The Black Line doesn't start until the first 5 train is bought.
But the minors will lose their two train(s) already when the first 4 is bought.
The rules say forced train purchases are only for "Major" railroads. What happens to trainless minors that cannot afford to buy a train?
Do they remain dormant until absorbed into the Black Line?
Does the owner of the minor have to buy a train? (most probably a four at that point)
I could see the minor staying dormant (not earning any revenue). The owner waits and gets a share of the Black Line later. But he's hosed until then.
I know there hasn't been much activity on this game's forums, but I have this game and am thinking of introducing 18xx to some gamers unfamiliar with this genre, and I feel I can swing this better than 1830, which might blow their mind.
Nothing happens. Minors aren't required to own a train, so they can't trigger the conditions for a player contribution to a train. As a result it just sits there until it is eaten.
If you wanted to keep the minor useful, you should have put a 3 in it. They can also buy across a train from one of your other majors for whatever they can afford.