
- Once you leave, the vertibird will fly past enemies. You can shoot at them, but you don’t have to kill them all. Tinker Tom will fly to a safe distance and then detonate the Prydwen. You will get to watch its blazing descent in all its glory. All you need to do now is go and speak with Desdemona.
The Nuclear Option
- This is the last quest of the Railroad campaign. This quest will give you an ending to the game, but it won’t end your game. You can continue completing quests after it is done.
- The plan is to get inside the Institute, plant a fusion pulse charge on the nuclear reactor, and destroy the Institute. Once inside, speak to Z1-17 to begin the attack, and then start killing the scientists and combatants in the room. Z1-17 will use the relay to teleport in Railroad members and whatever companion you’ve been using. You will then make your way through a decrepit area of the Institute to reach the Bioscience lab. Watch out for the synths and synthetic gorillas. Continue working your way through killing the Institute guards. There will be a large showdown in the center room, but the synths will aid you.
- You will have to take the elevator to Father’s area and use his terminal to override the lockdown. Then you can go through the Advanced Systems room to get to the reactor room. There will be more synths, one of which being the powerful Z4K-97B. He will have the password for the reactor terminal. You will then have to use the terminal to unlock the door, go inside, and plant the explosives. You may want to pop some rad-x before doing so.
- You’ll then make your way back to the relay room. You’ll find the synth version of Shaun. It’s up to you if you want to bring him with you or leave him to die. Once you’ve decided Shaun’s fate, you can tell Tinker Tom that you’re ready to leave. He will teleport you to a building far away with a detonator. You can detonate the bomb when you’re ready and savor the moment.
There a few types of repeating quests that you will receive from the Railroad. Some involve finding supply caches for P.A.M.. For these there will be some building full of enemies that you will have to first clear out and then find the cache. Some involve escorting a synth. These are straightforward. You will meet a Railroad member somewhere and help them escort a runaway synth to a safehouse. Others involve checking on or helping a safehouse. Some will be taken over by enemies. In these, you need to find a note confirming what happened to the safehouse. Many of them are straightforward, but I have given advice for the slightly intricate ones.
Boston After Dark
You will first have to meet an old man. He will give a meeting location, and you will have to clear enemies from Cambridge Church. The old man will only arrive at nighttime. Once the synth arrives, you will just have to walk with them to the safehouse. You will have multiple firefights along the way.
You will have to clear out a large compound that is full of raiders. You will be looking for a note that is contained in a desk. The quest marker will lead you to it. At the bottom of the compound there is a deathclaw and a fusion core.
Butchers Bill 2
This one is like the first one, except the note will be in a dead agent. The compound here is full of super mutants.
Starlight Drive-In will only contain a small number of molerats. There are also a few mines and some traps in both buildings. You only need to build a few defensive items to satisfy the requirements.
This quest will only be available after you’ve completed “The Nuclear Option”. You will be sent to some location to destroy a vertibird.
A Clean Equation
This is similar to High Ground, except you will be hunting a specific Brotherhood member.