New Valocea Map and national rail info!

Two posts for the price of one! First, the map. It’s been a while, but I’ve made extensive changes/additions and it’s time to post up a new one…

yay progress

yay progress

As before, I’ll detail the changes on this map compared to the previous one from April.

  • One rather large change: one of the regions now has a different name. The second region from the left in the south arm used to be called “Issa.” But I changed it when I realized that I actually like that name better as a large, significant city rather than a region. So, I came up with Natsura, which I really like the sound of. It does have a Japanese quality to it, which was intentional; I’d long thought that at least one or two of the native peoples of Valocea would have languages that sounded somewhat similar to Japanese.
  • Speaking of Issa being better as a city name: the national capital FINALLY has a name thanks to the change above! You can find Issa, its capital status denoted by the * to the right of the name, along the south coast of the Villeneuve region. That region also has its own separate regional capital slightly east of Issa, called Somerset.
  • A number of new cities have been added east and south of Lennvale. Several of these are regional capitals (which, as always, are underlined).; generally, the first city I try to come up with for a given region is its capital.
  • One change that’s not visible on the map is to the La Marche region. The pronunciation of  the name is changing, from the French “la mar-shae” to the Italian “la mar-kay”, but they happen to be spelled the same way so there’s no visual change to be made. The reason for this is that I realized recently that I wanted to have Italian as a more major contributing source for Valocea’s cultural and historical make up (this decision was borne from the fact that I have been unconsciously thinking of Valocea as being known for high-quality Italian cuisine for some time. Might as well make that make sense!). So, instead of being named for a county in France that existed in medieval times, the region is now named for a still-existing region of Italy. This cultural influence can be further viewed in the name of that region’s capital city, Trieste, as well as the Ciel region’s capital, Novara.
  • There are TONS more rivers, lakes, and hill/mountain contours than before. Several of the regions in the eastern half of the country are now finished in terms of contours, and the Cassius region is finished in terms of rivers and lakes as well. Pascale is mostly finished, but needs a few more, especially in the west. Also, a few lakes have names now. The easiest one to see is Lake Rhuna, after which both the region and capital city there are named. Rayne Lake in Temu-Rana and Turtle Lake in Pascale are also named, though the latter is difficult to see at this resolution (once CC3+ is out, I’ll hopefully be able to export maps with higher resolutions, thus they will be able to be viewed a bit more zoomed-in).
  • Mountain ranges and mountains with names! Two of each at the moment. Had to finagle a bit to get the curved text for the two ranges (CC3 has issues with text, a holdover from the CAD engine it’s built on), but I made it work and I think it’s looks pretty good. Ciel Perceur, in Ciel, is the region’s namesake and at 6,082 meters, is the tallest peak in Valocea (and second tallest in North America, behind Mt. McKinley in Alaska). The name means “Sky Piercer”, which comes from the dense layers of fog that tend to collect around its peak, especially in autumn, giving the appearance of a mountain that rises up and pierces the cloud cover (the name would likely have been given to the mountain by French settlers a couple hundred years ago). Note that I may need to refine the name further – as it stands, there’s no “mount” or “mountain” present in the name (in either English or French). For this particular mountain, I would prefer the designating word to be after the name, even if in French, since that would translate to “Sky Piercer Mountain”. Yet real mountains in France, if there is a geographic designator in the name, always put it first (e.g. “Mont Blanc”), at least as far as I have found. But “Mont Ciel Perceur” would translate to “Mount Sky Piercer”, which doesn’t sound as good to me. So we’ll see. I’m planning to consult a friend of mine who knows much more about French language than I do and see if he has any ideas on what would be best. ANYWAY, aside from that, there is also Mt. Drake, which is the namesake of the nearby city, in Temu-Rana, part of the Dragoon Mountain Range, which is also named on the map. Finally, there’s the Peregrine Range, which of course is the separator and namesake for the two Peregrine regions. This mountain range was named for a simple reason: the area contains a high concentration of peregrine falcons. Haven’t decided yet if there is a single “Mount Peregrine” in it somewhere or not (if there is, it would either be the tallest mountain in the range, or the spot with the highest number of falcons living near it).
  • Unnamed cities and that one rail line in the northwest have been removed. I figured it made more sense to include cities only once they have names, and to include rail lines only once there are more of them (so it’s not just this one line that sticks out for being the only one on the map). Also, I’m considering putting together a different tool to use for denoting rail lines on the map. I’m not sure I want to use the default “railway” tool that comes pre-loaded with the mapping style. It’s the line with the little dashes through it (you can see it on the April map). Obviously it’s supposed to look like railroad ties, but the result actually looks kind of clunky to me. I think smooth lines, with varying colors for different types of services, would be better. So I’ll experiment with that at some point.
  • Speaking of rail lines: the five cities of the Capital Corridor Line are now placed and named. Yes, this is the same name as Amtrak’s San Jose to Sacramento line in California, but A) that’s the kind of name that could be repeated in different agencies/areas (like how there are several agencies throughout the world called “Metrolink”), and B) Valocea makes better use of the name anyway, by hitting five capital cities (four regional capitals plus the national capital), rather than just linking one urban area to one state capital. The line is an expansion of Valocea’s first high-speed rail line, opened in 1996, which ran from Lennvale to Ingram. An eastern addition, from Lennvale to Ardennes (capital of the Temu-Rana region) was later added. Now, there are two Capital Corridor services: the high-speed service, which stops only at those five cities (Ardennes, Lennvale, Somerset, Issa, and Ingram), and a conventional-speed service which covers the same route but makes several additional stops. Both CC Lines are operated by VINE Central (more on that below), and would no doubt be among the most heavily used lines in the entire country.

And now, some more national rail info. Previously, I had established the structure of V-Net and VINE, and if you want all the details (such as they are at the moment; more of them still need to be worked out) of that, you can just click the link. But, I’ll run over the basics again here. V-Net (Valocea Transportation Network, or Valocea National Transportation Network – still not sure, but actually leaning away from having the word “National” in the full name) is the agency responsible for overseeing transportation on a national level. They run (among other concerns) VINE, which stands for Valocean Intercity National Express, and is the overarching term for Valocea’s intercity rail and bus network. I’m not 100% sure of this yet, but my inclination is that high-speed services will be bundled as part of VINE services (i.e. “VINE HS” or some such), rather than being given an entirely different name and branding. VINE services tend to call only at major stations within a city, and only at key cities in the regions they pass through. There are other intercity services, some run by V-Net and some by the regional governments, that make more stops compared to VINE lines (and, generally speaking, don’t cover as much total distance). The majority (70-80%) of VINE lines are rail; the bus lines are mainly there to serve areas where intercity rail service is insufficient or even non-existent due to limiting factors (i.e. terrain) making service too difficult or costly to implement, but where an intercity or express connection (one that begins in one city and proceeds straight on to the next major metropolitan area, without making a lot of stops in between as a local or regional service would) is still seen as needed.

VINE is parsed out into four divisions: North, South, East, and Central. Each division manages the lines that run primarily within its area. Where a given line “primarily” runs is determined by a combination of where the line’s termini are located, as well as how much of it lies within each division. VINE lines are rarely referred to (either officially, or casually, e.g. in conversation) without their division. Using the Capital Corridor Line from above as an example, let’s say it’s line #1 of the Central Division. “VINE Central Division, Capital Corridor Line, C1” would be the full, proper designation. “VINE Central line 1” and “VINE C1” would be common ways to shorten it (and sometimes people do include both the division and letter, i.e. “VINE Central line C1”), and of course, “Capital Corridor Line” or just “Capital Corridor” would also be ways to refer to them. I imagine most VINE lines have names, but not necessarily all of them.

Note that the preceding paragraph uses the conventional speed CC line as an example. Presumably, to differentiate it, the HSR version of the line would in some way have a different designation (if HSR services in general were known as “VINE HS”, then the high-speed version of this line could be “line CH1” or something).  The particulars of that haven’t been worked out yet.

As to the divisions, a rough map showing which section of the country each division covers is below:

10-15-14 VINE regions

The colors are mainly there to distinguish them visually – each division will have its own color set (and its own livery – they will all be fairly similar, but with some differences that are more than just palette swaps), but Central won’t necessarily be primarily red, for example. I just used these colors to make the divisions easy to see. The borders, too, are still rough, and will remain so until I know more about what lines there are and exactly where they go. Still, this is a good base and gives a much clearer idea of how this all works (and no matter what I come up with later, the borders won’t change drastically).

Geographically, North would seem to be the biggest, but that is because it encompasses all of the islands of the Ahveila and Raeburn regions; those islands will have minimal VINE services compared to the bulk of the mainland. All this indicates is that what services are there on those islands that are considered part of VINE are run by the north division. The busiest division overall is likely Central, since it contains the previously mentioned Capital Corridor, as well as having Lennvale as its hub city. Valocea’s biggest city, Lennvale has more passenger rail lines running through it than any other single city. It is also where V-Net’s headquarters are located.

More to come soon!

-Saito S

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