nedfumpkin wrote:I think the key to this scenario is to focus only on cargo that you need to haul to make the stuff you need, and forget about all the other cargo, except express cargo.
I'd largely agree with that. In the New England area you can ship furniture around freely, and I've had a New York - Philadelphia train which hauls any cargo from either city. (although if you need to use the oil from New York, or chemicals from Philadelphia then you may need to change this train.
I loaded a saved game of my playtest and I was in the year 1999. I had 31 trains, and 26 of them had at least 1 stop where they used a custom consist. I suppose with having to set consists so frequently the map brings back a sort of RT2 consist making feel. Overall on this map the more direct trains seem to work better as then your cargoes get to the right city, and a non-stop route keeps your speed up.
The way I played the map:
Early on a bought one of the lumber mills in Hartford or Syracuse. Then I'd buy the other one, and if they seemed to be gathering extra logs I'd upgrade them. You may also be able to buy the furniture factory if you take out a bond and issue some stock. Usually the furniture factory makes a large profit on its own with a steel mill and lumber mill on the other side of the mountain, and the lumber mill in Hartford. Then over the next couple of years I bought a textile mill in Columbia (or Atlanta, but I know I'd be supplying the Columbia one in the future), a few logging camps, and the paper mill in Virginia Beach.
I do not know of the exact years I bought these industries, but I have a saved game from 1976 where I owned all these as well as the bottling plants in Tampa. In 1974 I connected NY to Philly (single rail) and had FP45 running between the two cities. In 1975 I connected Tampa and Miami and had an FP9 running between them. I also had 7 bonds issued in late 1976 at 7 or 8% interest as the prime rate was 5%. I'm fairly sure I had a couple bonds early and then the economy picked up so I refinanced them and issued more so I could buy more industries and start my railroad.
Rather than focus solely on the Tampa or New York area I expanded both parts of my rail network at the same time. Build North from Tampa to Gainsville, Jacksonville, Savannah, and Charleston. Between Savananah and Charleston I'd create another route that would go up to Columbia. With these connected you can make a profit running any cotton, hemp, or wool you can find in Florida to the Columbia textile mill, then bring the textiles back to Miami for them to be made into glass. (depending on how much cottom you are sending to Columbia you eventually might consider building a textile plant in Florida). You can also make a profit by sending some rubber from Miami to Savannah and using the aluminum from Charleston to make electronics (you might not even need a train to bring the aluminum in as the tycoonians often like to haul it from Charleston to Savannah. While eventually you might need that aluminum at the bottling plant, you can usually spare enough aluminum to make some electronics. Particularly if you are sending textiles down to Miami to be converted into glass. Since electronics are largely a decoy to use up some of your valuable resources you really don't need to make any. (although they can be used to make machinery and make more glass at the glass factory, which could be a viable method. Early on the bottling plant stopped accepting glass, but now that it accepts glass forever you may take advantage of the glass factory. I think I just shipped in aluminum from Charleston, New York, and Raleigh though. Anyways I don't think I created an event saying it, but there is a quick hint in the readme, if you ship enough electronics out of Savannah you'll be rewarded with increased Acceleration, which makes it easier to make the speed goal.
As for the Northern branch of my railroad I connected to Hartford to New York for two reasons: 1. to bring lumber to NY, but more importantly 2. I then connected to Virginia Beach and could bring pulpwood down there to be processed into paper. Early on you can ship the paper around the New England area, but later you may have to stop that or at least reduce the amount they take as I used the paper later down in the cereal plant and candy factory. Although I also built a paper mill in Florida to take advantage of the hemp. This way I could load up with some paper as well as other required cargoes (rice, grain, sugar, or fruit depending on if I was going to Montegomery or Baton Rouge) Eventually you'll want to connect the Port near Boston (you might not want to actually connect Boston though as there is a hill which could slow your speed) and Richmond and start shipping the Bauxite from NY and the Boston area port to be made into aluminum. Eventually once Tampa is connected to NY and you're shipping the food from Tampa up you're trains will need something to return back to Tampa with. Stopping in Richmond and/or Charleston to pick up aluminum are a good way to utilize the trains so you don't have to add another costly train on a crowded track to run a similar route. [I had the 2 cities connected by 1981, I had 8 bonds at 5% each]
A few reminders, be careful of any grocery stores, military outposts, or any other buildings that uses up your limited food supply or other resources.
Also issue stock and keep issuing stock. Without any personal net wealth requirements who cares what happens to the value of the company. Just keep issuing stock each year (at least early on) just for the extra cash you can reinvest into the railroad.
That's a rough run through of how I played the first 10+ years. If anyone would care for more detail or for me to continue my walkthrough just let me know.