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To some newbies by a newbie.

I too had big financial problems on my first 2 tries. I started building freight/passanger train lines, then  I make huge losses and get bankrupt in less than a decade.

My third attempt was:starting sloow.

And this made the deal for me. Altough If you have the problem, that no production lines seem to be working then my “idea” will not help you.

1. Ignore industry for a moment 1st year.

2. Search for two cities with working production lines nearby. Take a year to track these production lines if you have to. Then focus on improving their nearby city’s transportation system.

So build one or two bus lines in each, by connecting residential homes with industry.
If you make your bus lines right, they should be profitable after a few months to a year.

3. Now it’s the time to make a save-checkpoint in case something goes wrong.
You will now start searching for simple production lines to fill in. There are only two easy starter options you have in this game:

a) Oil line

b) Wood line

I will focus on oil line here.

4. You will begin by  making 3 cargo stations. One at Oil-Well location, second one at the refinery, and the third one, in industrial section of your closest town. Then make two lines, and assign 5-8 horse carts to each depending on the length of the road between them. If the game generated unnecessarily long routes, take some time, and create shortcuts for your cargo transport.

5. Keep a close eye on the cargo-stations. If they start stacking too much of resources there, invest in more carts to transport them. If carts are running empty all the time, sell them.

6. After a few years, this simple industry transport should start making you money, and more importantly, industry in your city should start to grow. Repeat number 4. and 5. near your second city, possibly with a wood-line this time.

7. Only once you’ve started making healthy income, you start making rail connections and trains. Connect your cities with passanger train first, then when industry starts demanding more and more goods, as a result of your successful road-cargo-network,  you can start building freight network in place of your old industry-lines. Make sure you build a functioning train network first, before deleting your earlier road-network, or you might face production insta-death. (downgrading production down to 0).

8. Start experimenting with the ore/coal->goods line the same way you started your first freight line. This is the line that gets me the most income. We’re talking several millions here.

9. As time goes on, your cities should get more and more connected with railways. Always make sure that train stations are connected with your city transportation system.

10. As years pass, you will notice your city-busses slowly become un-profitable, but if you’ve connected your cities with train network, these trains should start making you millions, which more than cover a few potential losses of your city transportation.

If I play it as I described here, I make enough millions by 1900, that i simply forget money exists in this game, and play easily from then on until the end. it becomes unplayably laggy