Man designs fantasy train line from Connecticut to Massachusetts

Porter Crumpton designs fantasy train maps.

His personal interest in public transportation started very young — around the age of six — but he’s only recently started to imagine rail lines that he feels should exist and actually build maps for them.

“I’ve been making maps for potential ideas for about a year and some change now,” he said by email. “Some of my recent work includes subway systems for Las Vegas and Milwaukee, a light rail system for Columbus, Ohio, and a regional rail system for southeast Wisconsin.”

Crumpton works for an urban transportation planning NGO in real life, and designs his maps with attention to detail. They look real and official.

Originally from Washington but currently living in Philadelphia post college, Crumpton recently designed a fantasy rail line that begins in Connecticut and heads north, stopping at local points.

There is local train service heading south from New London, all the way through to Wilmington, Del. but there’s not much in the way of train lines heading north. Crumpton saw that as a problem, and solved it.

“Right now, there’s a gap in local train service between New London and Wickford Junction,” he said. “I wanted to create a service to bridge the gap, to give more communities access to areas further away from them. The idea was originally just New London to Providence, but then got expanded upon with a stop at Pawtucket, extension to Woonsocket and then to Worcester, then the connecting buses.”

Yes, Amtrak is an option if you want to head north on a train, but there are issues with Amtrak.

“Amtrak has a cost barrier, so this would be a cheaper, more frequent system, connecting close by communities and several mid-major and major cities that are otherwise inaccessible without a car,” he said.

Starting at New London, the train would head to Poquonock Bridge, Noank-Groton, Mystic, Lords Point and Stonington, before crossing into Rhode Island. The imagined train would stop at several locations along the way toward Providence, including TF Green Airport, and then head north into Massachusetts after Woonsocket, finishing its run up in Worcester, with many local stops in between.

From there, a traveler could catch Amtrak to Chicago or Boston, or take the MBTA to Boston for local service.

Crumpton is aware that this line, and the others he designed, are not likely ever to become reality. He said physical implementation is not something he strives for, “but it is nice to dream.”

For that reason, his designs incorporate tracks that already exist. The tracks are there, which would mean an easier project, should his vision of him ever come to fruition. All that’s needed is the trains themselves, plus a few odds and ends like stations: “The infrastructure is all there as far as tracks go, all that would be needed is wires, trains and stations.”

“The line I created would use tracks that currently exist in real life, and a few of the stations as well,” he said. “In this instance, a big benefit is that unlike some of my other tracks, a majority of the line is already used for passenger service: The section from New London to Providence is served by Amtrak and additional service from Wickford Junction to Providence is provided. by MBTA.”

His reasoning for using existing infrastructure is logical. The alternative, he said, would be to design a line that needs new tracks, “which, if this were to ever be real, could run into a whole bunch of eminent domain issues and other legal hurdles.”

“I just do my best to see what infrastructure is already there and what existing service is there,” he said. “It’s easier for me to do projects where new right-of-way doesn’t have to be created, since if any of my ideas ever became reality, that’s one less obstacle.”

See more of Crumpton’s work at He’s also on Twitter at @PYZC773.

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