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Making freight loads work in this game ... have I lost my touch? Or am I over-thinking things?


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First off ... the joys of returning to a site you haven't been to in years/decades, and seeing if you can remember log-in credentials! Ha! Got it the first time!

Secondly, I've returned to poking around at RRT2 for the first time in a few years, and after playing the first scenario a few times, I'm coming to ask why I even bother trying to run any freight trains. But I'm not sure if that applies to the whole game, or just to the very first scenario.

The thing is, I can happily set up a railroad just running between Baltimore and Washington, and make mints off of just running pax and mail between those two spots. Maybe include a single train between Baltimore and Relay, more for a first successful train run that shows up in the first year. All these passenger trains make great money.

Then I branch off a freight line or two, heavily supply an industry and send whatever that industry makes to the next city, and move tons of cargo, but make almost no money. I mean, one train running 4 cars of pax or mail between Baltimore and Washington makes 500-750k for a single trip, which takes it about a year. Meanwhile, wool to a factory, then goods to a city in a year the train makes maybe 50k in profit. Just seems like so little compared to the passenger trains.

And can I just say I hate scenarios that start before stone bridges are available? For just my pax lines, I have three separate tracks with three bridges running between Baltimore and Washington, just to keep things moving because of how limited the only bridge type available at the beginning of the scenario is. (One bridge/track handles only the trains running from Batlimore to Washington, the second handles the trains going the other way from Washington to Baltimore. The third only handles that one lone car running between Baltimore and Relay, to keep it from delaying the more productive trains.)

And I don't know if I started doing it years ago in this game, or picked it up in other games, but am I the only one who has different tracks and stations for freight as opposed to my passenger lines? I just don't want to slow down these hugely profitable pax lines (and that's even before the dining car or what's his name the manager is available) for the pennies I seem to make from the freight.

Can freight be a lot more profitable than I am seeing in the first map, or is it something about this particular map that makes the freight seem so bad?

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The game is unbalanced, especially in the early 1800s. Maybe it's just too easy to raise big bucks and build inter-city long lines decades before they emerged in real life. Still, you can make money on freight if the distance is short and the locomotive is cheap.

Income shifts somewhat in the "2nd century", and then pax & mail dry up in the 1960s after the announcement of air travel.

In my US History map, I gave certain freights some added value: You can reduce the costs of building rails by producing lumber and steel. I created some fuel cost triggers as well.

And yes, I separate freight depots from passenger terminals in all but my lowest-traffic towns. It's also a good idea to keep slow freights on their own tracks where they won't be frozen out by a steady stream of express trains overrunning them. Carefully placed diagonal crossings can allow a network of freight lines to be completely isolated from an overlapping net of express lines.

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Now I have to wonder whether I have to find / add all the fixes again. I know there were lots of little errors in the various campaign scenarios. Timed events that weren't programmed properly, things like that. One or two of them, I even hunted down (I think something about a loads hauled award in the Orient Express map that wasn't working properly that I figured out, though I could be misremembering). But I'm almost certain that was at least one computer ago. Not to mention the port issues.

But it's nice to see a familiar face still around!

I already edited the first scenario to allow more financial stuff, and to start and 'end' 10 years later, so I can use a stone bridge, because I can't stand the slowdown with that lowest version bridge.

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  • 4 months later...

To celebrate Christmas, I fired up RT2 again for the first time in months. I resumed a US History map that has powerful modern electrics zipping around in 1977+. In finding freight to replace some dried-up passenger consists, I found my self using a bit of knowledge that I forgot to mention back in August: There are two classes of freight.

They're not given names in-game, but I call them slow and fast, with "fast" also being more distance-sensitive. "Slow" freight is all your heavy bulk materials like logs, iron and coal. "Fast" is high value-added finished products like automobiles, goods and food. Some may be hard to guess, so look up the chart (the complete extracted data table is among in the severalĀ  spreadsheets we use for modding, and I think it's bundled with my US History map). I especially like Cattle -> Food because both are high-value fast freight.

To make money on bulk, haul slow trains minimal distance using inexpensive engines set to low priority. To make money on fast freights, haul them long distance at good speed at high or normal priority like passengers (especially after your passengers / mail take to the skies and highways).

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Is the speed factor related to rot factor? Seems like the algorithms in the code for cargo values are more complex than realised. After 25 years there are still things to discover in this game. I very rarely fire this game up but I still think this is one of the best railroad games of all time

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3 hours ago, Silverback said:

Is the speed factor related to rot factor?

Gosh... I has been so long that I don't recall how we separated truth from documentation. My vague recollection is that rot has to do with how long something sits waiting to be picked up.

But I don't trust my memory... I just know that the answer is buried in our message archives.

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On 12/30/2023 at 5:55 AM, Silverback said:

Is the speed factor related to rot factor? Seems like the algorithms in the code for cargo values are more complex than realised. After 25 years there are still things to discover in this game. I very rarely fire this game up but I still think this is one of the best railroad games of all time

No question about it. In fact, without hesitation I declare it THE BEST railroad game and one of the best games of any type of all time.

I fire it up nearly every day. I had a stroke in September which limits me a bit physically these days, no doubt contributing to even more RRT II time. After my stroke, I spent a month in rehab without my computer, without RRT II, and I've never been so bored. But even before the stroke, I rarely missed a RRT II day. For years I have been solidly addicted to the Australia 1850 WA map and my fascination with its endless creative opportunities/possibilities will keep me captured for life.

Another opportunity for a big THANKS to Phil and to the sadly small, but very special group here who truly understand and appreciate this great game's appeal.

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