Official Map: MAXX Commuter Rail, Auckland, New Zealand

Time to get away from North America and Europe and head further afield… about as far afield as you can go, actually! Here’s the system map for Auckland, New Zealand’s commuter rail system. This map, available from the MAXX website, seems to be based off the map they place above doors in the actual train carriages. This explains the horizontal format which skews the Southern Line out to the right of the map instead of towards the bottom, where it heads in real life.

Have we been there? Yes, way back in 1993… I didn’t catch any trains.

What we like: Clear, simple and easy to understand. Nice differentiation between normal stations and interchanges.

What we don’t like: The labels angled to 30 degrees seems almost entirely unnecessary, as they could fit horizontally with minimal effort. It looks particularly odd at Manukau station, where a 45-degree curve meets the 30-degree type.

Strangely, station names are set in two different sizes: all stations on the Western Line are 18-point, but stations past Penrose on the Eastern, Southern and Onehunga Line are set in 16-point. I can’t see any reason why this is necessary at all, and seems like an error made by the designer to me.

Finally, and this is no actual fault of the map itself… I know it’s an historical name (being named after the British Navy ship that surveyed Auckland Harbour in the 1840s), but “Britomart” just makes it sound like Auckland’s main railway station is located under a cheap convenience store.

Our rating: Competent, but not exactly exciting. Average in just about every way, including my score: two-and-a-half-stars.

2.5 Stars

(Source: Official MAXX website)

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