Here's a video explaining all of this:
What should change?
1. Add an item filter menu to freight stations to what they will load/unload
2. Add an item filter to freight wagons to choose what they will load/ unload
3. Add bars at the top of the freight stations that enable the grippers which take the freight containers, to move to wagons that are not directly underneath them.
4. If both filters match, load/ unload that freight wagon.
Why it should change:
Trains are currently unnecessarily complex to set up and are limited in the stations they can unload at.
Unload station = 4 freight stations.
freight 1 = caterium
freight 4 = coal
If I want to have a load station for a coal node, that station requires the the train station to have 3 empty stations and then a freight station, which the coal node loads.
it means the train also NEEDS 4 freight cars, 3 of which will never be used, just because the train won't line up correctly to the loading/ unloading station otherwise.
How it should change:
By giving the freight station and freight car both an UI similar to that of the item list in a programmable splitter, the stations can check which wagons have which items.
If the filters match between the 2, the gripper from that specific freight station can load/ unload into that wagon.
In order to facilitate this, the grippers should also be able to move up and down towards other wagons instead of just the one directly below it.
Which issues does this fix:
It allows trains of any length to load/ unload at any station.
It entirely removes the need for empty stations.
It removes unwanted belt contamination (mixing items on belts), unless you specifically choose to not set a filter, or set a filter to accept any/ any undefined item.