How do I get a lot of money on OpenTTD?

That’s a good question for everyone who plays OpenTTD. If you play solo, you will need a foundation for growing faster, and if you play with friends, you will probably want to be the best. For this purpose, I’ve prepared some tips which you could use to get a lot of money in OpenTTD.

The best start is coal

I wrote this article with the main goal of OpenTTD in mind. Coal is best for the start. It’s just simply one train, 5 wagons, and a search coalmine near a powerplant. In lines like that, you need to start two or three lines. After that, you will be able to build more complex ones.

Best starting coal line OpenTTD

Are you uneasy of coal? In the last section of the article (cargo ordered by the money) can be found which cargo you should transport. My other tips are passengers and trees.

Airports in the late game

If you use my tips about growing a town you should build an airport. After that, you will need to connect them to an airplane. You won’t probably want to create a line across the map so it will be better to find it near the airport (when you play in 2048×2048 optimum should be 500 – 1000 steps).

Where to click to buy a plane in OpenTTD

In case you have a big town you will have enough passengers to transport. I build hub >> international airports because they have two runways and two hangars. But be aware of the fact that the default setting is to only have 30 planes and in the first eras (before 1990) your planes are non-effective.

Basic rules for making money in OpenTTD

There are two general rules in case you don’t want to work with Coal and Airport and you need to respect them – they are:

More tiles = More money

Companies pay your more money if you transport cargo over the map. More tiles which trains carry make more money. The best way there is to use the “Pythagoras triangle” to boost your income. If you follow such a method, you can boost tiles during the train ride.

Pythagoras and OpenTTD

From the picture above, you can see that you can connect one coal and two literally the same powerplants. However, be aware that you will make more money if you build and send your train diagonally (because the “up” power plant is far from a coal mine).

This is math – I think it will work and I will test it for you.
It’s homework for me!

Less time = More money

The second rule is “less time to make more money”. You can see in the picture below a cargo payment rate (next headline). Nevertheless, I still think that the rule with “more tiles = more money” is much more important than just making regional trains.

Cargo payment rate

As you can see, there is the promised graph from the game with the “cargo payment rate” from which you can get that pattern of “paying”. It is about a topic that you select. I would recommend you open an image in a new tab (right-click and open in a new tab).

Cargo payment rate in Libras in OpenTTD.

When you build a long railroad and your trains go from production to destination in more days, you want to look at the right part of the graph. So for me, it’s best to deliver:

  1. Coal (Coal mine >> Power Plant)
  2. Mail (City >> City)
  3. Valuables (Bank >> Bank)
  4. Wood (Forest >> Swawdmil)

These aren’t so complex and for you, they are the best to start. If you can find enough coal mines with a big production cap, it will be the best to ride with coal.

In case you build a close railroad when trains don’t go more than 30 days, you want to watch the left part of the graph where is the best cargo:

  1. Valuables
  2. Goods
  3. Coal
  4. Steel
  5. Iron Ore

As you could see there is a lot of cargo which doesn’t make sense to you. If you want to deliver valuables, you will need banks in the cities (they will occur in the late-game) and if you deliver goods, you will need more cargo. Because of that, you will have to build a lot of roads before. And yes, the third is coal!

Efficiency matters

The key point is efficiency. You will have to plan your trains to be 100% full when they go across the map. So you need to scale up both sides of your railroad. I think that the best way is building two long ways across the map (which make money for you) and after that make a short line to full coal.

That means that when you load coal you go fully across the map (so again, you profit money from it). Then, if you go back, you will lose money on the other side. Because of that, you will need to fill your train with coal and go back with coal.

Cargo in OpenTTD ordered by money

  1. Coal => price goes slow down
  2. Valuables => profitable (a lot of money from it) if you can connect it
  3. Passengers => great for efficiency
  4. Oil => something like coal but better than wood
  5. Wood => something like coal
  6. rest of other cargo
I'm Martin, the main creator of this site. I love city builders, transport, and war strategy games. So I create this site to share my love with others! Let's make Tycoon games great again!