Author Topic: Monorail - Maintenance Costs  (Read 3922 times)

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Red_Wraith

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Monorail - Maintenance Costs
« on: June 25, 2014, 07:10:27 PM »
I'm playing Pak128 2.3.0 with Simutrans 112.3. The maintenance costs of monorail tracks are so high that I'm wondering if it is actually possible to make profit by monorail transport.

The maintenance costs of a 70 km/h monorail track tile are 60 Credits. In comparison, a Tram track tile for 70 km/h costs merely 10 Credits (6 Credits for the track, 4 Credits for the power).

I've had several attempts in trying to build a monorail line which makes profit. I tried inner-city transport and transport between cities. However, the result was always the same: The maintenance costs were much higher than the income.

I see that the monorail vehicles have very low maintenance costs. Theoretically, one would only need enough passengers to make a monorail line profitable but keeping up such a huge stream of passengers seems impossible.

Are there any plans to balance the maintenance costs of monorail tracks?

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Monorail - Maintenance Costs
« Reply #1 on: June 28, 2014, 06:27:43 PM »
Quote
I see that the monorail vehicles have very low maintenance costs. Theoretically, one would only need enough passengers to make a monorail line profitable but keeping up such a huge stream of passengers seems impossible.
It depends on how well you let the map develop. With enough cities with enough people in them you can have some pretty huge flows of passengers.

60 per tile is not that much when you consider a standard 160 Km/h express track is over 20 a tile (over 40 if elevated or bridged). I guess it comes down to how much monorail makes per tile compared with trains.

If you are using payment method 0 (distance between stops) then you can easily generate huge flows by making long commuter lines. This goes against the idea of efficient transport and works on similar principles to cargo bouncing (except not being blatantly exploited). Because all passengers picked up on the line have to visit all stops before reaching a hub, the result is that the line has a theoretical passengers/month movement rate. Making the line visit more people will use more of this limit and so create a paying flow respective to this limit. If you let it overcrowd (100% capacity all the time) then you can reach the line limits. Under these circumstances it should make profit easily, unless it truly is badly balanced (the flow rate cannot earn enough).

Red_Wraith

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Re: Monorail - Maintenance Costs
« Reply #2 on: June 30, 2014, 08:27:23 PM »
60 per tile is not that much when you consider a standard 160 Km/h express track is over 20 a tile (over 40 if elevated or bridged). I guess it comes down to how much monorail makes per tile compared with trains.

According to the speed bonus window, monorail with 100 km/h generates the same income (per tile and passenger) as tram with 100 km/h or train with 180 km/h (in year 1998). So, the maintenance costs are that much because the income is not high for monorail transport.

If you use the fastest monorail train available in 1998 (PMNV TC-1; 100 km/h max.; 82 passengers max.), you'll get 0,06 C/(tile*passenger). That's 4,92C for a full train per tile. The maintenance costs are 0,29 C/km which seems to be the same as 0,29C/tile. That makes 4,63C/tile profit per full train. So you'll have to transport 16 full monorail trains per month to cover the maintenance costs of the monorail tracks (70C/tile). That's 1312 passengers per month which is a lot. If you can't keep up such a flow of passengers, the maintenance costs will quickly burn your savings.

Comparison to tram: With tram MHz T-235 (90 km/h max.; 78 passengers max.), you'll get 0,05C/(tile*passenger). That's 3,9C for a full tram. The maintenance costs are 0,74C/tile. That makes 3,16C/tile profit per full tram. So you'll have to transport 5 full trams per month to cover the maintenance costs of the tram tracks (14C/tile: 10C for the track, 4C for power). That's merely 390 passengers per month.

If the maintenance costs for monorail tracks could be reduced (e.g to a third), it could become actually possible to make profit with monorail tracks. With the current costs, building monorails doesn't make any sense.

PS: A standard 160 km/h rail track has only maintenance costs of 12,80C (instead of over 20C) if you don't need electric trains.
« Last Edit: June 30, 2014, 08:55:58 PM by Red_Wraith »

Offline DrSuperGood

Re: Monorail - Maintenance Costs
« Reply #3 on: July 01, 2014, 01:54:15 AM »
Quote
That's 1312 passengers per month which is a lot. If you can't keep up such a flow of passengers, the maintenance costs will quickly burn your savings.
This is not a lot if you have reasonably sized cities. With payment mode 0 you can trade transport efficiency for line utilization simply by making the line longer before it reaches a transfer so that more people are picked up before reaching the transfer and so utilization is higher. As you said, you need 1312 passengers around the full loop which is quite a bit for only 1-2 stops, but when you have 15-30 stops in series you can find that even running flat out the line cannot carry enough people and will be making considerable profit as more than 1312 are being moved across each tile. The key is to find the balance between long inefficient lines to break even (or make profit) and short efficient lines to minimize overcrowding.


Quote
Comparison to tram: With tram MHz T-235 (90 km/h max.; 78 passengers max.), you'll get 0,05C/(tile*passenger). That's 3,9C for a full tram. The maintenance costs are 0,74C/tile. That makes 3,16C/tile profit per full tram. So you'll have to transport 5 full trams per month to cover the maintenance costs of the tram tracks (14C/tile: 10C for the track, 4C for power). That's merely 390 passengers per month.
Comparing break even points is not a useful measure of balance. A small city may use tram networks because they are cheap and easy to break even. A large city may use monorail because they are fast and can carry more people. The big question is at line capacity how do the profits compare?

Both tram track and monorail track have a theoretical maximum passenger/time amount. This is if you put as many convoys as can move continuously around the line how many people will be moved over a single tile during the course of some time period. Under these conditions monorail should be more or at least equally profitable to trams since they should be able to move more people across them to compensate for the higher costs.

Quote
PS: A standard 160 km/h rail track has only maintenance costs of 12,80C (instead of over 20C) if you don't need electric trains.
Cost/month is meaningless as it varies with month length. Clearly Fifty (who's Pak128 server I was playing on) is using months twice as long as yours and so infrastructure costs twice as much per month to maintain (25.60 a month). Monorail tracks in this case are costing 120 per month.

Efficiently used train tracks for inner city transport is not possible in standard settings due to the tiny stop pickup area. large areas of the city have to be cleared for the above ground line which obviously cannot be used for passenger generation. Obviously putting the line underground is a solution but tunnels cost a lot more to maintain than standard rail of the same speed. Both monorail and tram tracks I believe can exist over roads which means they can be used in the most population dense places.

Red_Wraith

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Re: Monorail - Maintenance Costs
« Reply #4 on: July 01, 2014, 08:10:14 AM »
This is not a lot if you have reasonably sized cities. With payment mode 0 you can trade transport efficiency for line utilization simply by making the line longer before it reaches a transfer so that more people are picked up before reaching the transfer and so utilization is higher. As you said, you need 1312 passengers around the full loop which is quite a bit for only 1-2 stops, but when you have 15-30 stops in series you can find that even running flat out the line cannot carry enough people and will be making considerable profit as more than 1312 are being moved across each tile. The key is to find the balance between long inefficient lines to break even (or make profit) and short efficient lines to minimize overcrowding.

That's an interesting hint. Last time I tried monorail, I had a line with 4 stops distributed over 3 big cities. Maybe, I should have tried it with 10 stops in each city or so. My monorail stops were also connected to tram stops and bus stops, so I thought the trams and buses would already take enough passengers to the monorail stops.

Under these conditions monorail should be more or at least equally profitable to trams since they should be able to move more people across them to compensate for the higher costs.

Unfortunately, above roads, you can only build elevated monorail tracks which have a maximum speed of 70 km/h. That's slower than the 90 km/h and 110 km/h tracks which are available for tram. So in cities, trams are faster. Between cities, monorail is faster (120 km/h) than tram but not faster than railroad.

Cost/month is meaningless as it varies with month length. Clearly Fifty (who's Pak128 server I was playing on) is using months twice as long as yours and so infrastructure costs twice as much per month to maintain (25.60 a month). Monorail tracks in this case are costing 120 per month.

Good to know. I didn't know that the month length was variable.
« Last Edit: July 01, 2014, 08:27:19 AM by Red_Wraith »

Offline Fabio

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Re: Monorail - Maintenance Costs
« Reply #5 on: July 01, 2014, 12:36:35 PM »
Monorails need to be repainted for double height anyway. Probably their price and maintenance could be recalculated in the process, to make it similar to railways bridges&elevated tracks of comparable speed. I would also like to extend their usage to some ware (e.g. bulk, wood). Personally I don't like them too much, but an overhaul could make them more useful than presently.


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Red_Wraith

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Re: Monorail - Maintenance Costs
« Reply #6 on: July 04, 2014, 08:07:05 AM »
Monorails need to be repainted for double height anyway. Probably their price and maintenance could be recalculated in the process, to make it similar to railways bridges&elevated tracks of comparable speed. I would also like to extend their usage to some ware (e.g. bulk, wood). Personally I don't like them too much, but an overhaul could make them more useful than presently.

Good to hear that monorail can (will?) be rebalanced because that's definitely necessary. Probably, the tracks should still be more expensive than different tracks with comparable speed because the maintenance costs for the monorail trains themselves are rather low. Maybe, for a start, the maintenance costs for the tracks could be reduced by 30% - 50%?

If you let it overcrowd (100% capacity all the time) then you can reach the line limits. Under these circumstances it should make profit easily, unless it truly is badly balanced (the flow rate cannot earn enough).

I tried again and I actually managed to make some small profits but it was nothing I would call easy. I build a huge monorail track loop over 4 cities with 41 stops and 100 monorail trains (PMNV TC-1). The tracks with signals alone cost more than a million Credits. I'll probably never reach the point of return of investment ;)

Here are the month statistics for that monorail project:

Income41214.47 C
Maintenance Trains8550.94 C
Maintenance Tracks25652.00 C
Profit7011.53 C
Transported passengers / month9500

If I built such a big project with other means of transportation, I would be swimming in money now ;). Monorail should really be balanced to make it possible to earn money with monorail without having to build so ridiculously big projects (I say only "100 monorail trains" ...).