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.

Want more of this stuff? Follow CityMetric on Twitter or Facebook.


 

 
 
 
 

London’s rail and tube map is out of control

Aaaaaargh. Image: Getty.

The geographical limits of London’s official rail maps have always been slightly arbitrary. Far-flung commuter towns like Amersham, Chesham and Epping are all on there, because they have tube stations. Meanwhile, places like Esher or Walton-on-Thames – much closer to the city proper, inside the M25, and a contiguous part of the built up area – aren’t, because they fall outside the Greater London and aren’t served by Transport for London (TfL) services. This is pretty aggravating, but we are where we are.

But then a few years ago, TfL decided to show more non-London services on its combined Tube & Rail Map. It started with a few stations slightly outside the city limits, but where you could you use your Oyster card. Then said card started being accepted at Gatwick Airport station – and so, since how to get to a major airport is a fairly useful piece of information to impart to passengers, TfL’s cartographers added that line too, even though it meant including stations bloody miles away.

And now the latest version seems to have cast all logic to the wind. Look at this:

Oh, no. Click to expand. Image: TfL.

The logic for including the line to Reading is that it’s now served by TfL Rail, a route which will be part of the Elizabeth Line/Crossrail, when they eventually, finally happen. But you can tell something’s gone wrong here from the fact that showing the route, to a town which is well known for being directly west of London, requires an awkward right-angle which makes it look like the line turns north, presumably because otherwise there’d be no way of showing it on the map.

What’s more, this means that a station 36 miles from central London gets to be on the map, while Esher – barely a third of that distance out – doesn’t. Nor does Windsor & Eton Central, because it’s served by a branchline from Slough rather than TfL Rail trains, even though as a fairly major tourist destination it’d probably be the sort of place that at least some users of this map might want to know how to get to.

There’s more. Luton Airport Parkway is now on the map, presumably on the basis that Gatwick is. But that station doesn’t accept Oyster cards yet, so you get this:

Gah. Click to expand. Image: TfL.

There’s a line, incidentally, between Watford Junction and St Albans Abbey, which is just down the road from St Albans City. Is that line shown on the map? No it is not.

Also not shown on the map: either Luton itself, just one stop up the line from Luton Airport Parkway, or Stansted Airport, even though it’s an airport and not much further out than places which are on the map. Somewhere that is, however, is Welwyn Garden City, which doesn’t accept Oyster, isn’t served by TfL trains and also – this feels important – isn’t an airport.

And meanwhile a large chunk of Surrey suburbia inside the M25 isn’t shown, even though it must have a greater claim to be a part of London’s rail network than bloody Reading.

The result of all these decisions is that the map covers an entirely baffling area whose shape makes no sense whatsoever. Here’s an extremely rough map:

Just, what? Image: Google Maps/CityMetric.

I mean that’s just ridiculous isn’t it.

While we’re at it: the latest version shows the piers from which you can get boats on the Thames. Except for when it doesn’t because they’re not near a station – for example, Greenland Pier, just across the Thames to the west of the Isle of Dogs, shown here with CityMetric’s usual artistic flair.

Spot the missing pier. You can’t, because it’s missing. Image: TfL/CityMetric.

I’m sure there must be a logic to all of this. It’s just that I fear the logic is “what makes life easier for the TfL cartography team” rather than “what is actually valuable information for London’s rail passengers”.

And don’t even get me started on this monstrosity.

Jonn Elledge is the editor of CityMetric. He is on Twitter as @jonnelledge and on Facebook as JonnElledgeWrites.