General historical and geographical background.

The country that we today know as Thalnia was stitched together during the mid-nineteenth century, largely from the assorted dukedoms and principalities occupying the Roman province of Tomalia. The embryonic country also swallowed the bishopric of  Marronĝaco, which had previously existed independently in Roman times as the small Murranaccia province. The modern day province is an outlier of the country linked to the main body of Thalnia by a narrow isthmus of territory along the coast. Isolated behind almost impenetrable mountain ramparts the Marronĝacajoj, as the inhabitants were known, had been ruled for centuries by the Prince-Bishop seated in the Roman provincial capital of Fenditavalat and were disinclined to accept the authority of the new government, seated in Sarip. That the Marronĝacan language still endures in daily use within the four cantons is one obvious manifestation of this independence.

Faced with such truculence the newly established national government elected to construct a unifying railway network. By such means they reasoned that the more recalcitrant provinces could be subjugated and incorporated into the fledgling nation. Unfortunately the state sponsored lines could only ignore the inconveniently located settlements of Marronĝaco's interior as they were restricted to the coastal strip traversing the seaward side of the Antaŭamontoĉeno, or Front Range, although this did facilitate reaching the Narnian boundary at Gascari. A second line was later established into Ruritania from the junction at Nerv, running via the northern garrison town of Krelm, which later became the more favoured corridor for international traffic.

It was obvious, however, that the four cantons needed internal systems if they were to fully participate in the new country's economic development. In 1878 the Altonian konsilio, a semi autonomous body, sought funding from the National Assembly for the construction of a complementary line into the interior of the province. This was readily granted allowing a line to be built in a roughly north-south direction, from a station on the Narnian line, which was simply called Relforka Lacono (Lacono Junction) towards the cantonal capital at Lacono. The isolated site of the junction was selected purely for the convenience of the railway companies, although a small community later grew up around the facilities, and was some 30kms distant from Lacono itself. With some difficulty the line traversed the Ero gorge before crossing the flat plains of the Kasatritikakamparoj, (or hidden wheat fields to give the English translation). Although it roughly followed the Roman via murranaccia, which paralleled the River Ero, the line omitted the southern section leading to the port at Eromarbordo. The original intention had been to continue the line across the province to reach the provincial capital at Fenditavalat, in Calviero, before continuing to  connect with the mainline into Ruritania. To this end the railway left the plain to climb into the upper reaches of Lacono terminating in the Aspargo quarter of the city.

Here the money ran out. The cantonal authorities formed a semi-autonomous operating company, the KTTF (Kasatritikakamparojferovojo), which settled down to working its line as efficiently as possible. As the de facto railhead for the northern part of the canton Lacono prospered, effectively usurping Fenditavalat's traditional role of provincial capital, a fact recognised by the transference of the provincial seat of government to the city in 1892. With little imminent prospect of further construction much bitter wrangling ensued within the cantonal, provincial and national assemblies, concerning the desirability of further complementing the national network. Finding a path across the mountainous terrain occupied many minds whilst others were concerned with the fiscal burden that would be shouldered by Altonian rate payers to connect a Calvieran city to the national system. Following labyrinthine discussions a compromise was finally brokered during the 1895 session sanctioning the construction of a line across the Altingablecaŭto, or High Reaches. Construction was fraught with difficulties and it was not until 1899 that Fenditavalat was finally brought into railway communication with he rest of the country. The Complementary Railways of Altonia or AFK, as the company had now become, as a result possessed a mainline that measured 72.6 kms, or approximately 45 miles. By this date the burghers of Fenditavalat had resolved to effect their own independent connection to the national system, seeing little reason why the neighbouring canton should benefit financially from their trade. Thalnian railway construction was closely co-ordinated at the national level, as was common in continental countries, but approval was granted, given the mitigating circumstances, for the construction of the CFS (Calviero Ferovojoj Secundaraj) to provide access to the national network at Krelm. This line, electrified on the three phase system, reached the city in 1903, although it initially proved impossible to physically connect the two systems due to the intractable terrain. Once a connection was effected, following the cessation of hostilities in 1918, the vision of the mid nineteenth century statesman had been accomplished.

Encouraged by the prosperity engendered by the AFK, the canton built two branches in the early twentieth century. One connected the remote citadel of Jakarutu, situated in the Tegmentadelamondo, to the main network by the use of the Strub rack. This was never envisaged as being a profitable line but was built for social and political reasons. The other line followed the Ero to its mouth at Eromarbordo thereby replicating the Roman road system. Eromarbordo had declined in importance because it had been bypassed in the first stages of railway construction but the arrival of the new branchline led to a revival of the port's fortunes, although it still remains a relative backwater of the system.