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  1. #1
    Mayor of SimCity Forum Ken's Avatar
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    Building effective railroads

    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?
    Ken Barbalace - Mayor of SimCity Forum
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  2. #2
    I agree with the u-drive it, they should have put in reverse. Its also very easy to crash trains if you drive to fast with them.

    As for building them, it is a challenge to build them into an already established city although I find it helps to run them parallel to roads or in between two zone types.
    Sim City 4 rox my sox!

  3. #3
    Mayor of SimCity Forum Ken's Avatar
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    At first I tried to run my railroads parallel to my road, but I found this caused problems with keeping road access to commercial and residential zones. I also found it more difficult to intersect rail lines or put in curves. Another issue was that existing bus and subway stops got in the way. I now keep rail lines two or three tiles away from roads. Keeping them three tiles away from roads works better for placing passenger train stations and rail sidings
    Ken Barbalace - Mayor of SimCity Forum
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  4. #4
    yes it does affect access, but i usually included a tree buffer zone and a parallel road not to far away. I find that rail lines are much more effective for cross city travel and intercity travel rather than short distance travel.

    Intersections and curves are annoying, take up space, and are another con to using them for small distances like downtown.
    Sim City 4 rox my sox!

  5. #5
    Mayor of SimCity Forum Ken's Avatar
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    I've gotten my railroad curves down to the point where they don't use any extra tiles than a square corner, its just that at corners I lose the inside tile instead of the outside tile. The problem is I can not make a curve into a parallel road unless there are at least two tiles of separation between them.

    A 'T' junction can be made to cost as little as one extra tile, but it requires a 2x3 tile area. The real cost comes in with "+" junctions. These junctions cost four extra tiles and need a 3x3 tile area.
    Ken Barbalace - Mayor of SimCity Forum
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  6. #6
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    I have been very successul with rails and i will post screenshots and advice later this week when i find the time.

    I've started regions by putting rails down and then industry. it's a great way to start a region and create demand.

    Rails are something you have to plan a long way in advance and often they do not get used to their full extent until the city fills in. For this reason i feel like the passenger train is a great regional system and not a great local system as suggested in the last post. subway and elevated rail is more for local traffic whereas the train would be regionally located for connecting smaller/industrial towns. and the train stations always get congested in big cities, i used mods in the past for larger train stations for this reason. the ninja boulevard stations connect rail and subway so you can have 2 lines going down the same throughfare creating something liek what we've got in Market St, San Francisco with BART underground and muni F-line above ground going along the same large street. A large city may only have 5 or 6 train stations (caltrain SF has 3 stops), while a medium or small size will have 2-3 (2 on the borders, 1 downtown). At least this is the way i've used it and it works great. more to come on passenger rails from me later.

  7. #7
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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8915804@N06/3409063462/

    Hey hey everybody! So when I build my railroads, I set up a bypass line for every local station, that way the passengers do no have to stop at every train station. ken does something similar by setting up bypass lines in his subway system. I simply give my train stations an extra parallel rail and connect them at either side, this helps rail congestion. I see this is working as there are different #s of passengers on the different segments of rails...good stuff.

    I have noticed that the last stations in my city get alot more traffic than any "downtown" local stops. it seems people are driving, catching the subway, jumping on the bus, to my last station so they can take the train out of town. in that regards the train station is a good, cheap regional option. in the downtown area, people seem to use the subway and monorail much more than my train. Conclusion: for some reason people like to ride the train out of town, not in town.

    I'd like to add more pictures later, If you get to my flickr account via the link check out the few overview images I have of my city - North Cove. More to come later.

  8. #8
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    http://www.flickr.com/photos/8915804...n/photostream/

    I added some more photos to my Flickr account to show you my Passenger Rail System. Last time I added more closeups, this time I focused on showing the traffic flow of my rail. I wanted to remind everyone that rail serves as both a passenger rail and a freight train rail, so i added my freight train traffic as well. I don't use that as much anymore now that I'm developed, but North Cove was an edge city to the north, nothing is bordering it except the Simnation. I was able to export on the rail early on with industry even though I had no one in my region. Hopefully this helps in the building of some of your rail systems.

  9. #9
    You know what's the problem with railway in SimCity 4? However I make the railroad system it always ends up either never used or incorrect in the sense that it doesn't go in a circle.

  10. #10
    Senior Resident koreankid11's Avatar
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    Most of my railroad doesn't reach the areas it is needed in...
    My city is now to big to expand the railroad system... any help on that?
    http://thesonicnation.wordpress.com

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