I haven’t been posting about the Valocea Project much lately, because – while I have been working on it – I’ve not been working in a way that would be conducive to updates. It’s been a lot of random thoughts and notes while learning the ins and outs of a new mapping style in CC3 (“Modern City”, which will be used to map Lennvale itself – and potentially other cities as well down the road). But, recently, I’ve managed to work out some details on Valocea’s state-owned intercity transportation system.
Previously, I’d come up with the term “V-Net”, which is short for “Valocean National Transportation Network.” The idea was that this agency was basically the country’s department of transportation by a different name – they’d manage highways, set regulations, run the rail lines, etc. But, I wanted a separate name for the actual intercity passenger rail (and bus) lines. For that, I came up with “VN Transit.” The problem is that I was never totally happy with that. For one thing, it’s not the smoothest name to pair with some of these other words – “VN Transit Intercity” or “VN Transit train #505”. A bit cumbersome. And even beyond that, there was something else about it that bugged me, and I finally put my finger on it recently. It doesn’t have the right scope; it sounds very local or regional, not national. The word “transit”, while it technically could encompass passenger rail by definition, is usually associated with local (or, at most, regional or inter-regional, i.e. GO Transit in southern Ontario) transit systems when it comes to how the word is used in agency names, especially here in North America.
So, I asked the people in the message board thread I’ve been posting in about this project (the thread is about the idea of creating a fictional transit system, on a board dedicated to public transportation discussion), and one of them, a fellow poster by the name of George L, gave me a great idea: VINE. “Valocean Intercity National Express.” Not only does this sound good and make sense (and is neat because it evokes the image of interconnected “vines” of rail and bus lines through Valocea), but I had even thought previously that the livery on the trains could be something with stylized, flowing lines that would look a bit like vines or plant life, in Valocea’s national colors (green, blue, and white). So it all ties together nicely as a theme!
I thought it over some more, and realized that the idea of V-Net being the DOT and managing everything didn’t really work all that well. So I abolished that idea, re-thought the whole organizational structure, and have now worked out the following:
- The Valocean government’s Transportation Department is the highest level in this tree. They oversee all state-level concerns for transportation matters of all types, set rules and regulations, manage the national highway system, etc. Not yet sure exactly what the official name of this entity will be (“Valocean DOT” vs something else, i.e. in Canada it’s called “Transport Canada”), but I’ll work that out later.
- V-Net (Valocean National Transportation Network, as noted above, though I am considering dropping the word “National”) is a division within the above, and is the agency responsible for state-level rail and bus operations. This is similar to the SNCF in France (and, like the SNCF, V-Net actually owns the vast majority of the track it uses and also manages freight rail operations – Valocea doesn’t have private freight rail companies. Instead, shipping companies contract with V-Net to get their stuff onto the freight trains).
- VINE (Valocean Intercity National Express – thanks again, George L!) is the name of the main set of services operated by V-Net’s passenger rail (and bus) section, comprising numerous intercity routes throughout the country, the majority of which travel through multiple regions and make relatively few stops (generally calling only at major stations within a city). The context of what the term VINE means, or how it would be used in conversation, is similar to how the term “TGV” would be used in relation to rail services, and the agencies that run them, in France. So, a route is a “VINE route.” One will “take VINE” (or “take a VINE train”) in the same way that you’d “take the TGV”. But the operating agency is V-Net, like the TGV’s operating agency is SNCF.
- There are other services operated by V-Net which are not, technically, VINE routes. For exmaple: the LVX (Lennvale-Vancouver Express), which runs between those two cities and makes very few other stops. It has its own livery and while it is run by the same entity and obviously is very similar to many of the VINE lines, it is not, technically, one of them. Other examples could be a line that has a specific name/history/livery, and rather than just absorb it into VINE, they chose to keep it around with the original name under V-Net management, or a line that simply doesn’t meet the criteria of “intercity” and/or “express” (the line is too small or too slow), but is still operated by V-Net.
There are a few details of who does what in relation to some logistical stuff that I still need to determine (as well as the question of whether high-speed rail lines will be considered a special subset of VINE, or will have their own, separate name and identity), but that’s the foundation of the whole thing. Really glad to have that worked out!