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New Overground Carriage Maps

With the addition of the new Overground stations in London, it was only a matter of time before the carriage maps got updated, and they look like this …

Overground Carriage Map

Overground Carriage Map

Which is quite frankly a bit of a mess, because now the whole orangey-network of Overground lines have been squeezed into a shape that is not suitable for them. But most importantly, the topological layout has been completely distorted, and there’s no way that you would use this as any sort of journey planner for the Overground.

Why not just put Tube maps (which should be called the TfL map anyway, because that’s what it really is) up in Overground trains, which would help people plan much better journeys.  By having Overground lines up in carriages shown only on those trains, it might make you take a journey purely by Overground that would be much quicker if you used instead used a tube line!

It’s a right old mess … so much so that you should read Diamond Geezer where he calls it “TfL’s worst map”, which is hard to disagree with.

30 Aug 15

1960’s Map

Here’s a superb old railway map that we’d never seen before that we discovered this morning, whilst looking at the Project Mapping website.  A 1960’s map of the railway network in Lomdon, showing lots of old parts of the railway system that now no longer exist!  It’s really rather good.

Click on the image here for the full size version.

1960's Map

1960’s Map

20 Aug 15

New Night Tube Map

A new Night Tube map has been released by TfL this morning … but it took a while for the correct version to come to the surface. When the Night Tube was announced last year, there was a map that came with it – a simple variation on the regular map with a white background showing the five lines that will be running.

A press release and story this morning announcing a ‘new’ Night Tube map, was using the same old map that had already been put out in September of last year. The Evening Standard ran with the existing version (calling it a ‘First Look’), until about an hour later, when it transformed into what IS actually a new Night Tube Map! Which looks like this …

Click Image for Larger Version

Night Tube Map

Night Tube Map

22 Jun 15

How many stations on the Tube map?

New Tube map

New Tube map

So with a new Tube map in town, a Buzzfeed game has emerged with a blank map that tests your knowledge of where stations are on the Tube map (Not an original idea, this one has been around for much longer).

Of course ‘Tube map’ is a term that should be used lightly, as it’s no longer a Tube map – but a map of TfL services, so we should probably be calling it the ‘TfL Map’ instead.

But in that game they say that there are 401 stations – a figure that we disagree with as when the map came out last week, we had a count up ourself and had a different figure.

So we’ve counted them all up again this morning, and have come up with the same different figure – 408 in total – and so we’re going with that as the total number of stations on the TfL Map.

Here’s the breakdown:

Stations that are ‘pure’ and only have one mode

Tube – 243, Overground – 85, DLR – 41, TfL Rail – 10 

Then there are the stations that are ‘mixed’ – i.e. once though the barriers you have a choice

Tube + Overground : 23
(e.g. Richmond branch, Bakerloo up to Harrow and Wealdstone)

Tube + DLR : 3
(Bank, Canning Town, West Ham)

Tube+DLR+Overground+TfL Rail : 1

Tube+TfL Rail+Overground : 1
(Liverpool Street)

TfL Rail + Overground : 1

And that’s 408 in total.

(Note – To determine what is a station, we go by the gateline/ticket barriers at that station. So on the map Paddington is shown once, but is actually two stations.  Hammersmith is also two separate stations. Shepherd’s Bush also has two separate gatelines for the Overground and Tube, and so it’s two separate stations, as is West Hampstead.  Shadwell is also separate stations – one for Overground, one for DLR.)

So back to our original thought – only 270 stations on the map are actually Tube stations – out of 408 now, is two thirds – 66.1% of the map. The rest is non-Tube.

Also – we didn’t include the two Cable Car ‘stations’. We can tell you’re gutted about that.

Incidentally – The best Tube map quiz that we’ve ever encountered is the still this fiendishly difficult one over at Sporcle – where you have to identify the 50 most popular words on the Tube map in just ten minutes, and we here at Station Master have never been able to get all 50!

03 Jun 15

Not all trains are stopping …

We commented last week that the new Tube Map does not show that all trains don’t stop at all the stations on the new Overground, so it’s nice to see that the in-carriage maps on the refurbished trains ARE showing the fact that two of the stations – Cambridge Heath and London Fields aren’t served by the Chingford services.

Overground in carriage maps

Overground in carriage maps

01 Jun 15

The new Tube map is out Monday … oh, and today

So the new Tube map with new artwork on the cover is released on Monday … except that it appears that as per usual some Tube stations have put it out early, and that man Diamond Geezer has gone and grabbed himself a copy this morning.

And here’s the rub – whilst the online PDF clearly shows a new kink in the Central line at Lancaster Gate (ready for Crossrail), the new pocket sized map (below) does not – and has the Central line perfectly straight as before.

We think this is because the physical size of the pocket map has constraints so that it can’t be shifted to fit … making us think more than ever that come September this year and the launch of Night Tube, we’ll see a different sized pocket map altogether …

May 2015 Pocket Map

May 2015 Pocket Map



29 May 15

Crossrail Kink

With the new kink in the Central line on the May 2015 TfL Map causing the most raised eyebrows, we couldn’t find anywhere online where Crossrail was also shown to represent why they’ve done it to enable them to fit it in in a few years time.

So here in (what we think will be the correct) Crossrail purple is how it will fit into the map, helped by the new Central line kink – it means it’s a ‘standard’ 45 degree angle in-between Bond Street and Paddington.

Kinky Crossrail

Kinky Crossrail

We’ve also continued to study the new May 2015 TfL Map (formerly the Tube Map) and noticed a couple of other small – but interesting things.

The horrid triangle of blobs that used to be the connector blobs at West Ham has been replaced – still with three blobs – but this time in a straight line, no longer forming a triangular shape, and we think it looks better. Up above that though, look how the Jubilee Line now bends to the right (it used to be straight – in fact it used to bend to the left many years ago) but to incorporate the new MTR TfL Rail / Crossrail line it now bends to the right.  The branch to Stratford International is now no longer a straight line.
















But back to the kink .. the Central line link, and how this has affected the central area. You can see here in the comparison that the depth of the Circle line has now increased to allow the kink and future Crossrail to be added in and look what it’s done to the District line at the point of the Aldgate triangle – it used to elegantly curve away at the junction before, now it hugs the Circle line round the bend for a bit, before peeling away to go up to Aldgate East, and we think this looks messier.












23 May 15

New Tube Map, in Depth

So after much speculation and build up, the new May 2015 Tube map is upon us with some rail services added as part of the Overground brand, plus ‘TfL Rail’ too.

Our immediate thought thought is that it’s not really a Tube map any more, is it?

That’s what people call it (and some people may still even refer to it as the Pocket Map or the Journey Planner). No – what it is now, more than ever, is clearly the ‘TfL Map‘ of services.  Also, if you take into account that that only Underground services can be considered proper ‘Tube’, it’s worth noting that on the new map there are 270 Tube stations, but with the DLR and Overground combined (now 112 Overground stations, and 45 DLR stations) there are 157 stations on the new ‘Tube map’  that aren’t purely Underground stations.

Limited services at some stations

Limited services at some stations

Aside from all the obvious and immediate observations (the new connector blobs, the sprawl of Orange, the fact that there’s now TWO Bethnal Green’s, and of course the new kink in the Central Line, in preparation for Crossrail) there are many more subtle things too.

One of the things about the Tube map (and Overground services) is that it’s always represented ‘turn up and go’ services – you don’t need timetables because trains are frequent enough, yet that isn’t the case any more.

Not all Overground services out of Liverpool Street will stop at Bethnal Green, Cambridge Heath and London fields.  If you want to go to one of those stations, you have to get the Cheshunt service – the Chingford and Enfield services don’t stop there, which is a bit of an instant fail of the map.

Emerson Park

Emerson Park

Then there’s the Emerson Park branch – one stop in-between Romford and Upminster, now also coloured Overground orange.  Except it has a limited service with no trains after 8pm on a weekday and none at all on a Sunday.

That sounds like a limited service to me – a bit like the District Line to Olympia which has a pecked line, but here it’s a standard cased Orange Overground line.   Ok, so sure – the Waterloo & City Line doesn’t run on Sundays but that gets a mention in the side bar, so why doesn’t the Emerson Park branch not also get a mention? It also has the distinction of being the least served part of the map (previously was the Woodford to Hainault part of the Central Line where trains are once every 20 minutes), with just two trains per hour – one every 30 minutes.

There’s still then the headache of why Seven Sisters to South Tottenham does NOT have a connection blob, even though it’s just as close as the two Walthamstows and Wanstead Park to Forest Gate which are connected on the map.  Intriguingly the London Rail map puts South Tottenham in the right geographical place – to the south of Seven Sisters, but the new TfL Map gets this wrong, putting it to the north.

And then there’s how lines overlap – a huge bugbear for some people. e.g. consistency is important in that all sub-surface Tube lines on the map do indeed go on top of Tube lines on the map but on the new TfL Map there’s no logic to it.

Over or under?

Over or under?

At Stratford International, the DLR goes underneath the Central Line but then it then goes over the TfL Rail line at Stratford – when in real life it goes below it.

Looking around the map, it seems that where possible, the map designers have taken the decision to deliberately put a ‘cased’ line below a solid coloured line – whether it does that in real life or not.  It’s not as if a cased Overground line can’t go on top of another line – it has to in places where it crosses itself such as immediately south of Hackney Downs, so why not get it correct everywhere else?

And don’t forget TfL Rail – the line which is now the start of Crossrail as TfL take over services between Shenfield and Liverpool Street.   It means there’s now another ‘Zone 9’ station to the map (joining Amersham and Chesham), as well as another ‘Special Fares Apply’, zone – joining Watford Junction – it’s also another twelve stations added to the map that aren’t Tube stations – so really, we can’t call it a Tube Map any more, it really is the TfL Map.

The Overground is arguably TfL’s proudest piece of branding, because despite frequent attempts of those long freight trains that break down on the North London Line, the Overground is consistently one of the best in terms of the percentage stats that trains turn up on time and are reliable.  Plus the trains are new, shiny orange, and spacious – even more so now that fifth carriages are being added, it’s a great railway.

But even though the old/existing stock will run on the ‘new’ lines that are Overground until TfL replace them, our first thought is that all this will actually do is expand the brand too much and reliability figures will fall – the larger something is, the harder it becomes to manage.

If TfL get to take over any more lines in the future and have a desire to brand them as ‘Overground’ as well, there will need to be some distinction between the different Overground lines  – having them named, or numbered – something – that helps differentiate between the sprawl of the Overground.

It’s also worth a chuckle over the TfL website that launched an interactive SVG version of the map on its website first – before the PDF was put online, and it’s got all sorts of problems including overlapping text, and a missing cablecar and Olympia branch. So instead have a look at this brilliant version which uses the TfL data, but actually draws it correctly!


Leytonstone High Road

Leytonstone High Road

Leytonstone HIgh Road has moved! It used to be geographically correct to the right side of the Central Line, but in order to accomodate the connector blob between Wanstead Park and Forest Gate, it’s now been moved to the left (west) side of the Central line which is now geographically incorrect.

Someone’s also asked us if the ‘connection lines’ between the two blobs at Clapham Junction are correct.  By TfL’s map design standards we say – yes, but all it does it highlight the inconsistencies on other parts of the map.  e.g. Look at Westminster and Hammersmith – there’s a tiny connection line between the two blobs there, but at Earl’s Court there is not – why the inconsistency?


22 May 15

New May 2015 Tube Map now online

The new map with all the new Overground orange is now online! As predicted, the Overground is all in Orange – a LOT of Orange – 28 new non-Tube stations now appearing on the ‘Tube’ map …

New May 2015 Tube Map

New May 2015 Tube Map


21 May 15

A Day on the Underground

This is doing the rounds today, and it’s superb:

A day on the London Underground from Will Gallia on Vimeo.

Will Gallia has created an animation of Tube journeys extracted from TfL Oyster data and turned it into an animation showing journeys over the course of a day.

“This project was started in 2012, but wasn’t finished until 2015. The idea was to visualise real London Underground data on the Tube map was we know it. I wanted to write all of the movement in a shader. Initially I thought I would have each journey (or person) as one pixel in the final animation, using a GLSL pixel shader to move the pixel.”

19 Mar 15