A new map shows Transport for London's growing control of the city rail network

Mayor Boris Johnson turns another train carriage London Overground orange. Image: Getty.

Drop everything, London! Drop everything. It's finally arrived: the new London rail map is here.

Okay, so technically, we’re still waiting for Transport for London (TfL) to officially publish the new map on its own website, so that we can get the whole thing up. In the mean time, courtesy of Ben Mathis on Twitter, here's a photo of the printed verson.

Drumroll please - it's what you've all been waiting for! pic.twitter.com/f5H05QMeZX

— Ben Mathis (@binny_uk) May 19, 2015


Okay, so, some things to notice. 

1) TfL has taken over the line from Liverpool Street, heading east into Essex, and coloured it a sort of blue-y purple. For the next few years it'll be run under the “TfL Rail” brand, a sort of stop-gap, until it’s ready to plug into the (not yet finished) Crossrail.

2) Meanwhile TfL’s existing rail brand, London Overground, has taken over a swathe of the lines from Liverpool Street out to north east London and Hertfordshire. That includes the branches to Enfield Town, Cheshunt and Chingford, all of which are now orange.

3) It's also taken over the tiny branch line, right out at the eastern end of the map, connecting Romford and Upminster. That's now orange too.

4) That's left, by our count, least fivesix sets (yes, we miscounted) of entirely separate lines that are the same colour. (More, if you count all the branches.) This is a bit confusing, and possibly something someone might want to look at changing at some point, but hey, what do we know.

5) Since TfL is now running all these lines it's finally seen fit to highlight pairs of stations – in Hackney, Walthamstow and Forest Gate – that are basically next door to each other, and so serve as connections. Look:

6) Brentwood station, at the far end of the TfL Rail branche is in zone 9. This seems crazy given it's not that far from the official city limits, and so zone 7 might have seemed more appropriate.  We can only guess it’s a way of not having to reduce fares in any revenue-endangering fashion.

More important news as it breaks.


17 things the proposed “Tulip” skyscraper that London mayor Sadiq Khan just scrapped definitely resembled

Artist's impression. See if you can guess which one The Tulip is. Image: Foster + Partners.

Sadiq Khan has scrapped plans to build a massive glass thing in the City of London, on the grounds it would knacker London’s skyline. The “Tulip” would have been a narrow, 300m skyscraper, designed by Norman Foster’s Foster & Partners, with a viewing platform at the top. Following the mayor’s intervention, it now won’t be anything of the sort.

This may be no bad thing. For one thing, a lot of very important and clever people have been noisily unconvinced by the design. Take this statement from Duncan Wilson, the chief executive of Historic England, from earlier this year: “This building, a lift shaft with a bulge on top, would damage the very thing its developers claim they will deliver – tourism and views of London’s extraordinary heritage.”

More to the point, the design was just bloody silly. Here are some other things that, if it had been built, the Tulip would definitely have looked like.

1. A matchstick.

2. A drumstick.

3. A cotton ear bud.

4. A mystical staff, of the sort that might be wielded by Gandalf the Grey.

5. A giant spring onion.

6. A can of deodorant, from one of the brands whose cans are seemingly deliberately designed in such a way so as to remind male shoppers of the fact that they have a penis.

7. A device for unblocking a drain.

8. One of those lights that’s meant to resemble a candle.

9. A swab stick, of the sort sometimes used at sexual health clinics, in close proximity to somebody’s penis.

10.  A nearly finished lollipop.

11. Something a child would make from a pipe cleaner in art class, which you then have to pretend to be impressed by and keep on show for the next six months.

12. An arcology, of the sort seen in classic video game SimCity 2000.

13. Something you would order online and then pray will arrive in unmarked packaging.

14. The part of the male anatomy that the thing you are ordering online is meant to be a more impressive replica of.

15. A building that appears on the London skyline in the Star Trek franchise, in an attempt to communicate that we are looking at the FUTURE.

14a. Sorry, the one before last was a bit vague. What I actually meant was: a penis.

16. A long thin tube with a confusing bulbous bit on the end.

17. A stamen. Which, for avoidance of doubt, is a plant’s penis.

One thing it definitely does not resemble:

A sodding tulip.

Anyway, it’s bad, and it’s good the mayor has blocked it.

That’s it, that’s the take.

(Thanks to Anoosh Chakelian, Jasper Jackson, Patrick Maguire for helping me get to 17.)

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

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