Fantasy Map: Freshwater Railway, Detroit and Southeast Michigan

This map has to be part of the most convincing fantasy transit system I have ever seen. As well as this stylish and distinctive map, there’s an entire website, complete with additional bus maps, timetables and more. I’ll also note here that the website design puts most transit agencies to shame…

If you weren’t familiar with Detroit, you’d be forgiven for thinking this was real (I kind of wonder how many tourists have been tricked into thinking this system exists). It’s only when you realise that the trains “depart” from the derelict Michigan Central Station (which is also Freshwater Rail’s business address), that the elaborate hoax is revealed.

Have we been there? Yes, to visit my father-in-law. He lives in South Lyon and works at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, so he’d still have to drive to work unless the connections were remarkably good…

What we like: Attractive and distinctive map, based on 30-degree angles instead of the usual 45. It’s nice to see a map that forges its own identity and is not afraid to look different, even if it’s not real. The pastel route lines with their thick black borders are surprisingly effective, and together with the typeface chosen (Brandon Grotesque), create a lovely Art Deco feel to the whole map. Part of a greater, entirely cohesive whole - this is seriously impressive work.

What we don’t like: Not entirely in favour of the type angled up at 60 degrees, as I feel it makes the map harder to read, but acknowledge that it suits the design aesthetic of the map quite well.

Our rating: Astounding. 5 stars!

5 Stars!

(Source: Freshwater Railway website - WARNING: EXTREMELY CONVINCING!)