From: NE Pa, USA
I ran into this situation when I was doing ARHS_1914.... this for AT. I used the scenario that Tom Weber had created and it had railroads instead of roads and that meant the trains could be used for exploring... like in ATG. So, when I got ATG I was surprised to see trains in there that could be used just like in ARHS_1914.
But.... otherwise... like in AT... I would just build a bunch of armored cars (at least had some offensive ability unlike trucks) and send them down the road on turn 2. So, doesn't seem to make that much of a difference, and in AT you couldn't really do much on turn 1, had to wait until turn 2 before your trucks or armored cars came in so, nice to have SOMETHING in there on turn 1 that you can do something with.
Starting out with 60 rifle and 6 trains, it means 10 rifle per train and down the road they go. Again, othewise it would just be armored cars and you have to wait a turn for them to come in ... and that was a pain.
I agree that is not realistic for trains to be able to go into neutral/enemy territory but, not that big a deal IMO.
Of course, then there is the SECOND thing that I do that is not realistic. Assuming my starting capital is a port, on turn 1 I build 3 or 4 cargoships and come turn 2 I load them up with 3x3 STR rifle and, if possible, a train with at least 3 rifle. They can't be dropped on turn 2 when they move out but, starting in turn 3, it's drop them along all coastlines that are unoccupied, and then just immediately pick them right back up. If a port or even a railine that is on the coast is found, then trains go down there.
With this I get auto-explore going on all over the place. Of curse, if I take a continent this way, it is very difficult to hold if there are no cities having my people. In this case, I just get some PP out of it and, advance the repair for the ultimate AI owner.
There is a rulevar that will turn off auto-explore and I tried random games with that a few times but, this seems to present significant problems for the AI, who oftentimes seems to be having trouble getting of the starting blocks. Also, with auto-explore turned off you have to get next to every hex to get it under control and this can get to be a pain.
Ideally, auto-explore should not happen unless you have the direct supply path to your home capital, like in Lancer's new enhancement for resources. But, lacking this, I turned it back on as it didn't really seem to help the AI and it was a pain to have to get next to EVERY hex in your area to get them under control.
P.S. Oh, the other thing that is significant here, the biggest problem that the AI has, is if it starts out with a capital that is essentially on an island and the capital is not a port and there are no other ports with the AI's people... the AI just ends up sitting there. This with 1 hex start and it's remaing cities are on unoccupied territory and the AI apparently does not build shipyards and thus never gets out of the starting blocks in this case.