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Pondering about trains.


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Back on the train front, a standard locomotive of the era could pull 160 cars over relatively flat land, but if those cars are 60' long each, you're looking at 9600' long, or 1.8 miles. The distance between the Breach and the station is, IIRC, two miles, so that ... wouldn't work.

Now, I could sit down and do some research and find out some numbers but, instead, we're gonna game this thing.

Trains that travel through the Breach are 26 cars long. There are several trips made a day. For when the Iron Ram needs repairs, there's a second train, the Iron Crow, but it's smaller and can only pull 13 cars safely. 

Trains that go to and from Malifaux City from the Breach are 26 cars long, This gives you time to recover from the Breach trip before the city train has cars hooked up for the trip to the city while other cars are moved around the trainyard for the proper destination. There are three trips made a day (the first Six, the Noon, and the second Six.) ... once a month or so, there's also "The Midnight Express", a Guild special. No one knows what that one's about (or, rather, those who DO know know better than to tell!) 

Trains that go from Malifaux Station to Ridley are 52 cars long but travel less frequently. (Once per day)

Trains that go from Malifaux Station to Fortune Falls are 26 cars long and even less frequently (once a week).

Trains that go from Malifaux Station to Edge Point are 13 cars long and travel the least frequently. (once a month?) 

Trains that go from Edge Point to Latigo exist, but only go once a year or so. For the most part, the Ortegas just ride into town when they need things, taling a wagon for larger loads. The annual train is treated like a holiday (Latigo Christmas) and the entire compound turns out for a big party when it arrives. The Latigo Compound is mostly self-sufficient, but a handful of goods, like sweets and fancy fabrics just aren't craftable there, so get the annual import.  

Trains from Ridley to the Hollow Point Pumping Station are 13 cars long and travel four times a day (The morning ride (6 AM), the Tenner, the Deuce, and the evening ride (6 PM)  ... mostly workers on the morning and evening, while freight, especially ore, moves on the Tennner and the Deuce. 

Trains from Ridley to the smaller towns happens on a weekly circuit, with small engines pulling just 4 cars. This is due to freight and passengers being minor (one passenger car, three freight), the rough terrain of the hills making larger engines have to work too hard to pull more, and because light loads are faster, letting the trains speed away from bandit raids and attempted train robberies. 

This "Major spokes, minor spokes" system keeps supplies running efficiently, with some timetables being more accurate than others. Dr Ramos, for instance, insists that the Ridley-Hollow Point runs be as precise as his machines,  and teh Guild leans heavily on Malifaux Station to be on time to set a good example for visitors, but the others aren't as tight. The non-daily runs, in particular, are often moved up or down as needed... when there's not enough freight or people to make the trip worthwile, the engines stay idle until it's time to go, so Fortune Falls might go ten days, or even two weeks, between runs. Considering how frazzled the nerves are from the people there, due to Neverborn pushes in the Knotwoods, these delays can be alarming and an arriving train can be greeted like a hero... or condemneds if, say, medicine arrived too late to save several people. 

Inside Malifaux City, there are several passenger lines that shuttle people around, but these all use small engines and are short trains of 4 cars long. They're notoriously off the timetables by as much as half an hour, but they're cheaper than using carriages, so are used by the common people despite the frustration. The trains that go between the slums and the industrial section are the few that are reliably on-time. 

Mail's commonly sent on the trains, with the smaller runs storing it in the caboose while larger ones have a dedicated mail car. There've been a few stabs at telegraph lines, but for most, the cost outweighs the advantages. Ridley's the hub for the telegraph lines through the hills, including to Hollow Point, but radio communication between the two is common thanks to Dr. Ramos. Telegraph lines run from Ridley to Malifaux City, and from MC to Edge Point, mainly because there's one from Edge Point to the Latigo Compound.  The Ortegas don't like it, but the Governor-General insisted in case they were needed to be called up for emergencies. 

Speaking of emergencies, there is a small engine with 4 cars, used when the need is truly dire. If the Governor General *needs* something, and needs it now, they can be dispatched at a high-burn to get to far-flung areas at impressive speeds. When these runs are enacted, warnings are sent down the lines by both telegraph and lights, to keep the rails clear. These emergency runs can make it from Malifaux City to any other location in 24 hours or less, but such speeds are greatly taxing on the machine, so are done VERY rarely. (Rumor has it that Dr. Ramos has an engine that can do the trip in half the time or less but has never deployed it for reasons known only to him. True? Not true? It's yammered about regardless.) 

***

So, why some of these numbers? Well, the deck of cards. If you want events to happen, it's easy to do things with a flip... 4 car trains means one car per suit. 13 car trains means 1-13 (ignore suit) with jokers being the engine (red) or caboose (black). 26 is the same, but with red cars (the first 13) and black cars (the rear 13). The big 52 car trains get four sections (Rams, tomes, crows, masks) of 13 each. Taa daa! 

The frequency is chosen to make life easy and to reflect how important certain areas are.  The main city gets the most traffic, moving people and freight like crazy, while Ridley, the main outlying town (Breachside's second city, honestly) getting the next heaviest traffic. Tons of trips from Ridley to Hollow Point and back, moving workers, but also freight as the mines at Hollow Point send materials back. 

The other locations get less-frequent trains, so it's perfectly fine for a group to crawl into some small town in the hills, look for a way home, and be told, "Train comes on Thursdays. Feel free to get a room until then." Hiring stagecoaches is an option (but one mostly from a hub, like Ridley, to a small town, rather than the reverse, but planning ahead can arrange things. (We'll need a coach to pick us up at Sulphur Gulch on the 14th.// Yessir. We'll be there. The coach will wait for 24 hours.// Can you make it 48? // For a small fee, of course. // *sigh* Of course.) 

 

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I don't think the population density assumptions are correct. London was the center of the most industrialized and technologically advanced empire in the world circa 1900. Malifaux is a colony outpost.

I think something like Denver, the key stop on the way to the previous gold and silver rushes would be much more comparable. Denver had ~200k people in 1910 over about 150 sq miles.

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3 hours ago, Wakshaani said:

So, why some of these numbers? Well, the deck of cards. If you want events to happen, it's easy to do things with a flip... 4 car trains means one car per suit. 13 car trains means 1-13 (ignore suit) with jokers being the engine (red) or caboose (black). 26 is the same, but with red cars (the first 13) and black cars (the rear 13). The big 52 car trains get four sections (Rams, tomes, crows, masks) of 13 each. Taa daa! 

This is awesome, better than the various random encounter tables that I've bodged together. The only thing I'l say is that you might want to up the number and frequency of some of the trains. In particular, I can say for certain that the train to Latigo travels once a month according to Above The Law page 56. Also on page 58 the section on Malifaux station mentions dozens of lines branching out from there. I can type out the relevant paragraphs if you don't have the book to hand?

You could have 52-54 lines (one for each card) and that'd probably be pretty close to accurate, but it'd be a pain and I get the impulse to keep things simple, so maybe just designate 13 lines out of Malifaux station?

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5 hours ago, Ebb said:

This is awesome, better than the various random encounter tables that I've bodged together. The only thing I'l say is that you might want to up the number and frequency of some of the trains. In particular, I can say for certain that the train to Latigo travels once a month according to Above The Law page 56. Also on page 58 the section on Malifaux station mentions dozens of lines branching out from there. I can type out the relevant paragraphs if you don't have the book to hand?

You could have 52-54 lines (one for each card) and that'd probably be pretty close to accurate, but it'd be a pain and I get the impulse to keep things simple, so maybe just designate 13 lines out of Malifaux station?



Ooo, I'd missed the Latigo notation! I'll have to adjust. These are mostly on-the-fly numbers, so can certainly be fiddled with as needed. For Malifaux Station, I know the big three, but I'd be darned curious to know where the others run. If all else fails? Call it 13 lines. Handy number, that. :D

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13 works. So, if we have Latigo, Ridley, Fortune Falls, Edge point and the Breach. There should probably be at least two short circular routes, one through Downtown and one through the Industrial Zone. Maybe another wider circle that goes through all the slums and another that passes through the Northern and Southern Construction Zones? If we double up on the Ridley line that's 10, where else? Maybe double up on the Industrial line?

Edited

It might make sense to double up the Fortune Falls line, except apparently a lot of the lumber is transported down the river?

Edited by Ebb
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In my mind it only makes sense that prison labor, passengers, sundries goods, food, supplies and equipment  are all being shipped inbound malifaux. In 10ish years it's hard for me to believe that malifaux is 100% self sufficient.

As for exports if I remember correctly constructs are a major export along side soul stones. Government officials have access as well to conduct buisness. It would also stand to reason guardsmen would be rotated in and out based on service etc. of coarse sending paperwork and communication would also be paramount to the guild's function.

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