The dreaded spiral of endless debt.

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    I know there are mods, but I am convinced that the game should be playable with trains without mods. It may be hard and difficult, but it should be possible once one does it right.

    I would expect that buses and trams would profit from innercity connection, and trains would get more interesting on longer intercity connections. But for now, once on start running trains, even with the aid of buses en trams, it becomes barely survivable.

    @Killkenny, do You manage to run trains profitable without mod in hard mode, or do you rely on trucks/buses/trams to survive? If so, why not using only trucks/buses/trams?


    Yes, its really odd without playing trains cause this is the mainreason why i bought this game. ^^ But you have also a achievement that names “Truck fever”. So I do this and the achievement without extra-loans in by one game. 🙂
    And you can edit your entry i think in the first 30 minutes after posting. The edit-button is in the same row as the date is. On the right side by the postnumber.

    After I get this two achievment, I will play the way I want, with trains. 🙂

    Yes, Mods are good, but in this point I think there must be come out a balance-patch. You should earn all achievements without installing some modifications. In this case, the cost-mod is like a cheat where you don’t have these problems and earn this achievement easily. But the intention of the modification is correct. The running-costs must be balanced, so i think.

    So long …


    Yeol, sorry, I play on easy. Being profitable is quite easy there, which I don’t mind, because I all want is to play some trains.

    Vanryu, I know what you mean. But until there’s a proper rebalance, why shouldn’t you mod your game? It’s a beauty of PC gaming, if something is not quite right/broken, there’s a mod for that. Heck, I can’t imagine playing some games without mods installed (I’m looking at you, Bugthesda).


    I don’t like mods to make a game easier. It’s like cheating or using exploits to me. I don’t like to play with them. It’s just me. I like mods to add new stuff, or those that repair clear bugs and errors. But not those that make a game easier. I’ll wait and see what the developers will do. Is the game as it was intended to be, then I live with it, and try to make the best of it. If they decide to re-balance the running and ageing cost, then I’ll be a little happier and live with it also. 😉


    Well, I can report that Hard mode is entirely possible to succeed with.

    After a couple of test games to get my bearings, I started my first full-playthrough game, set to Large, Hilly, Hard difficulty, starting from 1850, and going for the “Penny Pincher (hard)” achievement, so limiting myself to the initial 1.2M loan.

    I’m now at 1935, and bringing in a health 3-4 million per year.  The first 30-40 years were far and away the hardest – I had to plan absolutely meticulously, didn’t introduce a single train until about 15 years in, and even then, had to be extremely careful laying track with minimal landscaping, and be very careful about setting trains running on the line with a reasonable number of cars.

    One thing that can *really* turn the tide, is finding a cargo route where you can make use of both directions of travel.  One of the most useful lines in my game was a truck route that took wood from a forest right next to one of my towns, out to sawmill a little further out, and then brought the good back to town using the same truck fleet, without significantly expanding the length of the route… that really brought in some big monies 🙂

    Bear in mind that any time you set up a new passenger train service in Hard mode, it’s going to run at a massive loss for at least the first two years, because it will take a while for people to start using the line in large enough numbers… so you have to factor in weathering that loss.


    You confirm what I experienced: it is possible, but one has to rely on cargo by truck or long distant buses to get the financial lever to get trains rolling with losses in this game. “Train Fever” has the flew, and needs a little re-balance so trains can be profitable there where they are supposed to be adequate: medium to long distant hauling with larger volumes, and should outperform buses or trucks. Now they fail.

    But thanks for your contribution and great that you managed to get beyond 1900 in hard mode without extra loan! 😉


    My passenger train services ended up being profitable almost straight away, once I built them.  Admittedly, until I got the first decent trams on the scene, the local bus services were barely breaking even, but I took that as a reasonable loss-leader for being feeder networks for the intercity train service.

    True, a couple of cargo routes does grease the wheels, and you probably won’t earn enough from local bus services alone to afford your first train service, or even to replace the buses when they become obsolete, but if you plan them well, even the first train services can be a big earner.  You do have to be meticulously careful about ever sending the trains into the depot though, as having them out of action for even a few months can cause a financial setback that can take a couple of years to recover from.

    I actually found going for the Penny Pincher achievement helped me immensely.  You just aren’t in a position to weather much loan-interest early on… even the initial 30k per year stings… taking on any more debt can seal your fate from day one.  Waiting until you build up the funds for an expansion is almost always better than being impatient and taking out more loan.


    Just to compare, I started my 13th game in 1850. I build 10 intercity stage coach lines with 20 coaches each. Ten years later (1860) I collect more then 1,5M per year on hard mode, with just the 1.2M initial loan. That’s insane! Buses (and trucks) are way too cheap. Trains on the other hand are almost impossible to get profitable in the long run (investment+running cost). Some re-balance of this “TRAIN fever” game would be welcome.

    (But it’s fun to have that much money to replace and expand, I have to admit… And now the trains!) 😉


    Hi All

    I’m still learning and experiencing about the mechanics of the Game (in Easy Mode), so this post doesn’t actually fit in this topic, but the reason I do is:

    I’d like to strongly vote for Yeol’s last point on his “less important”-list: A Planning Mode, which lets you tune (e.g. adjust slope, bend, ….) the track/road you’re going to build would be more than a nice-to-have.

    I also like the idea, that infrastructure (tracks/roads/stations) wouldn’t be built instantaneously, maybe even combined with a running cost model (e.g. building a station takes 8 weeks and costs a certain amount per step or time)

    All in all i like the Game, there are some issues being discussed in the forums which need attention


    Its 1960, same game I started a almost 2 weeks ago in the year 1850 on hard mode, and I encountered a total implosion of my railway system.

    All went very smooth. I maintained a small profit from my train network although the running costs were above €10M! a year. The 20+ trains picked up about 100 people per run, all went well.

    Then I place one signal wrong. I did not notice it until I saw my small wallet slink at an unusual fast rate . I suspected my rail system, and indeed a huge, HUGE jam of trains around that one signal. The time I tried to unjam the trains, a year want by. I got a deficit of €12M! and I could not delete that one 300 euro signal that caused all misery because of the debt.

    Out of despair I sold all my trains, and all bus, truck and tram lines that were making losses. Now I have a deficit of about €10M, and a collection of scattered bus and truck lines, just making a profit, but with vehicles that are getting older each year.

    It’s a hard game, and it will be a struggle to reach the year 2000…


    I reached the year 2000 on hard mode, but without trains! 🙁

    They became too expensive to have them running. Especially in the late years (1950+) the running costs are crippling, even suicidal. I had for about the last 30 years no trains running anymore. Train fever… with fever.

    Next challenge… the “Train Fever Achievement” (get to the year 2000 with only trains)! 🙂


    hey yeol

    when you start in the year 1850  with trains  you build a 2 rail station  find the biggest  town in the game  build in that city then second   in closes city that large town


    Thanks Maetel, that is indeed my general strategy, including the evaluation of nearby industry and topography and size of the neighbouring villages. But normally I start of from the biggest village. 😉


    As already mentioned, the method that always work for me in hard mode is to build an intercity tram line between well positioned cities at the beginning, then add more tram connections between nearby cities. The frequency should be no less than 60 seconds (a lot of trams are needed starting in early epoch).

    With this method, after 5/10 years you will have a stable income of 400/600k per tram line, and soon you will collect enough to build your first railway line. Be careful, to make the railway profitable, it should connect two hubs that have already  trams connections to other cities, and at least a population of 4/500.

    Soon, you will have a stable income and you can expand your network further, but be careful with railways, because if you don’t plan them well, they become profit suckers.

    However, I agree that the game economy would benefit from a rebalance, but in my opinion the rebalance should not decrease the maintenance cost, that add the necessary challenge, but increase the trains revenues by 30/35%  in comparison to trams and buses (as in real life, train tickets are always most expensive that tram or bus tickets), because at the moment it really doesn’t make any sense to build railroads in the game, trams are just more profitable. For reality purpose, building costs and maintenance could be increased too, because the vehicles maintenance and prices are ridiculously high compared to structures cost and maintenance.


    • This reply was modified 7 years, 8 months ago by Neldot.
    • This reply was modified 7 years, 8 months ago by Neldot.

    I agree, and that is what I experienced. With buses, trams and truck it’s easy to set up a sound and profitable margin, enough to set up a few train lines.

    I got it even so far that my 20+ trains were very lucrative, but it took 150 years of gradual and careful building. But I knew it was a very delicate balance that I grew. And then I made the inevitable fatal mistake to place one signal at the wrong place. The entire system crumbled into nothingness, huge losses, lost passengers and I never could rebuild the network again with the very expensive (in running costs) locomotives during the later days (1950+).

    But I keep enjoying the game very much. Next challenge will be my revenge: the train fever achievement! 😉

    And, I’m neutral how the rebalancing is done, as long as It will make trains interesting ans lucrative at what they are best in: hauling larger quantities of cargo (or people) over longer distances. Then they should outperform trams, buses and truck in that case.

    • This reply was modified 7 years, 8 months ago by Yeol.
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