What are contracts?
All goods traffic is transported under a contract between the player and the goods supplier. A contract gives the player the sole right, and obligation, to convey the contracted volume of goods for the durations of the contract. A contractís duration is 44 days from being awarded.
How do contracts work?
Each contract is for a single flow of goods. Balancing return workings may or may not be available, if so it will be as a separate contract.
How do I find what contracts are available?
All the contracts available on the scenario are listed on the contracts page. The Contracts are listed by cargo type, which are: Large Goods (e.g. freightliners); Bulk Goods (e.g. coal, stone); Liquids (e.g. oil); Mail and Piece Goods (small goods). Contracts to convey passengers are also possible in v5 but will probably be rarely found.
How do I get a contract?
You must enter a bid price in the box(es) adjacent to the contract(s) you wish to win and press the Confirm bids button at the top of the page. Bids can be at any price up to £327.67 per unit per 100 miles (price limit is different for different currencies, but will be equivalent to the limit in Pounds Sterling, while the distance will always be 100 miles or 161 kilometres). Your bid, along with bids by other players, will be evaluated by the game and the winner announced (further detail is given below).
What does Contract State mean?
When the scenario initially launches the contract state should be the same for each contract and will say opens after 13 days. You then have 14 days (the bid period) in which to place your bid (note day 0 is included in the count). You will not be able to run any contract service until you have a bid accepted. Contracts that remain unallocated at the end of the bid period will be re-advertised as opens after 13 days and the bidding process restarts. Successful bidders will be notified via the company page and the contract state will show who won the contract, the price they bid, and the number of days till the contract becomes available again. During this period bids for the next contract period may be lodged. As the days pass the bid period counts down to day 0.
Re-bidding and cancelling a bid
Once a contract has been awarded, the bidding for the next contract period opens. The bid you entered for a previous contract period will stand for all further contract periods unless you actively cancel or amend the bid. To amend the bid just enter your new bid figure and press Confirm bids. You may change any bid price you make at any time during the bid period and as many times as you like. To cancel a bid you must delete the price (make the box blank) and press Confirm bids.
Winning a contract and contract pricing
The game evaluates bids for contracts using both the price bid and the freight reputation of the bidder. It is not necessarily the case that the lower bid will win if another player has a higher freight reputation. In the event that two or more bids are evaluated as equal the contract will be awarded on a random basis. Although it is possible to bid up to £327.67 there is a default price for each type of cargo. With a high reputation you may be able to exceed the default value, but the internal moderation of the game will not accept unreasonably high bids.
Creating a route and a template
To run a contract you must set up a route that includes both ends of the contract path. You can see the possible contracts while defining the route. When you've finished defining the route and start selecting stock for the template, you can select up to four contracts you wish to serve with the template. The stock you can choose depends on the selected contracts.
Creating a service
Creating services for contract-serving templates differs only slightly from creating a passenger service. The differences are that the price is set by the contract bid, and will default to show cntr whatever figure you enter. Still, you must enter a figure (0 will suffice) for the set-up to work. The service extra property has a different meaning for contract services, than for regular off-contract passenger services: a non-extra service will stop running as soon as the contract expires wherever the train is (which may not be the home depot). An extra service will cause the train to continue to run empty when the contract has expired, until you intervene.
Running a contract train as an extra is of use where you have one train running a series of contracts which follow on from each other, but with different end-dates, and you require the stock to be to moved to the starting station of the other contract. For example: You have a contract London to Birmingham and a contract Birmingham to Glasgow and another Glasgow to London and you are able to use the same train for all the contracts. If the contracts end at different times then, in order for them all to work, you still need the stock to move as ECS on the times of the expired contract: extra will ensure that happens.
If you successfully win a contract, you can at any time, and for whatever reason, give up the contract. There will be a penalty attached to the surrender. The penalty may differ between scenarios and cargo types, but will normally be in the order of £700-£800 per ton (of one day's contract volume).
If you fail to deliver the full contracted volume on any day, you will be charged a fixed penalty plus a penalty per undelivered unit per day.
NOTE: you do have a period of 16 dayís grace to set the service up and commence delivery during which time there will be no penalty for shortfalls. However, these days are part of the contract period so you will obviously lose the income from them.
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