Fantasy Map: Tyneride BRT Network Map
Utterly plausible bus rapid transit (BRT) system map for the Tyneside region of England, designed as if it was a division of the Tyne & Wear Metro.
While I can’t comment on whether Nexus/Metro would ever actually operate its own BRT network, I certainly can’t fault the aesthetics of the map itself. It’s absolutely spot-on, mimicking the look of the official Metro rail map (Nov 2011, 3.5 stars) perfectly. The 30/60-degree angles and the use of the distinctive Calvert slab serif typeface all convince the viewer that this is an official Metro map.
If anything, it’s perhaps a little too similar — the only indication that this is a BRT map as opposed to light rail is the red “B - Buses” symbol at the bottom left, a riff off the iconic yellow “M - Metro” logo.
Our rating: A fun visual homage to a well-known system map, although perhaps a little too close to be successfully adapted to real-world usage if such an event ever occurred. Three stars.
Detail - Elephant & Castle, London Bus Map
When you have sixteen routes passing through one stop, it might be time to rethink your approach to station/interchange design.
I do note that the current TfL “Buses from Elephant & Castle” spider map (external PDF link) shows this interchange with a geographical street map — a huge improvement which also has the advantage of showing you exactly where each bus stand is (there are eighteen!) and which buses stop at them.
(Source: Mach V/Flickr)
Cute title. Made back in 2007, so the Circle Line is actually a loop, rather than the… ahh.. paperclip… it is now. Nicely done piece of whimsy.
Historical Map: Diagram of Tube Services, 7:00am, September 28, 1940
Here’s a fantastic historical document — a tube map used by engineers in London to mark out the status of services on the Underground during World War II. By the look of it, this map was updated at least daily, if not even more often, as this date falls squarely within the Blitz — a period where London was bombed for 57 consecutive nights by the Luftwaffe.
The map itself looks like a modified hand-drawn version of H.C. Beck’s 1936 Tube Diagram, with all stations shown as circles and some main line track added as well. The use of the map is simple: a red line along track shows that there is no service along that segment, while a blue circle (seen between Belsize Park and Chalk Farm, for example) indicates the location of an exploded bomb. It would also seem that the circle for a station is also coloured red if it is substantially damaged or destroyed. Most horrifying of all, a red cross marks the location of an unexploded bomb. Notes written in a beautiful, precise hand add detail to these symbols where necessary — “unsafe buildings”, “single tunnel only available for traffic: SB tunnel damaged by bomb”.
Our rating: An incredible historical document that vividly recalls the dangers and horrors faced by Londoners during the Blitz. 5 stars!
"Stitched Subways - London" by Susan Stockwell, 2007
One of the loveliest reinventions of the London Tube Map I’ve seen so far — simply red thread stitched onto rice paper. It’s bigger than it looks: 100cm wide by 30cm deep, so it would certainly look impressive on a wall!
(Source: Susan’s website)
Historical Map: “Explore the Yorkshire Coast” Poster, c. 1950s
Simply gorgeous mid-century poster designed for British Rail’s North Eastern Division by the prolific graphic artist, E. Lander. Yorkshire has never looked better, or so warm… look at all those people in bathing suits frolicking in the hot sun!
The simplified map suits the angular design of the underlying painted scene perfectly, a real synthesis of design and art coming together as a cohesive whole.
The section of line between Pickering and Whitby via Grosmont is today preserved as the North Yorkshire Moors Railway, with the beautiful station at Goathland the highlight. Depending on your age, you might recognise it from Simply Red’s video clip for “Holding Back the Years” in 1985, as Aidensfield station in the long-running British TV series Heatbeat, or even as Hogsmeade station from the Harry Potter movies.
Our rating: Simply stunning. They don’t make ‘em like this any more. 5 stars!
(Source: National Railway Museum/Flickr)
Historical Map: 1896 German Map of the London Underground
This map of the nascent London Underground and “other railways” appears in the 14th edition of Brockhaus’ Konversations-Lexikon, a respected German encylopedia that is still in business today. Now known simply as the Brockhaus Enzyklopädie, the 21st edition was published in 2006 and runs to over 24,000 pages in 30 volumes.
The map itself is pretty simple and traditional, notable for being printed in three colours (black, red and a rather lovely teal blue). Production-wise, this means the map was almost certainly printed separately to the main body of the encyclopedia (which was printed with black ink only), and tipped-in by hand as the main volume was bound and assembled.
Also interesting is the map’s use of both German and English labels: while the Underground bears labels like “City u. Südlondonbahn” and the river proudly wears the name “Themse”, many of the main railway lines and localities are named in their native tongue. I’m not sure why this is: perhaps the map was altered or copied from an original English source?
Our rating: With an 1896 date, this is one of the earlier Underground maps I’ve seen, and is interesting just for that reason alone. It’s not the greatest cartography, but it’s not really meant for navigation of the system, but for giving a broad overview in the context of an encyclopedia. Three stars.
(Source: homingmissileglow Tumblr)
P.S. Google Books has a 1908 update of this map available as part of their digitized collection - click here to view it.
Unofficial Map: Three-Dimensional Real-Time Map of the London Underground
A stunning visualisation of the London Underground by visual developer Bruno Imbrizi. There’s certainly a lot of fun to be had zooming, rotating and panning the view around and turning each line on and off.
It’s another great example of what can be done with publicly-available data: in this case, train arrival times, the location of each station and its depth below the surface.
Historical Map: Bank-Monument Tube Stations Cutaway (1990s?)
Not a traditional transit map per se, but a stunningly beautiful technical illustration of the interlinking tubes and tunnels that form the connected Bank-Monument tube station complex in London. Built as separate stations, but linked by escalators in the 1930s (the depiction of which proved a permanent puzzle for H.C. Beck on his Tube Map), the complex is the ninth-busiest London Underground station,
What I love here is that we’re looking at over 100 years of infrastructure development: the original Monument station (first called “Eastcheap” and then “The Monument”) opened in 1884; the “City” end of the Waterloo and City Line in 1898; Bank station (named after the Bank of London) opened in 1900. Over 100 years after the first part of the complex was opened, the deep station for the DLR was completed in 1991.
Compare to a similar cutaway of the Hudson River Tubes from 1909.
(Source: Original source unknown, image from skyscrapercity.com forum post)
Submission - Official Map: Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes, Wales
Submitted by coto524, who says:
This is a map for the Valleys & Cardiff Local Routes, a network of commuter lines serving Cardiff, the capital city of Wales.
Although the map certainly makes a decent effort, it feels a little bland and half-hearted. The handling of the Welsh and English seems careless, and the irregular angle between Bridgend and Rhoose Cardiff International Airport is just off. I’d love to hear your thoughts on it.
Transit Maps says:
I think you’ve absolutely hit the nail on the head here with your assessment. This is just an incredibly generic map that could be from anywhere and ends up looking like it’s from nowhere at all. I think that part of the problem stems from the fact that the operator, Arriva Trains, runs different service franchises all over the UK, and has to churn out a bunch of very similar maps for each of them. From a quick internet search, it seems the map for Arriva’s Chiltern Railways is also similarly bland, for example.
I think the Welsh language information is handled competently: it’s only shown if the name differs between the two languages. Interestingly, as a private operator, Arriva is not required by law to provide information in the Welsh language, so it’s nice that they choose to do so.
The icons on the map, unfortunately, are a pretty mixed bag. The red car to denote a park-and-ride facility is simply awful, while “TVM” in a black box for an automatic ticket vending machine is definitely an uninspired and lazy choice.
I’d also really like to see something in the legend that ties the route colours to the actual names of the lines. In real life, there’s no “light blue” line; it’s the Butetown Branch Line… and so on. The name of the line is pretty important information, so why isn’t it shown in any way on the map?
Finally, yes: that weird kink in the line at the bottom left of the map is weird, uncalled for and incredibly visually distracting.
Our rating: A perfect example of a paint-by-numbers transit map. Competent, but as dull as dull can be. Two-and-a-half stars.
(Source: Arriva Trains Wales Route Maps )