Official Map: H.C. Chambers & Son Bury St. Edmunds - Colchester Routes, England
An attractive and stylish route map on the side of a handsome red double-decker bus. While the service from Bury to Colchester via Bures carries a single route number (753), you actually have to change buses in Sudbury, hence the “double dot” shown there. The timetable on the bus company’s website warns that because of congestion, connections between the two buses at Sudbury may not always be timely.
The second line shown from Sudbury to Colchester via Nayland is actually a separate route, the 84. Handy information if you miss your connection to the Colchester leg of the 753, I guess…
While this bus looks fantastic, the same can’t be said for the H.C. Chambers & Son website, which is completely craptacular.
Historical Map: Abandoned Bus Station, Pripyat, Ukraine
A harrowing image from the Ukrainian city of Pripyat, built in the 1970s to house workers for the ill-fated Chernobyl nuclear plant. Pripyat lies just a few scant kilometres from the plant, and was permanently evacuated within two days of the disaster in 1986.
Within the ruins of the city’s bus station is this surprisingly intact map of services offered within the local region. Pripyat is the fourth station from the top along the right edge of the map, just above the horizontal line that runs through the map. The town of Chernobyl (which is further from the plant than Pripyat) is the next stop to the south along the red route line.
(Source: Matt. Create. (Roads Less Traveled)/Flickr)
Clockwise/Counter-Clockwise: the Berlin Ringbahn Map
That’s enough from Boston for a while… let’s head to Berlin to look at this odd little map. It shows the S41 and S42 S-Bahn lines, which travel clockwise and counter-clockwise, respectively, along the Ringbahn, a 37km (23 mile) loop around Berlin.
While the map is packed with information — interchanges with other S- and U-Bahn services, stations with transfers to Deutsche Bahn trains, and estimated travel times between major stations — it just feels a little messy and unfinished to me, and definitely at odds with the precise and minimalist design style one normally associates with German transit maps.
Historical Map: London Connections, 1988
The reverse side of the British Rail Network SouthEast map, showing the detailed view of the area surrounding London. While this map is designed in a very similar style (at the same time, by the same people) to the regional map, I feel it’s slightly less successful for a few reasons.
The inclusion of the London Underground introduces many more colors to the map, which instantly makes it feel much busier. After using all these familiar and well-established colours for the Underground, there really aren’t many colours left to use for the main line/Network SouthEast routes. So they get saddled with orange, a very vivid, powerful colour that visually dominates the map, especially south of the Thames.
Interestingly, the London Overground — a service which has largely been formed from parts of these old main line routes — also uses orange as its route colour: is this map the origin of that designation?
Other points of interest: The Docklands Light Railway, opened the previous year, is shown but has not yet acquired its distinctive teal route colour. The Waterloo & City Line (a very short line between Waterloo and Bank stations) is still part of British Rail, not the Underground.
See also this British Rail map from 1965 (May 2012, 4.5 stars) that covers a very similar area but omits the Underground.
Our rating: A fine piece of work that skillfully incorporates a lot of information, but not as excellent as its sibling. Three stars.
Historical Map: British Rail Network SouthEast, 1988
Network SouthEast was an operating division of British Rail that was formed in 1982 (although it was known as London & South Eastern until 1986). It was responsible for inter-city and commuter rail for the densely-populated south east of England, including London. Of course, beginning in 1994, Network SouthEast was privatised along with the rest of British Rail, leading to the convoluted network of private rail companies we see today.
But what we have here is a very handsome network map, which obviously owes a great deal to the London Underground map, but has enough of its own identity to stand alone. This is mainly achieved by the removal of the Underground’s distinctive Johnston Sans typeface, replaced with what looks like a condensed Helvetica or similar Gothic face.
The map is broken down into six regions, which are cleverly shown by only using three repeating colours (red, blue and grey): this prevents the map from looking too rainbow-like and gives it a more corporate feeling. A fourth colour — orange — is used to show the brand-new ThamesLink service running north-south through London.
The London region itself only shows main terminals and connecting stations: a more detailed map of this area is shown on the reverse of this map: this keeps the map clean and uncluttered.
About the only real problem I have with this map is the colour of the water, which is almost exactly the same as the blue type that is used to denote connecting ferry services and ports. For example, there’s a ferry to France from Newhaven Harbour, but it’s very difficult to make that out.
Our rating: An excellent example of mid-1980s map design (remember: this is still before computers entered the design field, so a map of this complexity was quite an undertaking). Four stars.
Historical Map: Railways in Cornwall, 1936
An absolutely gorgeous hand-drawn map from a “Little Guide” to Cornwall published by Methuen in 1936. Drawn by B.C. Boulter, who also illustrated the guide book.
Historical Map: Old M1 Signage, Bucharest Metro, Romania, c. 1989
The Gara de Nord to Dristor 2 section of the M1 line opened in 1989, and this signage certainly looks like it’s from that era. The design is pretty rough and ready, looking almost like the sign makers made it up as they went along, but it does have a certain brutalist charm about it.
Of particular interest are the two patches at each end of the map that keep this old map somewhat up to date: “Preciziei” at the left end covers up the previous station name of “Industriilor”, which was changed in 2009, while “Anghel Saligny” has been added to the right side to reflect the new M3 terminus that opened in 2008.
(Source: Marcus Wong from Geelong/Flickr)
Historical Map: Alilaguna Gold Line, Venice, 2006
We’ve featured Venice’s public transportation ferry map previously (February 2012, 2.5 stars), but here’s an interesting photo of a map by Alilaguna, a privately-run ferry and water taxi service.
This map, dating back to 2006, shows only the Alilaguna Linea Oro (Gold Line), running from the airport to St. Mark’s Square. Interestingly, this express route no longer exists, leaving passengers to lake the slower, local Linea Blu to the heart of Venice instead.
The map has some interesting Vignelli-esque aesthetics, with the lagoon islands reduced to simplified, blocky shapes (as well as beige water!). The execution works well for Venice itself; less so towards the edges of the map. There’s too much fussy detail over on the left side of the map near Malcontenta, and the way the mainland is strangely truncated makes Mestre and the airport look like they’re also located on islands. Global warming, perhaps?
Production-wise, it’s obvious that this map has been created by simply deleting the other Alilaguna lines from a master map, which leads to the three “station” markers shown being extremely long for no apparent reason. The indeterminate angle the route line takes from the airport down towards Murano is also a little odd-looking, given the strong 45-degree design aesthetic of the map.
Our rating: Nice concept, huge potential to be visually striking — but a shame about the uneven execution. Two-and-a-half-stars.
Historical Map: Circular London Underground Map Sketch, Harry Beck, c. 1964
For those who thought that the two circular London Underground diagrams I featured earlier this year — by Jonny Fisher and Maxwell Roberts — were a completely modern twist on an old classic, here’s a reminder of just how forward-thinking Harry Beck really was.
This is a sketch, dated to 1964 at the earliest (due to his adoption of Paul Garbutt’s dot-in-a-circle device for main line interchange stations), that presents the Circle Line as a perfect ellipse. Quite a stunning contrast to his usual rigidly rectilinear diagrams, if perhaps ultimately not a huge improvement — much as the two modern maps are exercises in design, rather than a replacement for the original. Note also that this beautiful sketch is entirely hand-drawn: not a computer to be seen in it’s creation.
(Source: Scanned from my personal copy of Mr. Beck’s Diagram by Ken Garland, Capital Transport Publishing, 1994)
Submission: Hamburger Hochbahn Ceiling Map, 1915
Submitted by themallefitz, who says:
This is a transit map of the Hamburger Hochbahn (subway / elevated railway) from 1915. it was painted on the ceiling of the wagons.
Transit Maps says:
This. Is. So. Beautiful.