Tube map

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The tube map is the schematic diagram representing the lines, stations, and zones of the London Underground, London's rapid transit system. As a schematic diagram it shows not the geographic but the relative positions of stations along the lines, stations' connective relations with each other and their fare zone locations. The basic design concepts, especially that of mapping topologically rather than geographically, have been widely adopted for other network maps around the world.

History

Enlarge picture
How Zone 1 of the tube map would look if it showed the correct locations of the stations

Early maps

Different underground lines were controlled by different companies and no official unified map was produced until 1906, when Charles Tyson Yerkes unified the railways and operated them under a combined "Underground" brand.

Early Underground maps were geographically correct, and also showed streets and other local features.[1] The lines were not shown with a consistent colour scheme — for example, the Central Line was blue in 1908,[1] yellow in 1926,[2] and orange by 1932,[3] by which time details such as streets had been removed.

The 1932 edition was the last geographically-based map to be published, before the now familiar style of map took its place. However Transport for London bus maps show closely the actual routes as coloured lines.

Beck's maps

The first diagrammatic map of the Underground was designed by Harry Beck in 1933.[4] Beck was an Underground employee who realised that, because the railway ran mostly underground, the 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 were not 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, such as "bakelite" for "Bakerloo". In fact, Beck based his diagram on a similar mapping system for underground sewage systems.

To this end, he devised a vastly simplified map, consisting of stations, straight line segments connecting them, and the Thames; lines ran only vertically, horizontally, or at 45 degrees. To make the map clearer and to emphasise connections, Beck differentiated between ordinary stations (marked with tick marks) and interchanges (marked with diamonds). The Underground was initially sceptical of his proposal — it was an uncommissioned spare-time project, and it tentatively introduced it to the public in a small pamphlet. It was immediately popular, and ever since the Underground has used topological maps to illustrate the network.

Despite the complexity of making the map Beck was paid just five Guineas for the work. After its initial success, he continued to design the Underground map until 1960, a single (and unpopular) 1939 edition by Hans Scheger being the exception.[5] During this time, as well as accommodating new lines and stations, Beck continually altered the design, for example changing interchange symbol from diamonds to circles, as well as altering the line colours - the Central Line from orange to red, and the Bakerloo Line from red to brown. Beck's final design, in 1960, bears a strong resemblance to modern-day maps.[6]

After Beck

Beck had by 1960 fallen out with the Underground's publicity officer, Harold Hutchinson. Hutchinson, though not a designer himself, drafted his own version of the Tube map in 1960; it removed the smoothed corners of Beck's design, lines were less straight and created some highly cramped areas (most notably, around Liverpool Street).[7] However, Hutchinson also introduced interchange symbols (circles for Underground-only, squares for interchanges with British Rail) that were black and allowed multiple lines through them, as opposed to Beck who used one circle for each line at an interchange, coloured according to the corresponding line.

In 1964, the design of the map was taken over by Paul Garbutt, who like Beck had produced a map in his spare time due to his dislike of the current design. Garbutt's map restored curves and bends to the diagram, but retained Hutchinson's black interchange circles (the squares however were replaced with circles with a dot inside). Garbutt continued to produce Underground maps for at least another 20 years — Tube maps stopped bearing the designer's name in 1986, by which time the elements of the map bore a very strong resemblance to today's map.[8]

Today

Alterations have been made to the map over the years. Recent designs have incorporated changes to the network, such as the Docklands Light Railway and the Jubilee Line Extension. In addition, since 2002 the Underground ticket zones have been added, to better help passengers judge the cost of a journey. Nevertheless the map remains true to Beck's original scheme, and many other transport systems use schematic maps to represent their services, undoubtedly inspired by Beck. A facsimile of Beck's original design is on display on the southbound platform at his local station, Finchley Central. The map is currently maintained and updated by Alan Foale, of The LS Company.

Cultural references

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. In 2006 the design came second in a televised search for the most well known British Design Icon.[9] It widely cited by academics and designers as a 'design classic'[10][11][12][13] and it is due to these cultural associations that London Underground does not usually permit the design to be used or altered for any other purpose. This has only been officially sanctioned on a few occasions:

  • In 1987, Paul Middlewick 'discovered' that Animals could be created in the Tube map by linking the lines, stations and interchanges. These Animals on the Underground now feature on their own web site http://www.animalsontheunderground.com
  • In Tate Modern hangs The Great Bear by Simon Patterson, a subtle parody of Beck's original design, first published in 1986, in which the station names on the tube map have been replaced by those of famous historical figures.
  • In 2006, The Guardian[14] published a design based on the tube map, purporting to show the relationships between musicians and musical genres in the 20th century. The map is discussed by its creator, Dorian Lynskey, on the Guardian's Culture vulture blog.
  • On January 11 2007 Lord Adonis unveiled a depiction of the Tube Map featuring the names of successful schools and students at GCSE level, as part of the London Student Awards 2007.
  • David Booth's The Tate Gallery by Tube 1986 is one of a series of publicity posters for the Underground. His work showed the lines of the map squeezed out of tubes of paint and has since been used on the cover of the map itself.
  • In 2003, to coincide with the publication of a book, the London Transport Museum released a "World Metro Map" strongly based on the London diagram and approved by TfL.
  • The Royal Shakespeare Company produced a map in 2007 linking Shakesperean characters according to their traits in a diagram which resembles the Tube Map for complexity.
Enlarge picture
World Metro Map poster sold by London Transport Museum for launch of a book on subway maps


Aspects of the London diagram (the line colours and styles, the station ticks or interchange symbols) are often used in advertising. The 'look' of the London Underground map (including 45 degree angles, evenly spaced 'stations', and some geographic distortion) has been emulated by many other subway systems.[15][16] While London Underground have been protective of their copyright they have also allowed their concepts to be shared with other transport operators (Amsterdam's GVB even pays tribute to them on their map[17]) and indeed some other playful references have been permitted.

There are also many unofficial maps which have utilised the Beck style for their own purposes - road networks[18][19] and waterways[20][21] appear popular, though others appear as purely comedic[22] or for wordplay.[23] There are now even websites and software where diagrams can be computer generated using the 'rules' of the London Underground map[24]

Technical aspects

The designers of the map have tackled a variety of problems in showing information as clearly as possible and have sometimes adopted different solutions.

Line colours

The table below shows the changing use of colours since the first Beck map. The current colours are taken from the TfL Colour Standards guide,[25] which defines the precise colours and also a colour naming scheme which is particular to TfL. Earlier maps were limited by the number of colours available that could be clearly distinguished in print. Improvements in colour printing technology have reduced this problem and the map has coped with the identification of new lines without great difficulty.

Line Current Colour
(TfL name)
History
BakerlooCorporate Brown
CentralCorporate Red
CircleCorporate YellowOriginally part of the Metropolitan and District Lines, green (black outline) from 1948, yellow (black outline) 1951-1987
DistrictCorporate Green
East LondonUnderground OrangeOriginally white (thick red outline), part of the Metropolitan Line (green, then purple) until 1970, white (thick purple outline) until 1990
Hammersmith & CityUnderground PinkPart of the Metropolitan Line until 1990
JubileeCorporate GreyThe northern end was part of the Bakerloo line until 1979
MetropolitanCorporate MagentaIn the 1930s and 1940s the District and Metropolitan Lines were shown combined, in green
NorthernCorporate Black
PiccadillyCorporate Blue
VictoriaCorporate Light Blue
Waterloo & CityCorporate TurquoisePart of British Rail until 1994, white (black outline)
Tramlink (not shown on the standard map - see below)Trams Green
(beaded line)
Docklands Light RailwayDLR Turquoise
(double stripe)
White (thick dark blue outline) until 1994
London Overground (expected from 2007)Orange
(double stripe)
Various components currently shown in Network Rail colours, East London Line colours or not at all.
Network Rail (selected lines only - see below)Black
(double stripe)
Orange from 1985, white (orange outline) 1987-1990
Northern CityNow a Network Rail lineOriginally white (thick purple outline), black as part of the Northern Line, white (thick black outline) from 1970


Service information is indicated by the format:
  • Solid colour – normal service
  • Outline colour – limited service
  • Alternating solid and outline colour – under construction or closed for renovation

Station marks

An important symbol that Beck introduced was the 'tick' to indicate stations. This allowed stations to be placed closer together while retaining clarity, because the tick was only on the side of the line nearer the station name (ideally centrally placed, though the arrangement of lines did not always allow this).

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 British Railways (now National 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
  • Empty square - interchange with British Railways, 1960-1964
  • Circle with dot inside - interchange with British Rail, 1964-1970
Since 1970 the map has used the British Rail 'double arrow' beside the station name to indicate main-line interchanges. Where the main-line station has a different name from the Underground station that it connects with, since 1977 this has been shown in a box.

In recent years, some maps have marked stations offering step-free access suitable for wheelchair users with a blue circle containing a wheelchair symbol in white.

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, such as by making the interchange circles more distant and linking them with thin black lines. 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 the need to simplify the inner London area means that the map seems to indicate that Charing Cross is the easier interchange.

Lines or services

The 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 one line on the map, but comprises services on the main route between Upminster and Ealing/Richmond/Wimbledon; between Edgware Road and Wimbledon; and the High Street Kensington to Olympia shuttle service. For most of its history the map has not distinguished these services, which could be misleading to an unfamiliar user. Recent maps have tried to tackle this problem by separating 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. As there are now fewer restrictions to show, and remaining ones are now mainly indicated in the accompanying text rather than by special line markings.

Official variations on the tube map

The tube map exists to help people navigate the Underground, and it has been questioned whether it should play a wider role in helping people navigate London itself. The question has been raised as to whether main-line railways should be shown on the map, in particular those in Inner London. The Underground has largely resisted adding additional services to the standard tube map, instead producing separate maps with different information:
  • Standard tube map. Underground, DLR, zone boundaries and a few National Rail lines.
  • Central London map. A cropped and enlarged version of the standard map showing only the central area. Some versions show Thameslink and Northern City Line services.
  • Travelcard Zones map. Underground, DLR, National Rail, Tramlink and zone boundraries.
  • High Frequency Services map. The same as the Travelcard Zones map except that lines offering services at greater than 15-minute intervals are de-emphasised so that the more frequent routes can be seen easily.
  • London Connections map. Produced by the Association of Train Operating Companies, this provides the same information as TfL's Travelcard Zones map but extends a little further beyond zone 6. The National Rail lines are emphasised by thicker lines and coloured according to their Train Operating Company.
  • Tube Access Guide. Indicates stations with full or partial step-free access suitable for wheelchair users.
  • Bicycle map. Underground and DLR only. Shows in green sections of the network where bicycles are permitted.
  • Real Time Disruption map. Underground and DLR only. Interactive web-based map with disrupted lines and stations highlighted, others in light grey.
  • Interactive journey map. Underground and DLR only. Interactive web-based map that can be used to access information about each station (e.g. bus connections and disabled access).
The maps showing all the National Rail routes provide useful additional information at the expense of considerably increased complexity, as they contain almost 700 stations. This makes them harder to read, even when A3 size.

Non-Underground lines on the standard tube map

Some non-Underground lines have appeared on the standard tube map:
  • North London Line, from Richmond to Stratford (originally to Broad Street, then North Woolwich), is a semi-orbital route offering useful connections that avoid central London. The service frequency is less than the Underground and many of the stations do not connect directly with the Underground.
  • Northern City Line, 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 King's Cross.
  • Thameslink, opened in 1988, the line having been closed for many years. It offers some relief to the Northern Line as it connects King's Cross St Pancras to London Bridge.
  • Waterloo and City Line, while run by British Rail and its predecessors. The line has 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 are the Docklands Light Railway and the North London Line.

When Transport for London takes over Silverlink Metro services under the London Overground banner, they will be shown on the map in white with an orange outline. This will include the North London Line, the Watford DC Line to Watford Junction, the West London Line, the Gospel Oak-Barking line, and eventually the extended East London Line.

Further reading

  • Ken Garland, Mr Beck's Underground Map (Capital Transport, 1994): ISBN 1-85414-168-6
  • Mark Ovenden, Metro Maps Of The World (Capital Transport, 2005): ISBN 1-85414-288-7
  • Maxwell Roberts, Underground Maps After Beck (Capital Transport, 2005): ISBN 1-85414-286-0
  • David Leboff and Tim Demuth, No Need to Ask! (Capital Transport, 1999): ISBN 1-85414-215-1
  • Andrew Dow, Telling the Passenger where to get off (Capital Transport, 2005): ISBN 1-85414-291-7
  • Douglas Rose, The London Underground: A Diagrammatic History (Capital Transport, 2005): ISBN 1-85414-219-4

References

1. ^ 1908 Underground map
2. ^ 1926 Underground map
3. ^ 1932 Underground map
4. ^ 1933 map
5. ^ 1939 Underground map
6. ^ 1960 Underground map
7. ^ 1963 Underground map
8. ^ 1986 Underground map
9. ^ [1]
10. ^ [2]
11. ^ [3]
12. ^ [4]
13. ^ [5]
14. ^ [6] map
15. ^ [7]
16. ^ [8]
17. ^ [9]
18. ^ [10]
19. ^ [11]
20. ^ [12]
21. ^ [13]
22. ^ [14]
23. ^ Anagram Tube Map
24. ^ [15]
25. ^ TfL Colour Standards. TfL (2007-01-14). Retrieved on 2007-01-14.

External links

Official maps
Unofficial maps
History of the map
Other maps worldwide
London Underground

Locale Greater London, Chiltern, Epping Forest, Three Rivers and Watford
Transit type(s) Electrified Metro Railway
Began operation 1863
System length 253 miles / 408 km
No. of lines 12
No.
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The history of the London Underground is one of gradual evolution. One section of it was the first urban underground passenger-carrying railway in the world, for although the Atlantic Avenue Tunnel in New York, opened in 1844, is sometimes called the "world's oldest subway
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This article contains notable statistics about the London Underground.

Distances

  • The longest distance between two stations is 6.26 km (3.89 miles), between Chalfont & Latimer and Chesham on the Metropolitan line.

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<onlyinclude>

This is a list of London Underground stations. It includes all stations on the London Underground that are open. For London Underground stations that are permanently closed, see the closed London Underground stations.
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The London Underground has long provided inspiration in various areas of popular culture.

Film and television

Filming is now managed all over the system but most commonly takes place at stations like Aldwych (a disused tube station), formerly on the Piccadilly Line, or
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schematic is a diagram that represents the elements of a system using abstract, graphic symbols rather than realistic pictures. A schematic usually omits all details that are not relevant to the information the schematic is intended to convey, and may add unrealistic elements that
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London Underground

Locale Greater London, Chiltern, Epping Forest, Three Rivers and Watford
Transit type(s) Electrified Metro Railway
Began operation 1863
System length 253 miles / 408 km
No. of lines 12
No.
..... Click the link for more information.
rapid transit, underground, subway, elevated or metro(politan) system is a railway — usually in an urban area—with a high capacity and frequency of service and grade separation from other traffic.
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Topology (Greek topos, "place," and logos, "study") is a branch of mathematics that is an extension of geometry. Topology begins with a consideration of the nature of space, investigating both its fine structure and its global structure.
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Charles Tyson Yerkes (June 25, 1837 – December 29, 1905) was an American financier, born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He played a major part in developing mass-transit systems in Chicago and London.
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A brand includes a name, logo, slogan, and/or design scheme associated with a product or service. Brand recognition and other reactions are created by the use of the product or service and through the influence of advertising, design, and media commentary.
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A color scheme is the choice of colors used in design for a range of media. For example, the use of a white background with black text is an example of a basic and commonly default color scheme in web design.

Color schemes are used to create style and appeal.
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Central line may refer to:
  • For the medical term, see central venous catheter
  • For the London Underground railway line, see Central Line
  • For the railway line in Tanzania, see Central Line (Tanzania)



Central
Colour on map
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Transport for London

Local Government body
Founded Greater London Authority Act 1999
Headquarters Greater London

Key people Mayor of London / GLA
Website tfl.gov.
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Topology (Greek topos, "place," and logos, "study") is a branch of mathematics that is an extension of geometry. Topology begins with a consideration of the nature of space, investigating both its fine structure and its global structure.
..... Click the link for more information.
circuit diagram (also known as an electrical diagram, elementary diagram, or electronic schematic) is a simplified conventional pictorial representation of an electrical circuit.
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Bakelite /ˈbɛkəˌlaɪt/ is a material based on the thermosetting phenol formaldehyde resin, polyoxybenzylmethylenglycolanhydride developed in 1907–1909 by Belgian-American Dr. Leo Baekeland.
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Colour on map Brown
Year opened 1906
Line type Deep Level
Rolling stock 1972 Tube Stock
Stations served 25
Length (km) 23.3
Length (miles) 14.
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Thames

The Thames in London


Country | England
Regions | Gloucestershire,Oxfordshire,Berkshire,Buckinghamshire,Surrey,Greater London,Kent

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rhombus (or homb; plural rhombi) is a quadrilateral in which all of the sides are of equal length, i.e., it is awith two pairs of equal adjacent sides. The opposite sides of a kite are not parallel unless the kite is also a rhombus.
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The guinea coin of 1663 was the first British machine-struck gold coin. The coin was originally worth one pound, which was twenty shillings; but rises in the price of gold caused the value of the guinea to increase, at times as high as thirty shillings.
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circle is the set of all points in a plane at a fixed distance, called the radius, from a given point, the centre.

Circles are simple closed curves which divide the plane into an interior and exterior.
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Central line may refer to:
  • For the medical term, see central venous catheter
  • For the London Underground railway line, see Central Line
  • For the railway line in Tanzania, see Central Line (Tanzania)



Central
Colour on map
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Colour on map Brown
Year opened 1906
Line type Deep Level
Rolling stock 1972 Tube Stock
Stations served 25
Length (km) 23.3
Length (miles) 14.
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London Liverpool Street

Location
Place Bishopsgate
Local authority City of London

Operations
Managed by
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British Railways (BR), which later traded as British Rail, ran most of the British railway system from the nationalisation of the 'Big Four' British railway companies in 1948 until privatisation in stages from 1994 to 1997.
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Colour on map Double Turquoise stripe
Year opened 1987
Line type Primarily elevated
Rolling stock DLR B Stock
Stations served 38
Length (km) 31
Length (miles) 19
Depots Poplar
Beckton
Journeys made
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The Jubilee Line Extension is the extension of the London Underground Jubilee Line into southern and eastern London. First proposed in the 1970s, it was constructed in the 1990s and opened just before Christmas 1999.
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Finchley Central

Location
Place Finchley
Local authority London Borough of Barnet

Operations
Managed by
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