RRT 3 Tips and Strategies from the Heineken & Pacific Railroad
I achieved gold at hard level in most (about 2/3 where finished) of the campaign scenarios of the beta, so I'm going to outline some approaches for the ones I remember.
This is actually pretty difficult when trying to lay connect track at the end. As you don't actually have to run a train from Boston to Buffalo it makes it just a matter of getting the money to string track. This can be your first encounter with the industrial model. Start out by looking for ideal industries to buy with company money. Issue stock at the beginning and every year there after. Ignore the AI railroads, as they mostly will go bankrupt. They can only get in your way. Start out by getting as much money as possible. Use it to buy up as many Dairy farms at close to $350,000 as possible. Don't pay over $500,000 for any. Next, try to find any cattle ranches that are as close to $350,000 as you can. Don't pay over $500,000 for any of these. By this time your money many have run out. It may be advisable to by pass the most remote of these farms as you can pick them up cheaply in a year or so before their products reach market and their prices soars. So start the time going and let her go. Watch your money roll in. As soon as you have enough to buy another farm do so. You can look for concentrations of grain farms. If they are around $140,000, buy some of them. When you have enough money later, you can build a Brewery close to them.
After two years I had an income of over $1 million a year. I sold some bonds and bought a meat packer in the stream of cattle flowing down the Hudson near Albany. Keep plowing money into industries for a number of years. You can get a yearly income of several million. When you feel you have enough try to string burn track from Boston to Albany. From Albany it's pretty hard to go along the Mohawk to Buffalo. I tried several ways. I eventually went as far as the northern edge of the board and came back down along the shore of lake Erie.
I tried this map again in the release version and I was able to lay track down southern side of the Mohawk valley so maybe I'm getting better at laying track or some cliffs have been smoothed down. I had about 4 years to go before the gold limit so with $11 million in cash I began laying single wood bridge tunnel-less track from Boston to Albany to Buffalo. In the end I had about $ 4 million left over.
Use industry to gain wealth. Look around map for cattle farms and dairies. Issue stock each year because this is not about PNW. You might be able to lay track over Sierras as the troops only go one way - down, but I went to the north end of the central valley and went near the northern part of the map to Salt Lake. Once you have the connection start sending trains from Salt Lake. You might want to zoom in on the train and take the ride too.
You can get a taste of oil in this map. Oil wells are even better than dairies if there are refineries on the map. Buy them cheap. Keep looking around each year as new ones pop up all the time. Watch out for Mexico. Bad things happen to trains there. You have to go there but don't spend too much on track. Connect to AI rails and make some money hauling to their cities. They will use your rails as well.
You have to take over the AI railroads so you watch them closely. Usually the one that connects to Madison does quite well. Invest you own money in that one. Sometimes one additional one will do fairly well too. The others are likely to go bankrupt. However, if they can join together they tend to survive. For your own company stay with industry. Use profits from there to invest more and merge with weak AI's.
You might try making money by first shorting the stock of weaker AI s. Then when cheap buy lots of the stock and have your railroad merge with them while paying exorbitant amounts of money. Use the money from this to leverage a majority position in the best AI roads. Finally, when you gain 51% of the stock of the strongest RR, merge with it. Your industry will sustain you as you first link these railroads. The passenger service really picks up if there are a lot of places to go to.
The one map that the railroads trounce the industry market. I suppose the reason is that the land area is small and the cities packed together. I couldn't find any farms that weren't hugely overpriced. Some mines and ranches at the extreme ends were cheap but these may never get cargoes to market. I noticed the AI railroads in the central part of the map near Liverpool Manchester and Birmingham did quite well. Other starts may be better. Unless I saw a new dairy start and was cheap, I didn't do farms.
But wait! Other things like Textile mills and Tool & Die can make loads of cash. Check the cargo streams. If a strong stream flows to some mill, you can poach this by building your own industry just upstream a couple of cells. Like German Town, you might want to short a weak AI here to make some quick money. As you take over AI railroads, you should overpay for them if you have much of the stock. This stokes your personal coffers and lets you get a bigger share of the largest AI when the time comes. I might have only gotten silver in this map as I had a lot of trouble getting my average train speed up to the required amount. I am hoping my trains were not averaged with those of the AI trains that I took over. Looks like they lowered the speed to 12 mph. It was 25 in the beta. Gold is possible.
The Orient Express
This was one of the harder ones. Especially if you were to try it, like in RRT2. I tried several times to get enough money to buy territory rights (They were double in beta) and run track from Vienna to Istanbul. Running trains in Austria-Hungary is a treat. But it doesn't make enough to buy into the neighboring countries. I did get gold in beta the day the retail game came out by only investing in industry. I needed $18million just for territory rights. I operated one train the last year to get an average speed. It ran from one city to the next with about 2 cars. Then I retired it. The last month of the last year for gold, I bought rights, ran burn track. I could have sold industry too if I needed additional cash. In the end, I spent like $26 million to meet the connection requirements.
But the latest version looks more realistic. The cost to get rights are high but are about half of what I paid. You can probably run trains for much of the game. I though prefer to play the industrial game. To do so choose Industry & Construction, then choose Industry. You will eventually get a 30% break in buying industries -Ka-Ching!! Then you do the usual. Look for dairies first, then cattle. Then wool or grain. Later iron and coal near Vienna will allow you to build a steel mill there. You might try to buy the steel mill down by Belgrade but sometimes there are two of them. But a good thing would be to eventually build a Tool & Die somewhere where the steel streams to.
There are lots of good opportunities for industrial wealth on this map. But you shouldn't issue stock right away unless you sell out your own stock to short the AI's who eventually always die. Then buy back in. To get personal wealth you may have to do a lot of margin buying and while your company buys back of its own stock. Pay dividends when you get a high percentage of stock to reduce your margin. This map is a financial balancing act between self-enrichment and expanding your company. You really don't need to get territory rights until the very end unless you want to either build industries in those countries or you want to see your trains run from Vienna to Istanbul. Also, do not take over any AI RR's. You may get stuck with their poor speed performance thus killing your chances for gold.
Note - If you want to see something interesting take on the Jules Verne quest.