Wednesday, 25 November 2020

Mulling Over Map Making ...

What's The Way To Do It 

The new Spider maps from Transport for London (TfL) no longer "go all the way" to the end of the route. Once 12, 159 and 453 get to Lambeth North, the only significant information given is the terminus. This need not be. Continuing from fbb's geographical "local" map, it should be possible to show at least some increase on the non information from TfL.

The question is how much - and how?

One option is to show a straight line.
The 94 is, pretty much, a straight line, as are 159 and 88 (running south).
Streatham is much further south than Clapham Common; so should fbb make some attempt at relative scale? 

There again, is it right to show routes that are very much NOT a straight line as just a meaningless stick?

Service 12 would be a challenge as a straight line.
It must be a rarity, in that after saying bye-byes to Elephant and Castle, route 12 does not call at ANY railway station! Surely, we hear you cry, there are stations at Peckham?
Peckham Rye is bottom Left, Queens Road Peckham is top right. But service 12 misses them both - and we all know why, don't we? Historically these stations belonged to Br*t*sh R**lw*ays and not to London Transport, so, historically again, interchange at them was considered of less importance. Peckham Rye now has Overground but this is still a National Rail operation, only managed by TfL.

London really does need one single railway system with one single set of fares. Oyster and contactless help, but only by burying the differences in an electronic obfuscation heap - should be better.

To help folk understand its massive wiggle, fbb has shown its shape, if not its scale.
Scale rears a very ugly head in the North West. On this "proper" map note that Edgware is top left ...
... and Golders Green somewhere in the middle. They are some distance apart, namely 5.3 miles. They were close together on the old Oxford Circus spider and fbb has no choice but to play fast and loose with distances, even on his version.
Here, fbb has experimented with thinner lines outside the box, a device that looks promising. And remember what TfL offers ...
... no attempt at all to provide any geographical context. Edgware is now East of Golders Green, rather than North West! Poor.

Please remember that this is fbb's "work in progress" and more careful cartography, more tormented thought and more attempted adjustments will be necessary. But fbb has come to one massive conclusion. To prove (or disprove) the concept, he must tackle another area.

Euston? Should be fun. Could you merge Euston and Euston Square, separate spiders from TfL, but arguably, one interchange blob?

Don't worry; there wont be yet another burgeoning burst of boring of blogs, but the end results may find their way into a weekend variety posting.

Docklands Developments
Pictures have emerged recently of the new trains being built by Spanish Outfit CAF (Construcciones y Auxiliar de Ferrocarriles) for the Docklands Light Railway. It maybe technically "light" in construction, but it has certainly become heavy in scope. Remember when diddy two car trains trundled between Stratford, The Isle of Dogs and Tower Gateway?
London threw these little beauties away, but some are still running in Essen, Germany.
Currently, Docklands Trains are still two car, but normally run in pairs or triples, four car or six.
We need to realise that the new CAF stock will be formed of FIVE car sets.

Here is what a blogger writes about the new stock.

Although details could change, the current plans for the new trains are:

To replace Stratford International to Woolwich Arsenal 2-car services with new full-length trains and improve peak service from a train every 8 minutes to one every 4 minutes.

Replace the Bank to Woolwich Arsenal and Bank to Lewisham 3-car services with new trains.

Introduce a new peak Stratford International to Beckton service with 3-car trains.

Replace all Stratford to Canary Wharf 2-car services with new full-length trains and extend all these services (i.e. every 4 minutes) to Lewisham.

The result of this on the Lewisham branch there will be a 65% increase in peak capacity compared to today, through a combination of making all trains full length, the higher capacity of the new trains, and the increase in total frequency from today’s 22.5 trains per hour to 30 trains per hour (every 2 minutes). 

TfL will also double the capacity to Beckton, nearly double capacity to Woolwich, and between Stratford and Canary Wharf by 65%.


But you will still be able, if you are lucky, to grab a front seat and see where you are going, even drive the train in your imagination.
That front view is really entertaining and informative; even if you have to travel to a terminus in the back, stay put and grab your view for the return journey!

fbb Mansions : Decorations Phase 2
At first, the fbb magnum opus, decorations-wise, could seem to be a bit of a hotch-potch. The frame has been rebuilt (with right angles this rime!) so it looks less wonky, but can we see what's going on? There is an outer border of coloured lights which, as is normal with these LED twinklers, can be set to perform a variety of colour combinations and flash patterns.
In the centre is a Christmas Tree which might be nothing more than a pagan mid-winter festival symbol of new "evergreen" life.
Not only does the Bible begin with The Tree Of Life (Not Adam's Apple, that is tree number 2) but it ends, in the Book of Revelation, with, guess what, The Tree Of Life, its leaves for the healing of the nations, Jesus never said "I am The Tree", but he did say "I am The Vine and you are the branches" so, staying "connected" with Jesus brings life from the Jesus' "grape tree".

In the centre of the tree is The Cross ...
... a reminder that Jesus did not stay a baby! The Bible tells us that he grew up, died and rose again to change lives totally. The true  Christ mas is meaningless without Easter and Easter is meaningless without the empty tomb.
And Jesus did say "I am The Light of the World" - in today's dark days, surely we need God's Light as well as sanitiser, social distancing and gangster gear.

But there again, maybe most people passing the fbb's anterior portal will probably not even begin to join the dots and just see a mush of pretty scintillating colour. That's still good and cheering.

It is infuriating that the light string as manufactured has one blue LED amongst the red and yellow. It always shines out about 100 times more brightly than the rest.

The fbb's modem/router died on Monday
It is being replaced today.
fbb's new laptop also arrives today.
Blogging may be interrupted.

fbb is currently borrowing his neighbours'
internet (with permission) but the
arrangement is not ideal bandwith-wise.

 Next Photo-Album blog : Thursday 26th November 


  1. I've been following this recent series of blogs about mapping with interest . . . these comments are based on a spell of controlling various Tube Rail Replacement services in London:
    1. Passengers get very used to "their" route, and dislike any change to it.
    2. Indeed, some passengers get quite frightened when their journey is interrupted, and will blindly catch a RRS bus even if told of alternatives that are better for them.
    3. When you try to explain an alternative to them, if it means changing modes in a strange place, you can see the "animal in the headlights" look come over them, and they simply refuse to countenance it.
    4. Passengers constantly need reassurance . . . "is this the bus to" will be asked of the Inspector; Customer Assistant and Driver at every opportunity.

    The difficulty of trying to explain alternatives to passengers, often whose first language is not English, is partly why information has to be presented in a "dumbed-down" format . . . hence stop-specific timetables and simple "spider" maps that only provide for the "last-mile" of a multi-mode journey.

    As public transport professionals, we do sometimes forget that passengers get frightened of getting lost. We also forget that people in general are less geographically-aware than we were; partly because they weren't taught how to read maps at school, or indeed how to read timetables!
    {My daughter, 32, is degree educated, reads widely and works in the film industry, so is by no means dim . . . but she is utterly geographically-challenged . . . remove her phone and ask her to follow a map and she'll completely panic!!!}.

    All this is why people prefer to drive a car with a sat-nav if at all possible; and why bus operators and LTA's must explore all possible options to inform passengers . . . there is no one single answer.
    A map and a timetable booklet for the pocket, backed up with simple information at the bus stop and oodles of information on-line . . . that's the way to go.
    {{In passing, we are around 6 weeks from "Open Data" going live, whereby ALL buses in the land will be able to provide on-time data. This is hoped to give passengers confidence in the timely arrival of their bus . . . I certainly hope so}}.

  2. Has anyone else heard rumours of Stagecoach withdrawal from Plymouth in 2021?