The Old North Church is the most important House of God in all of the Commonwealth.
For one reason or another, you’ll no doubt find yourself here at least once during your adventures through Fallout 4. Some will travel here with good intentions, while others will just let their guns do most, if not all, of the talking.
Whatever the case, it’s always good to know the lay of the land. For that reason, in this Old North Church guide, we’ll delve into everything there is to know about the Old North Church.
The Old North Church is in the North End of Boston, near Pickman’s Gallery (To the northeast, if starting from Diamond City).
If you want to discover the Old North Church the thematic way, you can take on the Road to Freedom quest and follow the Freedom Trail. Just be aware that doing so will lead you through multiple locations packed with super mutants (One of them a Super Mutant Suicider) and raiders.
Old North Church- Upper Level
The upper level of the Old North Church is pretty quiet. There will be a couple of ghouls to deal with inside, but nothing you can’t handle.
If you head to the western end of the Old North Church and take the staircase up, you’ll enter the steeple and can make your way to the roof. Here, you can find a guaranteed sniper rifle spawn (This is very useful if you make your way to the Old North Church early in your playthrough).
Old North Church- Crypt
The meat of the content of the Old North Church lies in the crypt. You’ll have to fight through some more ghouls, but they shouldn’t be a problem. Most are playing dead, and you can kill them before they even get off the ground.
Make your way to the end of the crypt and you’ll come across a golden Freedom trail marker on the wall.
Because the Railroad went to the password school of coming up with passwords, spell out the word railroad on the marker to reveal a hidden passage. You guys are making it really easy for your enemies to track you down, but hey, your funeral.
After entering the secret passage, some lights will come on, and you’ll be face-to-face with Desdemona, Glory, and Drummer Boy. These are several members of the Railroad.
Speak with Desdemona, and she will ask you to state her intentions. Ask her for her own story, and she’ll give you a brief spiel about the Railroad. These guys are post-apocalyptic abolitionists who dedicate themselves to freeing synths.
The Institute treats their Generation 3 synths (Visually indistinguishable from humans) as property. The Railroad seeks to save as many synths as possible. And if they can take out the Insitute along the way, all the better.
After giving you the rundown, Desdemona will again ask you why you’re here. Even if you have doubts about the Railroad, keep them to yourself. You will need to play along to being aboard this synth abolition train. Otherwise, Desdemona will tell you to leave. The Railroad has a lot to offer any Sole Survivor, and you don’t want to miss out.
Eventually, Deacon will show up to the party and introduce himself. Depending on what you’ve done in the Commonwealth so far, he may already know about you and some of your exploits.
Deacon will put in a good word with Desdemona for you. She will agree to continue your relationship but states she doesn’t have the time to train a new full-time member.
Before you can make your relationship with the Railroad official, you’ll have to tag along with Deacon on a little job. Once you complete this job, another hidden door will open up, and you’ll finally gain access to Railroad HQ.
Railroad HQ is the second headquarters of the Railroad, and most of the organization’s most important members and leaders are here. There will also be plenty of unnamed members walking around, but none have anything special to say. There’s a firing range if you want to have a little fun.
Every main and sidequest for the Railroad starts here, and there’s also a vendor. It’s not a huge deal, but there is quite a decent stash of valuable crafting materials scattered around Railroad HQ. Once the Railroad welcomes you with open arms, they’re yours for the taking.
After unlocking Railroad HQ, you’ll be able to fast-travel straight here instead of to Old North Church. An escape tunnel takes you to a building behind Pickman’s Alley.
- Ballistic weave mod (Requires completion of first Jackpot quest)
- Institute Killer weave (Requires completion of Randolph Safehouse)
- Railway Rifle (Purchasable from Tinker Tom)
- Gauss rifle (Purchasable from Tinker Tom)
- Tinker Tom Special (Purchasable from Tinker Tom)
- Prototype railway rifle (Obtainable from the first encounter with Tinker Tom or during Tactical Thinking)
- Fatigues (Only obtainable by reverse-pickpocketing or killing Desdemona)
- Astoundingly Awesome Tales (Deals +5% damage with Cryolator)
- Tinker headgear (Only obtainable by pickpocketing or killing Tinker Tom)
- Railroad Stealth Boys (Requires completion of Memory Interrupted)
- Deliverer mods (Requires completion of part 1 of Jackpot)
- Vertibird signal grenades (Requires siding with the Railroad and completing The Nuclear Option)
- Fusion core
- Ticonderoga safehouse (Requires completion of Boston After Dark)
Road to Freedom
Road to Freedom is an introductory quest with the goal being finding the Railroad. You may hear characters gossiping about the Railroad in places like Diamond City or Goodneighbor or find flyers about the organization. You can seek out the Railroad on your own, but these are the most common ways of getting the Road to Freedom quest in your Pip-Boy.
Road to Freedom ends after the conclusion of your first conversation with Desdemona.
Immediately after Road to Freedom ends, speak with Deacon. He’ll tell you Desdemona is making a mistake by not putting you on the varsity team. He has an idea on how to convince her to make you a full-time member; a tryout, if you will.
That tryout is helping Deacon break into the Railroad’s old headquarters, the Switchboard. The Institute discovered the Switchboard and took it over. Deacon wants you and him to go to the Switchboard to retrieve some prototype technology of Doctor Carrington’s before the Institute finds it.
After entering the Institute, the Railroad wants you to feign good relations with them so they can better devise a plan for taking them out. The Railroad has an asset inside the Institute that has been helping them. The Railroad needs you to make contact.
After meeting the contact, codenamed Patriot, he will give you his plans for further helping to free synths. Taking the plans back to Desdemona, she will conclude that the Railroad has an opportunity to free every synth in the Institute.
The Railroad will need the synths inside the Institute to rise up and fight for their freedom for the plan to work, so she sends you back inside the Institute to help solidify the plans with a synth rebellion leader.
You will need to continue working undercover with the Institute until the time is right. The Railroad’s main questline will end if you fail to maintain your cover.
Precipice of War
The Brotherhood of Steel has discovered the Railroad’s location and is coming to wipe them out.
You’ll need to fight off waves of Brotherhood soldiers as you escape Old North Church via the catacombs. With Old North Church compromised and the Brotherhood of Steel intent on the Railroad’s destruction, Desdemona immediately green-lights a counterattack to destroy the Brotherhood.
Tinker Tom has a plan, but you’ll need to steal a Brotherhood Vertibird for it to work. Luckily for you, there’s one at Cambridge Police Station.
Rockets’ Red Glare
Rocket’s Red Glare immediately begins after completing Precipice of War. Tinker Tom and Deacon join you aboard the stolen Vertibird and hand you some explosive charges. You will need to board the Prydwen and set these charges at key locations to blow it out of the sky.
You can infiltrate the Prydwen stealthily or go in guns blazing. Either way, the quest ends with the Prydwen down in flames and the Commonwealth Brotherhood in shambles.
The Nuclear Option (Siding with the Railroad)
The Nuclear Option is the final quest in the main questline. Players who side against the Institute can complete The Nuclear Option for several factions, including the Railroad. The quest plays out virtually the same no matter which faction you side with and ends with the destruction of the Institute.
Completing The Nuclear Option for the Railroad will unlock Vertibird signal grenades from Tinker Tom.
Boston After Dark
Boston After Dark is a Railroad side quest that involves helping Old Man Stockton in Bunker Hill smuggle a synth escapee out of the Commonwealth. He has a problem and needs someone from Railroad HQ to deal with it. You’ll first need to recover Old Man Stockton’s dead drop before you can begin the quest.
Butcher’s Bill is a series of side quests that Doctor Carrington will give you. Some of the Railroad’s safehouses around the Commonwealth have taken some hits, and Railroad HQ fears the worst. Doctor Carrington needs you to go to several of them to confirm their fate and determine whether the safehouses are salvageable.
Mister Tims, a leader of a presumed dead safehouse, will reach out to Railroad HQ for assistance clearing out locations that can harm the Railroad’s synth-freeing efforts. Taking on the Randolph Safehouse quest will lead you to six dead drops and randomized locations to clear out.
After the sixth mission, you’ll meet Mister Tims himself and finally complete the quest.
After completing Boston After Dark and beginning Butcher’s Bill, speak with P.A.M. She wants you to establish a new Railroad safehouse to make up for the ones they’ve lost. She will then send you to one of twelve random settlements to claim for the Railroad.
Most of the settlement locations have level requirements. The higher-level requirement settlements, like the Murkwater construction site, might have mirklurk queens lurking about (No pun intended). If you want to give yourself an easier time, do this quest sooner than later.
P.A.M. will send you out to secure several hidden DIA caches at several locations in the Commonwealth.
The order is always random, but the locations are always the same: Hub 360, Medford Memorial Hospital, and Pinnacle Highrise. You don’t need to bring the cache items back to P.A.M. You only need to secure the caches. A helpful tip about these caches is that, like most loot in Fallout 4, they respawn after a while.
After completing the first Jackpot mission, you will unlock the Ballistic weave mod.
Tinker Tom has convinced himself that the Institute’s plans for taking over the surface world involve terraforming the Commonwealth by poisoning the atmosphere. Desdemona has agreed to let him monitor this so-called plan.
Tinker Tom needs you to plant his MILA devices at strategically-chosen high vantage points across the Commonwealth so he can monitor any atmospheric anomalies.
Tinker Tom will send you to 10 of 11 potential locations for these MILA missions, and the order is always randomized. The locations will have you fighting super mutants, ghouls, raiders, Gunners, and the occasional deathclaw.
You cannot complete Weathervane missions if you’ve already destroyed the Institute.
After completing Boston After Dark, you’ll find Doctor Carrington and Desdemona talking about H2-22, the synth you helped in Boston After Dark. Doctor Amari in Goodneighbor successfully erased his memories.
Carrington and Desdemona are discussing the best option for getting H2-22 out of the Commonwealth in the wake of increased Institute activities.
They decide the best course of action is for you to clear a path for H2-22 to leave (Again). You’ll need to head to the Malden Center to wipe out some Generation 1 synths.
Ticonderoga Safehouse has gone dark, and Railroad agents have spotted Coursers nearby. Desdemona wants you to head to Ticonderoga to see what’s going on.
What’s going on is the Institute Coursers have invaded Ticonderoga Safehouse, and you’ll need to deal with the situation.
To the Mattresses
After completing the Nuclear Option, speak with Desdemona. She will tell you that now that the Institute is no more, it’s time the Railroad turned their sights on their new biggest threat: the L&L Gang.
The L&L Gang is a group of raiders that specifically target synths. Desdemona wants you to wipe out all seven leaders of the L&L Gang.
There are dozens of possible locations Desdemona will send you to, but the order of leaders to take out will always be the same.
End of the Line
End of the Line is part of the main questline of the Institute. Father will order you to end the Railroad by going to Old North Church and wiping them out.
Players can do as Father asks or reveal the Institute’s intentions to Desdemona. She will ask you to stall for time. Eventually, End of the Line will automatically fail, and you’ll continue with the Railroad’s main questline.
Tactical Thinking is essentially the Precipice of War from the Brotherhood of Steel’s perspective. Oh, and instead of sending an army, the Brotherhood only sends you. Lancer Captain Kellis will ask the Sole Survivor to wipe out the Railroad’s leadership. He also asks that you reprogram P.A.M. if possible.
Advancing this quest will make you a permanent enemy of the Railroad. Unlike with End of the Line, you cannot go to Railroad HQ and warn the Railroad of the Brotherhood’s intentions.
Desdemona is the leader of the Railroad. She plays a role in most of the Railroad’s main and side quests.
It’s easy to unintentionally abruptly end the Railroad’s questline if you don’t side with Desdemona during your first conversation with her. If you fail to reach out to Desdemona and the Railroad before entering the Institute for the first time, she will also prevent you from joining up with the Railroad.
Doctor Carrington is the Railroad’s second-in-command, though much to his chagrin, Desdemona often makes operational decisions without consulting him. He will assign the Sole Survivor various side quests.
Carrington’s bedside manner is far inferior to his medical skills, though after completing quests for the Railroad, you’ll find his bark worse than his bite. As the Railroad’s doctor, he can provide you with medical services.
As you may have guessed from his name, Tinker Tom is the tinkerer of the Railroad and third-in-command. Falling into the cliche eccentric mad genius trope, Tinker Tom spends as much time coming up with conspiracy theories as he does working on equipment.
Tinker Tom is responsible for outfitting the Railroad with weapons and armor. He is the inventor of Fallout 4’s railway rifle and provides the Railroad with ballistic weave clothing after you complete the first Jackpot mission.
You can purchase weapons, armor, and ammo from him. Once you reach a high level, Tinker Tom serves as a reliable supplier of Stealth Boys and gauss rifles.
Deacon is the Railroad’s chief information gatherer and their most reliable agent. Perceptive Sole Survivors may notice Deacon lurking in the background at various locations spying on them. A man of many faces, he constantly changes his appearance.
It is nigh-impossible to tell when he’s telling the truth, as he is almost always partially dishonest about pretty much anything.
After completing Tradecraft, Deacon will become a permanent companion option. He specializes in sneaking around and taking out enemies from a distance.
If you side with the Brotherhood of Steel or Institute during the final leg of the main quest, you will become enemies with the Railroad and lose Deacon as a companion.
P.A.M. is a DIA AI that the DIA installed into a modified Assaultron body. After the Great War, the Railroad discovered her at the Switchboard and reprogrammed her to help them.
P.A.M. is one of the most important NPCs in Fallout 4 since she is the quest giver for the Jackpot missions. You need to complete the first Jackpot mission to gain access to ballistic weave, the most useful mod in the game.
If you side with the Brotherhood of Steel against the Institute, you can retrieve P.A.M. and reprogram her to serve the Brotherhood.
Glory, designation G7-81, is a Generation 3 synth that the Railroad rescued. Unlike most synths, who prefer erasing their memories of the Insitute and starting a new life, Glory opted to keep her memories and join the Railroad’s efforts.
Glory is one of the Railroad’s most reliable heavy agents. Railroad heavies are responsible for taking on the most dangerous missions, usually involving wiping out large groups of hostiles. Glory can be a temporary companion during Memory Interrupted and plays a role in Emergent Behavior, a companion quest for Curie.
Glory is known to be one of, if not the most hardline member of the Railroad. She believes the Railroad should free even Generation 2 or Generation 1 synths. She regularly refuses to take on missions that involve destroying Gen 1 or 2s.
Regardless of the player’s actions, Glory always dies during the Precipice of War.
Drummer Boy is the chief liaison of the Railroad and is in charge of keeping track of dead drops. When you enter Railroad HQ, Drummer Boy will routinely approach you to tell you someone inside wants you to speak with them (It’s the game’s way of telling you there’s a quest to complete).
Question: Is the Copy of Astoundingly Awesome Tales Worth Getting Early on for Boosting the Power of the Cryolator?
Answer: No. Cryolator ammo is expensive and seldom even shows up in vendors’ stock until you are level 40+. And even then, you’ll have to make quite a few deals before having a respectable amount of ammo.
Question: When should I Head for the Old North Church?
Answer: It’s up to you, though I would argue there’s no rush. The ballistic weave mod is awesome, but a low-level Sole Survivor doesn’t need all the protection it provides. If I had to give a specific answer, I would say wait until level 14+.
North of Old North Church is a partially-sunken barge. On board is a set of power armor behind a locked gate. If you’re at least level 14, this power armor will be T-51. T-51 is harder to find than T-45 or T-60, and this is one of the few guaranteed places you can find it.
Question: How Do I Get the Prototype Railway Rifle?
Answer: Two ways: During your first encounter with Tinker Tom or as a possible drop from an unnamed Railroad agent during Tactical Thinking.
To get it from your first encounter with Tinker Tom, you’ll need to be at least level 17 and have rank 3 of the Pickpocket perk. An unnamed Railroad agent will be testing the prototype railway rifle at the firing range. If you have rank 3 of the Pickpocket perk, you can swipe it off him. He only has it on him during this event and it disappears from the game afterwards.
The prototype railway rifle is almost entirely useless as it deals close to no damage. Unless you’re a rare item collector, don’t bother.
I have a list of complaints regarding the Railroad, and I find them to be an average-at-best faction. After Bethesda namedropped them during The Replicated Man quest in Fallout 3, I was curious to see what they were about in Fallout 4.
Disappointingly, what we got was a relatively small-minded organization that is completely unbelievable as a major player in the Commonwealth conflict.
Almost everyone views the Railroad as small fish in a big pond, but if you side with them, they’re a juggernaut. It presents a problem of joining together the player’s actions with game world believability. The Railroad wiping out the Brotherhood of Steel and the Institute? Not in a hundred lifetimes.
Despite the Railroad’s problems, I can’t deny that Old North Church is home to many quests and some of the best items in Fallout 4. I think it’s worth siding with them at least once to experience everything Old North Church has to offer.
But there are dozens more places to explore in the Commonwealth, so let’s not spend all our time in the crypt beneath this church. Let’s head on back into the wasteland for more adventure.