Historical Map: Map of Glasgow Corporation Transport Services, c. 1934
A handsomely drawn map that does some sterling work with just three colours (a very modern combination of black, cyan and magenta!).
Of particular note is the clever way that a solid magenta line (bus service), can be combined with a dashed black line (trams) to indicate where both types of transportation share the same route without having to draw two separate lines. Interestingly, buses appear to have route numbers, while trams are designated by their final destination only.
Glasgow’s single circular subway line is shown in nicely contrasting cyan, as are neighbourhood labels and the River Clyde.
Submission — Historical Map: Boston Elevated Railway System Map, c. 1946
Kindly sent my way by Ross Howard from his personal collection is this great old map of the Boston Elevated Railway (or BERy).
Ross thought it may have been from the 1930s, but a little Googling has revealed that this version — the seventh edition — was released in 1946-1947, making it the last BERy map before its operations were taken over by the MTA, itself a predecessor to the current MBTA.
The map itself is a fine example of precise mid-20th century cartography, making good use of minimal colour. I also like the great typography and the wonderful compass rose logo on the cover. The house ad for travelling via “El” to the Airport is interesting: shuttle buses still run from the Blue Line to Logan to this very day.
Historical Photo: Streetcars on an Inclined Railway, Cincinnati, 1904
Not a map, but included because this is possibly the strangest piece of transit infrastructure I’ve ever seen. Discovered while researching the post about Cincinnati’s abandoned subway, this photo shows what happened when that city’s streetcars met the steep hills surrounding the downtown area.
At this time, the streetcars were used in conjunction with four of Cincinnati’s five inclined railways: the Mount Adams Incline, Mount Auburn Incline, Bellevue Incline, and the Fairview Incline. The cars would be driven onto the platform, which was level and was equipped with rails and (in most cases) overhead trolley wires. The platform, riding on its own rails, would then be pulled up the hill by the cable, carrying the streetcar. Upon reaching the top, the streetcar could simply be driven off the platform onto the standard track along city streets. The 1872-opened Mount Adams Incline began carrying horsecars in 1877, and it was later strengthened for use by electric streetcars, which were much heavier.
More information on the inclines here.
(Source: Wikimedia Commons)
Historical Map: “Future Growth and Improvement” Map for Lansing, Michigan, 1921
Here’s a simply beautiful map from the 1920s, showing a comprehensive proposed future plan for the city. Along with the extensive and fastidious plans for the extension of the city’s street grid (the web of red extending outwards from the core), the map also shows existing and proposed streetcars with solid and dashed thicker red lines, respectively.
The map also audaciously proposes that the main line railroads be placed onto an elevated viaduct through downtown, something that never actually happened.
Finally, I absolutely love the graceful hand-drawn typography on this — stunning!
Historical Maps: Surface Trolley Lines and Elevated/Subway Lines of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit Company, 1913
A superb pair of maps that depict the trolley lines (top) and elevated and subway lines (bottom) of the Brooklyn Rapid Transit (BRT) Company as they would appear after the work specified in the famous “Dual Contracts" agreement was completed. Much of today’s existing subway system came about because of this contract, as can be seen from the red (proposed) lines on the lower map.
For me, the top map is even more interesting — it shows how incredibly dense the trolley system in Brooklyn was at the time.
(Source: University of Texas Library map collection)
Historical Map: Southern Pacific “Red Electric” Tracks in Downtown Portland, c. 1920
Scanned from the book “The Red Electrics: Southern Pacific’s Oregon Interurbans" by Tom Dill and Walter Grande.
This handsome map shows the routing of the Southern Pacific’s electric interurban trains through downtown Portland from their northern terminus at Union Station. These trains, popularly known as the “Red Electrics” after their distinctive carriages, ran from Portland all the way down the Willamette Valley as far as Corvallis, 85 miles distant. Service started in 1914, extended to Corvallis in 1917 and ceased in 1929; just 15 years later.
These big, heavy trains ran right down the middle of Fourth Avenue from Union Station with an intermediate stop at Stark and Fourth. At Fourth and Jefferson, the lines split into two services: the “Westside” route served Beaverton, Hillsboro, Forest Grove and Carlton, while the “Eastside” line served Oswego, Sherwood, Newberg and Lafayette. The two routes connected in Saint Joseph, just north of McMinnville, and then continued to Corvallis.
Of further interest, the map also shows the route of the competing Oregon Electric company, running down 10th Avenue and Salmon Street. Their terminus station was at 10th and Hoyt (the train barns still exist, repurposed as fancy loft apartments on either side of 10th Avenue), with stations at 10th and Stark, 10th and Alder, Salmon and 5th/6th, and Jefferson and Front (modern-day Naito). Also seen is the incredible network of streetcar lines at the time, visible on almost every downtown street!
Historical Map: The Plan of Chicago — Proposed Arrangement of Railroad Stations, 1909
A plate from the hugely influential 1909 Plan of Chicago (also known as “the Burnham Plan” after its primary author, the renowned architect and urban planner Daniel Burnham) showing proposed amendments and additions to the railroads of the city.
The thin red lines show main line railroads, which were going to be rerouted to two mega-stations to the south and west of the downtown area. To facilitate movement between these stations, an ambitious plan of subterranean streetcars (blue lines) and subway trains (dashed red lines) was proposed in addition to the already existing “El”. It’s hard to make out without viewing the image at its largest size on Flickr, but the “El” is shown by thin orange lines on the map.
In the end, little of this part of the plan was ever implemented. A new Chicago Union Station was finished in 1925, but no other stations were consolidated or relocated. In 1929, the South Branch of the Chicago River was rechanneled between Polk and 18th Streets to untangle railroad approaches as recommended by the plan. However, its importance as a part of this vastly influential document cannot be underestimated.
(Source: Penn State Libraries Pictures Collection/Flickr)
Historical Map: New Orleans Streetcar Trackage Map, 1945
A neat little map from the July, 1945 edition of the Electric Railroader’s Association’s Headlights magazine — both the association and the publication are still going strong today.
The map shows all the tracks in the Big Easy at the time, including those that were in usable condition but not currently utilised (indicated by a hash across the track). Routes are indicated by letters that were keyed to the text of the original article — “A” is the “Canal-Cemeteries” route, for example.
The editor of the web page where I found this map provides the following notes:
"There are some small problems with this map, but overall, the details are accurate. Unfortunately, [the artist] did not sketch the trackage of the Napoleon Yard, at the foot of Napoleon Ave. on the southeast corner of Tchoupitoulas St. Also, at Canal St., Royal and Bourbon Streets (Bourbon is not labelled) should be shown in line with St. Charles and Carondelet Streets, respectively. A four-track crossover should be shown in the block of Canal St. between Carondelet and St. Charles."
(Source: New Orleans in 1945, ed. J. George Friedman, Jr.)
Historical Map: Homeward Passenger Movement During the Evening Rush Period, Toronto, 1915
Beautiful diagram indicating the patterns of homeward peak-hour travel via public transportation (at this time, mainly streetcar) in Toronto. By my rough count, the collection of yellow dots in the downtown area represents some 49,500 people.
Of particular interest are the red-and-white hatched dots, which represent a point where passengers transfer from the privately-run Toronto Railway Company’s (TRC) streetcars to those of the city-owned Toronto Civic Railways. Due to a disagreement over the terms of the franchise, the TRC refused to offer streetcar service in newly-annexed portions of Toronto, forcing the city to create its own service in those areas. In 1921, the TRC’s franchise expired and all transit was consolidated under the new Toronto Transportation Commission, the forerunner to today’s Toronto Transit Commission.
If you look closely (click on the image to be taken to a much larger version of the map), you can see that ridership totals are also shown for the civic railways, just in a fine black hatching instead of the more prominent blue used for the services branching out of the downtown area.
Visually quite similar to this map of the morning peak flow on the New York City subway in 1954.
(Source: Toronto Transit Alliance)
Historical Photo: Detroit Department of Street Railways (DSR) Coach and Car Stop Locator, c. 1955
An interesting twist on the old push-button interactive transit map. Instead of pressing a button to map out your route, here you press a button to find out where in Detroit’s downtown area to board your bus or streetcar. Although difficult to make out, the text along the bottom of the map seems to read: “To locate your loading zone, press button on your line.” I’m not entirely sure how successful this innovation was, as everyone in the photo seems to have an air of confusion about them.
(Source: WSU Virtual Motor City Collection)