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I don't get station rating

Posted: 22 Sep 2019 11:49
by Cool Loser
I'm sorry I keep asking questions all the time, I hope I don't become annoying. It's that I can't find answers in the wiki, or I don't fully understand them.

Consider this setup:


Four trucks load from the mine and unload in the train station. Two large trains take the coal from there to a power station at the other side of the map.

a) Why in the world is not the station rating higher (I'd even say "excellent") when trucks are constantly loading? There haven't been crashes, trucks are brand new (game started in 1940) and obviously there have never been 100 units waiting.
b) How is the "transported cargo" calculated? Common sense tells me it should be 100% in this particular case.

The most intriguing thing to me is that both station rating and % transported have been decreasing in the last months (they where excellent and 80% for a few months). What's more, if production increase is linked to station rating (playing vanilla, no weird industry rules here), why not only it keeps constant, but in fact fluctuates between 128 and 144 t/month? I mean, there are months where it decreases.

Re: I don't get station rating

Posted: 22 Sep 2019 14:11
by jfs
Station rating 100% is impossible to hold under standard rules (no industry NewGRFs) without constantly running advertising campaigns in towns.
The station rating depends mainly on waiting cargo, time since last pickup, and the the age and top speed of the last vehicle to load the cargo.

Those two last are important: Age and top speed of last vehicle to load the cargo. A vehicle older than 2 years never gets any age bonus, and vehicles slower than 256 km/h (I think) also cannot get maximum rating for top speed.

Also station rating can only change slowly, so even if you replace all the vehicles with brand new ones, much faster, it will take a while before the rating hits the maximum.

As for why some months have more production from an industry: Industry production happens every 256 game ticks, one game day is 74 ticks, meaning there's 2220 ticks in a 30 day month. That's approximately 8.67 production steps in one month, meaning some months will have industries produce 8 times and some will have them produce 9 times. The production level is set as amount produced per step, not per month, so months with more steps will have more total production.

Re: I don't get station rating

Posted: 22 Sep 2019 21:49
by Cool Loser
Thank you. I must admit I knew most of what you said, but didn't put it that way in my mind. Also, I understimated the importance of speed and age of vehicles. I had read something about ticks/days but hadn't payed much attention and haven't linked with this subject, now I have a clearer idea.

Anyway, I've played a few more hours and all of my producer-stations have very good rating and production keeps slowly increasing.

Assuming the feeder technique may be consider kinda cheating, is it possible to get high station ratings other than setting lots and lots of trains? I prefer the idea of loooooooong freight trains that you can spend a long time watching as they pass by. :cry:

Re: I don't get station rating

Posted: 22 Sep 2019 22:14
by jfs
If by feeder you mean loading trains at one station, then transfer-unloading at another, and have different trains pick up the goods from the intermediate station and take to the final destination, there is one more thing to keep in mind for station rating: Every unit of cargo remembers its originating station, the one it was first picked up from. When cargo is waiting for transfer on another station than its originating one, it still counts against the rating of the originating station, not the station it's currently at.
This is not necessarily an argument against feeder services, but just a reminder that you still need to have the transfer station serviced well so large amounts of cargo don't pile up.

The same rules apply to passengers and mail (they're cargo too) and with cargo making transfers due to cargodist.

Re: I don't get station rating

Posted: 22 Sep 2019 23:42
by Cool Loser
So when people say "it's possible to cheat the system by using feeders" or, you know, somewhat imply a way to take advantage of this system heavily based on frequency of loading/unloading, they're "wrong" in the sense that you don't circunvent the requirements for the rating of the *origin* station? Or you're just saying that, even when you do exploit this mechanics (that is: even when you boost the origin station rating, and thus increase production -which is, afaik, the goal of the feeder thingy), still need to deliver relatively quickly the cargo if you want to get well paid, so can't let the stuff stockpiling for a long time in the transfer station?

Like I said, in my current game, using feeders, all my origin stations have very good rating and, overall, production is steadily increasing. Normally I have a couple of large freight trains that deliver the stuff to its final destination, so it doesn't pile up that much.

Regarding this, one more question if you please: do items "die" after too much time waiting to be hauled? It's the only explanation I can come up to the % transported being less than 100, unless that info refers to another thing and doesn't say literally "you transported X% of the items you produced".

Thanks again for your help.

Re: I don't get station rating

Posted: 23 Sep 2019 17:08
by jfs
Yes you can't cheat station rating just by moving cargo to somewhere else and letting it sit. Cargo sitting on a station will always impact the rating on the origin station. It may not always have been like that, I'm not sure, but at least that's how it works now.

The "transported" statistic on an industry refers to how much of the production was sent to a station for transport, when you're the only transport company and you have just one station by an industry, it should roughly correspond to the station rating. It gets more complicated when you have two stations competing for an industry's production, but I'm not entirely sure how it works.

And yes, cargo items do get deleted if they stay on a station for too long without being picked up, but it also depends on the station having a low rating for the cargo, I think as long as the station rating is above 50% cargo is never deleted.

Re: I don't get station rating

Posted: 23 Sep 2019 20:02
by Cool Loser
Thanks a lot, that solves some of the most intriguing things in the game to me.

Re: I don't get station rating

Posted: 24 Sep 2019 01:03
by odisseus
There's a trick called "piggybacking" that allows to increase cargo collection from an industry. It used to be described on the wiki, but somehow I cannot find that article anymore.

When you want your station to keep collecting cargo despite the low rating, just build a smaller station next to it, and set up a few trucks to collect the cargo from the small station and transfer it to the main one. The combined collection rate for two stations will be larger than for the single one, given the same rating.

This trick has a side effect: when a competitor builds a station near the same industry, his station will not get any cargo at all, no matter how well it is serviced. This happens because each industry distributes its output to no more than two stations. Due to this side effect, piggybacking is prohibited on most public servers.

A variant of this trick consists of using the main station as the piggyback station. The feeder trucks would have just a single order to transfer and full load (yes, this is possible). When your station is serviced by a large ship once in a while, this is sometimes the only way to make it stockpile cargo between the ship visits.