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Factorio: How to Build a Building Train, Part 1 of 2

KatherineOfSky has over 2,000 hours in Factorio and has published many video guides, Let's Plays, and tutorials for the game on YouTube.


The Base Station

There are two main parts of creating a Building Train System, the Base Station and the Receiver Station (or Outpost Station).

We'll start first with your Base Station. This is usually in your main base or wherever you are producing factory building components like power poles, assemblers, etc.

Find a spot near your production facilities and layout a train station that can serve five cars plus the locomotive. Leave at least 4 tiles of space on one side, and 2 on the other. We'll use a standard layout of medium electric poles in the space between each car, but don't add them just yet. You'll want to set up the filters in the cargo wagon first, or your train will fill with all kinds of random stuff!

Station with room for 6 vehicles.

Station with room for 6 vehicles.

Technically a wagon can be fed from 24 different chests if you place two rows of Long handed Inserters followed by two rows of (blue) Requester Chests. However, that can be quite slow if you have a large number of items to transfer, so you'll want to balance that with using Stack Inserters and a single chest on a tile to feed at a higher throughput level.

So that's how you can feed from 24 chests!

So that's how you can feed from 24 chests!

You can design your building train any way you want. I'll give you my design and explain why I do things.

Firstly we know that a car can carry 40 stacks of items, and considering the limit of 24 types, we want to balance lots of little items with cars that have greater stacks of the same item. You might wonder why we need a chest for every type of item: that's because if the train is full on a specific item, the inserter can't drop the item in it's hand, and therefore can't pick up a different item from the chest. That's why you always limit the requests to one item per chest.

Setting up the Train

Let's start with the first vehicle, which is the locomotive: add a requester chest for fuel and an inserter to feed it.

What I like to do at this stage is go through each Cargo Wagon and choose filters for the items that I want in specific cars, as well as the quantity. I then place down double-sets of Long handed Inserters for single stacks of items, and Stack Inserters with chests for high-volume items. You'll want to match the number in the Requester Chest with the quantity you have on the train. (For items like belts, rails, furnaces, miners, I split the quantities between several chests to speed loading). Also note that belts have very large stack sizes and other items like Roboports and Beacons have very small stack sizes.

It pays to remember how many items are in a stack of a given item, but if you forget, you can go to your Inventory, look at the Logistics Section, then choose an item. The number at the bottom will default to the stack size.

Find stack size in the lower left corner

Find stack size in the lower left corner

Cargo Consist

Below are the numbers of stacks I have of each item in each complete train car. . Change them up for whatever you need in your base.

Car 1 filter setup

Car 1 filter setup

Car 1:
Since I often drive the building trains to sites, I include items like Rails, Signals, and Repair Kits so that I can easily access them as I am driving the train, for example so my Construction Bots can place new rails as I am traveling along. I don't need to get out of the train to be able to reach them.

  • Rails: 15 (All numbers are in Stacks)
  • Big Electric Poles: 3
  • Rail Signal: 4
  • Rail Chain Signal: 1
  • Lamps: 3
  • Locomotive: 1
  • Cargo Wagon: 3
  • Fluid Wagon: 2
  • Iron Chests: 2
  • Decider Combinator: 1
  • Arithmetic Combinator: 1
  • Constant Combinator: 1
  • Radar: 1
  • Repair Kit: 1
  • Train Stop: 1
Scroll to Continue

Car 2:
This is my basic factory parts wagon: belts, inserters, machines, and a couple slots for modules.

  • Express Transport Belts (blues): 14
  • Express Underground Belts (blue "undergroundies"): 4
  • Express Splitter (blue): 2
  • Medium Electric Poles: 3
  • Fast Inserter: 4
  • Stack Inserter: 4
  • Long handed Inserter: 1
  • Stack Filter Inserter: 1
  • Assembling Machine 3: 3
  • Speed Module 3: 1
  • Productivity Module 3: 1

Car 3:
Here we have bots, beacons, chests, furnaces and miners: a combination of industry and bot-based delivery.

  • Passive Provider Chest: 3
  • Requester Chest: 3
  • Active Provider Chest: 3
  • Filter Inserter: 1
  • Construction Robots: 2
  • Logistic Robots: 8
  • Electric Mining Drills: 6
  • Electric Furnaces: 4
  • Roboports: 4
  • Beacons: 6

Car 4:
Oil and Nuclear power stuff!

  • Oil Refinery: 4
  • Offshore Pump: 1
  • Pumpjack: 5
  • Chemical Plant: 6
  • Pump: 1
  • Pipe: 3
  • Pipe to Ground: 5
  • Cliff Explosives: 2
  • Landfill: 2
  • Heat Pipe: 2
  • Storage Tank: 1
  • Heat Exchanger: 1
  • Steam Turbine: 7

Car 5:
The recycling wagon! Surround it with a few Active Provider Chests and Stack inserters facing-outward so that you can recycle any items that your outposts don't need any more. The purple chests will empty themselves into your base storage.

Recycling Wagon

Recycling Wagon

After you have all chests and filters set up add Medium Electric Poles and you're ready to go! Blueprint the station, chests, and the train the itself so you can save yourself time on the next map.

Start the Receiver Station

As you are setting up this train station, you'll want to build the receiver in parallel. Where you would normally put a power pole, place a Constant Combinator instead. For each car, add the unique items in that car to it's corresponding combinator. Adjust the values for how much of a particular item you will need at a specialized outpost. (Ignore zero numbers). For example, if you want Electric Mining Drills at an outpost, set the number to around 50. Obviously you won't want Nuclear Reactors there, so ignore that number. Keep in mind that the number you set will be stored in the boxes after the outpost is built, so if you care about unused machines, then keep the numbers low. It will just take a few more trips to complete the outpost. For Wagons like the very first, loaded with active building items like rails, etc., you can add those icons, but make them zero quantity, just so you know which car they are attached to. Make a blueprint of your new destination station.

Note: It really helps to be consistent with a building train setup across your save games. It makes remembering what's in each car so much easier when you take the train out your self to go and build an outpost.

Station setup with Car 1 combinator settings

Station setup with Car 1 combinator settings

Continue to Part 2: Setting up the Receiver Station with Circuits

Video Guide

© 2020 KatherineOfSky

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