Industry and carrying goods by train

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    I’ve seen various comments about not being able to get freight rail lines profitable, and that road is easier to make money out of. I think the same principles apply to both. With a road line, the number of vehicles running has to be balanced with sufficient frequency to capture the commodity and prevent it going another way without half-empty and hence loss-making vehicles trundling around. There is a trade-off, and sometimes it is impossible to make the line economic because the frequency needed to complete with pack horses (or vagrants or psychic levitation or whatever it is that moves stuff around otherwise) is just too high to load the vehicles enough to make them profitable. In this case, you either give in and let the vagrants do it, or invest and take the losses until production rises enough to increase loads to profitable levels. It’s long-term, strategic stuff.

    Anyway, I digress, sorry. I think exactly the same principles apply to rail freight lines, but as I understand it each vehicle in a train comes with its own cost . Trains’ capacity can be changed, but it is much more awkward and disruptive to do than with road as you have either to send them to a depot to add or remove vehicles. You have to adjust your trains’ capacity according to the line frequency needed to defeat vagrant competition versus the capacity you need to carry the current production level without incurring costs from empty vehicles. Get all this balanced and you’ll make money from rail freight.

    An example comes from how the economics of a line can collapse if you switch the line to wait for full loads of the primary commodity. If your trains are too big then they’ll sit there until enough stuff is produced. Frequency will drop and the vagrants might take over delivery of the end product (assuming you’ve arranged things so that you back-load your trips as much as possible). If the trains are too small then production will fall because units are not being carried in time. Get the right size, monitor and adjust over time, and make money. It’s more challenging than doing it by road, but ultimately more rewarding. Pound your rails with lots of lovely, long, loaded goods trains. It’s what railways were invented for!



    I would agree with your comments, Though I have not really had problems with goods via trains, I have noticed that, Example if you have a ore train running to a steel mill, If you transport the goods to many towns from that steel mill you make profit. At the moment though for some reason if you transport via train to a town not far from your steel mill you make no profit, and suggest you transport those via truck, so on. Though if you are transporting the good over longer distances you can make great profit.

    I currently normally have 1 steel mill sending good to 5 towns via trains and make up to 1 mil profit per year on some of the lines 500 k on others. But the close town I send them by horse and cart or trucks.



    I have road lines making 3M a year with goods when the fast lorrys come around. With a train line profits are rarely above 2M and thats serving multiple towns.  It takes too long for the industry lines to start producing IMO, if you start with an untouched industry producing 1/25 and you build a line across 5 towns needed a combined 400 goods it takes 30 years for the industry to actually produce that much, so in order for the line to work and be frequent I have these expensive trains running with 3/120 goods at time to these citys making -5m a year for 10+ years. It should pick up production faster IMO!


    I aim to keep goods frequency of 5 mins maybe this is too much if I go much higher I find the industry just sit there at 0/25 in my latest attempt, go to forest, go to woodshop, go through 3 towns, I gave up after it sat at 0/25 “line usage yes” frequency 4 mins, rage scrapped the entire line and replaced it with road that was a waste of 10M+ the cost of running 4 trains. for several years.


    I have few questions about industry growth…

    1. Is it true that production will rais,e if you transport goods from one industry to multiple cities  because of more demand?

    2. Is there any difference if you transport wood from one forest to sawmill vs. multiple forests to one sawmill ?

    3. Transporting goods from two or more locations to one city .. is good or bad for industry production ?



    Production in this game is driven like this:

    • City will demand for example 45 goods
    • If you connect some factory to it, for example refinery, then it will want to produce up to 45 goods
    • But you also have to connect resourcers to this factory for it to produce goods
    • So if you connect wells to this refinery, the wells will start to extract oil and it will rise after a while up to 45 units too.

    Now that we have this explained let’s answer your questions.

    1. If you connect 2 cities to one industry then that industry will want to produce goods up to the sum of demands of those two cities so yes, the factory will produce more than if it would be connected to only 1 city.
    2. If you connect 2 or more forests to one sawmill then all those forests will compete with each other and hurt each other production because, again, how much they all produce is driven by how much the sawmill demands. And the sum of all their production should eventually be equal to the sawmill production. It’s better to have one forest producing a lot. 
    3. It is a situation similiar to the one in point 2. Many factories connected to one city will compete with each other for the city demands and hurt each other production.

    To sum it up. At the start of the game it is good to connect many cities to one industry because cities are small and demand very little. When the game progresses there will come a time when it will be desirable to disconnect cities from the factory and connect them to some other factory because the sum of their demands will grow beyond what the factory can produce at its maximum. The limit here is 400 units of goods.

    Also a little request from me: next time please be more eager to make use of  your searching skills. It is not the first time I explain the exact same thing here or on steam.

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 9 months ago by Tossi.

    Thank you for clear explanation.

    I used search and read a lot of posts lately ..but I got confused with all information 🙂 ..


    Once I get industry profitable using road transport (best way is to deliver goods from one factory to three or four towns and supply that factory from one mine, sawmill or oil well (or one coal and one ore mine in that case), then I build a mainline railway connecting the towns and where possible passing the mines and factory. Build cargo stations in the towns and next to industry and where it is not practical to reach industry, build a cargo station as close as you can to the industry, then have your road vehicles deliver to the station (or from the station to the industry).  So long as you have a rail link to the factory, materials will be delivered to your station for onward transport by train.  Works really well and is profitable.

    I then run mixed freight trains with cars to take goods and raw materials and then have the trains stop at all cargo stations along the line. This way they pick up and drop off cargo or goods in both directions, maximizing profits. I also use the same lines for passenger trains and usually build passing lines at cargo stations so the passenger trains are not stopped waiting for a coal train to load and unload.   My fave approach to doing this is to build a single track cargo station with a bit of line out of each end, then run two parallel tracks, then place a second one track station on the opposite side. I give them both the same name and group them.  To ensure the stations are on the same level, I use a bit of road first placed level to flatten the area (and I wish there was a flatten terrain function instead).

    Once your cargo trains are running, then I delete any competing road lines (makes no sense to compete with yourself) no matter how profitable the road line is (the train line will pick it up really fast). Just make sure you have decent frequency on your train lines – every 5 min or better seems optimal.

    Tip: build your factory to city cargo line connections first. There has to be demand for the raw materials to want to transport.



    That 5 min or better thing is a blasphemy that some people came up with and are repeating for the reason I don’t know. For maximum profits you should have frequency as bad as possible without breaking the 20 minute rule. Longer frequency means the factory will be able to produce more in the time the train isn’t at the station and when the train will arrive it will have more to transport and thus you will be able to run longer trains. Fewer and longer trains are more efficient because wagons have much lower running costs than locomotives.

    So with very long distances the frequency will indeed have to be at something close to 5 minutes because if it takes a train over 10 minutes to travel to its final destination then there will be little time left for loading and unloading but on shorter routes frequency can be as bad as 10 or more minutes.

    Take a look at this 10min frequency iron line:

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 9 months ago by Tossi.

    One forest can feed two or more sawmills ?


    Sorry but trucks will always make more money, and buses. The expense to run a train, anywhere from 500k+ makes your profit margin vanish. Trucks cost less to transport cargo and do it in the same time and more frequently, without the huge running cost.

    This can also be said for transporting via a bus from town to town, vehicles are just better to use over trains in this game. Which in itself is ironic since the games name is “train fever”.


    In the beginning as soon as an inductry produces 1 unit, I understand that with above strategy you can let an industry produce more then 1.

    But is there a way to get a industry start producing? So to get them from zero to 1 unit production. Or is that just a sort of random, you have to wait till it happens – situation?


    (BTW : I have connected several Ore mines to a Steel factory. Ore-mines producing zero, 5 years later, ore mines still producing zero. Also Steel Factory producing zero. Or do I have to connect the Steel Factory to a town as well?)

    • This reply was modified 9 years, 9 months ago by DK115.

    @DK115: Yes you need to connect to a town for delivering the goods the Steel Factory produces to the town. Also remember the coal/ore wagon doesn’t carry goods, so you will need to attach another goods wagon to your train, otherwise the factory will say there is no line usage, meaning no goods loaded to your platform.



    Just to understand in correctly: if I have a none-producing factory, I can get it start producing by: connect it with a resource (like wood for a saw mill, or ore and coal for a steel factory) and also connect the factory to a town in order to send the goods. And eventually this factory will start producing?

    OK, I will try.




    you are correct. production is driven by demand from towns  (towns demands goods from factory –> factory demand resources from forrest/mine/well).

    you also need to take in account the 20 min limit (if either of the 2 steps:  resources –> factories / goods –> towns) takes more then 20 min the production wont start



    I have few more questions…

    1. Is there any difference what type of goods city receive ? … I mean goods from sawmill are different than goods from oil refinery?

    2. What benefits are from longer platform length beside that longer trains can stop? is there any limit of how much material / passengers can hold ?

    3. I have a industry that feeds 3 cities, all of them have 100% goods demand supplied … If i’m not mistaken demand will increase with city population…but how can I stimulate city growth ? .. for what  I know only with adding more passengers lines to other cities … or is there another way ?

    4. If a city needs 100 goods for example, and I transport 80 of them from one industry… If add another industy .. the second one will fill the rest 30 units of goods … or will be 50/50 ?

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