This map gives you all the tube knowledge you never knew you wanted

You could honestly waste hours looking at this map. I'd know, I have done. Image: Franklin Jarrier

You love the tube map, but sometimes it frustrates you, right?

Sure, it’s a useful navigator. But it doesn’t tell you where the stations are. And it doesn’t tell you how far away one set of platforms is from another.

It most certainly doesn’t tell you how the tracks curve between one station and another, and gives no indication whatsoever of other highly useful things – like where the sidings are, and where your local depot’s at.

Cry no more.

Because there is another map that shows London's underground, overground, DLR, tramlink, and national rail lines  tracks, stations, platforms, sidings and depots – in all their glory. 

Thanks to the work of Franklin Jarrier, whose website is an impressive collection of transport knowledge. The full map is available here  but seeing as you're reading this already we might as well share some of its best features with you. 

It colours lines according to which services they run, and shows platform positions and numbers within stations. 

Click any of these to expand. All images: Franklin Jarrier.

Like here, at Richmond. 

And just next to North Sheen you can also see that it shows where level crossings are. Neat, huh? 

It also seems to hint at some state secrets, or something. I see the words 'military depot' and it makes me feel excited (and, well, scared). 

At various places it can offer some useful guidance for station navigation. Especially with the bigguns: 

King's Cross St Pancras. A huge muddle, made less muddling. 

Or Baker Street, the station with the most underground platforms. 

It also shows some fun bits of track, like the Kennington loop on the Northern line. 

And the old branch of the Jubilee line to Charing Cross, which dates from before the extension to Stratford: 

And as you may have noticed, it tells you how old every bit of track is, which is very phenomenally cool. And also shows all the closed stations, platforms, and stations that never opened at all. Which is good

Depots! Everyone loves depots. 

Neasden depot is absolutely massive. 

You can see where the Victoria line emerges from the tunnel to head to the Northumberland Park depot – the only above-ground section of the line. 

Eurostar's engineering centre. Cool, right? 

So agonisingly close to connecting the Northern line with the Wimbledon-Sutton railway. Tease. 

And that's pretty much it, though the map also helps you make sense of some of the really messy parts of the network. Like Willesden Junction and Old Oak Common:

Or Stratford:

And here's the really cool bendy bit of the Central line that goes around the Bank of England, meaning one curvy platform with a lot minding the gap needing doing. 

So yeah. Good map, right? Hours of fun. 

Go forth, find fun little tidbits, and tweet them at us. If you must. 

Jack May is a regular contributor to CityMetric and tweets as @JackO_May.

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London Overground is experimenting with telling passengers which bits of the next train is busiest

There must be a better way than this: Tokyo during a 1972 rail strike. Image: Getty.

One of the most fun things to do, for those who enjoy claustrophobia and other people’s body odour, is to attempt to use a mass transit system at rush hour.

Travelling on the Central line at 6pm, for example, gives you all sorts of exciting opportunities to share a single square inch of floor space with a fellow passenger, all the while becoming intimately familiar with any personal hygiene problems they may happen to have. On some, particularly lovely days you might find you don’t even get to do this for ages, but first have to spend some exciting time enjoying it as a spectator sport, before actually being able to pack yourself into one unoccupied cranny of a train.

But fear not! Transport for London has come up with a plan: telling passengers which bits of the train have the most space on them.

Here’s the science part. Many trains include automatic train weighing systems, which do exactly what the name suggests: monitoring the downward force on any individual wheel axis in real time. The data thus gathered is used mostly to optimise the braking.

But it also serves as a good proxy for how crowded a particular carriage is. All TfL are doing here is translating that into real time information visible to passengers. It’s using the standard, traffic light colour system: green means go, yellow means “hmm, maybe not”, red means “oh dear god, no, no, no”. 

All this will, hopefully, encourage some to move down the platform to where the train is less crowded, spreading the load and reducing the number of passengers who find themselves becoming overly familiar with a total stranger’s armpit.

The system is not unique, even in London: trains on the Thameslink route, a heavy-rail line which runs north/south across town (past CityMetric towers!) has a similar system visible to passengers on board. And so far it’s only a trial, at a single station, Shoreditch High Street.

But you can, if you’re so minded, watch the information update every few seconds or so here.

Can’t see why you would, but I can’t see why I would either, and that hasn’t stopped me spending much of the day watching it, so, knock yourselves out.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and also has a Facebook page now for some reason. 

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