On two occasions, I have been one train car short of claiming a route. I would like to pickup cars from routes I've already claimed, and replay them elsewhere.

Early in the game, those routes had been blocked. Later in the game, I had the tickets to claim a new route, but not the train cars. While removing the cards would cause a loss of the points for that route, being able to pick a larger route later in the game, or complete a Route, would provide a net gain of points.

Since there isn't a rule in the Rule book saying that I can or can't remove train cars from a claimed route, can the Internet settle this?

  • What do you mean by remove an unused route or unclaim a route?
    – Joe W
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 0:29
  • @JoeW The question wants to move cars from a route previously claimed, and play them somewhere else. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 1:22
  • @DrunkCynic Maybe but to me it is unclear
    – Joe W
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 1:27
  • @JoeW "I had placed train cars on routes that I no longer needed" and "one train car short from connecting a destination." Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 1:28
  • 6
    As a general guideline, if the rulebook doesn't give you a mechanism to do something within the game, you can't do it. You may as well ask "What if I'm playing tic-tac-toe and I decide I'll draw two Xs at once, or a triangle, or just draw a big circle around the board".
    – ConMan
    Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 2:31

1 Answer 1


You cannot pick up cars from a previously claimed route in order to claim a new route. Resource management is one of of the control factors of the game; you only get 45 cars to achieve your routes. The game meets its ending condition when a player has 2 or fewer train cars remaining.

Review the rules for the game. They are written from a permissive stance, instead of a restrictive stance. For instance, the actions you can take on your turn:

Draw Train Car Cards – The player may draw 2 Train Car cards. He may take any one of the face-up cards or he may draw the top card from the deck (this is a blind draw). If he draws a face up card, he immediately turns a replacement card face-up from the deck. He then draws his second card, either from the face up cards or from the top of the deck. (See Train Car Cards for special rules for Locomotive cards).

Claim a Route – The player may claim a route on the board by playing a set of Train Car cards that match the color and length of the route and then placing one of his colored trains on each space of this route. He then records his score by moving his Scoring Marker the appropriate number of spaces (see Route Scoring Table) along the Scoring Track on the board.

Draw Destination Tickets – The player draws 3 Destination Tickets from the top of the deck. He must keep at least one of them, but he may keep two or all three if he chooses. Any returned cards are placed on the bottom of the deck.

The text is filled with "may" statement qualifiers. From that, if the rule book doesn't say you can take an action, you can't take that action.

  • 2
    Rather than focusing on the "may" statements, I'd go with your first argument: the rules for the end game would be meaningless if you could move carriages. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 9:37
  • 5
    @curiousdannii The end game condition, and the limited number of cars, is merely implicit about the root mechanics of the game. Referencing the permissive nature of the rules provides corroboration. Commented Jan 16, 2017 at 15:30

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