Springfield Fantasy Map

I get the sense that I should add a TLDR to the top of the page about the mode. Light Metro just doesn’t have the same ring that subway has! Anyways…

Of the 3 networks created so far, this ones by far my favorite. Not only does it have a really cool network shape / layout, but it features my own idea for a commuter rail line – the Amherst Express.

Line 1 starts in Haymarket square, along the Lake Shore Limited right of way, making 8 stops on its way into Springfield Union Station. After Union Station, it diverges from the LSL and follows the Connecticut for 3 fun stops; Riverfront, MGM and Basketball Hall of Fame, along another existing right of way. After turning east under I-91, it meets Sumner St, which it follows all the way until 5 town plaza. Assuming reasonable construction costs, which isn’t a given, this line could probably support tunneling, though it would most likely use a modern elevated viaduct.

After branching off from S1 after Union Station, S2 immediately crosses the Connecticut River into East Merrick., serving the Big E and a weirdly large rail yard. It then follows a squiggly right of way down to Six Flags New England, which helps it avoid complicated tunnels while still serving some decently dense parts of Agawam.

S3 is the main north-south spine of the network. Starting in East Longmeadow, the line paralells an existing bike trail / abandoned right of way until just after East Forest Park. There is an alternate route for the line, which would follow the same rail right of way ip to Wilbraham Road before making a sharp right, then a sharp left just before the MassMutual Center (both routes require fairly heavy tunnelling under downtown – likely costing similar amounts of money, which is why I opted for the more direct path).

Finally, the best feature of the map: the Amherst Express! This new line would follow the existing Vermonter / Valley Flyer tracks up to Northampton, providing significantly better service to those cities before branching off towards Amherst. The route from Northampton to Amherst largely relies on the Norwottuck Rail Trail’s right of way – the new tracks would be built right next to the trail so both can operate simultaneously. Unfortunately, Amherst doensn’t have any good existing right of ways that would take you from the SW corner of the city up to UMass; you’d likely need to dig a short tunnel under Pleasant St (unrealistic IRL, but it makes the fantasy map look nice)

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