In Grand Theft Auto 1, Grand Theft Auto 2, Grand Theft Auto III, and Grand Theft Auto: Liberty City Stories, a Train refers to rail-based transportation that allows the player to travel all over the games' respectable sections of a city.
When introduced, their purpose is largely as an alternate means of reaching from one of point of the city to another, avoiding the need to travel by car and navigate along streets and traffic to reach the same location. The convenience of riding a train is offset by their sporadic coverage in the city, which often features only a handful of railway stations along each line.
For GTA 1, Trains are designed as passenger based vehicles that allow players and NPCs to move between various underground and elevated stations scattered all over the city. The trains consist of a single locomotive pulling three passenger cars; players simply enter or exit a passenger coach the same way their do with any road vehicle, but can only do so when the Train has come to a stop at the station. From this point on, players may continuously ride the train until they alight at a station.
A minor quirk in the PC version of GTA 1 is the ability to hijack Trains. In order to do this, players must first be within a Train's passenger coach. By simultaneously pressing the Ctrl and Enter keys, the player gains control of the locomotive, allowing them to control the train's speed as well as their direction along the tracks (forwards or backwards). However, the player must be wary of another Train along the track, as Trains are very sensitive to crashes; a simple collision can destroy both trains in an explosion, killing the player inside. Likewise, Trains can be damaged if they collide with any vehicle along the line, or sustain damage from gunfire, ultimately leading to them blowing up.
Trains are only available in Liberty City and Vice City, as San Andreas is presumed to originally be intended by developers to feature Trams instead; the feature was dropped in the final version of the game. Trains in Liberty City are blue, while trains in Vice City are red.
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For GTA 2, Trains are cosmetically redone in the tone of the game's retro-futuristic setting, while retaining much of their core characteristics of its previous renditions in GTA 1; however, players can no longer hijack trains, although they remain equally destructible.
In GTA 2, the variety of train cars were expanded, consisting of up to four different models:
- The locomotive;
- The passenger coach;
- Freight cars; and
- A flatcar.
In each district of Anywhere City, the Trains that appear in the city's various train lines may come with different combination of train sets, either serving to carry passengers, or carry passengers and freight, to which point the locomotive will appear with the aforementioned freight cars, flatbed car, or both. The player can only access a Train via any of its passenger coaches, so the freight-based cars are of little use.
Trains in GTA 2 also travel much faster, and adopt at-grade, elevated or underground lines to travel around the city. Their frequency of arrivals at station is also better than in GTA 1.
The presence of Trains was removed from the PlayStation port of the game, probably due to hardware limitations.
A Train in the Industrial District pulling all forms of train cars in GTA 2.
Ray Larabie's early design of the boxcar.
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GTA III and GTA Liberty City Stories
In GTA III and GTA Liberty City Stories, the games' rendition of Liberty City features two train lines which rolling stock consists of two-to-three car electric trains that unusually only utilize one track, despite the lines featuring two. The three-car train only appears on the Portland El, but the last car is always off the platform when the train stops, rendering it useless. While the train travels from one station to another, the journey is played out in cutscene form and views cannot be changed by the player.
The Trains, resembling those of the New York City Subway R68, are designed as standard subway trains complete with visible driver's cabs (with no driver) and an interior decorated with seating and advertising. Unlike Trains in previous games, the Liberty City Trains are indestructible; neither can the player commandeer the trains, limiting the player to riding them.
If a pedestrian walks into the train, they will be killed immediately, even when the train is completely stopped at the station. In GTA Liberty City Stories, any vehicle that comes into contact with the Train will explode on impact; an exception would the PCJ-600, which is glitched with a randomly delayed explosion and teleportation of its occupant to the nearest train track after exploding.
A design goof renders the trains on the PC version of GTA III with three bogies (trucks) on each car, the extra item being erroneously placed in the middle of each car.
- Only the station portion of the train tracks in GTA 1 and GTA 2 can be ventured by anyone, but that too can pose a threat to both the player and NPCs. Because the tracks are electrified, anyone who steps on the tracks for too long will be electrocuted for a few seconds, leading to death (exploits exist that allow players to run along the tracks without dying). It is thus important for the player to exercise caution when traversing the tracks. This feature is absent in train tracks in GTA III thereafter.
- The GTA III Subway was meant to appear in Grand Theft Auto: Vice City, but cut during development. This is evidenced by the handling files, with possibly no replacement.
- Train, listing other forms of trains in the GTA series.