Erratic train behavior

I can’t say whether this is due to the update or the issue was already there in the previous version, because I’m on a new save. I noticed some odd train behavior though, which might be related to the new pathfinding.

I have a lot of train stations connected to my main circuit and in most stations, the trains would like to take the detour through the station rather than the obviously shorter track on the main route. A picture says more than a 1000 words, so here you are:

The train in the screenshot has no business in that station yet insists on going that way. This seems to be a problem of the train tracks+station, not of the trains themselves. All trains will consistently go through this station rather than the short way you can see below the station. There are even more extreme detours than the one in the screenshot. Trains do this for most of my stations, but not all. A few stations work normally. In my old save of the previous version I remember all trains behaving normally.

Another weird thing is how they transport some goods. I have one station that is producing only sand and there is nothing else connected to the roads of that station. There is another station which only has microchip factories connected to it. I have a train route stopping at the sand station and going to the microchip station. Then, the sand trains unload all sand at the microchip station as you would expect, but the station does not send all sand to the factories. Instead, some stays in the station until another train from my electronics train line comes to deliver electronics to the microchip station. Then those trains pick up some sand and send them god knows where (I think they actually deliver it back to the same station, but not sure on that one). Might just be a case of the sand somehow wanting to reach my concrete factories through a very obscure route, but I’m still quite confused.

My third point is maybe rather a lack of understanding so I am curious to know why this works the way it does. Let’s look at some train tracks with signaling highlighting:

The main track is running from left to right through the screenshot. The 5 red spots are, in this order: merge, split, merge, merge and split. I can understand why there is an orange section before a merge, like on the left edge of the picture. But what I don’t get is why there are orange sections after a split, like in the middle and in particular on the right edge of the picture. How are trains supposed to block each other after the tracks diverge? I have several splits with long stretches of orange on one or both outlets. In my opinion they shouldn’t even be red, as nothing can collide here. On the other hand I sometimes have merges with minimal orange parts, like this one:

What is going on and why?

I did some research on my trains.


Point 1: Trains insisting on taking detours. I’m sure this problem is in the tracks and station, not in the trains, train routes or the cargo they are transporting, because the problem is consistently happening at the same stations and not happening at others. I also tried several things like rebuilding parts of the tracks or changing the length and shapes of turns and stuff but haven’t figured out anything yet. That is I haven’t managed to manipulate the route my trains are taking.


Regarding point 2 I learned that trains only transport things from one stop to the next along their configured route. Not sure if this is a universal rule but I have definitely suffered from this behavior. So if I have a route with stations A, B, C and D, then they will only take stuff from A to B. From B to C, from C to D and from D to A. I would really love if there could be so smart to collect things from A, B and C and then deliver all of that stuff to D, if that is where the demand is.

With the current behavior the usefulness of trains is greatly limited. I think route planning for trains deserves some more attention.


Point 3: Orange signal sections.

I found out why some rail crossings have long orange stretches and others only have really short ones. The reason is that the entire rail has to have the same color. So if a 8 tile long rail section just ends in the crossing, then all will be orange. If it stops right before the crossing and then only a 1 tile long section connects the final stretch to the crossing then only that short part will be orange. If two crossings are too close, never the less the entire rail between them will be orange. Fine, I guess I can understand that and live with it.

But that there are red and orange parts where a rail is splitting I still consider to be a bug. Rails are only one way and you know when it’s splitting and when it’s merging. Splits really should be marked as collisions, since merges after a split may cause the entire rail all the way back to the merge to become orange and block trains that want to take the split road the other way where there is no blocking train actually.

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