Railway Empire is a tycoon sim about building up a rail network in the mid-19th century Unites States. You plonk down stations, micromanage routes, choose which staff to hire and fire, and upgrade your trains with on-board toilets and padded seats. Publisher Kalypso (of the more recent Tropico games) has announced that it's due to arrive on January 26.
You start with a small fleet of trains and slowly purchase more than 40 models, sinking points into a tech tree to unlock 300 upgrades, which range from mechanical tweaks to on-board hygiene. You have to maintain your trains and keep your work force happy, all the while expanding your network to keep up with the growing demand for industry in the expanding towns and cities on the map.
Laying out all the tracks to design the most efficient network possible (or a monstrous zig-zagging mess) could prove satisfying, and there's a few extra activities away from your train network including purchasing farms and trading on the stock market to keep you interested. If you want to relax, you can take a first-person ride in one of your carriages, too.
There's a campaign in which you try to outgrow your peers—you can sabotage their empires to gain the upper hand—and a scenario mode for focused expansion, plus free play and an informal 'model making' mode that will be more like playing with a toy train set.
The video below gives you a good, brief overview of what the early stages of the game look like. Early purchasers get access to the closed beta, and it's currently £33.99/$42.49 on Steam.