Historical Map: British Rail Greater London Network, 1965

Here’s a fantastic map out of England in the mid-60s, showing British Rail service in the Greater London area. It’s almost staggering to think that a map this well drawn was created without the use of computers. I definitely recommend clicking through to the large image on Flickr to savour all the beautiful, crisp linework: this map is technically excellent.

Have we been there? Yes, and I’ve used many of the great London terminus stations, especially Victoria.

What we like: Fantastic mid-century design work. There’s an amazing consistency in design throughout, which makes the map flow beautifully. The icons for Underground connections (a red roundel) and station parking (a small blue square) are simple and understated, yet easily understood. Peak hour routes are grey, and local train services are thinner black lines, giving nice hierarchy to the information shown. Final destination information for each of the routes is nicely integrated around the edges of the map.

What we don’t like: The thin black tick mark used for stations has the unfortunate looking (although strangely appropriate) effect of making the route lines look like railway tracks. The dashed routes make the map look a little busy, especially towards the southwest, where there’s a huge profusion of blue-and-white routes out of Waterloo station.

Our rating: Superb example of great transit map design from the UK in the ’60s. Four-and-a-half stars.

4.5 Stars!

(Source: smallritual/Flickr)