Hartford Fantasy Map

Hartford, my favorite city in the world! Home to uhh….. the Connecticut state capitol? Anyways, this is the last New England city left in the Medium-City Metros series. Before I start, I want to note that part of the network design took inspiration from Travel Dombia’s Hartford Light Rail Proposals – despite the similarities between the networks, I hadn’t seen his map until I had most of the lines sketched out. Their map gave me the idea to add H2 out to West Hartford and the H4 branch to South Wethersfield. I guess that means the routes are really good!

Hartford is a tough city to design a transit network for… it stumped me for a while! The problem is, unlike the cities I’ve done so far, Hartford doesn’t have any railroad right of ways through its densest area (Downtown to Preston Sq), so you have to get really creative in finding routes.

The other trouble spot is the Hartford line corridor from New Britain north to Hartford – you can’t make the right of way quad-tracked unless you replace CT Fastrak with a subway line, which I wasn’t really willing to do. The compromise I came up with was turning H1 into an FRA-compliant regional rail line, just with really high frequencies, like PATH. The right of way could be widened to 4 tracks in places where there aren’t buildings right up to the tracks, that way it doesn’t constrain Amtrak or CTRail service.

H1, despite how its shown on the map (I ran out of space) is significantly longer than the other subway lines. Running from a spur off of the Hartford line in New Britain north to Bradley International Airport, it would be a very important spine for the Hartford subway network.

Line H2 runs from Elmwood in Southwest Hartford either elevated or at grade (like the CTA brown line) before turning onto Maple Ave. About half of the Maple Ave line (until just after Benton St) is elevated. Vacant land between Pawtucket St and Essex street is, for the most part, the only place where you can place a tunnel portal. None of the other blocks are large enough! It continues down Main St past Hartford Hospital before joining up with the green line in downtown Hartford. Shortly after Union Station, it emerges up to the surface, running on an existing right of way up to the University of Hartford.

Line H3 starts in Preston Square, following the same right of way as H2 until Union Station, branching off en route to West Hartford. Like H2, there aren’t many spots to send the line onto an elevated track, so the portal has to be placed between Mark Twain House and S Whitney St. From there, it runs above Farmington Ave, turning south just before the Cheesecake factory.

Finally, H4 starts in South Wethersfield, following an existing rail right of way until just after Connecticut Convention Center. From there, it runs through the downtown tunnel, emerging to the surface just after Union Station. After making one more stop west of the river, it follows another existing right of way all the way to he center of Manchester, CT! (Can anyone please explain to my why Manchester is so weirdly dense? I hadn’t heard of it until today…)

I may have gone a little overboard with this network, but I think that’s alright – it gets the job done!

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