Official Map: Belgian Railways Network
Following on from the previous post about Luxembourg, here’s another nationwide system map that resembles a subway map, this time for Luxembourg’s neighbour, Belgium - the land of beer, frites and Tintin!
Have we been there? Yes, during my European jaunt in 2003. I caught trains from Brussels to Ghent, Ghent to Bruges, Bruges to Ypres and Ypres back to Brussels.
What we like: Nice simplification of a relatively complex network. Major hubs are treated particularly well, especially Brussels - which is actually pretty clear even without the inset.Colour is used nicely to provide differentiation between adjacent route lines and zones (which don’t correlate to Belgium’s provinces, as far as I can see).
What we don’t like: The strange placement of elements on the page really detract from the map. The nationwide map could be larger, and the Brussels inset needs to be boxed in and highlighted better.The corporate branding in the bottom right is very average indeed. Orange is a terrible colour for a gradient effect. Awful treatment of the coastline and ocean.
Some odd route choices which may be technically accurate, but don’t help the map to read better. An example of this is the 12 route out of Antwerpen-Centraal, which loops all the way around Antwerp to the south and east before heading north through Antwerpen-Luchtbal towards Amsterdam. This may be what actually happens in real life, but do we need to see it on a simplified diagram to understand where the train goes?
Our rating: Solid effort, let down by some poor page layout. 2.5 stars.
(Source: Official Belgian Rail website)