Derail Valley – Earing Money Easily and Efficiently

This guide explains how to get most money out from the available jobs. It doesn’t just contains tips on what jobs pay the most but also has information about how you can play to make the game in general less stressful and how to waste less time. It also talks about keeping running costs down.

General Tips

Don’t bother with the buttons of the career manager. Stare at the screen and use your mouse wheel as well as the two mouse buttons as accept and cancel buttons.

The lost and found shed is a free teleporter. No need to carry the shovel and lighter with you if you don’t plan on using the steam train. You can also store your licenses there if you don’t want to discard them.

Try to keep your most used inventory items in identical places at all time. I always have WorldMap=1, Remote=2, Wallet=3, StationMap=4 for example because you can access them quickly using the numbers on your keyboard.

If you want to inspect a job before taking it, but multiple cars match the description of the job, look at the job ID on the top of the page. It’s in the format.


And will also appear on the information plate that’s mounted on the cars. This allows you to hook up the loco to the cars before even taking the job to begin pressurizing the brake system.

For Lazy People

Get the shunter remote. Pair it with the shunter even if you don’t plan on getting out because it allows you to quickly couple and uncouple cars. Drive towards cars with about 5 km/h and keep spamming the dot key (or the green coupling button using the mouse) to couple them.

Learn the F1-F8 keyboard shortcuts (they’re in the guide). The keys allow you to operate the throttle, both brakes and the reverser. They work as long as you’re anywhere in (or on) the locomotive. No need to repeatedly run between your train and cab anymore. It also allows you to perform all important operations without having to look away.

Jobs always end with uncoupling cars at some destination. You don’t actually have to uncouple them. They just have to be on their destination track and stationary. The loco situation (coupling, brake, engine running) doesn’t matter.

Proper Brake Operation

Trying to make the deadline of jobs means you need to have good control of the two brake systems.

The way it currently stands, the train brake is almost never necessary. Only if you get close to the maximum capacity of the loco (max is approx 400t for the shunter or 1000t for the others) you’ll need the train brakes. There’s no need to push the speed limit constantly either. I found that if your average speed is around 40, you tend to make the bonus time. I usually stay 5-10 below the limits.

Generally you want to use the independent brakes. They’re good enough to decrease the speed even when going downhill with one or two very steep exceptions in the mine regions.

You don’t seem to be punished right now for constantly having them applied fully when going downhill. Look at the map and try to brake early if you see a tight turn or junction coming up.

If you have to use the train brake, you only want to apply them very lightly for a short amount. Brake pressure goes up to 4 bar in the shunter, and when using the train brakes you don’t want to go below 3 or you’ll likely over-brake. Here’s the step-by-step to operate the brakes efficiently:

  • Fully apply the independent brake
  • Lightly apply the train brakes until the pressure falls to 3 bar (pressure falls quickly, be careful)
  • Immediately release the train brakes fully
  • If you notice that you’re going to over-brake, compensate by releasing the independent brake
  • If you’re under-braking, apply the train brakes again until the pressure falls to 3 bar

This scheme works if you have a vague idea of the track speeds ahead (the map is your friend). Going below 2.5 bar is likely not going to stop your train in time if 3 would not do it but you’ll likely over-brake.

Saving Money on Diesel

Making money is not just about earning as much as possible, but also about avoiding spending a lot.

Diesel is a big cost factor so it’s worth saving money on it. The map generally goes uphill if you drive towards the north which means taking jobs from north to south will yield more because you consume less fuel on the same distance.

You should also release the throttle as often as possible. If you set the throttle, your train will accelerate up to a certain speed, but once reached, it still consumes massive amounts of fuel without any gains.

Don’t accelerate downhill either, even if it would shave off a few seconds.

To be as efficient as possible, you should either accelerate as fast as possible without wheel slip or not at all. The big diesel loco makes this especially easy because there’s essentially no wheel slip up to around the 90 value on the rpm gauge regardless of the train weight.

This also applies for when you’re going uphill. Accelerate to the maximum allowed speed, then kill the throttle until you lost about 10 km/h. Then accelerate again.

Some of you might consider this cheating, but the independent brake works without the engine being powered. You can apply and release it as often as you want and never run out of pressure. This means that turning off the engine on long downhill stretches (such as the one from the machine factory going south) will save fuel. Note that turning on the engine will add some damage to it, so you don’t want to turn it off for very short distances. Turning on the engine adds 1% damage to the shunter engine and 0.2% damage to the big diesel loco. 1% damage costs 75$ to repair for both loco types.

Efficient Job Selection

This game has about 50 hours of content according to the developers, but if you just run after the money instead of trying to have a variety in the jobs you take, you can trim this down to about 30 hours, or even less.

For beginners:

Don’t bother with the train length and multiple job licenses too much before getting at least the steam train. Try to get the Hazmat 1 instead because it allows you to haul oil products from the oil wells to the towns. You generally don’t want to unlock licenses before you plan on using them. The last license I unlocked was the logistical haul because I never do those jobs.

If a station doesn’t has a hauling job that suits you, check the shunting jobs. Once a shunting job is completed, it gets converted into a freight haul job. The shunting job description already shows where the haul job will be going (provided it’s a load and not an unload job)

Keep in mind that the steam train takes a lot of time to get going and that even if you apply all possible measures, you can run out of steam on heavy uphill loads, so if you want to try to max out the steam train, make it on a route that is not almost completely uphill. The big diesel loco doesn’t has this issue. The engine will get hot if you push it very hard but I guarantee you that you will derail because of your speed before the engine temp could get a problem. The shunter is much more prone to overheating, make sure you only drive it forwards when hauling stuff.

Good starter jobs to take are at the machine factory. Take jobs that go to the farm (delivering tractors) or the goods factory (cars) or the city (cars too). When going back to the machine factory, you can either try to haul empty train cars back to it, or you can drive/teleport to the steel mill to haul steel products up to it.

Don’t bother with wood delivery (sawmill and forest) if you plan on getting rich quick. They’re only worth your time if you actually want to drive and see a part of the map you normally don’t go to.

The harbor is a bit of a mixed bag. Going to the harbor is mostly downhill, so it’s not too hard to haul loads that match or slightly exceed the shunter capabilities and arrive in time. On the other hand, getting out of it takes a lot of diesel. So if you go to the harbor, you should also do a few shunting jobs while there to get some money and to get to know the station better. There’s usually enough of them to keep you occupied for an hour or more.
Many hauling jobs are from the harbor to the food factory. This has a rather tight time limit.

If you want to haul heavy loads, go to the iron mine west. The jobs always go to the steel mill (see industry chain) and iron trains get heavy FAST. You will have an uphill battle until you get to the machine factory but from there on it’s a cakewalk.

Job combinations:

Always try to take jobs that use as many licenses as possible. Each license requirement will add a bonus factor to the base price.

After you get used to the game a bit and have unlocked at least one of the larger locos, taking multiple jobs at once becomes a good boost to your income. When you take a freight haul job (green title), they go from output (O) rails to input rails (I). If a station has only one input rail, you’re pretty much guaranteed that both jobs end up on the same track and you don’t have to split them at the destination.


Military 1 is pretty much useless. You’re at best allowed to haul empty cars. Get Mil1 only if you can at least afford Mil2. Once you have that, you can haul tanks and supplies from the machine factory to the town. Mil3 is not worth it until you can also afford Hazmat3.

End Game:

Note: I call the military base on the top right of the map “Base NE” to avoid confusion with others. When I talk about harbor in this chapter, I generally mean the military base of it

When you have the licenses for multiple jobs 2, Military 3 and Hazmat 3, you want to go to the base NE with a shunter (the base has no train spawn, but you can also risk just teleporting to the nearby mines). There will almost always be multiple jobs at the base where you have to transport “/CLASSIFIED/” to the harbor, maybe you have to load it first using a shunting job. This biohazard marked load is very lightweight. A train with 3 cars is only like 60 tons or so but pays a high 5 digit sum. You can easily combine them together without exceeding the capabilities of the shunter. It’s very cheap to haul too considering fuel. Once it starts going downhill for the first time, you can essentially turn off the engine and cruise it with the independent brake until you reach the harbor.

If there are empty cars that have a very solid and “heavy” look to them in the base, take them with you too. They lead to well paying shunting jobs at the harbor.

The harbor has only a single input line so splitting the jobs is not necessary. I usually complete these jobs with 10 minutes to spare.

The harbor has a very heavy load to bring up to the military base: Nuclear waste. This type of load is somewhat rare though. That’s why you should bring the empty nuclear flask cars with you. This job combination is how you get a lot of money very quickly. Haul classified material to the harbor each time you depart from the base NE. This is the only material it exports so there almost always 2 to 3 jobs with that at once.

Also haul the empty, heavy looking cars to the harbor if they’re available. These cars can then be loaded with a very simple shunting job, and then hauled back up to the military base for a whole lot of money (150k+). Note that they are extremely heavy so you want to use the big diesel or the steam loco. The big diesel might be overkill but it’s not like we’re having money problems ever again. It’s also easier to meet the deadline with it.
Once you’re back up at the base NE, you can unload these nuclear waste cars and bring them (together with more classified material) back to the harbor.

Rinse and repeat to get your first million very quickly. The associated shunting jobs will always be very easy since these bases are quite small.

Not sure what kind of operation turns nuclear waste into classified biological hazardous material but they pay “non-of-your-business amount of money” so who am I to ask questions.

Helena Stamatina
About Helena Stamatina 3012 Articles
I love two things in life, games and sports. Although sports were my earliest interest, it was video games that got me completely addicted (in a good way). My first game was Crash Bandicoot (PS1) from the legendary studio Naughty Dog back in 1996. I turned my passion for gaming into a job back in 2019 when I transformed my geek blog (Re-actor) into the gaming website it is today.

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