railroad best practices

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Laie
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railroad best practices

Post by Laie »

Hello,

until now I'm set on trains of four carts, satisfying (at most) four blue belts. I don't expect that I'll ever run more than four blue belts out of any given train stop, placing another stop easier than threading lots of belts. My trains could still satisfy the load, but with quick turnaround times and a lot of coming and going. I wonder if I shouldn't switch to eight cars this time around (Factorio encourages power-of-two scaling, I don't think anything between four and eight is going to do me any good). I also consider using nuclear fuel. Will 1-8 trains running on nuclear fuel be noticeably more sluggish than 1-4 ones with rocket fuel?

What happens if I mix short (fast) and long (slow) trains? Eight wagons may be an appropriate scale for ore shipments, but I guess I will have many shorter trains for other cargoes. Will that cause trouble?

wobbycarly
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Re: railroad best practices

Post by wobbycarly »

If you go for 8 wagons, the acceleration will be noticeably slower with only 1 engine. You can add an additional engine (or 2) to significantly improve the acceleration. If you put them on the front, you'll need to completely redesign your train stops, as the train components are 7 tiles and will throw out the loading/unloading locations. However, you can also put engines on the rear (or in the middle!) and then you can just add the extra loading/unloading behind the existing where required.

A typical 1-4 setup (L=loco, C=cargo wagon) looks like this: LCCCC

WIth 8 cargo wagons you will want at least 2 locos, or even 3, so to embed these into your current network without redesign you could use:
LCCCCLCCCCL (1-4-1-4-1)
or
LCCCCCCCCLL (1-8-2)

This also has the 'advantage' of letting your 1-4 trains share the same stations.

As for a mix of slow and fast trains, or trains of different lengths, on the same network, as long as you have your intersections signaled to prevent deadlocks, there's no issue. The rule of thumb would be to have the first rail block after an intersection long enough to fit your longest train.

Serenity
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Re: railroad best practices

Post by Serenity »

Mixing train length is fine is you plan for it. The distance between junctions (for waiting) and the spacing between signals on long stretches should take int account the longer train size.

SoShootMe
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Re: railroad best practices

Post by SoShootMe »

Laie wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 12:27 am
until now I'm set on trains of four carts [...]. I wonder if I shouldn't switch to eight cars this time around [...]. I also consider using nuclear fuel. Will 1-8 trains running on nuclear fuel be noticeably more sluggish than 1-4 ones with rocket fuel?
I agree with wobbycarly's suggestion of moving to 2-8 rather than 1-8, with whatever placement of the second locomotive suits best.

Based on https://calculatorio.com/train_acceleration/, time to top speed is only slightly greater for 1-8 on nuclear fuel than 1-4 on rocket fuel, but given other considerations with moving from four to eight wagons, it's a good time to add an additional locomotive.

Laie
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Re: railroad best practices

Post by Laie »

SoShootMe wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 1:17 pm
Based on https://calculatorio.com/train_acceleration/, time to top speed is only slightly greater for 1-8 on nuclear fuel than 1-4 on rocket fuel, but given other considerations with moving from four to eight wagons, it's a good time to add an additional locomotive.
Another site for the bookmarks, thanks. Though... I *did* notice that my trains needed to go a good long way to reach top speed, the inner tier of deposits wasn't far enough away for that. But they didn't appear to be slow. I guess "time to 200kph" would be a more useful metric.

I have an inkling that a single loco would be fast enough, or at least bearable. You are right: if I don't make the switch now, I'm probably not doing it at all in this game. And in the worst case, I may end up wishing that I did but not annoyed enough to change it. Now is indeed a good time.

Nuclear fuel lasts for a little more than half an hour of train operations, a centrifuge can make 40 fuel/hour... assuming that my trains sit idle about half of the time... that will require just a handful of uranium mines. Yes, I can totally afford this. Sold!
wobbycarly wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:19 am
WIth 8 cargo wagons you will want at least 2 locos, or even 3, so to embed these into your current network without redesign you could use:
LCCCCLCCCCL (1-4-1-4-1)
or
LCCCCCCCCLL (1-8-2)
Thanks! I wasn't aware that I could put locos into arbitrary positions on the train.


New Q: will chain signals chain indefinitely? That is, if I have several chain signals in a row, the train will try to reserve all of them and only move if they're all clear?

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Re: railroad best practices

Post by Xeorm »

Chain signals only allow trains to enter if they can also leave. Chaining multiple along the same path will have them track their exits, so yes. If there's only one exit it'd lock the entire line down. The entire block gets reserved as a train passes through. Typically if I have a long stretch I'll have multiple regular signals along the way to allow for trains to move at a decent speed.

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Re: railroad best practices

Post by SoShootMe »

Laie wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 4:35 am
Nuclear fuel lasts for a little more than half an hour of train operations, a centrifuge can make 40 fuel/hour... assuming that my trains sit idle about half of the time... that will require just a handful of uranium mines. Yes, I can totally afford this. Sold!
Don't forget that two locomotives per train instead of one means twice the fuel consumption rate. (Technically, the increased acceleration reduces this slightly.)

As a starting point, I would recommend building nuclear fuel supply sufficient to power all your trains continuously. Trains running out of fuel is really annoying, but the recommendation is less about making a worst-case assumption and more about allowing you to build up a buffer of fuel quickly. That buffer allows you to manage increasing demand, giving you time to build more production when necessary, before you have trains running out of fuel.
Laie wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 4:35 am
New Q: will chain signals chain indefinitely? That is, if I have several chain signals in a row, the train will try to reserve all of them and only move if they're all clear?
It is the blocks that are reserved rather than the signals (signals show the state of the block beyond them that they protect). When an automated train approaches a chain signal, it will attempt to reserve all the block(s) along its path, up to and including the first block protected by a rail signal, or start braking to stop at the signal if it can't do so. There is no particular limit to the number of blocks reserved.

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Nosferatu
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Re: railroad best practices

Post by Nosferatu »

One more note on the trains with 8 cargo wagons. With 3 Locomotives chances are higher that your train can run over groups of evolved aliens without being stopped

Laie
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Re: railroad best practices

Post by Laie »

Nosferatu wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 8:31 am
One more note on the trains with 8 cargo wagons. With 3 Locomotives chances are higher that your train can run over groups of evolved aliens without being stopped
I have not intentions of using my trains as weapons. If any biters ever get close to one of my trains, something has already gone very, very wrong.

A 1-4 train on rocket fuel took 50 seconds, btw, and 46 on nuclear.
wobbycarly wrote:
Sat Mar 20, 2021 3:19 am
If you go for 8 wagons, the acceleration will be noticeably slower with only 1 engine. You can add an additional engine (or 2) to significantly improve the acceleration.
When I posted the question I lacked the means to just try it. But now I could. Scheduled a round trip: Station - Ore Deposit (wait 1s) - back to station. Using 8 Wagons, the measurements for one and two locos are 46 and 52 seconds, respectively. Being too lazy do devise some circuit network stuff, I used my phone as a timer, accuracy is probably on the order of half a second.

The difference in acceleration is quite noticeable, yes, but it doesn't translate to a great difference in round-trip time. I guess it may start to matter when (if) congestion ever becomes serious, but until then the second locomotive will provide just a small benefit.

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Re: railroad best practices

Post by Bauer »

You can unload one wagon on 4 fully compressed belts (see here).
I use a belt based smelter with 5 red belts in and 4 blue belts out.
Image


This incentifies a 5 wagon train design.
To make sure that they don't clog up my rail network, I use <<#####<< trains.

Conclusion:
There is no 1-fits-all best practise.

Having that said:
A good rule of thumb is: If you use different train lengths, make sure that the loco-wagon ratio is always the same/similar.
However, junction design is more important than loco-wagon ratios. This thread for reference.

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Re: railroad best practices

Post by Zanthra »

Xeorm wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 5:52 am
Chain signals only allow trains to enter if they can also leave. Chaining multiple along the same path will have them track their exits, so yes. If there's only one exit it'd lock the entire line down. The entire block gets reserved as a train passes through. Typically if I have a long stretch I'll have multiple regular signals along the way to allow for trains to move at a decent speed.
Be careful as you increase train lengths of the “ Chain signals only allow trains to enter if they can also leave.” This is only true for the nose of the train. If the train is sufficiently long, it may still occupy a chain signal protected block while it comes to a stop at the next signal past the one it was required to reserve when entering the chain signals.

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Re: railroad best practices

Post by JimBarracus »

Laie wrote:
Sun Mar 21, 2021 5:32 pm
I have not intentions of using my trains as weapons. If any biters ever get close to one of my trains, something has already gone very, very wrong.
Do you wall everything in?

I stopped doing that since artillery was available.
Biters can easily be kept away from rails, when the artillery range is sufficient.

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