Infographic: Circle Loop Lines of the World by Matthew Lew

Very aesthetically appealing infographic that compares 18 circle railway lines from around the world. The top part of the graphic displays the lines in a schematic fashion, representing each by its average diameter. The stations that comprise each line are then simply spaced evenly around the circumference to create a very striking pattern. Stations that interchange with other lines are represented by placing a small white dot in the centre of a station’s marker.

Below, information about each line — the number of stations, number of interchanges with other lines, the line’s length and radius, etc. — is displayed, along with a list of all the stations that make up each line. The colour-coding of the lines is designed to create a pleasing visual effect —working its way in order through the colour spectrum — rather than using each line’s “traditional” colour from their respective maps. While this is an understandable design choice, it’s still a little weird to see London’s Circle Line represented by a lovely shade of lime green.

For those who can’t quite make it out, the Circle lines represented (in ascending order of diameter) are:

  • Miami, Florida
  • Charleroi, BelgiumĀ 
  • Detroit, MichiganĀ 
  • Glasgow, Scotland
  • Oslo, Norway
  • Moscow, Russia
  • Osaka, Japan
  • Madrid, Spain (Line 6);
  • London, England (technically a spiral now, rather than a true loop)
  • Nagoya, Japan
  • Beijing, China (Line 2)
  • Shanghai, China
  • Tokyo, Japan
  • Delhi, India
  • Berlin, Germany
  • Madrid, Spain (Line 12 - MetroSur)
  • Seoul, South Korea
  • Beijing, China (Line 10)

Overall, this graphic looks great and provides an interesting, easily digestible, comparison between all these loop railroads. It would be interesting to see a version that plotted the actual routes and stations accurately against each other, rather than this heavily stylised view.

(Source: Matthew Lew’s Behance portfolio)

Unofficial Map: Circular Map of Oslo’s T-Bane System

We’ve already covered the official Oslo T-Bane map, so it’s interesting to have a look at a completely different take on it; one that takes the “Circle Line” concept to its logical extreme. This piece is the work of Francisco Dans, a design student in London.

Have we been there? No.

What we like: Interesting experiment using arcs and circles, while still maintaining some level of relative placement.

What we don’t like: Adobe Illustrator is pretty unforgiving when it comes to tangential lines, and there’s a few wonky curves and joins in this map, mainly on the pink “5” line. The widening of the interchange stations in the city centre to accomodate the visual conceit of the arcs makes it look like a heck of a walk from one line to another. The line work and type size is probably a little too spindly for use in a real world application.

Our rating: An interesting experiment that looks fun and breezy. Two-and-a-half-stars.

2.5 Stars

(Source: Francisco’s Minefield Junction website)

Official Map: Oslo T-bane (Metro) System

An excellent example of a fully diagrammatic metro map. Clearly marked routes (both by number and end station name), bright and attractive colours and lots of useful information like bus, tram and main line railway interchanges. The city centre area is nicely denoted by showing it as a white square against the light grey background - the information is there, but is definitely subordinate to the main purpose of the map. There also appears to be some thought put into making the map future-proof: note the gap between Majorstuen and Nationalthreatret stations, where a new station, Homansbyen, will be built; and the extension of the 6 Line which is currently being brought up to full T-bane standards.

Have we been there? No

What we like: The lovely gradient between the dark blue 4 Line and cyan 6 Line as the service changes from one to the other on the Ring Line. Effective and easy to understand tram and bus interchange information.

What we don’t like: The black tick marks for normal stations seem a little tacked on - I think I would prefer ticks in the same colour as the line they’re on. The white keyline strangely disappears on the 6 Line after Jar station - a mistake?

Our rating: Really quite excellent. 4 stars.

4 Stars!

(Source: Official T-banen Website)