London Railway Atlas (4th ed)

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The London Railway Atlas is probably the most detailed map of London’s myriad of tube, train and tram lines, past and present, that you are ever likely to see. Over the course of 100+ pages, author and cartographer Joe Brown has painstakingly drawn every single track that there is, in London and the immediate surrounding area – be it regular commuter lines, dockside sidings, historical wartime networks (Thamesmead has an interesting past) or even the Post Office Railway, also known as the Mail Rail (“POR” in the extract above).

What I like most about the book is not the depiction of the current tube and other networks we have a love/hate relationship with as commuters on a regular basis, but on the historical lines, links and stations that are no more. By way of example, I never knew that Waterloo Station used to actually be four separate stations, with Central Station including a rail link through to Waterloo East, though it was only used for a couple of years in the 1860s:

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The book is in its fourth edition and is right up-to-date, including the route of the freshly tunnelled (but not yet opened) Crossrail route, as well as the 2018-ish rerouting of the Metropolitan Line to Watford Junction and the proposed (2020?) Northern Line extension, as well as other various tweaks, e.g. that new viaduct above Borough Market. There is not an online version but the style is somewhat reminiscent of the “Carto Metro” map, which is online here, although the Atlas is even more detailed, in that it includes the aforementioned historical lines, non-TfL lines, tunnel status and various information on dates opened (and closed).

The London Railway Atlas is a book very much focused on one thing – the most detailed network map you will ever see. It’s certainly a specialist book on a niche topic but if that sounds like something for you or a rail-geek friend, the book is available on Amazon in hardback. 160 pages, published by Ian Allan Publishing.

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Thanks to publisher Ian Allan for sending a review copy.


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