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NGO_Vleeptron (aka "Bob from Massachusetts") recently featured LIVE on BBC WORLD SERVICE, heard briefly by Gazillions!!!

My Photo
Location: Great Boreal Deciduous Hardwood Forest, New England, United States

old dude, all hair, swell new teeth

27 May 2006

REVJJ!!! great weekend holiday! Hop the train! Hit the Underground! Have a wonderful picnic!

Click. Or don't. Choice is yours.
This will go on your permanent record.

HEY HEY HEY REVJJ!!!!! You're in ENGLAND now!!! Hop on the train and take this weekend holiday! Such a beautiful island!!! Such a GREAT AWESOME SUBWAY SYSTEM!!!! I took the train up to the summit of Culdee Fell and had a picnic with Bangers, curry and Absinthe! Absolutely the most beautiful view, oceans, mountains, forest!!! I could see the masts and sails of Tall Ships at the Edge of the Horizon!!!

Somewhere -- like the Zeta Beam or the train station platform entrance in "Harry Potter and the Public Lavatory of Dread" -- there is a subway station or a train station that links from the Everyday World to the World of Imagination. And, as the Everly Brothers sang:

All I have to do is dream.

It's just very strange how this unknown 1930s public transportation draughtsman Harry Beck really did open up so many Public Transportals from the Everyday World to the World of Fantasie. Everyone who is not a dolt who has ever ridden on a train or a subway (buses don't count) has wondered to him/herself where else the train lines and subway tunnels lead to, has wondered about places he/she has never bought a ticket to, and might never see.

And these thoughts -- subways and trains invade your Dreams, too -- just grow in your mind like beautiful wildflowers.

When Beck -- I don't think he ever got a dime for his Tube Map other than his regular draughtsman's salary -- designed the first modern Underground map, the rapidly expanding Underground system faced a problem. Everyone in the new suburbs rode the Underground to get to downtown London every weekday morning, and rode the Tube home again at night.

But the Underground had to figure out how to fill the empty trains with people on weekends, and send people to the suburbs during the empty day hours.

Beck's wonderful map -- not drawn to scale is putting it mildly -- convinced Londoners that the beautiful, healthy fresh air and sunshine of the Countryside was just a few Tube stops away, a quick, easy ride, and in the big central London stations, posters beckoned Londoners to Picnic In The Country via the Tube.

Well, these country suburbs WERE just a few stops away. But not near, and not quick. But Beck's map "tricked" tens of thousands into using the Tube to leave London and have family adventures exploring the exotic outskirts. (Nobody ever complained that I ever heard of.)

Send me back a postcard from Sodor!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Bring me a cheap souvenir! Have a great time!

A facsimile of Beck's original design
is on display on the southbound platform
at his local station, Finchley Central.

whoops whoops forget this from the Wikipedia article:


A map of the Island of Sodor showing the Railway system (click to enlarge).

A map of the Island of Sodor from The Railway Series by Rev. W. Awdry.

Drawn by AmosWolfe on 11th September 2005, using the software package Serif DrawPlus, in the style of the London Underground maps by Harry Beck

A number of different maps of this island, including an original painted by Rev. Awdry can be found on this

excellent website.

The source file is available as a scaleable vector on request, subject to the terms of the licence below.


Your continued donations keep Wikipedia running!

Tube map

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tube map is the commonly used name for the schematic diagram that represents the lines, stations, and zones of London's rapid transit rail system, the London Underground.

A schematic diagram rather than a map, it represents not geography but relations; it considerably distorts the actual relative positions of the stations, but accurately respresents their sequential and connective relations with other stations along the various lines of the system as well as their placement within its zones. The basic design concepts, especially that of mapping topologically rather than geographically, have been widely adopted for other route maps around the world.

While the current version of the map may be viewed on Transport for London's website, it cannot be included here for copyright reasons.


image: How Zone 1 of the underground map would look if it showed the correct locations of the tunnels.

image: How Zone 1 of the underground map would look if it showed the correct locations of the tunnels.

The original map [1] was designed in 1931 by London Transport employee Harry Beck, who realised that, because the railway ran mostly underground, the actual physical locations of the stations were irrelevant to the traveller wanting to know how to get to one station from another — only the topology of the railway mattered.

This approach is similar to that of electrical circuit diagrams; while these weren't the inspiration for Beck's diagram, his colleagues pointed out the similarities and he once produced a joke map with the stations replaced by electrical-circuit symbols and names with terminology: "bakelite" for "Bakerloo", etc. In fact, Beck based his diagram on a similar mapping system for underground sewage systems.

To this end, Beck devised a vastly simplified map, consisting of only named stations, and straight line segments connecting them; lines, and even the Thames, ran only vertically, horizontally or at 45 degrees.

London Transport were initially skeptical of his proposal — it was an uncommissioned spare-time project — and tentatively introduced it to the public in a small pamphlet. It was immediately popular, and is now used throughout the London Underground on poster-sized maps and pocket journey planners.


The design has become so widely known that it is now instantly recognisable as representing London; it has been featured on T-shirts, postcards, and other memorabilia; at least one man has the entire Zone 1 map tattooed on his back in full colour, complete with station names (see links below).

[image at top of post] A map of the fictitious Island of Sodor inspired by Harry Beck's design.

In the Tate Modern, there hangs the artwork The Great Bear by Simon Patterson, a subtle parody of Harry Beck's original design, in which the station names on a modern map have been replaced by those of famous historical figures. David Booth's The Tate Gallery by Tube (1986) is one of a series of publicity posters for the Underground. His work showed a photograph of the lines of the map squeezed out of tubes of paint.

Several alterations have been made to the concept over the years. In particular, the problem of marking stations that have interchanges with surface trains was never resolved to Beck's satisfaction. Similarly the colours that are used to depict each line or operating company have changed over the years. The map was taken out of his hands towards the end of his career. However, recent designs have skilfully incorporated changes to the network, such as the Jubilee Line Extension, while remaining true to Beck's original scheme.

A facsimile of Beck's original design is on display on the southbound platform at his local station, Finchley Central.

Many other transport systems use schematic maps to represent their services, maps that are undoubtedly inspired by Beck's. The bus operator First Group uses a system of coloured bus routes, such as "red line", "blue line", and so on, collectively named "Overground".

Technical aspects

The designers of the Tube Map have tackled a variety of problems in showing useful information as clearly as possible over the years and have sometimes adopted different solutions.

Line colours

The table below shows the changing use of colours since the first Beck map. In fact, some of these colours had been used for the appropriate lines on earlier maps. Earlier maps were limited with the number of colours available that could be clearly distinguished in print. This is less of a problem now and the map has coped with the identification of new lines without great difficulty.

In each case, the line colour may be adapted to indicate a limited service by showing it as a hatched line, i.e. intervals of colour separated by white with the colour outline. This does not work well for the Network Rail lines, which are mainly white with only a black outline anyway. Lines under construction have been shown as dotted lines, often with accompanying wording to avoid causing confusion that the line is open but with a limited service.

Line Current Colour History
Bakerloo Brown
Central Red
Circle Yellow Originally shown as part of the Metropolitan and District Lines, shown in Green (Black outline) from 1948 and Yellow (Black outline) from 1951 until 1987
District Green
East London Orange Originally shown as White (Thick Red outline), then as part of the Metropolitan Line (Green, then Purple) until 1970, then White (Thick Purple outline) until 1990
Hammersmith & City Pink Shown as part of the Metropolitan Line until 1990
Jubilee Silver Originally the line was part of the Bakerloo and shown as Brown
Metropolitan Purple In the 1930s and 1940s, maps showed the District and Metropolitan combined as Green
Northern Black
Northern City Now a Network Rail line Originally shown as White (Thick Purple outline), then Black as part of the Northern Line, later White (Thick Black outline) from 1970
Piccadilly Dark Blue
Victoria Light Blue
Waterloo & City Cyan Part of British Rail until 1994 so shown as White (Black outline)
Docklands Light Railway White (Thick Dark Green outline) Originally shown as White (Thick Dark Blue outline) until 1994
Network Rail (Selected lines only - see below) White (Black outline) Shown as Orange from 1985 and White (Orange outline) from 1987 until 1990

Station marks

The important development that Beck made with his Tube Map was the use of the 'tick mark' to indicate stations. This allowed stations to be placed closer together while retaining clarity because the tick mark pointed only on one side of the line towards the appropriate station name (ideally centrally placed, though the arrangement of lines did not always allow this).

However, from the start, interchange stations were given a special mark to indicate their importance, though its shape changed over the years. In addition, from 1960, marks were used to identify stations that offered convenient interchange with the mainline railway network (now referred to as Network Rail. The following shapes have been used:

* Empty Circle (one for each line or station where convenient) - standard default mark
* Empty Circle (one for each station) - 1938 experimental map
* Empty Diamond (one for each line) - early 1930s maps
* Empty Square - interchange with mainline on maps between 1960-1964
* Circle with Dot inside - interchange with mainline on maps between 1964-1970

Since 1970, the map has used the then recently-invented British Rail 'double arrows', printed beside the station name, to indicate mainline interchanges. Where the mainline station has a different name from the Underground station that it connects with, this is shown (since 1977) in a box.

Some interchanges are more convenient than others and the map designers have repeatedly rearranged the layout of the map to try to indicate where the interchanges are more complex, e.g. by making the interchange circles more distant and linking them with thin black lines. However, sometimes the need for simplicity overrides this goal; the Bakerloo/Northern Lines interchange at Charing Cross is not very convenient and passengers would be better off changing at Embankment, but in fact the need to simplify the inner London area means that the map seems to indicate that Charing Cross is the easiest interchange. Since there is such inconsistency in the map, it is unclear how many people would expect to draw inferences about the ease of interchange from the Tube Map.

Lines or services

The Tube Map aims to make the complicated network of services easy to understand, but there are occasions when it might be useful to have more information about the services that operate on each line.

The District Line is the classic example; it is shown as a line on the Tube Map, but comprises services on the main route between Upminster and Ealing/Richmond/Wimbledon, the service between Edgware Road and Wimbledon and the High Street Kensington to Olympia shuttle service. The Tube Map has, for the majority of its history, not distinguished these services, which could be seriously misleading to an unfamiliar user. Recent maps have tried to tackle this problem by separating out the different routes at Earl's Court.

Limited service routes have sometimes been identified with hatched lines (see above), with some complications added to the map to show where peak only services ran through to branches, such as that to Chesham on the Metropolitan Line. The number of routes with a limited service has declined in recent years as patronage recovered from its early 1980s low point, so there are now fewer restrictions to show, but where they remain they are now mainly done through accompanying text rather than special line markings.

Non-Underground lines

The Tube Map exists to help people navigate the Underground; but it has been questioned whether it should play a wider role in helping people navigate London itself. Thus, the question has been raised as to whether mainline railways should be shown on the map, in particular those operating in the Inner London area. London Underground has largely resisted such pressures, and a different map is in circulation showing London Connections to complement the Tube Map, but over the years some non-Underground lines have appeared on the Tube Map.

* North London Line - this route, operating from Richmond to North Woolwich (originally to Broad Street) is a radial route offering some useful connections that avoid going in and out of central London. However, the service frequency is much less than the Underground and many of the stations do not directly connect with the Underground or other mainline services.

* Northern City Line - this route was originally part of the Underground, but transferred to British Rail in the late 1970s for use by inner-suburban electric trains that previously ran to Kings Cross.

* Thameslink - this route was opened up in 1988 having been closed for many years. It offers some relief to the Northern Line as it connects the main line north of Kings Cross St Pancras to London Bridge.

* Waterloo and City Line - always the exception as the only tube line operated by a mainline railway company rather than the Underground, this line appeared on most Tube Maps (except the earliest Beck examples). In 1994 it was taken over by the Underground and given its own line colour (see above).

* Docklands Light Railway - the automatic light-rail system in the London Docklands area.

Currently the only non-Underground Lines shown on the Tube Map are the Docklands Light Railway and the North London Line.

Further reading

* Ken Garland, Mr Beck's Underground Map (Capital Transport, 1994): ISBN 1854141686
* Mark Ovenden, Metro Maps Of The World (Capital Transport, 2005): ISBN 1854142887
* Maxwell Roberts, Underground Maps After Beck (Capital Transport, 2005): ISBN 1854142860
* Andrew Dow, Telling the Passenger where to get off (Capital Transport, 2005): ISBN 1854142917

External links

* London Underground Tube maps
* London Underground Tube map history
* Interactive historical and geographical tube map of Zone 1 (requires Macromedia Flash)
* H2G2 article on the tube map
* Trivia, history and facts on the London Underground Tube map contains more history on the tube map plus alternative designs of the map from Dr Who Conventions and Simon Patterson's The Great Bear
* More on Harry Beck
* The London Tube Map Archive has a collection of Tube maps, showing the growth of the system and the changes in the style of the Underground map
* TfL's suggestion for what the Tube map could look like in 2016 (PDF file), including trams, tracked buses, and some current overground routes.
* Mapper's Delight - all kinds of variations and further information on Tube Maps
* Robert Reynolds Subway Page - links and photos of most world subway system maps, many of which use Beck inspired design principles
* Satellie Image Tube Map - uses google maps to easily find tube stations by zone and/or lines

In other languages

* Français
* ?????

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