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I hate how this game doesn't give you nearly all the numbers you need. It gives no hint as to how fast trains are, or how much weight affects them. I want to know, does having more cargo space cause greater throughput then having faster speed? Is the trade-off actually worth it or not?

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    I can agree it's a bit challenging to determine what ratios are in this game, but have you looked at this calculator? I'm unsure if it has train info, but you might find it useful for other things. I used it a lot in my last playthrough to make some efficient factory designs.
    – Timmy Jim
    Feb 22 at 3:01
  • The problem with trains is: The longer the track, the more impact has the speed. I actually always worked with 1L:2W (1 Locomotive, 2 Wagons) trains early on and later with 1L:4W:1L trains, as the stations fit best. if they're too slow, just add more L's at the end. Also: faster trains means more use of a single track, as it won't be occupied as long by one train. Many many factors to calculate the "true" efficency here Mar 1 at 7:30
  • Are you asking about absolute wagon count, or wagon per locomotive count? Iirc if you keep the ratio the same, you can have arbitrarily long trains that move at the fastest speed
    – Caleth
    Mar 1 at 14:41

1 Answer 1

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According to the wiki:

  • Heavier trains accelerate more slowly and are less affected by friction and air resistance.
  • Each locomotive adds 2000 to the weight, and each cargo wagon 1000.
  • The train's weight doesn't affect its top speed, only its acceleration.

Under ideal circumstances - on a long straight run with no obstructions - most of the train's time will be spent at top speed and a shorter train will have no benefit. But even if it spends most of the trip accelerating, a shorter train is usually less efficient.

Taking a common 1-2-1 train as our baseline, a shorter 1-1-1 train has 87% of the weight and therefore 120% of the acceleration. But even if this means you could take 120% as many trips in the same time (which you can't, because the train doesn't spend all of its time accelerating), each one only has half of the capacity, so your overall throughput is only 60%.

Conversely, a 1-4-1 train is 133% as heavy as the 1-2-1 train and has 75% as much acceleration. But, it hauls twice as much, putting its minimum throughput at 150% of the baseline.

Shorter trains are more convenient for small to midsize bases and are easier to design your rail network around. They also have lower latency, and so are suitable for emergency dispatch of e.g. repair supplies. However, they have less throughput than longer trains.

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  • So longer trains then do have better throughput? That said, what effect does having a slow mine have on all this? Assume you have enough miners to supply your base, but its output must be delivered by train. If you built more cargo wagons, they would take longer to fill up. At base though they would empty faster. This means the train would spend more time at the mining colony. Would this offset the time saved sitting at the deposit?
    – user244070
    Mar 1 at 19:14
  • Basically, assuming your mine had x output, if you had longer trains would loading times at the two stations offset each other or would number of cargo wagons have an effect on throughput? The mine could only load so fast, but the deposit has no cap in how fast it can unload sine more cargo wagons always means more inserters. The only limit is how fast the deposit is using the delivery. I've never had a train longer than 4 wagons. I have however done a setup with three 1-2 trains going to the same mine. That really helped with throughput since one train could be loading while another unloaded.
    – user244070
    Mar 1 at 19:16
  • You can always have more mines. If a station empties a train in a minute, it can be supplied by one mine that fills a train in one minute, or five that fill a car in five minutes. Either way you have the same rate of trains arriving.
    – Cadence
    Mar 2 at 3:38
  • Having extra trains also helps reduce the effect of travel time on your throughput. The ideal would be to always have at least two trains at each station, one loading/unloading and the other on deck so that it can move to load/unload as soon as the last is finished.
    – Cadence
    Mar 2 at 3:43
  • I did this thing one game where each track had 3 trains. That way, one could be loading, the second unloading, and the third would be in transit during these times. I did make room though in case they all wanted to unload but could not due to the resources not being eaten up fast enough. I ended up having to add a second track with three more trains for copper. It was quite a sight to see.
    – user244070
    Mar 2 at 10:06

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