Historical Map: PATCO Hi-Speed Line (Philadelphia and Southern New Jersey), 1983
An odd little map from the Fall/Winter 1978 PATCO timetable brochure. While the Hi-Speed line itself is nicely shown in a lovely strong red, the absolute tangle of highways shown in New Jersey is somewhat bewildering, and really not that helpful.
The other bit of strangeness is the way that the map shows highways and towns all the way out to the Atlantic coast – some 45 miles past Lindenwold, the easternmost PATCO station. The map does note that you can transfer to “Seashore Buses” at Lindenwold, but doesn’t show any routes for them. Conrail trains actually ran from Lindenwold out to several coastal destinations just a few years prior, as this almost identical map from 1978 shows. Rather than completely redraw the map, PATCO just erased the tracks from the old artwork and reused it. Very pragmatic.
In 1989, the Atlantic City Line (re)opened, first with Amtrak trains, and then with the current NJ Transit commuter rail service.
Our rating: Sneakily repurposing an older map’s artwork may be thrifty, but it makes for a very off-centred, unbalanced map. Fully two-fifths of the area serves very little purpose. One-and-a-half stars.
What an amazing trash pile find! Not much more to add - the original post below pretty much says it all:
SEPTA - July, 1983 Station Map.
This map is from the first year that SEPTA had become fully responsible for the operations of the commuter rail system in Philadelphia. I acquired this map a little while ago while wandering around West Philly with a friend where I saw a large pile of trash by the old water tower along the rail line. In that pile, I came upon this map and asked my housemate (he has a car) to swing by and grab it for me later as it was too large, heavy and filled with nails to carry it around with me all day. It has lived outside on our porch until a few weeks ago when my housemate took it upon himself of getting it off the plywood it had been secured to. As of today it was free from the board, after it broke a few drill bits, and I began the cleaning up process. It’s much better looking now but it has a very strange smell to it that I can’t exactly place or get rid of.
Every time I look at this map I’m reminded about how much transportation has changed in Philly since this was made. I think about such things frequently, quite frequently actually as its kind of my thing.
Today after cleaning it I wrote up a list of the stations that have been closed and added since this map was made. With this list I hope to go forward and document what I can (I already have a good start on this) about the stations that have been closed or altered.
Things to note on this map:
Market East Station does not exist at this point in time. All trains that had previously been part of the Reading Railroad System truncated at Reading Terminal Station, service to Reading Terminal ended on November 6, 1984 and shortly thereafter the Market East Station opened and connected the old Reading lines to the rest of the SEPTA system.
The Fox Chase Line that exists now once extended to Newtown and the history of this line in the Conrail and early SEPTA days is kind of storied and riddled with problems (accidents included). Rail buses replaced the aging Budd RDCs and finally operations ceased on September 3, 1985. Conrail did run trains on it until at least 1988 when a speeding motorist at a grade crossing in Newtown, PA hit a switch train.
The current Cynwyd Line once continued on to Ivy Ridge across the Pencoyd Viaduct until operations ceased on October 25,1986. The line was originally part of the Pennsy system as the Schuylkill Branch and went as far north as Wilkes-Barre through trackage rights that the Pennsy had of smaller lines in NE Pennsylvania. At the time of writing this, the Cynwyd Heritage Trail has plans to open the viaduct up as an extension of their path across the Schuylkill River.
The current Media/Elwyn Line at the time this map was made extended further to West Chester. Operations truncated on the line past Elwyn on September 19, 1986 and there is work currently being done to restore operations to Wawa. The Wawa Station originally was part of the West Chester & Philadelphia Railroad that was later absorbed by the Philadelphia & Baltimore Central Railroad, which was controlled by the Pennsylvania Railroad (referred to mostly as the Pennsy here).
Finally, the Airport Line that we know and love did not exist until April 28, 1985. This line runs along what was originally part of the Philadelphia, Wilmington and Baltimore Railroad.
Please find the stations on this map that have been closed listed below with any information I know or think I know about when they closed. Obviously, there are a lot of things to note about this map that I haven’t included, or in the histories of lines that I summarized above. Railroad history, including our regional rail system history in Philadelphia is quite a full history and I’m currently very tired and hungry.
Wissinoming - 2003
Frankford - 1990’s
Frankford Junction - 1990’s
West Trenton Line
Tabor - 1992
Logan - ?
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Fox Chase (Newtown) Line
Newtown - 1983- 1985
George School - 1983- 1985
Village Shires/Buck Road - 1983- 1985
Holland - 1983- 1985
Churchville - 1983- 1985
Southampton - 1983- 1985
County Line - 1983- 1985
Bryn Athyn - 1983- 1985
Huntingdon Valley - 1983- 1985
Walnut Hill - 1983- 1985
Logan - ?
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Fulmor – 1996?
Tabor - 1992
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Fellwick - 1996
Tabor - 1992
Logan - ?
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Chestnut Hill East Line
Fishers - 1992
Nicetown - 1988
Tioga - 1988
Chestnut Hill West Line
Westmoreland - 1994
Mogees - 1992
Shawmont - 1996
Cynwyd (Ivy Ridge) Line
Barmouth - 1986
Manayunk – Upper Level - 1986
Ivy Ridge – Upper Level - 1986
Media/Elwyn (West Chester) Line
West Chester - 1986
West Chester State College - 1986
Westtown - 1986
Cheyney - 1986
Glen Mills - 1986
Wawa - 1986
Lenni - 1986
Glen Riddle - 1986
Williamson School - 1986
Broad - Ridge Spur
Spring Garden Street - 1991
Sharon Hill Trolley Line
Shisler Avenue - 2010
Submission - Unofficial Map: Philadelphia SEPTA Rapid Transit System
Submitted by Henry, who says:
Hi, my name is Henry, and I’m a senior in high school. I made this map of Philadelphia’s rapid transit services(mostly SEPTA but including PATCO). This is the first transit map I’ve made, for my home city, Philadelphia, a map which I know you have much distaste for. I know it has several problems (alignment mostly I think) but I think it’s a huge improvement over what’s there now. I consciously made the decision to eliminate the entire Regional Rail network from the map and only include the connections, so I could flesh out the Trolley lines, which are not featured on the original map. I hope you’ll think that overall it represents a better designed improvement over the original. I love this city and anybody that knows it well knows that it’s a fantastic and underrated city, and I can only hope that maybe if it had a better map maybe some people’s perception would change.
Transit Maps says:
I definitely agree with Henry’s thoughts on the importance of a good transit map in shaping people’s opinions about transit in a city. And his map is a good, solid effort as well. It fits nicely into a compact shape and deals well with the huge number of stops/stations found on the 101/102 trolley lines and the Norristown Line. The “dotted line” interchange marker used to indicate a pedestrian connection is intuitive and nicely executed — certainly better than the yellow interchange/dashed connecting line used on the official map (Dec. 2011, 1.5 stars). I even quite like the cutesy little “Liberty Bell” north pointer.
About the only problem I really have with this map is the way the subway-surface trolley lines are drawn. In real life, Lines 10, 11, 13, 34 and 36 all start at the 13th Street station and travel together through the Market Street tunnel, emerging to the surface at the western end and spreading out to their eventual destinations. Thus, a user of this map should be able to easily and intuitively trace their path from 13th Street all the way along their desired route to the end point. On Henry’s map, this just isn’t possible for most of the lines.
The 10 just needs a little curve where it joins onto the main trunk line to indicate that southbound trolleys turn east toward the Market Street tunnel. Line 34 is fine as it is, but the 11, 13 and 36 all join onto the 34 at a counter-intuitive angle that suggests they all head out to Angora, rather than heading back towards the city. It would work much better if the 13 headed directly towards the 40th Street station (as it does in real life), with the 11 and 36 then joining onto it near there.
Still, there’s a lot to like about this map: an very solid effort, especially from someone still in high school.
Fantasy Map: Subways of North America by xkcd
My Twitter feed and my Tumblr inbox are both absolutely overflowing with references to this map from the “xkcd’ web comic, so here’s a post about it!
xkcd has always been a comic for geeks, and has a long history of awesome map-related work — my favourites include this Lord of the Rings movie narrative map, and the particularly carto-nerdy discussion of map projections — so it’s nice to see the strip’s attention turn to this particular facet of cartography. Randall Munroe’s typically wry sense of humour can be seen in a lot of the labels on the map: “graveyard for passengers killed by closing doors”, the “Green Line extension to Canada” from Boston, and the inclusion of the infamous Springfield Monorail from The Simpsons. It’s definitely worth exploring in great detail — my favourite is probably the inclusion of the idiosyncratic and once-futuristic Morgantown Personal Rapid Transit system at West Virginia University as the connection between Washington, DC and Atlanta.
A lot of people are already having issues with Randall’s definition of a “subway”, which he defines thusly:
For the pedantic rail enthusiasts, the definition of a subway used here is, with some caveats, “a network containing high capacity grade-separated passenger rail transit lines which run frequently, serve an urban core, and are underground or elevated for at least part of their downtown route.” For the rest of you, the definition is “an underground train in a city.”
If we’re going to be pedantic, then there are some strange omissions — Seattle’s Central Link light rail (grade-separated, frequent, serves the city and runs underground through the Downtown Seattle Transit Tunnel) just off the top of my head. I feel sure many people could think of others!
What the map does show well, even in its cartoon-like execution, is the complete dominance of New York’s subway system (the mouseover tooltip for the comic states that about one in three North American subway stops are in NYC). Randall has remained quite faithful to the actual official system maps for each component city, so New York ends up taking up a huge portion of the map.
But, despite the undeniable brilliance of this map, I know I’ve seen very similar pieces before this. This more serious map of almost exactly the same thing was featured on the Beyond DC blog last month, and this awesome piece by Bill Rankin from 2006 which shows all North American metro systems (a far more inclusive phrase than “subway systems”) at the same scale is also highly reminiscent of this piece. In the end though, it’s infused with enough wacky “xkcd-ness” to make it take on a life of its own.
It’s that time once again, where I recap the top ten most-viewed posts for the last four months, as well as an all-time list from Transit Maps’ inception back in October 2011. Without further ado, here’s the list for posts viewed between September 1st — December 31st, 2012:
10. Official Map: Key Bus Routes in Central London (link)
9. Official Map: TransLink Bus and Rail Network, Brisbane, Australia (link)
8. Historical Map: West Berlin U-Bahn Map, 1977 (link)
7. Historical Map: Old Metropolitan Line Map (link)
6. Unofficial Map: New York Regional Rail by Carter Green (link)
5. Official Map: Boston MBTA Rapid Transit/Key Bus Routes Map (link)
4. My Unofficial Boston MBTA Map Green Line Preview (link)
3. Official Map: Copenhagen S-Tog Map (link)
2. Official Map: Rail and Tram Network, Budapest, Hungary (link)
1. Unofficial Map: Transportation of Walt Disney World Resort, Florida (link)
And now the all-time list, dating back to October 2011. Change in position from the last all-time list is shown in [square brackets].
10. Official Map: Key Bus Routes in Central London (link) [NEW]
9. Official Map: Washington D.C. Metro “Rush+” System Map (link) 
8. Historical Maps: Berlin S- and U-Bahn Maps, 1910-1936 (link) 
7. Fantasy Map: Chicago El Overlaid On New York City (link) 
6. My Unofficial Boston MBTA Map Green Line Preview (link) [NEW]
5. Official Map: Rail and Tram Network, Budapest, Hungary (link) [NEW]
4. Official Map: Copenhagen S-Tog Map (link) 
3. Unofficial Map: Transportation of Walt Disney World Resort, Florida (link) [NEW]
2. Official Map: Boston MBTA Rapid Transit/Key Bus Routes Map (link) 
1. Historical Maps: Man-Made Philadelphia, 1972 (link) 
Unofficial Map: New York Regional Rail by Carter Green
To say I’m excited to share this map with you would be an understatement.
In August, I was contacted by Carter Green, a high school student who had been inspired by my maps (especially my map of French TGV routes) and had created his own of regional rail services in and around New York City. He asked whether I would mind taking a look at it, which I did. Immediately, I was impressed with the amazing quality of the cartography, but had a few suggestions which I thought Carter could implement. He took my ideas on board, and has now got back to me with the final version - and it’s beautiful.
Have we been there? My only experience with regional rail in the New York area is a NJ Transit train from Newark Airport to Penn Station.
What we like: A nicely unified design - the whole map gives off an elegant Art Deco feel (very appropriate for New York!), courtesy of the distinctive Neutraface type family and some nice little flourishes in arrowheads and the map’s north pointer.
The use of increasingly large circles for hub stations is something that could have looked terrible, but I think Carter has actually pulled it off very well - your eye is definitely drawn to them, and it quickly gives an idea of a station’s importance.
I absolutely adore the circular treatment of routes around Philadelphia, which is new to this version of the map.
Neat integration of New York Subway interchanges.
I wish I’d thought of Carter’s solution for stations where not every train stops - white dots linked by connecting lines, as seen on the red Metro-North routes into Connecticut.
What we don’t like: Some minor, minor things. The symbols for connecting services that aren’t the Subway aren’t as effective (just three-letter abbreviations and teeny tiny airport symbols for the AirTrain services).
The curves where a route line has to “step down” to remain next to other routes on the same corridor (on the Metro-North Waterbury branch, for example) could be smoother to fit better with the graceful curves seen throughout the rest of the map.
A couple of errors that can easily be fixed: the LIRR Belmont seasonal service is shown in the legend, but not its parent Greenport branch. “AirTrain” is misspelled as “AirTran” in the legend.
Our rating: Incredibly impressive work that shows a very complex network of services from many different agencies and makes it visually compelling and informative. Did I mention Carter is still in high school? Four-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Email correspondence with Carter Green)
Welcome to the second installment of the top ten most-viewed posts (as determined by Google Analytics) on the Transit Maps blog. I try and do these every four months (three times a year) to highlight some great content that may now be hiding in the deep, dark depths of the blog. Enjoy!
First off, here’s the top ten posts for the four-month period of May 1 to August 31, 2012.
10. Miami-Dade Metrorail System (link)
9. Man-Made Philadelphia, 1972 (link)
8. Rail and Tram Network, Budapest, Hungary (link)
7. Copenhagen S-Tog Map (link)
6. Freshwater Railway, Detroit and Southeast Michigan (link)
5. Chicago El Overlaid On New York City (link)
4. Berlin S- and U-Bahn Maps, 1910-1936 (link)
3. National Parks Transit Authority Map (link)
2. Transportation of Walt Disney World Resort, Florida (link)
1. How the WMATA Rush+ Maps Are Printed (link)
Now the top 10 of all time list, from the start of the site back in October 2011. The previous position from the last all-time top ten is noted in [square brackets].
10. Copenhagen S-Tog Map (link) [NEW]
9. London Underground Tube Map Bathroom Tiles (link) 
8. New Jersey Transit Rail System (link) 
7. How the WMATA Rush+ Maps Are Printed (link) [NEW]
6. Vignelli-Style New York Subway Ampersand (link) 
5. Berlin S- and U-Bahn Maps, 1910-1936 (link) 
4. Washington D.C. Metro “Rush+” System Map (link) 
3. Chicago El Overlaid On New York City (link) 
2. Official Boston MBTA Rapid Transit/Key Bus Routes Map (link) 
1. Man-Made Philadelphia, 1972 (link) 
Leaving aside the politics and cost for a minute, this is actually a pretty darn nice map. Attractive and informational. Drawing the “Super Express” and “Express” routes as dead straight lines definitely emphasises the idea of speed and direct connections between points. Long Island looks a little weird, though…
All-Time Top 10 Posts, October 24, 2011 - April 30, 2012
Following up yesterday’s post, here’s the top ten most viewed entries on Transit Maps of all time:
10. Historical Maps: Berlin S- and U-Bahn Maps, 1910-1936 (link)
9. My Boston MBTA Map Redesign (link)
8. Official Map: New Jersey Transit Rail System (link)
7. Igor Skliarevsky’s Unofficial Integrated Transit Map of Kiev, Ukraine (link)
6. London Underground as Bathroom Tiles (link)
5. Fantasy Map: Vignelli-Style New York Subway Ampersand (link)
4. Fantasy Map: Chicago El Overlaid On New York City (link)
3. Official Map: Washington D.C. Metro “Rush+” System Map (link)
2. Official Map: MBTA Rapid Transit/Key Bus Routes Map – Boston, MA (link)
and at Number 1, the entry that first put Transit Maps on the map (if you’ll pardon the pun!):
1. Historical Maps: Man-Made Philadelphia, 1972 (link)
Historical Maps: Man-Made Philadelphia, 1972
One last view of Philadelphia transit via these amazing diagrams from a 1972 book from the MIT Press, "Man-Made Philadelphia", now sadly out of print. As well as the train network, there’s also buses, highways and the growth of the city. Definitely loving the early 70s mimimalism design vibe to these. Looks like they were all produced specially for the book.