I need this functionality badly too.
how I pace stations: I build large 5 track stations immediately. I place both the large passenger AND cargo station side by side tight together and rotate them using N and M keys. This is because they snap to certain degrees on the compas, and so both passenger and cargo station snap to the exact same degree.
If build the roads first and have the two stations snap to them I could never get the exact same direction for bith stations. This is just to make it looking pretty and tidy.
Terrain around cities: For example when you build a line from city to city, sometimes there is more cargo produced on the right side of the city and when you come to next city there is more cargo on the left. So you want the cargo station towards where the goods are.
And I want both the cargo and passenger station to use the one double track I have put down.
The main line is going from passenger station to passenger station. But since the cargo station is sometimes on the left and sometimes on the right , and even if you use a third rail or not for cargo traffic, you still have to cross over the tracks, and this creates a lot of switches.
More complex layouts. You usually have your main line. And always on that mainline you end up with having to split it in a Y. City A needs to go to city B and C. And sometimes you make a Y-split in all these three cities …. A -> BC . B->CA, C->BA. I found that there usually becomes too many switches if all 10 tracks ( passenger + cargo ) in each city get a path to each 10 tracks in the other cities using only a double track between cities.
So I decided to only put down enough switches to, from one city to another, reach 60% of the passenger or cargo tracks in the destination city. Ok fine fine fine, now I have the tracksystem built that can handle anything.
But what happens, the game selects the shortest path. Also the paths seem to be fixed. It will use that path and only that path. There is no load balancing of traffic. I never seen the trains understand there are multiple paths to a destination and then let one train take one track and the other train take the other track.
So it picks shortest path and that means both passenger and cargo trains paths gravitate to switch to shortest path as soon as they can and so u get passenger and cargo train trampling on eachother. What would be smarter would be if the game checks if another line already uses that track. And then try to stay out of the way of that line for as long as possible instead of switching into other traffic as soon as it can not using the spare tracks that have been built when you have 3 track or 4 track or more.
In Sid Miers Railroads the trains selected the track to used based on what the signals told the AI.
OK ok ok ….. so that is the situation, the game isn’t very smart.
Solution: Let me specify what station track or tracks the train should stop at, let me tell the game what my intensions were with the track layout.
More solutions: Since the path is fixed and does not react to any traffic or congestion then you can just as well let me specify waypoints in the lines list of stops, only it is just a waypoint to drive through. A thing like that would also help to force the train to end up at the right station track.
Honestly I have not checked this … I start the game again and see if it reacts …. if you can set waypoints ….. no seems you can only add stations …. no.
I hope they give the trains more brains and use players more control with signals.
This game is both worse and better then Railroads. At release a station had max 3 tracks and later 4 tracks. So the station was the bottleneck. To squeeze more traffic through you had a mainline with up to 12 tracks max with trains waiting for their turn to get into the station. I discovered the signalling system could handle 2 track splits without causing a jam. so 3 tracks in station and then you count “one split” 3 x 2 = 6 “second split” 6 x 2 = 12.
But this means the trains coming into station on a track must always use the same track in station. If you want to give them the chance to choose from at least 2 tracks in station you have to put down some switches so the train can cross over to another track. Giving the trains freedome to choose reduce incoming tracks to 5 I think it was.
Anyways in Train fewer we have 5 tracks so instead of many tracks to a few, you can build more realistic a few tracks spread out to many in station. So train fewer with Sid Miers Railroads signaling system be good. The incoming trains would then choose among the empty tracks in station that they can reach from their current track.
But a time table system would be cool. A dispacher system. Like in real life. Some signals are automatic and just separate trains out on the line. Some are manual. Some are both. Most of the times the switches are set in a certain way, and never touched, to create a line. And only a few switches they need to flip back and forth when a line splits from or merge with another. IRL you don’t send trains out on the line and try their luck with the signals and other traffic. It is operated like a swiss watch. Would be fun to try that degree of control.
I think most players will run into these problems unless they stopped playing already………
I think we need:
specify which track in station to stop at.
A much more clever signalling system that can make a train use reseve tracks if the normal one is blocked.