Thank you for the feedback.
The line usage have some factors that are unknown, so I cannot explain it. It seems that line usage is higher in the early years but it goes lower after the invention of cars. And even lower when cars become cheaper. So no matter what you do, it will decrease. At the end it doesn’t seem a helpful indicator, cause going lower doesnt mean your lines are less helpful, only means that people prefer cars.
What would be useful is people sharing their percentage and year. So we could perhaps see the higher % for an specific year and then compare with ours and see if its good or not. I tried to do something similar in CiM 2 but people lie, so its useless.
Tip 2: Its a good tip but hard to achieve. At least in my routes, almost never a train that gets coal to the steel mill will be able to bring something back in return. A good tip would be: the purpose of trains is to haul big amount of cargo or passengers. If its not a big amount, use truck. If I transport 100 units of cargo, my profit is 1M per delivery. Its very profitable, no need to worry about empty wagons.
You gave me an interesting insight. Use buses to transport people across town. I usually don’t have profit with them, because a train transporting 40 people is not profitable.
Tip 3: Interesting tip, but I usually have no problem with profit on cargo. At least not overall, see tip 4.
Tip 4: That is hard to say. At start I can have 4 train cargo lines. 1 bringing raw materials and 3 delivering goods to the cities. In this setup I have 1 line making profit and 3 making loss. Still nothing is setup wrongly. The problem is that the cities require low amount of goods (40, 50, 60) which is not good enough for a train. But the train that brings raw material makes 2M in profit, which covers all the losses and still leave me a good profit. I can loose up to 1M in one line and still I won’t deactivate, because it feeds other lines that makes profit.
Keep upgrading your lines: very good tip. It will be added.
Don’t upgrade too much: also good. It will be added.
Overall strategy: I’m not sure I understood that. The cities must be feed early to grow fast?
I seem to have this problem you mention. My cities are not growing, but they have all demanded goods and good passenger transport across the entire map. I started in 1950.