Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

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Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-railro ... %20traffic.

"Longer trains are the most important advance in achieving economies of scale in the past quarter century.”

I have been thinking lately that short trains just suck, period, and would like to start using very long trains. I played around in editor mode, and there doesn't seem to be a limit.

Was wondering if there were any good bases that were successfully using very long trains? Not looking for designs or anything, just general impressions.

The biggest issue I see is the lack of proper train offloading equipment in Factorio, though I'm sure someone will suggest a mod for that. And limit of 12 on the visualization length? Seriously, wtf wube.

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Last edited by blazespinnaker on Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by Trific »

Factorio needs intermodal containers.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

Yeah, that'd be very nice. Rotary offloading too would speed things up. Nice animation, I'm sure.
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by pichutarius »

i agree that long trains are much more better than short trains, especially using nuclear fuel. the only downside is the bigger footprint.

my suggestion is to place rail between (through) your base. now the offloading length is as long as your base.
blazespinnaker wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:10 am
Was wondering if there were any good bases that were successfully using very long trains? Not looking for designs or anything, just general impressions.
let me shamelessly share this: viewtopic.php?f=204&t=94930
In Game14.zip , check out purple production, i use 20 wagons to ship iron and that isnt enough, i need two sets of 20 wagons.
Last edited by pichutarius on Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:40 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by SKKiro »

Gonna be honest, I really love long train but I really don't like the look of them having like 4+ locos one/both ends.

Otherwise I'd use 20+ wagon trains already.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by astroshak »

This is an old thread in the Show Your Creations part of the board, I think it is relevant here ...

viewtopic.php?p=383175#p383175 viewtopic.php?p=383175#p383175

The TC there is a fellow named Bigtrains, and that’s one VERY BIG train setup he used there. I don’t know if this has been done since 1.0 though.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

Yes, I had seen that thread. I will just say that I found the last post on the thread interesting. It's unfortunate he didn't follow up as he seemed to have some good ideas.

Serial stops is what I have in mind as well as a way of simulating IRL train offloading.

Edit: Actually, serial stops may not be required. Something like this could work, and as the distances are fairly large (railworld), the trains can just queue up on the return rail. Reverse trains shouldn't be needed. As far as I can see, resources are distributed in a fairly even way as well, though I imagine there will be statistical blips now and then. This is the rough idea, but may also used processed resources at miner posts for better stacking. I don't know how badly the start/stop nature will impair thoughput as that time is used to mine resources anyways.

The train would just path around the various patches, collecting resources as it goes.

It's a bit of a shame, as I was looking forward to doing something more complex, but complex is appearing to be rather inefficient / poorly supported.
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

pichutarius wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:31 am
i agree that long trains are much more better than short trains, especially using nuclear fuel. the only downside is the bigger footprint.

my suggestion is to place rail between (through) your base. now the offloading length is as long as your base.
blazespinnaker wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:10 am
Was wondering if there were any good bases that were successfully using very long trains? Not looking for designs or anything, just general impressions.
let me shamelessly share this: viewtopic.php?f=204&t=94930
In Game14.zip , check out purple production, i use 20 wagons to ship iron and that isnt enough, i need two sets of 20 wagons.
Yeah, I was thinking about that, but I wanted to do something where the train is not integrated into the factory. The idea being that I'd like to abstract / encapsulate the inputs / outputs for purpose of a mod I have in mind.

I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'bigger footprint'. It seems to me that less rail is required, fewer junctions, no stackers, etc etc.
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by pichutarius »

SKKiro wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:38 am
Gonna be honest, I really love long train but I really don't like the look of them having like 4+ locos one/both ends.
Seperate loco evenly between the wagons, it looks better. Eg: LCCCCLCCCCLCCCC looks better than LLLCCCCCCCCCCCC
blazespinnaker wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 10:52 am
I'm not quite sure what you mean by 'bigger footprint'. It seems to me that less rail is required, fewer junctions, no stackers, etc etc.
I meam the loading/unloading station. Need more inserters/chests. Bigger offloading footprint means not many train stop can fit in. Either i need to limit which intermediate items shipped by train, or different intermediate has to share the same train, which is annoying.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

Why is it annoying that different resources share the same train?

I was thinking, given the queue and how it will work, the only delay will be the time for the last stop as all trains will be queued up behind it.

eg:

Let's say you have a 42 long cargo train. It has outpost / input stops: copper, iron, coal, stone, oil/water. At each stop it loads up necessary intermediates to construct a sufficient number of outputs (say, 50 of each color science). Each outpost has inserters and located along the tracks to insert into a particular reserved cargo train. Outposts produce plates, gears, steel, walls[1] as well as just plain raw. This allows for far far faster loading times and stacking given the resources required, especially in expensive mode. Eg: The equivalent of 4.8k steel in one cargo train would require 10x loadings and 20x cargo trains if I were going to ship back raw ore.

Possibly refined fluids as well, have to think about that. Water is required, and I don't want to pipe anything and I want my outposts to be single resource required, ie the one being mined. One possibility though is to ship water back to the outposts on the trip out, but again, want to think about that.

Once it's done the route, it returns home and queues up behind any trains which are going into the factory. They offload, leave and return to the route.

Position the train stop strategically to ensure optimal loading at outposts.

I sort of see what you're saying about more inserters / chests at the main base, but this will be offset by fewer intermediate assemblers / furnaces at the factory.

edit: [1] Thinking about this further, the same applies to stone bricks and engines. Belts, it comes out even, but I'll have gears and plates already on belts - so maybe? Added pollution is a factor, but I'm already at max EF and lasers will tech up. Green modules can help, whats a few more assemblers. Lost Prod bonus will outstrip prod modules fairly soon at my SPM rate, and I tend to pref speed modules anyways.

For fluids, sulfur at outposts seems good (about 4x fluid wagons required for fluid equivalent), jet fuel yes, even with the massive stacking penalty. 300 fluid, means one fluid wagon can transpo ~80 jetfuels, versus 400 in a cargo train. That seems about it, unless I want to ship out more resources between outposts, which I don't, most I'll do is some big water trains.

I'll probably end up doing logistics bots for RCU/LDS -> Rocket assembler. Stacking penalties beg for it. I'll blame Wube for that one. :D

edit:

Here's the train ratios for all sci, minus white sci (assuming 42 cargo/wagon)

Copper 14
Petro 7
Iron Plates 6
Coal 6

Raw Stone, Brick, Wall 3
Steel 2
Sulfur 1
Engines/Gear/Belt 1
Water 1
Lubricant 1
42


Lubricant is a tad annoying as it really takes very little, but it's either that or oil / heavy oil. I suppose I could also do coal liquefication.

White sci:


Copper 18
Petro 8
Iron + Steel 8
Coal 5
Jetfuel + Sulfur 2
Water 1

42
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by Koub »

blazespinnaker wrote:
Sat Feb 13, 2021 12:10 am
https://www.wsj.com/articles/why-railro ... %20traffic.

"Longer trains are the most important advance in achieving economies of scale in the past quarter century.”

I have been thinking lately that short trains just suck, period, and would like to start using very long trains. I played around in editor mode, and there doesn't seem to be a limit.
Companies have plenty of reasons to keep adding train cars. Long trains save on fuel and crews, reducing the cost of rail transportation.
I don't quite agree. Well IRL, sure, I guess the journalist who wrote this article knows his stuff at least a little.

But in Factorio, we don't really care about train fuel, we don't have any crew, and there is no money to save. All we're left with is inconvenience of having to design a rail network with huge intersections and huge train stops. There may be advantages to long trains in Factorio (for example higher throughput for a given cost of UPS), but I lack the time, patience and know-how to compare several equivalent train systems (with different train lengths) on that respect.

Lastly, I can't discuss on the cool factor. I guess there is something to brag about "my trains are longer than yours", but honestly, that's the kind of things I don't really care.
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by T-A-R »

It's certainly possible. I once made a base built around 8-48 trains. It hit 10K spm but main bottleneck was the main railroad of 8 tracks, because of the slow trains blocking intersections for a long time.

My current project has the trains upgraded to 8-48-8, and a decentralized rail network to reduce crossings (target 20k).
Both were long term projects, and each took hundreds of hours.
You have to think about your strategy how to transfer from your bootstrap base, to the large production modules in a efficient way.

But if you want fast game then i would suggest that shorter trains are far more fun to build with, since it takes way less effort to set up the infrastructure (or use creative mods).

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by Zool »

For me it makes a huge difference what exactly you are transporting.
For ore to smelter trains, 4-16 or whatever can work well, especially if you design your delivery trains in a waythat they don‘t touch „the inner network“. Personally, I usually stick to 2-8 or 2-8-2 designs in this area, simply due to thelocktimes of crossings. Also, the longer the trains are the higher is the risk that their end stops in a crossing and blocks other trains.

For the in-fab-traffic, I rather stick to small trains of standarized 1-4 or 2-4 format. For 90% of the materials, that works quite well.

Also, the design of the various railstations where for example ore gets loaded gets really unpractical with huge trains. What we got working perfectly later in game (with like 20 or 30 researches in miner efficiency) was a direct miner-to-train design, where you simply have no belts at all. Miners on both sides of the train load REALLY fast at later efficiency stages. You can fit 4 miners per wagon, and have no „dead areas“ at all.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

T-A-R wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 2:00 pm
It's certainly possible. I once made a base built around 8-48 trains. It hit 10K spm but main bottleneck was the main railroad of 8 tracks, because of the slow trains blocking intersections for a long time.

My current project has the trains upgraded to 8-48-8, and a decentralized rail network to reduce crossings (target 20k).
Both were long term projects, and each took hundreds of hours.
You have to think about your strategy how to transfer from your bootstrap base, to the large production modules in a efficient way.

But if you want fast game then i would suggest that shorter trains are far more fun to build with, since it takes way less effort to set up the infrastructure (or use creative mods).
Hey Tar, glad you stopped by. Your post on the thread above about rotating around patches inspired me a bit:
Screenshot 2021-02-14 144222.png
Screenshot 2021-02-14 144222.png (575.83 KiB) Viewed 1556 times

I have to say the *exact* opposite regard complexity. Long trains are the easiest thing in the world, at least for me. They have simplified my Factorio play by factors of 10x, mostly for achieving greater throughput. The only slight complexity was calculating train cargo ratios as per above. Getting that right is very important. I figure I can queue up about 7? trains on that track with train signals to keep them from crashing into the one ahead. It'll be a fun challenge to get each outpost building the intermediates as fast as possible.

When patches drain, I just need to redirect the track to go to fresh patches. I'll just dump any old patches and move onto new ones. As things stretch out, will need to add seperate rotation tracks, but there is no complexity there. Just one more chain signal / rail signal.

I have the 42 + 10 train rotate around and collect all intermediates that are single raw resource sourced (except fluid, currently piping in water, but will create a water train for oil fields later, nothing will be piped on this map). Stack filters and cargo train filters(!) make sharing intermediates in a single cargo a snap. Too bad you can't do it for fluid, cause lubricant is crazy wasting a fluid wagon. Anyways, this simplifies the main factory considerably. Using a 4x4 / 16 chunk layout for the full sci-white factory, but will compress that down to 3x3 / 9 chunk later when I get some time and motivation.

Not entirely sure what SPM a single factory will be, maybe .5K? This combined with the abstraction mod I'm building though will make it very UPS efficient as I'll be able to stamp down virtual factories at zero UPS cost. The mod will calculate tick accuracy deterministic input/output costs based on the initial factory and will report on them as well, so that should be interesting to me.

Here's the factory so far, just have purple/yellow left to rough in.
Screenshot 2021-02-14 144712.png
Screenshot 2021-02-14 144712.png (70.55 KiB) Viewed 1556 times

For chuckles, here's the nightmare I had created before. The main issue is that train pathing and your ability to manage it in factorio is, well, I can't find community suitable words to describe it.
Screenshot 2021-02-14 150156.png
Screenshot 2021-02-14 150156.png (520.26 KiB) Viewed 1543 times
I tried adding train stops to penalize heavy throughput areas, but nah uh. After reading IRL stuff about long trains though, it clicked that it was the only way to fly.

Also, I'm praying long trains can run over behemoths with impunity. Anyone know?
For ore to smelter trains
Ore to smelter trains are so inefficient. In expensive mode, it takes 20 ore wagons to match one steel wagon. Maybe in early/mid game, but late game, everything you can built at outposts the better.
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by Trific »

blazespinnaker wrote:
Sun Feb 14, 2021 10:56 pm
For chuckles, here's the nightmare I had created before. The main issue is that train pathing and your ability to manage it in factorio is, well, I can't find community suitable words to describe it.
That resembles the monstrosity that I recently built and am currently dismantling in favor of something more open. My realization was that the one thing that is not in short supply is space, and therefore no need to build everything so cramped.

However, I am going with short trains, as they clear intersections much faster, and the only clogs that have developed were due to bad signaling at some intersections in the beginning and a really bad kludge of a connection with my old system while transitioning everything out of it.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

Well, it was an experiment in grid computing :)

I really can't see any rational argument for short trains. Esthetics and playing around with signaling and what passes for an (ahem) as pathing, yes, but throughput? The math doesn't add up. One long train can carry 42 wagons of input, with no delay, just straight flow of input. A short train of 4 + 2, that would require 10 different incoming trains, probably with 6 or 7 different categories of stops. The time between each train leaving/coming is wasted throughput, and that's assuming you have 100% perfect throughput on your network.

And AFAIK, I have 100% perfect throughput. I have 6 trains, all with the same dimensions and route - and I've been running it for 30 minutes. Not once has there not been a train ready and waiting to enter the stop as soon as the previous one leaves. And that makes obvious sense, look at the design. It's just a loop!
clear intersections much faster
Intersections? What are those? :) As per above, there are no need for intersections with long trains. I suppose you could do the same design with short trains, but why would you? And even if there is a need for the rare intersection, with a top speed of 300km/h, a long train can clear it in about 1 or 2 seconds. Max tech + Nuclear fuel is very fast.

The only real argument I see for short trains is if you want to create something similar to what I did above. Ie, small, isolated and focused factories that are building intermediates. They only need two or three inputs each. There is some fun in that for sure, especially if you are interested in creating well tuned individual factories. You can do this with long trains, but it isn't the same for sure. As pichutarius mentioned above - bigger footprint.
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by Trific »

I say toe-may-toe, you say toe-mah-toe.

I'm going for maximum flexibility in an unpredictable world full of potential disruptions (just biters now, maybe more disasters later). That layout looks like tons of SPF's and very tight coupling between inputs and outputs. Perfect for a completely predictable world, but one biter chewing on a rail and the whole thing grinds to a halt.

Just what I like about Factorio, we can each build to what we want to.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

I will say, watching the long trains is very boring. Like a very reliable clock that just goes round and round, never doing anything exciting. Nothing clever or complex, no problems to solve. It's like using an infinity chest for your production source.

What I built before was much more fun, if not particularly rational.
I'm going for maximum flexibility in an unpredictable world full of potential disruptions
Oh? Are you playing DW marathon too? :) Sometimes I wonder if I'm the only one that has ever done this, at least to this extent.

viewtopic.php?f=204&t=96040
viewtopic.php?f=5&t=88833&start=80
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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by Trific »

I expect I will get there eventually. I'm gonna stress test this by seeing how far I can scale it up, and then throw some bad biters at it.

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Re: Anyone standardizing on very long trains?

Post by blazespinnaker »

I added a couple of patches as the enhanced throughput was eating through what I had too fast. This required a couple more trains. You can see how it will start to scale.

I timed it, 294 wagons are unloaded every 3.5 minutes in the single base, enough for about ~2k spm in default (ignoring white science). I'd be curious how to do that with short trains. Whatever the design, I can't imagine it will be as simple as 7 trains, 8 stops, and one rail loop with no intersections.

In fact, there are only 2 stop names - TrainMain and TrainContinue. Everytime I add a new stop on the loop, I call it TrainMain and add one right after called TrainContinue. Each train on the loop only has 2 stop route, TrainMain (wait 30 seconds), and TrainContinue (No wait). This makes it so I don't have to change any train routes when I add or remove stations.

I'll admit though, it was making me sleepy just watching it. Like clockwork. Where's the fun in that? :D
Screenshot 2021-02-15 034934.png
Screenshot 2021-02-15 034934.png (652.09 KiB) Viewed 1343 times
Going to take a bit of a break from factorio for awhile, pretty satisfied with this solution, plus another pretty interesting project landed in my lap. Have fun, folks!
Last edited by blazespinnaker on Thu Feb 18, 2021 3:26 am, edited 1 time in total.
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