Worldbuilding Pokemon: Modeling train layouts in Galar

Last week, following the announcement of Pokemon Sword & Shield, I wrote a preliminary analysis of what to expect based on the region map that was shown.

This week, I want to dive deeper into a specific topic on the map. Specifically, the train tracks that go through the entire map.

Trains have a specifically notable history in England, the inspiration for the setting in the upcoming games. The railway system in Great Britain is the oldest in the world, a part of the industrial machine that helped move goods from factories to destinations. The Stockton and Darlington Railway was the world’s first steam-hauled passenger railway.

In more recent times it has become more important as a way of transporting people throughout the nation.

It’s not surprising that, if you look at the map, you see a lot of railways. In the trailer you can see trains overhead a few times. There are two shots of trains moving through the red-bricked industrial city. Based on their colors, we can tell they’re two different trains or two different lines. The pink train is heading right (east) and the purple train heads left (west).

Based on a preliminary examination of the map, I’ve tried to map out the train system. This layout makes the a lot of sense given what we currently know. Looking at the map, and the trailer, it’s evident that the map has taken artistic liberties. As such, I’ve had to take my own liberties to determine the layout.

You start out in the small town in the south. From here, we see a railroad station which is also visible at the start of the trailer. The purple-colored train is waiting in the station. We can see from the map that the tracks lead into a tunnel. We can see a train station just on the other side.

Presumably this will be the first set of tracks that you unlock, which will let you walk through the grasslands until you reach the red city.

You can see the same purple train waiting in the station

However, it seems likely that there will be a switch underground, allowing the train to also travel left. You can see a bridge for the train which goes over the grasslands and into another tunnel. Potentially, this way is blocked due to a missing part you need to recover.

Based on our predictions, and the fact that we see a train travel through the center of the city, if the train switches left, it will lead all the way to the red city. This would allow us to travel directly there, serving as a reward for reaching the city by walking north through the grasslands.

As we look at more train stations, we do wonder what advantages it might have in the game. Will this be like the Magnet Train, taking the players between two places in a few seconds? Given the prominence of trains, it could be a new form of fast travel.

However, the lack of train stations in every town means it couldn’t be a full replacement for Fly or a Flying Pokemon. I think it’s more likely to not be fast travel at all, especially since the trains in the UK aren’t magnet trains.

What if these optional train routes were like the SS Aqua from Gold and Silver, a boat that you could’ve taken where you get your own room. On your voyage, you can travel the boat and battle trainers until you take a rest. You arrive at your destination with your Pokemon healed.

Players could walk along the train and battle different trainers. Perhaps the colors indicate the level or relative strength of the trainers. The purple route could go between the starting town and the red city, while the pink route goes from the red city to the waterfront city.

This could also serve as a different type of Battle Subway. Players could get experience from normal battles, but perhaps get battle points instead. It would be unusual to start collecting battle points when the player first starts, so maybe the mechanics of the train system could depend on particular tracks or whether you’ve beaten the game.

Ignoring the mining tracks that lead from the mountain to the red city, it’s not too hard to follow the train east and then north through the tunnel, passing near the waterfront city. It continues to another tunnel and then seems to disappear.

This is another area where the map becomes vague. We know that there’s tracks on the other side of that large mountain, and a station is at the end. However, the layout between the tunnel and exit is not clear.

If you look at the large castle and the surrounding city, you can see a large tunnel entrance going into the large mountain. According to its size, that’s a huge door. It’s much larger than many of the other train cavern entrances. I’m predicting that the train either travels completely underground, or does appear somewhere outside of mountain and just isn’t in the map.

It is possible that I’m wrong. That cavern entrance could be this region’s Victory Road, and the train could in fact look around the mountain, following the river to the east. However, if we were to draw a straight line from the train’s cavern entrance to the river, it could cross through the labyrinth. This makes it unlikely to be the real path.

I hope that we learn more about the trains soon. The graphics in these games are a large improvement over the small resolution of the 3DS, and the trains at the very least will allow players to take the scenic route. Although the trains don’t seem to go everywhere, there’s enough of a presence on the map to highlight their importance in the region and in the game.

What do you think? Let me know if there’s anything I may’ve missed.

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