Building railroads doesn't get discussed much, so I thought I would start a thread on this subject for people to share their tips and secrets for successful railroads.
A couple nights ago I started playing with railroads for the first time to see what kind of impact they would have. I quickly discovered building railroads in SimCity 4 is WAY different than SimCity 3000. First off they are more realistic and require sweeping curves instead of right angles. This is good for realism but a challenge to master when laying out track (especially when retrofitting track into an existing city).
My first tip deals with passenger train stations. Being the silly fool I am, I built a main rail line and then put some strategically placed passenger rail stations directly against the the main line. Bad idea. . . Pretty quickly my stations pretty quickly exceeded their capacity even one in a corner industrial area. I thought this was pretty weird so I started investigating. What I discovered was that the passengers were getting off and then on again at every single train station. It was the darnedest thing.
Obviously this wasn't going to cut it, it was creating congestion all along the rail line. I decided to see what would happen if I moved the train stations one tile away from the main line and then add a parallel siding to the main line in the space between the main line and train stations. This siding was then connected to the main line at both ends. What do you know, it worked. Some trains would stop at the stations but others would pass it by, which immediately cut congestion at the stations as passengers were only getting off at the station if it was their destination or they were changing modes of transportation (e.g. catching a subway).
My second tip is with U-Drive train missions. Much to my surprise and disappointment, trains in SimCity don't have reverse (at least not that I could find). This means the odds are you can not successfully complete a train mission unless you put rail loops in at the end of your rail lines. Is that dumb or what?