The Mappers Challenge got buried under a long list of newer diary entries, so as today is the 31st Jan I will post about my contribution here:
My land area is part of the Majos Valley, the flood plain of the biggest river in Karolia and two national parks:
The peaceful landscape is largely grassland [landuse: check] and has only a few gentle hills which the river meanders around. On the higher ground the grasses become heathland [landuse: check]. The river has shifted course a lot in its history and many oxbow lakes and ponds exist [landuse: check], as well as extensive reed beds [check] and wet meadows [check]. Some of the watercourses are man-made, from attempts to farm aquatic produce and fish, as well as manage the drainage off the land.
‘Limited infrastructure’ means few roads. Instead the railway and long-distance cycle and footpaths are the access to this area. These run on boardwalks over the marshy ground, and also on a special bridge over the railway line. This wasn’t strictly necessary as traffic is light enough for a level crossing, but it was built to allow a view and information displays about the grasslands towards Majoslinna, the town built on a kopje (an eccentric thrust of hard rock). Cycle route K1 is a high-quality dedicated path that runs right up Karolia from Santjana to the mountains and visits important sites and cities. On this branch line, trains have cycle spaces installed to facilitate day trips and cycle tourism. It’s considered important to make alternatives to car use more attractive here to protect the environment in this landscape hence the lack of roads. Numerous species of water birds, aquatic reptiles and insects live here. Very occasionally river dolphins swim this far north from the coast, hunting fish.
Comment from Luciano on 31 January 2019 at 15:24
Comment from Alessa on 1 February 2019 at 14:33
This is nice! I like the left-alone nature of the space. It definitely looks like humans have had little intervention on it. Out of curiosity, why does the rail line go through here? If the ground is as soft and wet as it looks and is prone to flooding, it seems they’d want a more direct route between the two cities. I’m not suggesting the rail is impossible; it’d be easy to build in many ways, but it strikes me as a little excessive at the moment. Perhaps there’s a further north destination that requires the more direct route?
Comment from Sarepava on 1 February 2019 at 18:52
The single-tracked, unelectrified line exists as a (mainly) freight link to the north-east: it originally served the 19th century aquaculture, reeds and aquatic plant farming industries close to the river area. The river itself is circuitous to carry freight along and canal shortcuts were never built. Nowerdays tourism justifies the passenger service pattern, trains from Kanton to Paliiso during daylight hours making request stops on this section. Additionally, the wyes on the main line don’t allow traffic from the port at Paliiso to turn this way without reversing. The double-tracked line direct to Majoslinna is busy as it’s the main corridor for Paliiso-Kanton passenger traffic. And also, Karolian railway engineers during the railway boom often liked to show off how they could lay tracks over difficult terrain.
It’s inspired by the equally remote and picturesque branch serving Berney Arms in Norfolk: https://www.openstreetmap.org/#map=16/52.5905/1.6298
Comment from Alessa on 1 February 2019 at 19:20
That makes sense, Sarepava. Thanks for the explanation. I can think of a couple instances of things like this in the United States too, so I know it’s possible. It’s just a bit odd in isolation. Still, I think it’s pretty well done! If I wanted to channel my inner @eklas, I’d say that the railway needs to have smoother curves. :)
Comment from zhenkang on 1 February 2019 at 22:41
There is always a rail line that I like, which is in Kyoto, Japan. I forgot the name of the line, but it was a steam train. The line parallels a JR passenger line, but the steam train is still popular among tourists who wants to see the sights.