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Author Topic: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?  (Read 3055 times)

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Offline wlindley us

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Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« on: May 23, 2012, 05:39:17 PM »
Playing in 1830 and trying to do something worthwhile with Plateways. 
  • The weight limit is 5 tonnes although 45 km/h is permitted. The Rocket (at 5 tonnes) is the only locomotive light enough for these tracks -- is that historically correct, or could the Planet (at 8 or 10 tonnes) have been used?  I would imagine something more like 32 km/h (20 miles per hour) would be more the top speed of this way.
  • The maintenance cost of 48 seems very high compared to the construction cost of 100.
Even after editing the .dat file and recompiling the pak at a maintenance cost of 4.8, which seems not unreasonable given the plateway's slower speed and much lighter weight, a fully built out system with three trains each serving a coal and an iron mine, and one train carrying steel to a cannery, costs three times as much infrastructure maintenance as it garners in revenue:



And that's using two double shire horses as power, plus enough carts to fill three station squares.

If the rates for coal and iron were 0.60 instead of the current 0.15, that system would make a little profit... does that seem reasonable?  How do we expect the cost of plateways circa 1830  to compare to steam railways?

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #1 on: May 23, 2012, 08:42:53 PM »
In reality, plateways were incapable of supporting any steam locomotive, and were used only for horse traction.

Offline AP

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #2 on: May 26, 2012, 01:22:41 PM »
But they were profitable when used by horses. I wonder if the desire to switch to steam traction is not from the point of view of game speed (ie when everything is horse-drawn, the game (and thus profit) is very slow indeed).

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #3 on: May 26, 2012, 05:26:05 PM »
They were indeed profitable when used by horses - are they not in the current game? If so, that is a separate problem that needs a very different solution.

I am not sure that I fully understand the remark about game speed and steam transport. Steam transport was used because it was more cost effective than horse transport as well as faster: much more traffic could be moved for much less cost in much less time. It was thus a far more profitable underaking to run a steam railway than a horse drawn railway. Tihs needs ot be reflected in the game.

Offline AP

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #4 on: May 26, 2012, 06:15:03 PM »
My remark was more related to player actions/desire, rather than historical realism, that's all. I mean, if everything appears to be crawling along, there's an incentive to try to use faster vehicles. Which with somethink like plateways, may not be wise.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #5 on: May 26, 2012, 06:21:40 PM »
It would be wise to upgrade to steam, after first upgrading the permanent way!

Offline el_slapper

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #6 on: May 29, 2012, 09:58:50 AM »
Well, as long as you need the capacity of steam. For an apple orchard that delivers 6 monthly crates to a nearby pub, horses should be enough. IMHO, both production & demand should go up enough in the middle of the 19th century, so that horses end up unable to cope with the demand.

I'm not sure steam was immediately cost-effective vs horse, at least per unit transported. But it was immediately capacity effective. If you have 100 crates to transport, & can transport only 20 by horse, then steam makes sense, even if you earn less by crate. Later, massive improvements on steam transport make it cheaper, overriding horses event in profit per crate.

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #7 on: May 29, 2012, 10:53:49 AM »
For an orchard that produces six crates of apples a month, a plateway would be rather more than necessary, I imagine: a road would suffice. One should not forget, incidentally, that there was not a transition straight from horse drawn road transport to steam powered rail transport: an important intermediate phase was the canal, which had the capacity of rail (indeed, initially, a higher capacity), but was much slower. Before canals, rivers and the sea were used for the same purposes, so that anywhere within reach of a navigable river or sea port could get access to goods produced anywhere else within access to a navigable river or sea port. Canals connected different rivers together to reduce journey times when goods would otherwise have to go all the way around the coast to get to their destination, and connect places that did not previously have access to a navigable river at all (which enormously reduced the cost of certain goods, especially heavy goods such as coal, which otherwise had to be brought by pack-horse, so poor were the roads that they could not sustain carts).

By the 1820s, the era of the beginning of the steam train, there was a very extensive network of canals and a level of industry that could only be supported by the much higher capacity and efficiency of canal transport compared to what had occurred previously. Railways simply did what canals did, but much faster and (sometimes) somewhat more cheaply.

Offline wlindley us

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #8 on: May 29, 2012, 08:45:57 PM »
Aha!  Yes, that is the challenge I was looking for... there should be a short period during which plateways are highly profitable but only under certain conditions... horse-drawn carriages should also be profitable for moderate distances until the 1890s. 

The whole transition from canals to railways should make the period 1800 to 1840 quite exciting to play; perhaps what we need is a few good savegames that demonstrate the periods and conditions where each mode (horses, canals, plateways, railways) can be profitable on their own (or at least as their own company in a multi-company game). 

Offline jamespetts gb

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Re: Tuning: Plateways suggest reasonable freight rates?
« Reply #9 on: May 29, 2012, 09:45:41 PM »
Well, the whole game will need to be fully balanced before we get there, which is a long, long process, alas. Also, I very much hope to add a fair bit of detail to canals and pre-19th century road transport in the pakset at some point, too. I am in the midst of reading a book on canals for that purpose.