Saturday, January 30, 2010

Transport: Most Common Place Name

TORONTO, ONTARIO - Recently, I finally finished updating the index of my railfanning experiences to the end of 2005. (Can you tell it hasn't been a priority?) More than a decade of serious ralfanning took me to a lot of places, each of which gained an entry in the index. I noted a place name in essentially two cases: When I saw a train or other significant railroad "thing" there, or when I passed through that place on a train. The sample size is large enough that the place names that are repeated makes for an interesting study. For the sake of this discussion, place names that are spelled differently are not counted (e.g. Bern, Switzerland is not considered the same as Berne, Washington even though the one in Washington was named after the one in Switzerland).

Place names that appeared twice were quite common. The list includes Adeliade, Afton, Albany, Alexandria, Argo, Athol, Aurora, Avon, Ayer, Ballard, Bannock, Batavia, Battle Ground, Bayview, Bell, Bellevue, Belmont, Berg, Berkeley, Bethel, Bingen, Bradford, Brunswick, Canaan, Charlotte, Cliff, Clay, Cold Springs, Comstock, Croydon, Edgecomb, Elmhurst, Erlenbach, Exeter, Gardner, Guilford, Georgetown, Glenwood, Goble, Glacier Park, Green River, Halifax, Harrison, Hermosa, Indian Creek, Jamestown, Jordan, Kent, Laufenberg, Las Vegas, Lawrence, Lindsay, Little Falls, Lombard, London, Ludlow, Midway, Milfod, Millersburg, Monroe, Morrisville, Mount Vernon, Newcastle, Newton, Niles, Norwood, Oneida, Park, Pine, Pinkerton, Portland, Providence, Quincy, Radnor, Riverdale, Rockland, Rockwood, Rosemont, Ross, Salem, Selma, Soda Springs, Somerville, Stratford, Syracuse, Tacoma, Thompson, Thornton, Trenton, Verona, Washington, Waterbury, and Wellington. I may have missed others that are considered part of a larger place (Glacier Park, Washington is a siding I have listed under Orillia, Washington, and arguably both Glacier Park and Orillia should be listed under Kent, Washington as they are both within the city limits of Kent).

Twenty-two names appeared three times. They are:
  • Brookfield - Connecticut, Illinois, and Wisconsin
  • Bristol - Illinois, Pennsylvania, and Washington
  • Burlington - Iowa, North Carolina, and Washington
  • Cannon - California, Pennsylvania, and Quebec
  • Clifton - New Jersey, Ontario, and Oregon
  • Essex - Connecticut, Montana, and New York
  • Harrisburg - North Carolina, Oregon, and Pennsylvania
  • Hinsdale - Illinois, Massachusetts, and Montana
  • Hudson - Colorado, New Jersey, and New York
  • Huntington - Massachusetts, Oregon, and West Virginia
  • Lowell - Indiana, Massachusetts, and Washington
  • Marysville - California, Kentucky, and Washington
  • Newark - California, Delaware, and New Jersey
  • Norwich - Connecticut, North Dakota, and Vermont
  • Plymouth - New Hampshire, Massachusetts, and Washington
  • Ramsey - Idaho, New Jersey, and Wyoming
  • Richmond - California, Virginia and Vermont
  • Russell - New Hampshire, Illinois and Massachusetts
  • Summit - Pennsylvania, Utah, and Vermont
  • Wilmington - Delaware, Illinois, and Massachusetts
  • Winona - New Hampshire, Minnesota, and Ontario
  • Woodford - California, New South Wales, and Virginia
Five names appeared four times:
  • Auburn - California, Massachusetts, New South Wales, and Washington
  • Fairfield - California, Connecticut, Iowa, and Oregon
  • Hamilton - Massachusetts, New Jersey, Ohio and Ontario
  • Springfield - Illinois, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Virginia
  • Westport - Connecticut, New York, Oregon, and Vermont
I had thought that Springfield would be the overall winner, as it was a name so generic that it was used for the generic town in the Simpsons, but it didn't even make the top three.

Three names appeared five times:
  • Ashland - New Hampshire, Kentucky, Massachusetts, Oregon, and Virginia
  • Lincoln - California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Nebraska, and New Hampshire
  • Riverside - California, Colorado, Connecticut, Illinois and Vermont
And the big champion, appearing six times? Chester. I have been to the Chesters in Connecticut, Illinois, Massachusetts, Montana, Pennsylvania, and Vermont. I had no idea that Chester was the most prolific railroad place name in my experience.

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