Thursday, 15 March 2018

Morecambe Map Mysteries (2)

Geographical or Diagrammatic?
We all know the iconic London Underground map conceived by Harry Beck.
His design originated in the wiring diagrams for electronic equipment. As the Underground  network expanded, geographical maps became a problem.
To keep the central area legible the longer suburban routes had to disappear off the map. Here the Metropolitan RED, the District GREEN and the southern end of the Northern BLACK all disappear off the edge of the map.

And it got worse ...
... with extensions to the Piccadilly BLUE. It could only get worse when the post World War 2 extensions into darkest Essex became a reality!

So Harry ignored scale distance and sought to keep a useful relationship between lines at points of interchange.
The diagram caused problems for Harry and went through numerous revisions and improvements but eventually became the icon we know and love today.
But a youthful fbb NEVER made it to Ongar via Epping (now closed) ...
... as the journey was simply too lengthy for a day trip from Northampton. But because it was "not to scale" Ongar seemed a lot closer to Central London than it was. And there was plenty of other stuff to explore nearer the centre! Indeed, your exploratory blogger has never been further than the line from Woodford to Hainault, even today.

The other problem with a diagram is that some bits can be quite misleading. Oft quoted, but worth repeating, is a possible journey from Queensway to Bayswater by changing at Notting Hill Gate.
But here is Queensway Station for real ...
... and just under 220 yards along Queensway (the road) is ...
... Bayswater. Even the aged arthritic who writes this stuff would choose to walk, albeit creakily,  between the two!
When it comes to bus maps, underground-style diagrams are not always helpful. fbb has already voiced doubts about the promised diagram for the wonderful "Buses for Sheffield" scheme, based on the evidence of the laughable First Bus Overgound presentation.
But perhaps for a relatively simple network, linking Lancaster with Morecambe and Heysham, a diagram could be designed that followed reality closely enough to be of use.

The excellent Stagecoach network map is easy to find on line, and offers a high quality geographically accurate presentation.
In doing so, however, it suffers from the problem of the developing underground map in London. The detailed bits, where, arguably, a map is more necessary, are too small to read unless, of course, the map is printed on a huge sheet of paper with a troublesome set of folds!

O.K., on-line you can enlarge the bit you want.

This all leads fbb to consider the following possible plan of attack. (Old Goon Show joke coming up!)
"Looks like a nail to me." "No, it's a plan of a tack!"

Pause for groans all round.

Even better, if the urban routes could be shown adequately, they could be put in a bounding box and the longer distance country services could be tacked on outside the box at a smaller scale; possibly the best of both worlds.

More tomorrow!

That Sinking Feeling?
Sheffield correspondent Roy was idly experimenting with journey planning (as you do) when he came across the Fleetwood Ferry; and not the "big" ferry to Larne.
Fleetwood is the northern terminus of the re-vamped Blackpool tramway.

The ferry appears to be still operated by Wyre Marine ...
... which explains all on its web site.
fbb used Google Lens to extract the text ...
... and the original does say "minuets"! The service is run on behalf of Wyre Council and their web site gives similar information ...
... with a link to the timetable.
The colours are used because the service is tidal - it cannot dock at low tide so it does not run.
But Roy was well aware of that. His suspicions, however, were raised when all he could find was a plan for January 2018.

He e-mailed Wyre council who replied - astoundingly:-
Roy did suggest that details should actually be REMOVED from the web site if the ferry was not operational, but they were still all there at 1800 yesterday.

So worry not, technophiles ...


 Next Morecambe blog : Friday 16th March 


  1. Andrew Kleissner15 March 2018 at 11:59

  2. Of course Epping to Ongar now sees heritage steam and diesel trains every weekend between Easter and October courtesy of the Epping Ongar Railway.