Information, tools, and thoughts on tabletop games, video games, and their worlds

Route Expansion

Continuing on from First Train Route, we are ready to expand our existing route with one more train and one more platform.

Adding platforms and doubling the track

If the output of the coal mine is decently high, we really should add an extra train. Aside from increasing efficiency, always having a train ready to load will also increase our station rating which will lead to more of the industry’s output being delivered to our station. We will get into more detail about station ratings in the next part, but for now, let’s go ahead and start building some more platforms on our current stations. To make our station wider, we simply need to build another station, like before, next to the existing one, with no spaces in between, and they will automatically join. Now, we need to build some track to connect the new platform to the existing track, but we should leave at least one piece of straight track in front of each platform as we’ll be placing signals here later. Also, make sure both platforms can be reached from the depot and, if the length of the track between the two stations is pretty long, place another depot near the other station. See the example shown before the next step below if you’re not sure what this might look like.

OpenTTD: Setting up a train route

Adding signals

In order for the new tracks and stations to work with more trains, we need to add signals, so we start by clicking the Build Railway Signals button from the railway construction tool-bar, and opening the Signal Selection tool-bar. There are six different types of signals in two different styles – semaphores across the top and electric signals along the bottom. However, basic path signals of the electric style, the fifth ones from the left in the bottom row, are the easiest to use and distinguish. What these ones do is allow a train to pass through from both sides, but the trains will only obey the signal if the train can see the light from the front. Also, they will consider the route a train wants to take when a train approaches them and reserve its route to the next signal. A second train will be allowed on the same track section as long as its route or path, hence path signals, does not cross the reservation of other trains on that same track section. If the train needs to cross a reserved path, it will wait at the signal until it can make its own reservation, meaning that we should only place signals where we want a train to be able to wait, so it’s good to have a space of at least our train length between signals. These basic path signals are enough to fulfil our needs, so we’re going to pick these.

There are two ways to lay them down, manually clicking each spot along the track or by clicking and dragging. The latter will spread the signals apart by the number that is written in the Build Railway Signals tool-bar at the bottom right, making this a much easier task. So we can go ahead and place these basic path signals along the track, like shown in the image above. We should start our signals somewhere at the exit/entrance of the station, especially if we eventually want to make it a through station rather than a terminus station in the future.

OpenTTD: Setting up a train route

Adding another train

We’re almost done. All we have left to do is add another train just like the first one. However, there is a much more simple way to create a train that has the same engine and carriages as the first. We can do this by clicking on the depot to open the Depot window as normal, then clicking on the Clone Train button and then clicking on the first train, regardless of where it is on the map. An identical copy of the first train, including orders, will be placed in the depot and now we only have to start it by either clicking on the Stopped button in the Train window or the little red x in the Depot window. Alternatively, if we hold down the control button on the keyboard while clicking on the first train to clone it, the orders of both trains will be shared, meaning that when we change the orders of one of the two trains, the orders of the other train will be changed automatically as well. This can be extremely useful when we begin making much larger and more complicated networks.

OpenTTD: Setting up a train route

OpenTTD: Setting up a train route

Now it’s time to let this set-up run for a while and see how it goes. Because we chose to deal with coal, we should be making a decent amount of money without counting the cost of construction, purchase of new vehicles, or the interest from any loans we may have. Having a look at the Finances window to the right, we can see exactly how much this amount of money that these few tracks are generating for us is for the most recent years (1951 and 1952), including the current one (1953).

An option regarding what to do from here on would be to create a couple more really simple set-ups like this, which are called point-to-point connections, in order to have some more money coming in before we start work on a more complex system. Alternatively, we can just move on to creating a Basic Network.