We don't have enough material delivered to the Kiln to depend on chemicals, but metal on the other hand... just the wood alone delivered to the Iron Mill is enough to run a metal train down to the workshop. The wood coming from one of the forests is far more than we can handle even, so we add a second train to that, with another platform. Our main two-way rail is getting busy! The coal train though is making a loss, so it is sold off until we figure out how to make profit from this route. Possibly using horse-drawn wagons instead, but not until we're also shipping in stone to make chemicals. Or possibly we'll ship to a different Kiln instead. We'll see next time!
Our work has created some nice areas of interest, like the wood line down the coast passing by our fishing docks:
Here's a bird's eye overview of our whole network, assuming that bird could make charts with contour lines and color with company colors. That's a strange bird. But impressive.
We've made some good inroads into the Kenai valley, but it keeps going westwards, enticing our tracklayers with a potentially climbable path into the mountains.
And here's Ted. Look at that man's happy face. Doesn't he look proud of his achievements? It's time to save up a bunch of money while we sleep, and hopefully set up some wonderful new train routes when we get back.
We'll see you next time for another installment of spending millions to build a couple of trains!
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Thanks, and thanks for reading! I intend to do just that.
New update incoming, and it's a long one!
Right-o, back to the game. Today's liberty day in the Netherlands so we have most of the day to play. This means more time to react, but less funds to waste all at once. 5 million to spend! I expect most of it will get wasted on a single line.
No new trains or trucks. All of the Squid ships are available, but those still aren't useful to us as the sailing ships are cheaper. That won't last though, someday in the near future the sailing ships will become obsolete and we'll have to replace them.
Like last time, let's check the industries for Primrose. Whoa, Primrose Hotel? That's new. And also a furniture factory. The hotel is next to Primrose. I can't imagine they're doing good business up there. Perhaps it's an enterprising village inhabitant that has heard of our plans, and is making an early bold move to get a slice of the pie.
The furniture factory is in the valley, it's getting crowded down there.
Speaking of the valley, we've had our surveyors looking at possible ways we can get to Primrose. For the sake of creating building materials, we don't have to aim for Primrose heights, the valley is actually more interesting. There seems to be a feasible path up the Kenai valley, past the village of Nulato.
To get to Primrose heights itself... will require a far more circuitous route. It involves getting to Crow Village first, then following the grade eastward around a mountain to the remote village of Lutak, then switching back through a mountain pass and following the mountain side till we get to a pass that reaches Primrose. Near the valley we can connect down to where our current line is, or to the left of it if we have more of the mainline already built. The heights route will be massively expensive and will take us a great many millions to build. The valley route will be equally expensive, for that matter - but it will have the added bonus of passing by a bunch of industries on the way, that we can hook up cheaply once the main line has been extended.
Our steamers are doing booming business ferrying tourists from Kenai to Kaktovik and back. We decide to start building on the valley route, see how far we get while still holding enough money in reserve to hook up industries along the way. Clearing rocks on our settings is almost as expensive as clearing farmland, and this is something that's easily overlooked but can give some surprising extra costs for a straight line through the countryside.
Once we're climbing the hills beyond the farm, we see the first industry we had our eyes on for servicing, a forest. We'll hook that up as the first service to use the new valley line.
An extra platform is needed at the Iron Works to accept the wood coming from way up the valley.
So the line keeps climbing the hills past the forest towards the pass into Primrose valley. Directly beyond the forest is an oil field. We'd like to hook this up as well, but that poses some issues. We'll need to build a station next to the only reachable oil refinery of course, halfway between Brevig Mission and the farm we detoured around. But we'll also have to make the line usable for more than one train at a time, which so far hasn't been a concern. We're not going to splurge on make the whole line two-way just yet, so we'll have to settle for some passing sidings.
Our oil station is at a height of 4050 ft. The pass to Primrose valley is at 5850 ft, so we still have some climbing to go! We have about 1.6 million dollars left in the bank now, which is probably enough to reach a clay pit about halfway on the climb to the pass. But as we've seen before, clay just isn't all that valuable. We could divert and hook up another oil well, that would certainly bring in money. Though it's mostly a sidetrack from the route upwards.
Building passing sidings on a climbing track isn't easy. For this one it was easiest to double up on a bridge. Bridges in our difficulty settings aren't extremely expensive. On a straight piece of level ground, a bridge is only a little bit more expensive than a straight track. This allows us to make creative use of the terrain, because terrain modification is VERY expensive indeed.
After putting in two more sidings to allow a second wood train to service our forest up in Thoms Place, we have 1.2 million dollars left to work on connecting the second oil well.
About halfway through and half a million dollars poorer, we come across a hurdle getting to the oil well... another farm.
We're almost drained for funds after buying the train, so it's time to sit for a while and let the trains do their thing. Our little valley line already has 4 trains running up and down it, so this makes for some interesting scenes. Almost 6 million spent on construction, and we're not even at the pass yet. By going a little bit into debt, we can set up a chemicals train from the refinery, all the way back down the valley to the metal workshop on the coast. This should be a good money maker as well as providing both materials (metals and chemicals) to the workshop to have it generate large amounts of goods and supplies.
Six months later we have a little bit of money. While looking around the area of our new valley line, something interesting stood out: Nulato has three hotels. Hotels are a great way of early passenger generation. We'll start by setting up three passenger lines to connect the hotels and the town itself. With cargo dist, we can't just slap a single coach on a circular route, that'll be really inefficient as it would fill up with passengers needing to go one stop back and blocking other passenger movement. Individual back-and-forth lines work the best as it allows passengers to pick a bus straight to their target. About a year later we double up all of the rail leading up to the metal works. There are many trains using that stretch of rail now: a sugar beet train, 2 wood trains, a metal train, a chemical train and a packaging train that we just added to move packaging created at the metal works to the sugar refinery.
Our Thom's Place forest has 3 wood trains now, but is still producing more than they can handle. A great moneymaker.
Next project to execute when we can is to hook up a Lime Kiln next to Brevig Mission proper, connect the old failed coal line to the network so we can send a train over a far larger distance. Before building the track to connect up Brevig Mission's kiln, we set up a small passenger service in the town to fix the reputation we'll lose from bulldozing a ton of trees. Brevig Mission has another 3 hotels, so we make sure our service visits all three. We're competing with the red company, but there's plenty to go around so I don't think it'll make a difference.
Setting up the coal train puts us into debt again. We'll have to hold off building more for a while. Even though we've just spotted an oil well at the bottom of the valley that would be easily hooked up to the network.
It takes us another year to pay off our debt and set up the new oil line. We've had to spend a few hundred thousand on making more sidings on the valley line, as there are quite a few trains using it now. And we've had to change up our coal train - the small hoppers were too heavy. We replaced 6 hoppers with 4 gondolas - a lot less cargo and less total weight to allow the train to get up the climb a lot easier.
Our food trains though! There was so much food waiting at the sugar refinery that we cloned the train. That's some good money coming in. Kenai has a sweet tooth that needs filling.
We have enough money saved up to be able to spare the cash needed to bribe that farmer up the valley to allow our trains to speed right past his house.
We've conquered the pass! Our valley line now has access to the Primrose valley. With our intermediate goal reached, let's take a moment and figure out what we're doing next.
We should first hook up the oil well that's inside the pass, that's low-hanging fruit. Then we should head down into the valley to hook up the brick works (red on the map). When that's reachable, we can start shipping in clay to get the building materials started.
Well, I'll be! A new engine is available! The new Mogul 2-6-0 is 5 mph slower, but has a ton more horsepower and costs the same. Given that our wagons never go faster than 45 anyway the lower speed is a non-issue. We issue an order to replace all of our engines. Unfortunately we just spent all our funds on hooking up the brickworks and a clay train to visit it, so we max out our loan to pay for as many replacements as we can.
As our last action of the evening we re-engineer the connection to the long-defunct clay pit near our iron works and send a train all the way up to the Primrose valley brickworks, using the new more powerful train.
Ted has done an amazing job at managing our company. But he's been at it for 20 years now, and he wasn't the youngest when he started the fishing fleet. He's been a good family man though, married an honest Kenai woman and raised his sons to work in the family business. So maybe it's time to give one of the younger sprouts the leads and let them finish the dream of skyscrapers.
Join us next time when we start cranking out those building materials!
Today's session didn't start with me logging into the server. It started with one of the other players pasting a graph on the discord with the question "what is this?".
It's DOOM, that's what it is. A recession has hit while we were away. Time to batten down the hatches and try to avoid going under. (Did you know the original DOOM soundtrack is downloadable through Bananas?)
Recessions in FIRS are scary! Primary industries like mines and farms depend on supplies to keep their production high, but without supplies incoming their status drops down which compounds with the recession itself. This can mean a farm or mine can drop down to an eighth or less of their usual production. Which in turn brings all secondary goods to a virtual dead standstill. The first thing we do is send all trains to the depot that won't be able to keep out of the red: all of the secondary produce trains (food, metals, packaging, chemicals), and any trains that doubled up at a producing industry. We also send all clay trains to the depot - we didn't expect them to run a profit in the first place, but now it's too painful.
We have $11 million saved up since the last session, but all our plans are off the table while we weather the storm.
Primrose industry update: (The brick works isn't gone, I accidentally cut it out of the image)
A new clay pit and a quarry have spawned near Primrose. These aren't very profitable, but highly necessary for the production of building materials. Further new industries are a furniture factory and two textile mills - these aren't useful for us.
The recession was the last straw for old Ted, he's going into retirement. It's time for his oldest son Reginald to take over the reins. As part of the new move, the company name is changed to reflect the core business: Kenai Valley Transport. Reginald's vision for the company is to finally make good on his fathers dream and set up services to create building materials and a passenger line to Primrose itself.
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