Favorite Train Configurations
I keep getting asked in game, "What is the best train configuration for this particular car, locomotive, freight transfers, repairing rail sets, etc.?" There are too many variables, for me to give specific configurations, unless I take the time to look at that players exact route, ownership of assets on the rail set, the time he has to devote to it, available units due to level, etc. And if there are several players on at the same time, each with multiple routes, goals, time, comprehension of game mechanics, and so on - then I would have to spend all my time with each one, and I still wouldn't have enough.
Simply put: The best train configuration, is one that successfully achieves whatever objective you have determined for that particular route, and/or train - whether being transfers, profit, or simply having fun.
With that said, I know people still want me to answer with something more specific, and after having given this subject much thought over the last month, I have decided to write an article on the train configurations that I (myself) favor using the most. Hopefully, for those that find and read this, it will maybe encourage you to experiment and perhaps discover something that is appropriate to your own personal needs and goals, in game.
The following are done with the assumption that the player dispatches trains on rail sets where he/she owns most, if not all, of the rails and stations. One train configuration is exempted, and it is pointed out in its description.
Train configuration details, values, and a brief description for each one, follow...
Passenger "Little Train"
Locomotive: ZSSK 810.489
Car #1: ZSSK 011.238
Speed: 72 to 80 km/h
Rail Damage: 0 %
Revenue: $ 209 /km
This train, is the reason why 'Train Lord' will never have automatic dispatching. Else people would simply flood their routes with them. Likely the most cost effective train available. Negligible dispatch cost, zero rail damage, can be used on standard rails from the get go, and available right from the start of the game. Can be used to good effect on routes of any length - yes, even on ones that are over 8,000 km. Of the 250+ trains in my current fleet, over 40 are these little trains, and I'm considering to augment that number to 90, or above. It's that good.
Repair "Overnight 1"
Locomotive: MUV 90 SDC
Car #: NA
Speed: 36 to 40 km/h
Rail Damage: - 80 %
Revenue: $ 0 /km
This train is miss-placed within the level requirements. It should be classified as a level 4 train, considering the time in the game, where you start to actually need it. If you are playing in an efficient manner, there is no real need to repair rails before achieving experience level 3, and once you are level 4, then you have locomotives which make longer rail sets more worthwhile. Insignificant dispatch cost, no repair cost, and coupled with its low speed, make this an excellent unit for overnight repairs on long rail sets. Myself, I like it on routes that are from around 1400 to 2300 km.
Repair "Overnight 2"
Locomotive: PUSL 71
Car #: NA
Speed: 45 to 50 km/h
Rail Damage: - 75 %
Revenue: $ 0 /km
Same type of strategy employed as the MUV 90 SDC above. Except that even longer rail sets can be repaired overnight, at a slight increase in dispatch costs. Myself, I like it on routes that are from around 1800 to 3200 km. Take advantage of it at earlier levels, as it should be really classified as a level 5 train.
Passenger "Mass Transit"
Locomotive: Skoda S499.02
Car #1: CD Uacs 930
Car #2 to #13: Bmo 50 54 26-18
Speed: 81 to 90 km/h
Freight: 55 t
Rail Damage: 0.7 %
Revenue: $ 1294 /km
Mass passenger transfer train, which carries a bit of freight. I use the dumpster car, as the excellent s499 locomotive has just enough left over power to pull it. And frankly, with 12 "sardine can" cars already, it makes little difference if another were there. Besides, the dumpster actually pays more per kilometer than the coaches do. Low rail damage and the amount of passengers carried, make this an excellent train to use between large stations, on short routes under 360 km. But I have used it out to 600 km, if the stations can handle the traffic.
Freight "Feather Light"
Locomotive: Skoda S699.001
Car #1 to #12: CD Uacs 930
Car #13: None
Speed: 81 to 90 km/h
Freight: 660 t
Rail Damage: 0.1 %
Revenue: $ 1220 /km
Okay, when other players see this train on my lines, they think I'm either a noob, or that I'm trying to fool them. But if you take a close look at the specifications of this trains' configuration, you see that it moves 660 tons of freight at an incredible 0.1% rate of rail damage and - it pays more than a full train pulled by the level 5 class ES 64! In fact, over 21 of these trains, sent sequentially over the same rails, still does not do as much damage as the other mentioned in one dispatch (!). And once you come to realize how revenue is impacted by rail condition, you start to appreciate this train even more. I will run it at 12 cars, more often than not, but you can add a 13th car of whatever you want. However, you will increase rail damage by 50% to 300%, if you do.
Locomotive: Canadian Pacific SD40-2
Car #1: CD JV750
Car #2: (optional) CD JV750
Car #3: (optional) CD JV750
Speed: 90 to 100 km/h
Freight: 40, 80, or 120 t
Rail Damage: - 9.95, - 19.95 or, - 29.95 %
Revenue: $ -150, -250 or, -350 /km
The best locomotive and repair truck combination for; economy, speed, and repair rate - which coincide to support regular train dispatch strings. The number of repair trucks (from 1 to 3), give enough to accommodate 7 trains (at 1.4% rail damage) dispatched in a successive string along a route. Usually, I repair rail sets when they get to 90%, for passenger lines, mixed at 80%, and freight lines at 70%. Thus the reason why I have included the numbers for 1 to 3 towed repair trucks. I will use this train configuration when I require rail sets to be repaired quickly (during regular playing hours), or if the set is too long for the previous two mentioned units. Meaning lines that would take more than 12 to 16 hours to repair with either. Note: The freight numbers I have included in the breakdown is not a mistake - you actually do receive credit for the associated freight values of towed repair trucks, when the train completes a dispatch.
Mixed "Long Haul"
Locomotive: RegioJet 162
Car #1 to #4: ULTX 630103
Car #5 to #9: OBB Ampz
Car #10 to #13: Combination of; OBB Ampz and/or, DDm 915 red
Speed: 126 to 140 km/h
Passengers: 300 to 540
Freight: 320 to 380 t
Rail Damage: 1.52 %
Revenue: $ 1460 to 1584 /km
This configuration forms around 40% of the bulk of my fleet. One of the top locomotives in the game, combined with at least 5 of the highest revenue cars. The 4 cyan tankers (whatever they carry, I don't know, I couldn't find it anywhere in my own research), give a decent freight load. The 5 to 9 passenger cars give adequate passenger loads, and very good revenue. The last 4 cars, having the option to choose, gives the flexibility of adjusting the trains' consist, to best fit the available station loads, versus the time to replenish them, over the course of the route. The choice of the "red" auto carrier, allows good revenue (for a freight car) without losing any of the train's speed. The rail damage is acceptable, effectively reducing the number of trains in a string from 7 to 6, or from 14 to 13, if you are using the above mentioned repair train configuration (with the class SD40 locomotive and JV750 repair truck). All in all, a very successful train configuration, concerning flexibility, speed, revenue, rail damage, and transfer capacity. I generally use this train on medium to long routes, meaning from around 500 to 2000 km.
Mixed "Short Haul"
Locomotive: Skoda S699.001
Car #1 to #8: ULTX 630103
Car #9 to #13: OBB Ampz
Speed: 108 to 120 km/h
Freight: 640 t
Rail Damage: 1.64 %
Revenue: $ 1448 /km
Most stations have about a 2:1 ratio of freight to passenger loads. This train is configured to coincide with this and thus is pretty good at emptying them, when employed in large amounts. I'll use 12, 18, and sometimes 24 trains in a string, depending on distances and station sizes. It's used in a similar fashion to the above mixed train, but on shorter routes, usually in the range of under 500 km.
Passenger "Max Profit"
Locomotive: BHP Iron Ore CM40-8M
Car #1 to #13: OBB Ampz
Speed: 101 to 112 km/h
Rail Damage: 1.4 %
Revenue: $1,720 /km
If you like trains which maximize profit, then this is the configuration for you. The cheapest locomotive which can pull 13 of the highest revenue cars, while keeping rail damage to an acceptable level. Due to the limitations in the Foreign Display menu, people often see this train of mine, more than any other. This is because it is the one I employ in areas where I don't own all the rails and/or stations in a set (there is an in game limit on the amount which a player can own - see the FAQ). 'Train Lord' is a multilayer game, and you will encounter several types of play styles. Since I'm generally at the top of the scoreboard, I am either courted (by the smart players), or am trolled (by the stupid ones). This train configuration is just about as "troll proof" as it can get. Should the trolling become excessive, then stop dispatching along that set, return your trains to their home station, and sell everything. Relocate somewhere else, and send out a few of these, to test the new area. When dispatching on rail sets along my core routes (rail sets where I own all the rails and stations), to accommodate the time I have to spare at the computer, I will vary the speed somewhat, by changing either the locomotive, or the rails within the set. The class s499 and class 162 are both excellent locomotives for speeds of 108 to 120, and 126 to 140 km/h, respectively. Should I want something slower, or in-between those speeds, then I adjust the rail upgrade(s) to the desired range. Sometimes I'll use this train on routes that are as short as 800 km, but generally over 1600 km is where it gets most dispatches.
Passenger "Steam Max Profit"
Locomotive: Union Pacific Big Boy
Tender: Pennsylvania K4 Tender
Car #1 to #12: Aaz 1-0080
Speed: 113 to 126 km/h
Rail Damage: 1.4 %
Revenue: $ 1580 /km
This is the highest paying steam train configuration, currently possible in the game. What I really like about it, is the low passenger count for a full 14 unit train. This allows you to make several runs to small stations, thus making the route viable on a daily basis. You can effectively run trains to stations of $4100 and lower, and depending on the length of the route, several at the same time too. For example, in Season VI, I run a 2250 km route to a $4100 station, with 7 of these trains, each day. This particular configuration, with the the K4 Tender, allows the use of an extra 1-0080 car, as compared to using the Big Boy Tender. The idea is not mine, as although I was using something similar at the time, another player named, Marek Slancik, took that design and improved it into what is displayed above. Therefore credit goes to him, for this trains' configuration.
Questions and Answers
How come you don't mention any level 5 or 6 trains, like the Siemens, Amtraks, or TGV's?
I do not consider them to be efficient, therefore I don't use them.
So are you saying there is no need to get above level 4?
It depends on your goals. A player at experience level 3, with an efficient network plan, a repair strategy, and a good dispatching system can win a season. A Player at level 4 can assuredly do so. In season V, I came in second place, and had reached level 5, only eight days before the season ended. If you want to play just for fun (which should be everyone's goal really), then it don't matter what level you are, does it now?
You never really emphasize anything about speed or distance, why?
As the game stands now, there is no reward for such things. Carefully go through the FAQ, and you will see that the game creator has given all details and the formulas for advancing through and, winning the game. Instead, the emphasis is on operating an efficient rail network, and this is what the trains I use, are configured to do.
If you could play with just one locomotive, for the entire season, which would you choose?
The Skoda S699.001 - Acceptable purchase cost (translates into dispatch cost), low operating costs, great pulling power, acceptable rail damage. It can do everything well, and nothing badly, compared to just about any other locomotive.
What is the absolutely worse train available in the game?
The RegioPanter. I can force a bad design by configuring inadequate locomotives with low performing cars. But the RegioPanter does that on its own, without having to think about it.
Starter Rail Set Guide
It's very common that new players ask me how to make a profitable rail set when starting out. So here's a step by step guide to getting the first route going, and after about a couple of hours playing, you will have the funds necessary to start an empire.
- Click on the question mark in the top right corner of the screen, switch to the "How To Play" instructions and watch the video.
- Switch tabs and read the FAQ all the way through - two times.
- Now that you have some idea how the game goes, go back and watch the video again. Pause it whenever you are uncertain how the demonstration is being done, and replay those sections until you understand the process.
- Re-read the FAQ. Yes, re-read the FAQ again. It's not that long, and nearly all common game questions are covered within it. Compare what you learned, in the How To Play video, with what is documented in the FAQ.
- Find an area of the map where there are two small $8,100 stations, about 72 to 108 km apart. See the picture I made, for reference.
It doesn't matter where you start (as since you have read the instructions), this rail set can be sold off at any time. Stations priced at $8,100 are common throughout the entire world; North America, South America, Europe, India, Asia, Africa, and the Australasian continents have an abundance of them. Search in rural areas, not in urban ones. The countryside is much less cluttered with interlacing rails and spaced out stations, compared to the cities. Thus it is much more new player friendly. Try not to have too many stations in-between your two end stations. A few low priced ones (under $12,100) are okay, but not too many. Don't try and set-up in an area where someone already owns the rails or stations. You want neutral rails / stations in your set, so that you can soon buy them yourself. Take your time in finding an adequate spot, there's no use rushing into this game. A well placed rail set will serve you for a long time.
- Okay, you think you have found an adequate area, now construct the rail set.
What, you forgot how to lay track? Go back and watch the video, and re-read the FAQ. Do not ask how to do any of this in the game chat box. We all took the time to read, watch and learn. If you can not, then you better look for some kind of very simple game, elsewhere on the internet. After you have finished constructing the set, you should have about $90,000 left.
- Go to the Create Train menu, and select the ZSSK 810.489 locomotive (It's the little red one on the left). Next, add a ZSSK 011.238 car to it. Name the train something like "Starter - 01", and purchase it.
Total cost for the train is something like $9,240.
- You want four of those in total, so go back and create, purchase, three more.
Number them in sequence, so it's easy to track them later on while they're rolling on the rails. You should now have about $50,000 left in reserve. You will need it in order to cover the ensuing dispatch costs.
- Dispatch the four trains, one after another, on your rail set.
Give the first train enough distance and time, before dispatching one behind it, so that there aren't any collisions along the rail line. There is a speed variance upon dispatch (you read that in the FAQ, remember?), so now is the time to learn how long it takes between successive dispatches on your route. Each train should bring in about $7,500 to $10,500 in profit (depending on a number of things - all covered in the FAQ and the How To Play video).
- When the last train has reached the destination station, purchase all the rails you can afford in the rail set.
Keep enough cash in reserve to dispatch your four trains again. As you purchase rails, the dispatch costs will diminish, so verify how much you will need. If it is too hard for you to do math, then keep about $28,000.
- Dispatch the four trains in the reverse direction, along your rail set. Now you will be making more money when they arrive at the destination station.
- Buy all the rails you can, along the rail set, while keeping enough to dispatch the four trains again.
- Dispatch the four trains again. Now, you should be making near double the profit you did the first time.
- Purchase the remaining rails, and if enough cash is left over, purchase the end stations and whatever stations you have between them, if any.
Dispatch costs should now be around $924, per train. So $4,000 in reserve is more than enough. Keep dispatching, back and forth, while watching all that money roll in.
- When you feel comfortable that you now know how to run a successful rail line, you can sell the trains, rails and the set here, and relocate somewhere else. Or you can expand the existing set into branches, and lengthen it overall. Or, you can construct another one, while retaining the original one here, in another location. The world is now yours to conquer.
I look at your rail empire, and wonder; did you start out like this?
I used something a bit more complex, but essentially, yes. My first rail set was 98 km long, between two $8,100 stations, out in the middle of a desert. I ran four of those little red starter trains between them, and after an hour was expanding the original rail set. It is now incorporated within the rail network I presently operate.
Yhese little trains carry no passengers and generate hardly any money. When can I move onto bigger trains?
A: Those little Vagonka Studenka locomotives with the accompanying car, are the most cost effective trains in the game. I still use them today, on selective routes, and for specialty tasks that are beyond the scope of this guide. Use them, as described in the guide above to generate the wealth required to move onto other things. But trust me, when you do move up in levels and start experiencing the challenges that come with large expensive trains, you will miss these little trains, and appreciate them even more.
After having several individual lines running for a while, I decided to see how the game was when dispatching from a central location.
I Purchased El Paso station, and focused my efforts from that location, opening several lines to nearby, but adequately sized stations. When I was used to handling about five rail sets simultaneously (all from the central dispatch of El Paso), I expanded further to some quite large stations, and would routinely have from 14 to 19 trains on the same line, adequately spaced apart, of course. Although it was not as efficient as operating many individual lines, I found it more interesting and challenging, compared to the safety of how I was doing things before.
Then one day, not too long ago, I tried to see just how much, in number of trains and rolling stock moved, I could actually do out of El Paso. I planned it, for about two days, making sure all the trains were in the correct stations, and that the rails were all at 100% condition. When all was in place, I waited for the next day to start, so that I could devote all my spare time, over a period of 12 hours, to this project.
I started by sending out all the long routed trains first, and then worked on the shorter ones, while waiting for the time delay windows to open on dispatching other long routed trains. I worked from the dispatch menu a lot, but kept the game window centered on El Paso, so that I could see the inbound - and the outbound - trains travelling on the map near the station. You see, El Paso has four main lanes of track, from which you can enter / exit the station, and with some careful play, you can have around 6 trains going in and out without colliding. More than often, I had about two coming into the station, while I was simultaneously sending out three more. It certainly was exciting, and at some moments a little hair raising, but I survived the day without mishap.
All told,when the day came to end, the final trains had reached their destinations, and I took a tally of what had been accomplished...
- Cash Differential
- Game Points Added
- Passengers Transferred
- Freight Transferred
- Train Dispatches
- 439 (includes repair trains)
- Time Period
- 12 hours