25 January 2010

The city stretches on and on

In my earlier post on Sim City 4 I discussed the first stages of growth of the city of Cullinane and its outlying satellite towns.  Since that post the city has reached further northwards, with small settlements expanding around the broad sweep of Pickering Bay to the north of the town of Wilshire, linking up with the bustling towns along the Vansittart River to the east.  Several of the unpopulated islands in the Cullinane region now sport their own settlements too, with immigrants hurrying to set up homes on Hinchingbrooke, Prince Samuel and Nielsen Islands.  Naturally, many of the mainland towns and villages have been connected to the more populous area of Cullinane by a comprehensive rail network designed to move passengers and freight with ease.  The growth of the island settlements has also spurred the development of a network of ferry routes (marked in blue on the map below), particularly around the enclosed shores of Pickering Bay.

Cullinane North overview

In the overview map the eastward growth of settlement can be seen clearly.  From the earlier settlements in the southwest quarter of the map the first new town to emerge was Vansittart, on the end of the sunny peninsula of the same name.  Following development of the immediate surrounds of that town, settlement spread around Pickering Bay from both sides, westwards from Vansittart and northwards from Wilshire, and out to the nearby islands in the gulf. 

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The town of Vansittart was established by wealthy backers in an ideal location for luxurious living.  While in the medium term space for expansion may prove limited, there are currently plenty of jobs in the town’s commercial districts or the nearby industrial estate of Blaketon, and there are excellent transport links to nearby towns, particularly due to the magnificent Blaketon Bridge over the Vansittart River to the satellite high-tech industry park at Sedley.  Further workers live south of Sedley in the twin suburbs of Silverman and Prospect Park.  A comprehensive rail network serves the populace, providing plenty of commuting options. 

North of Vansittart lies the closely-knit settlements of The Narrows, where two bridges link the western and eastern shores of the Vansittart.  On the western side the orderly town of Ellsberg is linked to Blaketon with an arrow-straight dual carriageway, while on the eastern shore the village of Tenchville serves both the laboratories of Sedley and the farms that stretch northwards along the river banks.

The narrow band of coast west of Vansittart is home to the tiny farming hamlet of Lansberry, where a few hundred inhabitants live a quiet existence on steep west-facing slopes.  There is little flat land for further expansion here, so Lansberry is likely to remain unchanged in the foreseeable future.

North of Lansberry the coastal plain widens somewhat, which has permitted the establishment of two distinct towns.  The first to be founded, Monckton, has since been joined by its sister town Peabody.  Each has its own maritime connections to the outside world: Monckton has a ferry port while Peabody boasts a container port.  Halfway between the two towns is Rudman Vale, an industrial estate retreating up into the steep hills.  A train line snakes its way up the valley from here, cresting the hills behind where many high-country farms take advantage of the relatively smooth contours, and dropping back down to Ellsberg on the eastern side.  Recently another small industrial estate called Coulson has grown up on the western outskirts of Peabody to serve as overspill from the cramped conditions of Rudman Vale.

Heading clockwise around Pickering Bay lie two fairly similar small agricultural service towns: first, Atwell Bay, and next the slightly smaller town of Merrion.  Each is surrounded by farmland, connected to the rail network by a single central rail station, and boasts both a ferry wharf for cross-bay traffic and a resort hotel for tourists seeking a sea-side holiday. 

The last Pickering Bay town is Pickering itself, which has a close commercial relationship with nearby Hinchingbrooke Island.  The mainland town of Pickering, which has recently expanded across a narrow creek in the form of the new suburb of Litchmouth, also has cargo port facilities and a ferry wharf for passengers bound for Hinchingbrooke.  On the island itself a rapidly-expanding community enjoys the sea air, particularly on the island’s western tip, Ranelagh Point, which boasts a large holiday resort.  Hinchingbrooke was initially supplied with electricity from its own wind turbine generators, but has recently been connected to the mainland power grid as demand increased.

Between Pickering and Wilshire the fast-growing Warnock Town holds the potential to grow from its agricultural roots into a much larger settlement – perhaps the gateway town for the north.  With plenty of space to expand on the central plains and strong transport links into the heart of Cullinane’s highly populated core, Warnock could well reach city status before the wealthier but more geographically constrained town of Vansittart.

A few other new settlements have cropped up around Cullinane.  To the south of Wilshire the Oakeshott peninsula houses wealthy residents keen for sea views and sunshine.  A short ferry ride away the new farming town of Prince Samuel is the first development on the large Prince Samuel’s Island.  East of Ramillies the growth of Nielsen Island’s settlement is likely to be constrained by a lack of space for residential zoning and the lack of a suitable location for a ferry wharf in cliff-girt Ramillies itself.  Lastly, north of the crowded Kells suburbs lies the new town of Sutherland at the eastern end of the first rail bridge across the Elliott River.  It is unlikely to see much expansion until the settlements on the western shore of the river are opened up for wider development.

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The Cullinane Transit Authority has prepared an overview map for rail services in upper Cullinane.  Its distinctive green route traces show the strength of rail services around Vansittart and Ellsberg in particular.  However, in the fast-moving transit environment of Cullinane it is hard to keep such maps up to date: since the map was prepared the services to the south of Vansittart have already formed a new rail loop with a spur leading to the end of the peninsula to serve newly-zoned residential suburbs. 

Cullinane North 1

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