Network Rail Project Map

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Network Rail, who own most of London’s “heavy rail” track, have created this graphic showing where in London they are improving the rail network (short answer: most of it). The graphic is part of an interactive that you can view here. It’s slightly buggy and a few years out of date (e.g. no Lea Bridge station, Overground expansion or Reading Crossrail extension) and has some spelling mistakes (Bushey Park?) but does still contain most of the recent and current work going on.

The map is presented in isometric form – there are relatively few examples of this type of map for London – and includes a number of landmarks (although one has a topological error – can you spot it?) We like the 3D “orange army” rail workers wielding mallets, holding maps and pointing at things around the worksites. There is no key but I think orange lines are ones being upgraded or built, with blue ones being the existing network. Crossrail is the orange dotted line running right across the map, free of the blue lines (existing track) for most of its length.

The map perhaps looks particularly odd because it’s an network map of London that doesn’t include any tube (or DLR) lines, except in the few cases where they run on National Rail track (e.g. District line near Richmond). As such, it looks surprisingly odd and unfamiliar. In London, we’re so familiar with seeing the tube map that it’s actually quite difficult to navigate another network map that doesn’t include it. At least the River Thames is there as a navigational backup.

So while the data on the map is far from perfect, the map style is nice and provides a fresh way of looking at the capital. This type of mapping could potentially be used for presenting all sorts of London datasets.

See the interactive version.


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