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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 the primary aim of freeing synths from their creators at the Institute.


Following the public's discovery of the existence of synths during the Diamond City Broken Mask incident, paranoia and fear of Institute synths spread. The public began blaming them for the disappearances of loved ones, and a deep hatred of synths emerged. Those who founded the Railroad felt the opposite, and sympathized with the synths, becoming their "only friends."[2]

The first mentions of the Railroad include a group led by Agamemnon which was destroyed in November 2266 by an Institute raid on their headquarters.[3] Wyatt took responsibility for rebuilding the organization, after many of the members left following the HQ massacre. A runner named John D. was the last remaining member apart from Wyatt. In order to keep the Railroad alive, Wyatt chose to keep the site for the new headquarters hidden upon its discovery. Learning from the mistakes of his predecessor, he had figured out that once the Institute had attacked a safehouse, it would've been easy for them to track down the HQ, as so many people knew about it.

Under Wyatt's leadership, the group managed to get its first synth out of the Commonwealth in 2267.[4] John D. did not reveal the names of the new tourists he had found to help, while Wyatt introduced multiple reforms to the Railroad's infrastructure, such as establishing their hierarchy[4] A dead drop system was established to create a secure method of communication between agents, safehouses and HQ.[5]

Pinky Thompson succeeded Wyatt's role as the leader in December 2273, the latter having died after the old headquarters was uncovered and sacked by Institute coursers. 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 passed a new decree to tighten security at HQ, only giving heavies clearance to leave and ensuring that the organization moves to relay all packages out of the region as quick as possible.[6] He also recommended that all fugitive 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 her spouse.[7]

Capital Wasteland

When he received intel that a courser and a few other Institute operatives were on a mission taking them beyond the Commonwealth, Pinky assigned one of his agents, Victoria Watts, to shadow them on their trek south.[7] She later settled down in the Capital Wasteland and rented an apartment in Rivet City to lie low while protecting the identity of a runaway, Harkness, aka A3-21. Having risen up the ranks of the local security force to become their commander, Harkness was at greater risk of being tracked down and reclaimed by the Synth Retention Bureau. The arrival of the bureau's head, Dr. Zimmer, and his synth escort Armitage, made the possibility of this threat more likely. It was then imperative that agent Watts was to remain in the area to serve as a bodyguard for Harkness.

In September 2276, another safehouse, Trinity, was lost.[8] He later resigned from office and was succeeded by Desdemona, who won against Dr. Carrington in the election.[9]

The Switchboard and P.A.M.

Immediately after Desdemona took the leadership role, she focused on operational security, lookouts, compartmentalization, and counterintelligence, analyzing and making improvements where Pinky went wrong.[9] In 2279, Thomas Weatherby joined HQ. Adopting the moniker "Tinker Tom," Weatherby designed new weapons and other useful technologies for the Railroad as part of a complete rearmament program. Desdemona and her aides also made improvements to the dead drop network and introduced the railsign system to allow agents to covertly mark cache, safehouse, and dead drop locations, as well as the presence of allies and potential dangers. Simply put, it was like Christmas for the organization. No coursers were on the radar during the year.[10]

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.[11] In 2281, coursers discovered and razed another HQ to the ground and Tommy Whispers subsequently discovered the Switchboard. After moving the HQ, Desdemona's agents uncovered the Predictive Analytic Machine, an advanced pre-War computer AI that became a vital asset to the Railroad.[12] 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.[13]

An 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.[14] Institute sightings completely ceased for three months and just four synths were rescued. The Institute was gearing up to activate its reactor, while the Brotherhood decided it was time to intervene against them in the Commonwealth.[15]


The Railroad is comprised of "tourists" (informants and sympathizers), safehouse owners, field agents, and HQ members.[16] All individuals 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.[17]

The Railroad's focus is on helping synths and slaves escape captivity.[18][19] They assist other groups such as the Abolitionists and members including Horace Pinkerton and Amari perform full facial reconstruction and mind wipes on escapees.[20][21][22][23] 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.

Railroad agents that serve as frontline soldiers are known as "heavies." They use Gauss rifles or railway rifles and wear armored coats. Agents infiltrate organizations and towns and collect intel, and use surveillance devices placed at high vantage points.[24] Agents also serve a support role in establishing safe houses, stashing supplies, marking locations with railsigns, and sabotaging enemy fortifications. A network of allies called "tourists" assist the Railroad by escorting escapees to safe houses. Doctor Amari at the Memory Den assists with mind wipes.[25]

Interactions overview

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, an Institute scientist named Dr. Zimmer requests aid in capturing a runaway android, and Railroad agent Victoria Watts pleads with the Lone Wanderer to take pity on the android and fake his death. Dr. Zimmer, Ms. Watts, and the android argue their point of views, and the player character must make a 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.

Related quests

Road to Freedom Tradecraft Underground Undercover Operation Ticonderoga
The Battle of Bunker Hill Precipice of War Rockets' Red Glare The Nuclear Option (Railroad)
Burning Cover Boston After Dark Memory Interrupted Butcher's Bill
Butcher's Bill 2 Mercer Safehouse Jackpot Concierge
Weathervane Randolph Safehouse Variable Removal To the Mattresses
Lost Soul A Clean Equation High Ground End of the Line
Tactical Thinking The Replicated Man Fallout 3


Fallout 3
Megaton Rivet City Tenpenny Tower Underworld
Fallout 4
Railroad HQ The Switchboard (formerly) Acadia (optional) Allen safehouse Mentioned[26] Augusta safehouse (formerly)
Dayton safehouse Mentioned[27] Diamond City (optional) Griswold safehouse Mentioned[28] Herkimer safehouse Mentioned[26] Mercer Safehouse
Military checkpoints (optional) Randolph safehouse Mentioned[29] Stanwix safehouse Mentioned[30] Ticonderoga


Fallout 3
Father Clifford Herbert Dashwood Manya Tulip Victoria Watts
Fallout 4
Agamemnon Dr. Amari Beatrice Bell Big Cheese Big D
Blackbird Boom Boxer Brimstone Camper
Caretaker Dr. Carrington Corby Deacon Desdemona
Drummer Boy Dutchman Francis O'Dell Glory H2-22
Helena High Rise John D. Jukebox Kelly K.
L3-37 Mathers Maven Old Man Stockton OldManBilly Unused Content
P.A.M. P.K. Pinky Thompson Railroad agent Ricky Dalton
Roger Sly Nicholas Snowbird Songbird Tangerine
Terry The Gentleman Tims Tinker Tom Toby
Tommy Whispers Wyatt Z3-22


Term Definition
Chrome-dome A slang term used by some members of the Railroad to refer to earlier generation synths.[31][32][33][34]
Dead drop A mailbox with a railsign used to exchange reports or other secret information.[35]
Des/Dez A shortened nickname for Desdemona.[36]
Freedom Trail A pre-War landmark tour repurposed by the Railroad to lead new recruits to their headquarters.
Heavy A front-line type agent used for combat missions.[37]
HQ The Railroad's central headquarters located beneath the Old North Church in 2287, formerly the Switchboard.
Milk and cookie run Also called a "milk run." A quick and easy operation.[38][39]
Package A rescued synth being transported in hiding.[40]
Railsign A hidden symbol used to send messages between agents of the Railroad.[41]
Safehouse A local base of operations for agents in the field.
Ticon A shortened name for Ticonderoga safehouse.[42]
Tourist An associate of the Railroad that helps with odd jobs (ex. Ricky Dalton)[43]
The 'Wealth A shortened word for the Commonwealth.


The Railroad appears in Fallout 3, Fallout 4 and its add-on Far Harbor.

Behind the scenes

The Railroad is modeled after the "Underground Railroad", an organization in nineteenth-century America dedicated to helping African-American slaves escape to northern free states and Canada through a network of secret routes and safehouses.



  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Railroad HQ terminal entries
  2. Sole Survivor: "Why don't you tell me who you are first?"
    Desdemona: "In a world full of suspicion, treachery, and hunters - we're the synths' only friends. We're the Railroad. So answer my question."
    (Desdemona's dialogue)
  3. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2266 Nov
  4. 4.0 4.1 Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2267 Feb
  5. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2273 Mar
  6. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2273 Dec
  7. 7.0 7.1 Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2276 Jan
  8. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2276 Sep
  9. 9.0 9.1 Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2277 Dec
  10. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2279
  11. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2280
  12. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2281
  13. Sole Survivor: "Do you work for the Railroad?"
    P.A.M.: "Yes. My goals and the Railroad organization have a high degree of correlation. They provide data. I provide first order approximations of the behaviors of all residents of the region designated Commonwealth. Rephrasing. I predict the future."
    (P.A.M.'s dialogue)
  14. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2284
  15. Railroad HQ terminal entries; PAM mainframe terminal, 2286
  16. Sole Survivor: "What can you tell me about the Gen 1s and 2s?"
    Deacon: "Everyone wants to liberate the Gen 3s. The human looking synths. Some of the synths in the Railroad, like Glory, think we should help earlier models, too. But Gen 1s are basically the same as, well, a Protectron. So the line gets muddy. Do we defend AI rights? Terminals? Hell, turrets? Any time it gets brought up: fireworks. All the old arguments flare up. The upshot is Glory and some others won't run missions like this."
    (Deacon's dialogue)
  17. Lone Wanderer: "Anything else I should know?"
    Victoria Watts: "Just understand that this android is now, for all intents and purposes, a man. He looks human, he acts human. He believes he IS human. But even if he's not... Even if he's a machine... He's capable of rational thought. And emotion. So you see, his soul is as human as yours or mine. This person -- and he is a person -- deserves a chance at freedom. Please, if there's a shred of decency in you, don't take that away from him."
    (Victoria Watts' dialogue)
  18. Lone Wanderer: "Sounds like slavery to me. You sure they don't "wander off" on purpose?"
    Zimmer: "Nonsense! This is a machine we're talking about. Can you enslave a generator, or a water purifier? Of course not. The same principle applies. But let's get back to your mission. You are to find this missing android. I've tracked him to somewhere here in the Capital Wasteland. He must have done something drastic, like facial surgery and a mind wipe, or else I would have found him by now. It will be no easy task. He may not even realize he's an android. Don't upset him by talking with him. Just come get me immediately. I'll handle it."
    (Zimmer's dialogue)
  19. Lone Wanderer: "What do you know about this android Railroad?"
    Horace Pinkerton: "Bunch of bleeding heart morons if you ask me. They're going to get themselves killed one of these days. And for what? Machine liberation? But, they have brought me some really interesting tech over the years, so I guess they're okay. And that android! He was the chance of a lifetime."
    (Horace Pinkerton's dialogue)
  20. Lone Wanderer: "What about human slaves? Don't you try to help them, too?"
    Victoria Watts: "Yes, if we are able. But there are others in the Wasteland who assist in the plight of human slaves. Our android brethren have only us."
    (Victoria Watts' dialogue)
  21. Lone Wanderer: "I know you're part of the Railroad. What do you know about the android?"
    Manya: "A while back they were asking around for a computer genius to give our friend a new set of memories. You know, a clean slate and all that. Pinkerton at Rivet City took care of him a while back. Was a complete success. No one will recognize that robot now. I'm glad. But you hush yourself about all that. The hounds are still out sniffing around."
    (Manya's dialogue)
  22. Lone Wanderer: "I know you're part of the Railroad. What do you know about the android?"
    Tulip: "They were looking for a tech wizard a while back. Someone who could fiddle with the android's memories. But you better stop poking around. Those Commonwealth hunters are still out there, tracking him down. We shut down the Railroad for safety."
    (Tulip's dialogue)
  23. Lone Wanderer: "I'm interested in this android from the Commonwealth."
    Herbert Dashwood: "We don't do that anymore. Well, not until the heat dies down. For now, the Railroad is shut down. Used to help them escape from the Commonwealth. Find them places to lay low. The last one was someone real important. They are still looking for him."
    (Herbert Dashwood's dialogue)
  24. Tinker Tom: "So my sensor, I call her MILA, needs to be up high. Real high. Dez forced me to put some cameras and other low tech surveillance crap on it to watch the Freedom Trail. Chuck that stuff if you need to. Like You-Know-Who couldn't spoof a conventional camera, right?"
    (Tinker Tom's dialogue)
  25. Desdemona: "We've hit a snag with Doctor Amari. You've dealt with her before. But you may not know of the vital role she plays in our organization. Synths are supposed to go to the Memory Den, the doctor gives them a new set of memories, then they move out."
    (Desdemona's dialogue)
  26. 26.0 26.1 Sole Survivor: "The safehouses are in trouble, too? I thought only the Switchboard was attacked?"
    Dr. Carrington: "Ah, the Institute didn't content itself with just destroying our headquarters. No. They launched simultaneous strikes on all we hold dear. Herkimer and Allen Safehouses are both confirmed kills. Many fear Augusta will be added to that list."
    (Dr. Carrington's dialogue)
  27. Desdemona: "We got an emergency. Glory spotted a Courser near Dayton Safehouse. We were hoping Bunker Hill bought us some time. But the Institute's continuing to dismantle our operation."
    (Desdemona's dialogue)
  28. Sole Survivor: "What are you doing here?"
    Glory: "Wait. *laugh* We got assigned the same damned job? With all our 'compartmentalization' bullshit - this sort of shit happens. You got the job from the Goodneighbor side, I got it from Griswold Safehouse."
    (Glory's dialogue)
  29. Sole Survivor: "Is Randolph Safehouse OK?"
    Mister Tims: "No. We got orders to abandon it. We heard the bastards that took down Switchboard also got Herkimer and Allen, so they might've been closing on Randolph as well."
    (Mister Tims' dialogue)
  30. Railroad agent: "The latest from Stanwix Safehouse. No change."
    Dr. Carrington: "So the tally's at three MIA and six dead."
    (Dr. Carrington's dialogue)
  31. Deacon: "Grab Carrington's prototype. You turn that over to Desdemona and she'll have to let you into our merry band. There's an elevator at the end of the hall. It should be a hell of a lot easier fighting the chrome-domes on this side of the minefield."
    (Deacon's dialogue)
  32. The Sole Survivor: "It's all right we're here now. You're safe."
    Ricky Dalton: "You think I'm goddamn safe? That little Slocum's Joe of yours is crawling with god-damned chrome-dome synth sons of bitches. The front's fortified to hell and back. They've placed mines all over the goddamn place."
    (Ricky Dalton's dialogue)
  33. The Sole Survivor: "Have you seen anything else? The tiniest detail could save our lives."
    Ricky Dalton: "Well, chrome-domes have been going in and out for days. They keep taking things out. Crates and the like. I got no idea what's in the crates, but there sure are a lot of them. I can't think of nothing else."
    (Ricky Dalton's dialogue)
  34. The Sole Survivor: "What do you mean by "chrome-dome synths"?"
    Ricky Dalton: "You know, them early model synths. Looks like metal wrapped over mechanical innards. You see them here and there doing who-knows-what for the Institute."
    (Ricky Dalton's dialogue)
  35. The Sole Survivor: "What's a dead drop?"
    Doctor Carrington: "Oh, dear lord. A dead drop is a mailbox with a railsign on it. It's a common means of communication for us, so keep an eye out for them. When you make contact with Stockton he won't give you the time of day unless you give him the proper countersign. The current sign is, "Do you have a geiger counter?" And the counter is, "Mine is in the shop." Please tell me Deacon taught you that, at least?"
    (Doctor Carrington's dialogue)
  36. The Sole Survivor: "What, you don't believe Deacon?"
    Glory: "Given what I saw, yeah, you might be the real deal. I know Dez said we don't got room. But talk to Deacon. I'm sure he's got an angle, he always does."
    (Glory's dialogue)
  37. The Sole Survivor: "What do you mean?"
    Glory: "A heavy. Someone able to take whatever shit the Institute and Commonwealth dishes out and come back for more. So the Switchboard was crawling with bad guys. Mines and shit, too. Any of that true? Or was Deacon bullshitting me again?"
    (Glory's dialogue)
  38. The Sole Survivor: "What's in the cache?"
    P.A.M.: "Contents are classified. However, if the cache is secured it increases our organization's effectiveness by 2% (warning: margin of error is 3%). The cache is hidden in compliance with Tactical Counter-Surveillance Protocols. This RFID device will locate and unlock the cache upon close proximity."
    Deacon: "Seriously? You're giving the "Rogue Variable" a plum mission like this? C'mon, PAM, what about me? It's like you don't trust me."
    P.A.M.: "Affirmative. Assigning Agent Deacon this mission has an unacceptable margin of error."
    Deacon: "Ouch. You really know how to hurt a guy."
    Deacon: "We call these missions milk and cookie runs. Fast and easy. That RFID thingy is pure gold."
    (Deacon's dialogue)
  39. The Sole Survivor: "Can I lend a hand?"
    Desdemona: "Yes. Ticonderoga Safehouse has gone dark and I need you to check it out. Hopefully, this is a milk run. But if you do find a Courser there, kill it. If there's no survivors, then your cover remains intact."
    (Desdemona's dialogue)
  40. The Sole Survivor: "Why do all packages start here?"
    Old Man Stockton: "When a package leaves the manufacturer they go to a specific location. The location changes, but for now it's here. So if I'm compromised, the whole supply chain dries up."
    (Old Man Stockton's dialogue)
  41. Deacon: "So, I'm looking for Railsigns. Symbols we use to send messages to each other. If you like that, we got signs and countersigns, dead drops, and even a secret handshake. Alright, maybe the handshake never caught on. Anyway, the tourist should have a trail left for us."
    "Here we go. Railsign. The arrow in the center indicates a direction. So our tourist is up ahead. Let's keep going."
    "Got another Railsign. Right there."
    "And another. We're probably close."
    "See the plus in the center? That means there's an ally nearby. Our tourist. You take point on the conversation. No matter what he says just say, "Mine is in the shop." Trust me."
    (Deacon's dialogue)
  42. The Sole Survivor: "Just part of the service."
    High Rise: "I think I'm going to like you even more than Glory. If you ever need grub, bullets, or just a power-nap take the elevator up to Ticon. My house is yours. And, Deacon, try not to give the rookie too much shit. Deacon may be a terrible liar, but it always pays to have him on your side. Later."
    (High Rise's dialogue)
  43. The Sole Survivor: "Don't worry, I'll keep your secret."
    Deacon: "That's what I want to hear. So Dez wants me to make you a "tourist". That's what we call someone who helps out with the odd job here and there. What a waste. I'm just going to come out and say this: the Railroad needs you."
    (Deacon's dialogue)