diamond geezer

 Thursday, July 09, 2020

A new tube map has just appeared at stations. What's unusual is that it's the May 2020 tube map, and we're now in July.

There wasn't much point releasing the new map in May when hardly anyone was travelling, so here it is two months later. But the network still isn't back to operational normality so this is more an aspirational tube map than a practical one. It still shows trains serving Heathrow Terminal 4, for example, whereas that loop of the Piccadilly line has been closed since May 9th.

The only significant difference since the last edition in December is blob related. Cockfosters and Mill Hill East are now shown as step-free, as are Taplow, Iver and Hanwell on TfL Rail to the west of London and Harold Wood to the east. This still leaves eight future Crossrail stations which are yet to gain step-free status (Ilford is the sole east London straggler).

The blobbification of Hanwell has created a particularly ugly conjunction with neighbouring station Southall. Both are in zone 4 so both have to fit within a thin stripe of barely-perceptible grey, hence they've been shunted less than one millimetre apart rather than equally spaced. It's one of the tube map's unspoken rules that station names must remain within their zone, and slavish adherence has created this otherwise entirely unnecessary squish.

TfL no longer produce a separate Night Tube map, but the normal map does include a small blue panel to explain where it runs. Unfortunately the Night Tube isn't running at the moment, having been closed to save money until at least March 2021 which is beyond the lifespan of this map. That closure began two months before the date on the front of the map, which just goes to show how prematurely large printing jobs have to go to press. Dated May, released July, but already out of date in March.

Cover artwork: Fantasias by Elisabeth Wild (died Feb 2020, aged 98)
Thinness of paper: total bleed-through
Number of blue daggers: 2
Discussion thread: here

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