please empty your brain below

When was the last time they featured an “under construction” line on the map?

They didn’t do this with Crossrail. I also don’t think they did it with the East London Line extension or the Jubilee extension.

They could have included Crossrail as under construction a very long time ago…
The Jubilee line extension was shown as under construction on maps, as was the East London line extension (albeit briefly), and the Woolwich Arsenal extension too I believe.
There was going to be a version of the map with Crossrail shown as under construction in 2018, but it got pulled as soon as they realised that it was going to be late. As it got put back more and more it became safer never to show it as under construction. Whereas Barking Riverside and its simplicity of one small extension and just one new station is safer to show, and it will open latter this year.
The Elizabeth line is not a solid line as it's not considered to be a tube line but more on a par with the RER in Paris.
Having said that, it should stand out more on the map.
Having just checked as I was unsure myself, Heathrow T5 was also shown on as under construction before opening on the November 2007 map.
Whilst the map gets more of a mess every time a change is made, perhaps it would help if the size were increased back to what used to be years ago.
The pocket tube map is the same size as it was 50 years ago.
It doesn't help that the area the map covers is vastly bigger than it was a decade ago. There was no Shenfield or Reading for starters.

The problem the map has is that it's covering a wider area plus more services. The central section ought to be broken out into a secondary map.
I know this battle was lost years ago but it is notable that this very far from being a ‘tube’ map.
The Farringdon solution is elegant and clean, but wrong. As there is an exit to the Barbican station northbound platform, and a street exit (Farringdon East on Long Lane) less than a 100m from Barbican station, some people are going to exit the station and find themselves a good 5-minute walk from the Farringdon station where there is an interchange with Thameslink. There should be some indication of that link.
It would be clearer to have a note saying ‘All DLR and tram stations are step free, other lines where shown’. It would get rid of a lot of blobs.
Two wonderful take-aways from today's post are the "five-blob seesaw" and the idea that part of the Thames has been specifically moved to accommodate the needs of a tube map.
To reduce the number of stations, and make the map more readable I'd

a) Only include the Thameslink core - the high frequency section across central London which needs to be on there, as a really useful way of crossing London, i.e. West Hampstead and Finsbury Park to London Bridge and Elephant. This would remove the need for a lot of stations south of the river AND to the east.

b) Not include the outer extremities of the Elizabeth Line outside of the London area.
Before the introduction of the index on the back of the pocket tube map in the mid-50s there was indeed an expanded “Central Area Interchange Stations” map on the reverse.
I find it strange that the Thameslink line out to Orpington is included when it is only served by peak time trains and next to none on the weekends
There's just so much on it now there will always be design compromises, and I’d say a map like this is mainly for transport and map geeks rather than anyone trying to get anywhere - if you want to get from where you are to some other point, then a routefinder app is far more useful than a system-wide map.

Anyway, some of this mess could be sorted out by removing the zones. They force additional topological complexity on something that's already complex enough, all to show information that's of no interest to most people using the map.

And the store adverts on the map are a travesty. Branding round the edge is one thing, paying to rename a service a step beyond that, but using the map itself to advertise specific stores feels like a line has been crossed. What if the next sponsor has 50 shops in London rather than 5?
Since both the Elizabeth line and the Barking Riverside extension require major changes to the map, perhaps it makes sense to add both at the same time.

Completely agree that only the Thameslink core should be on the map.
TfL have a real issue with compromise so with Thameslink it’s all or nothing. I agree with other La that it would be so much more pragmatic to only include the central core (West Hampstead/Finsbury park to E&C)
Good job there's no real major developments planned any time soon as the current map really is creaking at the seams and it's hard to imagine how they could crowbar much more onto it!
Showing Step-free access is becoming a real issue now. So much space could be saved especially in Zone 1 omitting this. Perhaps combining the Step free access street to train and street to platform could alleviate this issue.

I do understand its importance as I have family who rely on step-free access, but none of them rely on the tube map for heir journey planning, rather using the TfL website or other apps such as Citymapper.
The Network Rail "Rail network maps for London's rail and tube" paper map always seemed more elegant. Pity they are not printing any more. Ask for one at your Network Rail ticket office, while stocks last.
Bethnal Green Underground is now even placed even further south from Cambridge Heath when in reality it sits between there and Bethnal Green Overground.
The increasingly complexity of the map should make it an excellent candidate for the deployment of augmented reality - capable of displaying (when requested) simplified and clear information tailored to an individual traveller. But, given that Ikea has already corrupted the static display, any prospective infographic utopia will likely be instantly overwhelmed by a crippling barrage of advertising. And back to square one.
So the mode overlap hierarchy from bottom to top, if I'm reading this correctly, is:
River - Thameslink - Overground / Tram - DLR - Crossrail - Tube / Cable Car
I can’t get why the Elizabeth line is shown north of the Central line in the Acton area. Acton Main Line station is a bus ride or a bit of a trek south of North Acton station. Meanwhile, Willesden Junction station is about a 10 minute walk from North Acton station but looks to be miles away!
My favourite geographical inaccuracy is the Thameslink between Catford, Bellingham and Beckenham Hill which is shown on the map as going north-east when in reality is goes south!
That 3D cable car looks pretty bad.
The time really has come for the "Tube" map showing only TfL's non-bus operations to be dropped as it's increasingly misleading and irrelevant for many journeys. What is needed is a central London rail map for tourists.

Hadn't realised there was an Ikea in Hammersmith so I suppose that's worked. Unlike the others it looks like it's (a) close to the station and (b) not ridiculously big, so I might even use it.
Reading Station is about 300 metres south of the Thames in real life, almost as close as Barking Riverside.
In 1973 the map featured the Fleet line as being under construction. A dotted line ran from Baker Street to Strand. However, Strand station was crossed out. The map indicated that Strand station was closed from 'June 1973 to 1976'. It's disappointing that 'Strand' as a station name disappeared as it was a useful reminder that the eponymous road above is simply 'Strand', and not 'The Strand'. I blame the popular 1909 music hall song 'Let's All Go Down The Strand' for reinforcing the 'the'!
Geographically, the Beckton end of DLR is probably the most inaccurate.
Thanks for looking at the new map in such detail and describing the various new compromises on it. I like your attention to detail.

I still use the map, either on paper or on screen, to plan journeys.
It was not the Elizabeth line that mucked up the Royal Docks area, but Barking Riverside. In fact, most of the changes in East London to existing routes seem to be about getting that station-pier interchange at Barking Riverside.

London's most expensive project ever was threaded through the existing map layout, barely changing anything that was there before. But a fairly short one stop extension redesigns most of East London. Totally nutty!
I now live in the borough of Ikea Hammersmith and Fulham. Swedish meatballs for tea tonight.
Maidenhead to Reading is all south of the Thames but is still shown north of it.
Euston and King's Cross are now outright lying about their Northern/Victoria interchanges. King's Cross has been tidied up to only have three blobs rather than 4 in January's map. But to keep a gap between the Northern and Victoria running between the two stations, Euston has been given an extra blob for the Victoria, splitting up the former Northern (Bank branch)+Victoria blob.

But Northern (Bank) to Victoria is a cross-platform interchange at Euston! If anything should be sharing blobs, it's cross-platform interchanges!

In contrast, King's Cross does *not* have cross-platform interchanges between Northern, Victoria, or Piccadilly. You have to go up and down stairs or escalators and follow twisty passages, though no more so than most other interchanges. Still, it's not much different from changing between the two Northern Line branches at Euston.

The new map even puts the connecting lines between the blobs at Euston in a very strange layout, that seems to say that connecting from the Charing Cross branch of the Northern Line to the Victoria is *easier* than from the City branch - that people on the Bank branch need to go *via* the Charing Cross branch platforms.

Why does this matter? Well, it might cause people to make the wrong choice of which station to change at. Someone with mobility issues might well look at the map, see the blue wheelchair blob at King's Cross, and decide to change there, which is much more difficult than the cross-platform change at Euston, which now looks like it should be avoided by everyone!
steve- the tube map is very well used by tourists and day-trippers so has a purpose; even if it does lead to having it more centrally focussed
There are interesting contrasts between the "Tube" map and "London's rail and Tube services" now available here.

The latter shows the Elizabeth Line solid, far more prominent and worthy. It also shows the Overground lines as solid orange! Shame it doesn't differentiate between the various routes as with the other main lines. And of course includes Moorgate - Finsbury Park, as arguably should the Tube map.

It seems generally to deal with contortions somewhat better than the Tube map, notably Thameslink around West Hampstead, Finsbury Park and East Croydon.

Given there are so many local high-frequency rail services particularly in south London, the full map is more realistic and overcomes many of the Tube map's inclusivity issues. And (currently) doesn't prostitute itself with sponsorship! [Though given TfL's parlous finances I don't entirely condemn that.] The central area is nice and clean.

Given the full map's much greater complexity it achieves a surprising clarity, is more accomplished and gratifyingly easy to follow specific rail routes back to mainline stations through the clever colouring schemes (except Overground, as above). It's overall a more satisfying and fruitful experience and fulfils its map purposes much more effectively.

But the full map doesn't show Moorgate as an Elizabeth interchange. It doesn't show station accessibility. Turnham Green is shown as a Piccadilly-District interchange on the Tube map (which lulls into expecting a full Piccadilly service there), but not the full map. Gunnersbury-Richmond and Ealing Common are correctly shown on the full map as close-coupled (i.e. the same track), though not Queen's Park-Harrow & Wealdstone.
TfL should stop all this nonsense by producing separate maps for each element of their service. Tube, DLR, Overground etc. Would make everything so much easier.
What might be useful is a map for the central area on one side (which is all most visitors need) and one for outer London on the other side (which would still be useful for many residents when visiting unfamiliar parts of the city). I recall this was the method used for the old bus map.
I actually understand why Thameslink is included. Especially in south London, Thameslink is probably the only service that would give a lot of places (like Sutton) a place on the tube map. TfL is already doing us a favour by omitting most if not all Thameslink stations outside Greater London.

My personal take to the current map is that the four sides of the map are distorted for different reasons.

North is the only side which does not look bad at all, probably thanks to its abundance of Underground services early on.

The West side is IMHO most polluted by Heathrow. If the Picc could be brought closer to the centre I would certainly bring the Reading branch down and make it cross the river at the appropriate place. Also, Central line should really bend northwest after White City -- The current outlook makes Old Oak Common far too larger than necessary.

For the South side, the bend of the river around Wandsworth and Chelsea should be oblique, so that the South London line and everything between it and the river, as well as Pimlico station, could be packed a bit tighter. After that, Thameslink and Tramlink could be depicted more accurately.

The worst offender on the East side is obviously DLR. Bite the bullet and make the Beckton branch more accurate by putting up the U-shaped bend please!
Re. Barking Riverside, it’s is conceivable that the new LO extension could open as early as the 9th July given that the WTT on real-time trains show all journeys extended to Barking Riverside BGV
The Paris RER routes are always denoted as thicker lines on the map, compared to the metro, which makes sense as a route for high capacity trains.
I second the idea of looking at Paris maps for ideas. The RER lines are not just higher capacity, they also have fewer stops, so if a particular trip can be made by RER or metro, RER should be the usual preference.
If Ikea remain as sponsors, I suggest the next step would be to give prospective travellers all the line parts separately and require them to put them together for their planned journey, although the instruction manual is likely to be more pages than any map.
Fascinating to read all your comments today, some of which are very interesting and some of which are entirely impractical for reasons you haven't even started to comprehend.
Pub quiz question - which route, partly built as a tube line, was removed from the Underground map, even though it is still in service as a railway line? Answer - Moorgate-Finsbury Park, which was part of the Northern line.
Fascinating discussion today, off a beautifully put-together post.

I''ll just add some non-rail pedantics - if I was in charge of Thames Clippers I might be rather put out that my boats seemingly leave from the wrong Woolwich and haven't yet reached Barking.
The tube map shown on the TFL website is a better than the one illustrated in the post
Having realised a few times recently how few people know the names of roads as they simply follow directions on Google Maps (or similar), maybe in the not too distant future most people won't even bother looking at a tube map and so none of this will matter. Which makes me sad, but I am probably now never going to be in the majority.
There is actually a much simpler solution that seems to have been forgotten.

On all except the Quad Royal versions displayed on platform walls, all other versions of the Tube Map that were printed, e.g. in pocket maps and in diaries, never even ATTEMPTED to show the full lines. You'd get an arrow abridging the line as it was about to leave the page, with a rectangle overlaid just before the trunaction in which was listed the key stations that existed beyond the printed extents of the map. Many didn't even show the District line all the way to Upminster for instance, stopping just after Mile End, with "Upminster" in a box, and the Central line finishing at East Action with "West Ruislip Ealing Broadway" shown in a box.

The full version is a great advertisement for TfL to say "look how big we've become", but it's not a great advertisement for their skills at informing the public. They also labour under the misapprehension that to leave any place out would be a source of great political embarrassment and slight for the councillors that represent those areas. Although no doubt these days BBC London News would turn it into a scandal to make that so. But that's not how it should be, or how it used to be.

I think the map headed "Tube Map" should be relabelled "Central London Travel Map", and for all other services one is directed to the TfL/RDG "London's Tube & Rail Services" (aka "Connections") map.

TridentScan | Privacy Policy