In a world full of suspicion, treachery and hunters - we're the synths' only friends. We're the Railroad.Desdemona

The Railroad is an underground movement with a primary aim of freeing sentient synths from their creators at the Institute.



While the exact origins of the Railroad are unclear and deeply shrouded in mystery, it can be determined that the organization has been in existence since the creation of the first successful Generation-3 synths by Institute scientists around the 2220s.[1] Following the public's discovery of the synths during the Broken Mask incident in Diamond City in 2229, the question if they deserve the same rights as natural humans became a major subject of debate, with frequent bickering between opposing sides. Many people believed that the Institute's synths were mere machines; just another model of advanced robot. Paranoia began to develop as local residents' loved ones vanished overnight and replaced with artificial clones that eventually malfunctioned and went berserk, as with the case with Mr. Carter. Others, however felt that synths deserved to be free and were treated by slaves by their creators at the Institute, making them worthy of saving. It was from these ideals that the earliest possible incarnation of the Railroad would emerge.[2]

Wyatt's efforts to rebuild

It is in evidence that the Railroad has been beaten down and reborn many times over the years, however its clandestine nature has ensured the group's survival in the long run. The earliest known incarnation of the Railroad, lead by Agamemnon, was shut down in November 2266, when the Institute's military raided their headquarters. Wyatt took the responsibility of rebuilding the organization from the ground up, when many of the members left following the HQ massacre. A runner named John D. was the sole survivor. In order to keep the Railroad alive, Wyatt concluded that the location of the new headquarters had to be kept hidden upon its discovery, learning from the mistakes of his predecessor.[3]

It was from the remnants of this incarnation of the Railroad that the faction as its known today came to be. By Feburary of 2267, the revived Railroad, under the leadership of Wyatt, managed to get its first synth out of the Commonwealth. Under the advice of John D., Wyatt improved the organization's operational security by introducing multiple reforms to the Railroad's infrastructure. One of them was a clear hierarchy of gradually ascending power; a pyramid structure with independent tourists and sympathizers on the bottom, safehouse operators and runners in the middle, and finally HQ members on the top.[4] Furthermore, a dead drop system was established to create a more robust and secure method of communication between agents, safehouses and HQ.[5]

Under the leadership of Pinky Thompson

In a period when the Railroad was once again experiencing dark times, Pinky Thompson succeeded Wyatt's role as leader in December 2273, after he lost his life during a raid on the factions current headquarters at the time. With the aid of Deacon, most of the survivors were able to make it out alive. After setting up shop at a new location, Pinky created a new decree to tighten security at HQ, only giving heavies clearance to leave, as well as increasing the speed at which the organizations relays synths out of the region.[6] Thompson also recommended that all fugitives synths remain in custody of the Railroad until they are beyond the borders of the Commonwealth, following the assault on a homestead near Parsons State Insane Asylum by coursers, which resulted in the loss of a synth codenamed Lambda 8 and his wife.[7]

When he received intel that a courser named Armitage, accompanied by SRB head Dr. Zimmer, was headed to the Capital Wasteland to tracked down suspected runaway synth, A321, aka Harkness, Pinky assigned one of his agents, Victoria Watts, to shadow them on their trek south.[8]

In September 2276, Pinky's leadership begin to come under pressure after the loss of another safehouse, called Trinity.[9] He later resigned from office and was succeeded by Desdemona, who won against Dr. Carrington. The doctor became Dez's right-hand man.[10]

The Switchboard and P.A.M.

Immediately after Desdemona took office, the Railroad began to take a big step forward. The new leadership put focus on the fundamentals; operational security, lookouts, compartmentalization, and counterintelligence, analyzing and making improvements where Pinky went wrong.[11] 2279 saw the arrival of Thomas Weatherby to HQ. Adopting the manicure "Tinker Tom," Weatherby, a highly intelligent individual, put in place a complete rearmament program for the Railroad. Desdemona and her aides also made improvements to the dead drop network and introduced the railmark system. Simply put, it was like Christmas for the organization. No coursers were on the radar during the year.[12]

In 2280, Glory, unit designation G7-81, a recently-liberated synth, opted out of the memory wipe and joined the Railroad under the leadership of Desdemona. She was promoted to heavy the same year.[13]

The Railroad's current success streak ended in 2281, when coursers discovered and razed another homestead to the ground. Yet, there were little casualties, and later that year, the faction's second heavy, Tommy Whispers, discovered The Switchboard. After moving HQ to there, Desdemona's agents uncovered the Predictive Analytic Machine, a advanced pre-War computer AI that would become a vital asset to the Railroad for years to come.[14]

Present day

In 2283, a Institute insider named Liam Binet, under the alias "PATRIOT," established contact with the outside world. Tinker Tom intercepted his messages and figured out his passphrase, which was Mass Fusion. From then on, Patriot became the Railroad's main contact in the Institute, although he himself is totally unaware of this connection for security reasons.[15]

While the Raiload's main concern is helping synths, they are also known to work with groups such as the Abolitionists to assist runaway slaves. The Railroad's methods for aiding in escape can be extreme, going so far as to find doctors to perform full facial reconstruction and mind wipes on escapees. Their current command center is located in the Old North Church in downtown Boston, after their previous base was compromised following a raid by the Institute. Their network of safehouses and clandestine contacts are reminiscent of their namesake, the 19th century Underground Railroad, which also helped slaves escape and reach free areas.

Interactions with the player character

Fallout 3

In Fallout 3, the Railroad plays an important role in The Replicated Man, in which the Lone Wanderer becomes involved in their conflict during the quest The Replicated Man in Rivet City, where a scientist named Dr. Zimmer requests aid in capturing a runaway android, and Railroad agent Victoria Watts pleads with the Wanderer to take pity on the android and fake its death.

Dr. Zimmer, Ms. Watts and the android give very logical and convincing arguments for their point of view, and the player character must make an ethical choice based on the limited information they gain from each of them. There are multiple "good Karma" solutions.

Fallout 4

In Fallout 4, it is possible for the Sole Survivor to learn about the Railroad through several sources and even join them after a certain point in the story.. They can investigate the area around Park Street Station, speak with Doctor Amari at the beginning of The Molecular Level who indicates that the Railroad would be helpful to their cause, or overhear people in the Diamond City market, the Dugout Inn or guards in Goodneighbor discussing the elusive Railroad. All of these will result in the Sole Survivor getting the quest Road to Freedom. Upon completion of this quest and subsequently Tradecraft, they will be presented with the opportunity to join the faction. Piper also makes comments about them when the Glowing Sea quest starts.

Membership in the Railroad may negatively affect relations with other main factions. The more quests the Sole Survivor does for the Railroad, the more the Institute and the Brotherhood of Steel will disapprove of their actions. If the Sole Survivor sides with the Brotherhood of Steel or the Institute, they are eventually sent to exterminate the Railroad, as the organization's motives oppose both of the former parties' goals in the region.

Relations with the Minutemen are not affected by joining the Railroad. However, when completing the Minutemen version of The Nuclear Option, the optional mission must be completed or the Railroad (including Deacon if he is the current companion) will become hostile when the player character next speaks to Desdemona. One will still be able to accept A Clean Equation from P.A.M., Lost Soul from Doctor Carrington and even the To the Mattresses missions from Desdemona when notified by Drummer Boy. Any extra attempt to speak with her outside accepting and completing quests will cause the Railroad to become hostile. This appears to be a bug as the Lost Soul missions should not be available if no survivors remain at the Institute.


The Railroad is constructed like a pyramid, with the base composed of "tourists" (informants and sympathizers), above which stand runners and safehouse owners, then an even smaller group of field agents, and finally, the most secretive and heavily protected, the HQ Members that have access to all the information and coordinates Railroad operations. All answer to Desdemona. Field agents are given aliases in place of their real names in order to protect their identities, and operate on a "need-to-know" basis to protect the Railroad.


Though the Railroad is a spy organization that prefers stealth and sabotage, they do maintain a small but well-equipped force.

Railroad agents that specialize as soldiers are known as heavies. They are responsible for the defense of Railroad safehouses and escaped synths should they be attacked by enemy forces. They commonly make use of Gauss rifles or railway rifles and wear armored coats. As the Railroad is the only faction with ballistic weave, this gives their agents an upper hand and helps even the playing field against larger and more advanced armies.

Agents infiltrate organizations and towns and collect intel, and Tinker Tom created surveillance devices for placement at high vantage points. This gives the Railroad a powerful information network. Agents also serve a support role in establishing safehouses, stashing supplies, marking locations with Railsigns and sabotaging enemy fortifications.



Related quests


The Railroad appears in Fallout 3 and Fallout 4.

Behind the scenes


The Railroad

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