Coach Yard

Troublesome Conversions

There are several types of train in the Rail Route with different modes of operation. Most common are the commuter trains (starting with ‘Com’ prefix) that stop at every station. Currently, there are two variants:

  • There-and-back trains (e. g. Dejvice–Bubny–Dejvice) abundant from the very beginning of the game. The player just dispatches them according to their schedule as they appear and disappear at border stations.
  • One-way trains (e. g. Dejvice–Bubny) which are more complex to handle because they stop at their terminus and wait there until the player reuses the train by accepting another contract (e. g Bubny–Podbaba). We have received numerous complaints about this feature. It is hard to explain, hard to understand, too rigid and very fragile – the conversion tends to amplify minor delays to major jams. We have introduced a rule that those contracts are generated only after unlocking Contract Management to address these issues (the player knows what he does and has tools to fix the problems) but we felt a major change is needed here further.

The Coach Yard

Busy station with an empty coach yard

Busy station with an empty coach yard

To break the rigid link between the converts from and converts to train, we are introducing the Coach Yard building. Once Coach Yard is unlocked, the player can build one close to each station. It accepts and stables Com and IC trains and keeps counter for each of them. If a train is present there, it can be dispatched manually according to the station’s timetable (receives standard reporting number) or as an empty coaching stock (ECS) train intended for moving the carriages between coach yards.

Automated dispatching unlocked and enabled for commuter trains.

Once Coach Yard Automation is unlocked, the player can set up the automated dispatching and fine tune the ‘In Advance’ time needed for the trains to reach their platforms.

Contracts

An offered one-way contract – train shall be stabled at Bubny

An offered one-way contract – train shall be stabled at Bubny

Indeed, these changes have some impact on Com and IC contracts:

  • Contracts for trains coming from outside of the map and ending in some of the stations are generated once Coach Yard is unlocked, but the player is not able to accept them before he builds a coach yard for the destination station.
  • Contracts for trains starting in a station are generated if there is a stabled train (of matching type) in the station’s coach yard
  • “Incoming” and “outgoing” contracts and trains are no longer linked by converts from–converts to binding.
  • There-and-back commuter contracts and IC contracts running through the map from border to border are unaffected.

Long Story Short

So, once the player unlocks Coach Yard a Dejvice–Bubny contract is generated. The player can not accept it until he builds a coach yard for Bubny. After doing so, he accepts and dispatches the trial train to Bubny. After finishing its stop in Bubny, the train starts moving again and the player routes it to Bubny’s coach yard where it is stabled. Then, a Bubny–Podbaba contract is generated. The player accepts it and the trial train appears in the waiting list in the coach yard. The player dispatches it from the coach yard, via Bubny to Podbaba where the train exits the map. This repeats every hour until both contracts are active.

Balancing the Unbalanced

Imbalanced station indication on coach yard icon and in detail panel.

Clearly, if the player does not accept the Bubny–Podbaba or any other contract from Bubny, inbound and outbound train count becomes unbalanced and each hour another train is stabled in Bubny’s coach yard (recurrent contracts repeat each hour). This is indicated by the UI.

What worse, if the imbalance is in favor of the outbound traffic, the coach yard is gradually emptied and in one moment it is not possible to dispatch another train according to its schedule, leading to delays.

We hope that keeping an eye on balancing the stations brings more fun and chill to the game compared to the rigid conversion link. The player has much more possibilities how to resolve the unbalanced state and much more time to do so. To prevent the deficiency of trains even in case of delays he can keep some trains in reserve in the coach yards or dispatch an ECS to move a train from one coach yard to another where it is needed. With Commuter Creation unlocked, he can even create a “balancing” contract that moves a surplus train between the coach yards each hour.

Experience Points

Experience points can be spent on the systems upgrades

Because handling this kind of traffic is quite more complex than the simple there-and-back trains, the player is awarded one Advanced Experience Point for each train that finished its schedule on time if it originated in a coach yard.

So, currently

  • 1 Basic Experience Point (green one) is awarded for each commuter and freight train
  • 2 Basic Experience Points (green ones) are awarded for each IC train
  • +1 Advanced Experience Point (red one) is awarded if the IC or commuter was dispatched from a coach yard
  • +1 Advanced Experience Point (red ones) is awarded if the IC or freight train is the one-off one (contract generated if InterCities / Freights unlocked. (Or even +2 if IC is expected to achieve average speed exceeding 100 kmph)

The Shunting

Another major change of coach yard operations is envisioned with future shunting overhaul. We had the shunting functionality in the game (now hidden). It includes shunting signals that only affect trains in shunting mode, detaching the locomotive and joining the train segments. We plan to rework it so that a train can be switched to shunting mode manually and then either convert to another train, moved to different platform or sent to coach yard for stabling. We also plan to task the player with splitting freight train to cars and composing new trains according to cars’ destinations.

“I Can’t Wait for It!”

Despite our previous claims we are thinking of publishing a demo before going to Early Access on Steam.

We also contemplate showing the game on The Steam Game Festival in June 2021. Wishlist the game on the Rail Route Steam page not to miss this event!

You are also invited to join our fantastic Discord community and share your feedback there. You may be granted access to non-public dev builds.

By Published On: March 5th, 20210 Comments

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