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Railway livestock traffic after 1973

Started by Matthew, May 21, 2022, 10:46:33 AM

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Matthew

It appears that no railway livestock wagons can be constructed after 1973:



This should be changed for two reasons.

Firstly, it is bad gameplay. Players are not given advance knowledge of vehicle availability (production end dates are hidden in the Depot Window until a few months beforehand) and so a goods type should not become inexplicably inaccessible in this manner. In my current case, I have just promised to supply meat to another company as part of a wide-ranging deal, for which we have both invested in-game money and real-life time in buying new vehicles, setting up routes, and in my case building a new railway line. I now have to replicate those arrangements and it is not enjoyable.

Secondly, it is not justified by history. In real life, British Rail pulled out of livestock traffic in 1975. But that was not because of any technological obstacle. Livestock is still carried by rail in the US. In Australia's Northern Territory, rail livestock traffic did not peak until the 1980s and while it closed in 1998, there are plans to reintroduce it. Livestock wagons were and still could be built if operators wanted them.

If railways had stopped carrying livestock because of animal welfare concerns, then I would understand ending their availability in the pakset. But that wasn't the reason. Those of us who have the misfortune to use Pacers or Azumas know that passenger comfort hasn't always been the highest concern of British railway operators, but we weren't literally being treated worse than cattle! If people can be humanely carried for long distances, so can animals.

British Rail chose to pull out of livestock traffic because demand had fallen, something which is emphatically not happening in B-B in 1975. If anything, demand for livestock transport is rising because contracts are being made over longer distances. The 1975 cattle farm has a slightly lower max_distance_to_consumer than its predecessor but this is only for industries constructed after 1975; in 1973 most cattle farms are still the 1945 variant with its 200km max_distance_to_consumer. Sheep farms are even worse: the 1910 sheep farm has a max_distance_to_consumer of 300km and the subsequent sheep farms have no limit at all.

Demand for moving livestock by rail fell for three reasons that are not modelled in Simutrans. Firstly, in real-life governments paid for high-quality fast roads (e.g. motorways in the UK) for long-distance journeys  In Simutrans the public player does not build trunk roads. Companies can do so, but they should not be compelled to do so. It's particularly galling to have to build a road next to a newly-built railway.

Secondly, real-life governments also provide adequate roads on the 'first mile' from the farm gate to the motorway. In Simutrans, farms are not guaranteed to have any road and older farms may not have adequate bridges for HGVs. This is a great improvement on a few years ago (when no rural industries had public roads) and it's not unreasonable to expect transport operators to fund route upgrades. My objection is to paying for new roads when there is already a perfectly serviceable railway nearby.

Thirdly, the electrification of society in the mid-20th century changed the nature of the meat market.  In the Americas, the early twentieth century was the heyday of cattle being driven en masse to the railhead and then transported to the giant meatpacking plants of Chicago, Fray Bentos, or Kansas City. Refrigerated wagons took the chilled or frozen meat to the port, then the great reefer ships brought it across the oceans from the Americas (and sometimes Australasia) to Great Britain. The abattoirs, wagons, and reefers all used mechanical refrigeration, which had very high capital costs. The small volumes of domestic production in Great Britain and Ireland could not justify this expensive equipment and most farms were within easy reach of metropolitan markets by rail (and later HGVs), so the animals were slaughtered close to the consumer.

In the second half of the 20th century, the spread of electric, containerized, and computerized refrigeration changed this situation. Since the cold chain could begin at small-scale producers, it was more profitable to slaughter the livestock close to the farm and then transport the chilled meat to consumers and the by-products to industry (the meat alone is never profitable). In addition, meat production in Great Britain and Ireland rose considerably, not because more animals were raised, but because scientific breeding and industrialized farming increased the quantity of meat obtained from each animal.

In the last couple of decades, the tendency has been for slaughtering of domestic production to be centralized at a smaller number of larger abattoirs. Meat sales have moved from butchers, who would naturally get meat from local abattoirs and were largely price takers, to supermarkets, who prefer centralized distribution systems and impose ferocious pressure to reduce prices (so the economies of scale of larger abattoirs become more important). But these factors were not yet present in 1973, so the rising max_distance_to_consumer is too early for livestock traffic.

I know that James dislikes adding fictional or hypothetical vehicles to the pakset. So the obvious and straightforward solution is to make the 16t livestock wagon available until the end of time.
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。

Ranran(Hibernating)

To avoid such issues, it would be better to base aging on something like years of use. Of course I know that there are problems with parts supply. I think that the current extended aging specification relies too much on that.
It is difficult for an immature pakset to provide a wide variety of vehicle types as in reality, and this makes it difficult to create a balanced pakset and hinders the emergence of new pakset.
For example, buses and cars will appear in the game as the same object until they are fully remodeled. But in the real world, it clearly distinguishes what year it was made.
It is not realistic that models of different ages will decay in the same way and must be scrapped at the same time.
In Japan, many vehicles of the same model (there are minor differences, but as a game it can be silly to distinguish them) were manufactured for more than 20 years, and when they became obsolete, they were scrapped from those built first.

It is not so if an immature pakset that cannot prepare enough car models can be played if it is extended and the timeline is turned off.
Currently, livery and vehicle aging systems are premised on timeline play, and timeline off is unbalanced.

Also, most vehicles since the present age will not retire because we do not know the history, and future vehicles will not appear. (Otherwise the vehicle will be gone)
Then they do not age, so when the non-retiring vehicles start to appear, there is no balance between the retiring vehicles and the eternal vehicles. Everyone will opt for the eternal vehicles.

Note however that the planned vehicle overhaul features may be that these are taken into account.
(´・ω・`)シミュトランスのアップデート履歴(日本語) (※更新停止中)
bit.ly/3AuKHHP

jamespetts

#2
Building old style wagons in modern times is more of a problem than having hypothetical wagons closely based on real ones. Perhaps somebody might produce a modern air braked bogie livestock waggon closely based on a real wagon from the late 1960s or later?
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Matthew

Quote from: jamespetts on May 21, 2022, 04:56:53 PMBuilding old styly wagons in modern times is more of a problem than having hypothetical wagons closely based on real ones. Perhaps somebody might produce a modern air braked bogie livestock waggon closely based on a real wagon from the late 1960s or later?

James, I am astonished that you are suggesting other people should make something. Don't you know that all the contributors are very busy people? Shouldn't you do it yourself?  :laugh: :::) :laugh:

Actually, a hypothetical air-braked livestock wagon is probably within even my very limited graphical abilities, though not while B-B4 is ongoing (and my livestock plans are in a mess  ::'( ).

My initial research has focused on a related question that has been bugging me for a while.
(Signature being tested) If you enjoy playing Simutrans, then you might also enjoy watching Japan Railway Journal
Available in English and simplified Chinese
如果您喜欢玩Simutrans的话,那么说不定就想看《日本铁路之旅》(英语也有简体中文字幕)。

jamespetts

I have added a makeshift livestock wagon based on the wagon formerly named ZSX - but it would be helpful to have one that looks rather more the part if someone were able to make one.
Download Simutrans-Extended.

Want to help with development? See here for things to do for coding, and here for information on how to make graphics/objects.

Follow Simutrans-Extended on Facebook.