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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12 things we learned by reading every single National Rail timetable

Some departure boards, yesterday. Image: flickr.com/photos/joshtechfission/ CC-BY-SA

A couple of weeks ago, someone on Twitter asked CityMetric’s editor about the longest possible UK train journey where the stations are all in progressive alphabetical order. Various people made suggestions, but I was intrigued as to what that definitive answer was. Helpfully, National Rail provides a 3,717 page document containing every single timetable in the country, so I got reading!

(Well, actually I let my computer read the raw data in a file provided by ATOC, the Association of Train Operating Companies. Apparently this ‘requires a good level of computer skills’, so I guess I can put that on my CV now.)

Here’s what I learned:

1) The record for stops in progressive alphabetical order within a single journey is: 10

The winner is the weekday 7.42am Arriva Trains Wales service from Bridgend to Aberdare, which stops at the following stations in sequence:

  • Barry, Barry Docks, Cadoxton, Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street, Cathays, Llandaf, Radyr, Taffs Well, Trefforest

The second longest sequence possible – 8 – overlaps with this. It’s the 22:46pm from Cardiff Central to Treherbert, although at present it’s only scheduled to run from 9-12 April, so you’d better book now to avoid the rush. 

  • Cardiff Central, Cardiff Queen Street, Cathays, Llandaf, Radyr, Taffs Well, Trefforest, Trehafod

Not quite sure what you’ll actually be able to do when you get to Trehafod at half eleven. Maybe the Welsh Mining Experience at Rhondda Heritage Park could arrange a special late night event to celebrate.

Just one of the things that you probably won't be able to see in Trehafod. Image: Wikimedia/FruitMonkey.

There are 15 possible runs of 7 stations. They include:

  • Berwick Upon Tweed, Dunbar, Edinburgh, Haymarket, Inverkeithing, Kirkcaldy, Leuchars
  • Bidston, Birkenhead North, Birkenhead Park, Conway Park, Hamilton Square, James Street, Moorfields
  • Bedford, Flitwick, Harlington, Leagrave, Luton, St Albans City, St Pancras International

There is a chance for a bit of CONTROVERSY with the last one, as you could argue that the final station is actually called London St Pancras. But St Pancras International the ATOC data calls it, so if you disagree you should ring them up and shout very loudly about it, I bet they love it when stuff like that happens.

Alphabetical train journeys not exciting enough for you?

2) The longest sequence of stations with alliterative names: 5

There are two ways to do this:

  • Ladywell, Lewisham, London Bridge, London Waterloo (East), London Charing Cross – a sequence which is the end/beginning of a couple of routes in South East London.
  • Mills Hill, Moston, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road, Manchester Piccadilly – from the middle of the Leeds-Manchester Airport route.

There are 20 ways to get a sequence of 4, and 117 for a sequence of 3, but there are no train stations in the UK beginning with Z so shut up you at the back there.

3) The longest sequence of stations with names of increasing length: 7

Two of these:

  • York, Leeds, Batley, Dewsbury, Huddersfield, Manchester Victoria, Manchester Oxford Road
  • Lewes, Glynde, Berwick, Polegate, Eastbourne, Hampden Park, Pevensey & Westham

4) The greatest number of stations you can stop at without changing trains: 50

On a veeeeery slow service that calls at every stop between Crewe and Cardiff Central over the course of 6hr20. Faster, albeit less comprehensive, trains are available.

But if you’re looking for a really long journey, that’s got nothing on:

5) The longest journey you can take on a single National Rail service: 13 hours and 58 minutes.

A sleeper service that leaves Inverness at 7.17pm, and arrives at London Euston at 9.15am the next morning. Curiously, the ATOC data appears to claim that it stops at Wembley European Freight Operations Centre, though sadly the National Rail website makes no mention of this once in a lifetime opportunity.

6) The shortest journey you can take on a National Rail service without getting off en route: 2 minutes.

Starting at Wrexham Central, and taking you all the way to Wrexham General, this service is in place for a few days in the last week of March.

7) The shortest complete journey as the crow flies: 0 miles

Because the origin station is the same as the terminating station, i.e. the journey is on a loop.

8) The longest unbroken journey as the crow flies: 505 miles

Taking you all the way from Aberdeen to Penzance – although opportunities to make it have become rarer. The only direct service in the current timetable departs at 8.20am on Saturday 24 March. It stops at 46 stations and takes 13 hours 20 minutes. Thankfully, a trolley service is available.

9) The shortest station names on the network have just 3 letters

Ash, Ayr, Ely, Lee, Lye, Ore, Par, Rye, Wem, and Wye.

There’s also I.B.M., serving an industrial site formerly owned by the tech firm, but the ATOC data includes those full stops so it's not quite as short. Compute that, Deep Blue, you chess twat.

10) The longest station name has 33 letters excluding spaces

Okay, I cheated on this and Googled it – the ATOC data only has space for 26 characters. But for completeness’ sake: it’s Rhoose Cardiff International Airport, with 33 letters.

No, I’m not counting that other, more infamous Welsh one, because it’s listed in the database as Llanfairpwll, which is what it is actually called.

 

This sign is a lie. Image: Cyberinsekt.

11) The highest platform number on the National Rail network is 22

Well, the highest platform number at which anything is currently scheduled to stop at, at least.

12) if yoU gAze lOng into an abYss the abySs alSo gazEs into yOu

Image: author's own.

“For I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved”, said Thomas.

Ed Jefferson works for the internet and tweets as @edjeff.

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