diamond geezer

 Sunday, June 03, 2018

The tube map isn't the only map posted up on station platforms, there's also a Rail & Tube map.

It appears online, here, and you can pick up a paper copy from certain stations.

Today's post is about a new symbol which has appeared on the latest Rail & Tube map, dated May 2018. Here are two examples.

There it is at West Hampstead. And there it is between Archway and Upper Holloway.

The new symbol is a walking man to show "Street level transfer between stations".

West Hampstead has a symbol because there are three stations closely spaced along West End Lane, and to get from one to another requires walking out onto the pavement. Archway has a symbol because it's a five minute walk down the Holloway Road to Upper Holloway. But Finchley Road and Kentish Town don't have symbols, because swapping trains doesn't require leaving the station.

Here are four more examples.

Walthamstow Central to Walthamstow Queen's Road is a bespoke outdoor link added in 2014. Wanstead Park to Forest Gate is a simple 3-minuter down Woodford Road. Clapham High Street to Clapham North is even quicker than that, if the traffic lights are in your favour. And Catford to Catford Bridge confirms it's not just the Overground which merits the new symbol.

But not every eligible interchange gets a walking man.

Transferring from White City to Wood Lane definitely involves walking down the pavement, but doesn't have a symbol. Getting from one Hammersmith station to the other requires negotiating two pedestrian crossings, but that doesn't have a symbol either.

I did have a theory that, because this is the Rail & Tube map, Underground-only connections don't count. But that theory instantly collapses at Shepherd's Bush, which has Underground and Overground stations on opposite sides of a road, and there's no symbol there either. If there is a rule, it's not being applied consistently.

Importantly, this isn't about showing all the possible walking routes, it's about labelling the existing interchanges. Bayswater to Queensway is famously walkable, but isn't an interchange, so doesn't get a symbol. Battersea Park and Queenstown Road are almost as close, but have never shared a connection on the map, so they don't get one either.

There are only two more interchanges marked on the map, one at Fenchurch Street/Tower Gateway/Tower Hill and the other at Hackney Downs/Hackney Central.

Except hang on, the walking man symbol between the two Hackneys is incorrect. A connecting walkway was opened in 2015, and this no longer requires going anywhere near a pavement, so whoever labelled the map shouldn't have put this in. Meanwhile Bow Road to Bow Church should absolutely definitely have one, but doesn't. And both ends of the cablecar should have one, but neither does. The whole thing is a mess of contradictions, which is pretty much what we've come to expect.

Indeed I hope nobody ever tries to shoehorn this particular symbol onto the actual tube map, which is overloaded enough with superfluous information, and doesn't need more.

While you're staring at the Bow area, allow me to draw your attention to the newly-appeared 'c2c limited service'. Consider the line from Fenchurch Street to Southend and Shoeburyness. At weekends two trains an hour depart from Liverpool Street via Stratford, rather than taking the usual route, and this limited service has now been shown as red tramlines on the map. That's fine. But someone's also added red tramlines linking Fenchurch Street to Stratford, which is odd, because there are no timetabled services along this route whatsoever.

The rogue extra line crosses the centre of Bow Road, and is occasionally used for moving empty stock. Very (very) occasionally it might get used during engineering works, but it has no absolutely place on a map of the rail network in London and the South East. The spaghetti-like mess of lines through Bow is bad enough already, and with Crossrail due to add an extra purple fork next year it can only get worse. No other 'unused' lines have been added to the map elsewhere, only this one, which suggests either overzealous inclusivity or a careless error.

Still, at least they remembered to include New Addington.

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