Trains and brains. You'll need both (as the manual states) to work your way up from a lowly Caboose Washer (easy level) to expert Whistle Blower status as you complete more than 70 assignments in seven unique worlds. In between, you'll be promoted to progressively more skillful levels of Hobo Bouncer, Grease Monkey and Fire Stoker in 3-D Ultra TrainTown from Sierra Attractions.

As the promotions occur, jobs get more difficult and complex. There are five tutorials (introductory level jobs) in which a narrator explains specific aspects of the game such as fixing hazards, laying track, signals, loads and deliveries and basic guidelines. Once past the tutorials, you're on your own and must complete all tasks using logic and learned skills.

3-D Ultra TrainTown features 13 types of railroad cars, three engines, a caboose and steam tender. More than 50 types of loads can be accommodated on the various cars ranging from animals and people to automobiles and industrial products. Both passenger and cargo loads must be continuously picked up, transported and delivered to their proper destinations, indicated by yellow and black striped loading zones throughout the worlds.

Some jobs require laying track (nearly two dozen sectional types) and bulldozing unwanted track. Conventional railroad management includes signal flags and semaphores for controlling automatic railroad traffic at crossings and other locations such as drawbridges and switchovers, speed management, fuel, coupling and uncoupling cars to achieve maximum efficiency on specific runs and using the whistle to keep the track clear of wandering creatures. Game options include adjustable detail, music, sound and voice levels.

Whether you're trying to attain blue ribbons for jobs done in record times or simply exploring the varied worlds and moving famous landmarks from place to place (the Statue of Liberty in the frozen wastelands?), 3-D Ultra TrainTown is designed for model train fans of all ages. As the box states: "Bring your model trains to life!" All aboard for this animated train adventure! ~ Michael L. House, All Game Guide