I have no late game experience, but i can give some advice on the goods supply chain. Goods supply can be set up for all towns within 10 years. Meaning by 1860 at an early game start. It actually is quite simple.
If a town does not get supplied by a nearby industry automatically, find the industry that produces goods which is closest to it. Then set up a roadline between that industry and the city, that has a “frequency” of below 20 min. If this supplier of goods now does not start production, it needs another line from a raw material supplier. Find the closest and again set up a roadline with a “frequency” of below 20 min. The production and supply will start and rise.
It does not matter if you transport all the cargo or if a big part of it wanders to the town or industry by itself. I guess what you wanted is, that the towns are supplied with goods, so they grow from a very early stage. This way they are and will.